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27 août 2013 2 27 /08 /août /2013 18:17
Syrie: le parlement britannique convoqué jeudi (TV)

MOSCOU, 27 août - RIA Novosti

 

Le premier ministre britannique David Cameron convoque jeudi la Chambre des Communes du parlement pour une réunion d'urgence sur la situation en Syrie, rapporte mardi la chaîne de télévision Sky News.

 

"Le président de la Chambre des Communes approuve ma demande de rappeler le parlement jeudi. Il y aura une motion claire du gouvernement et un vote sur la réponse du Royaume-Uni aux attaques à l'arme chimique" en Syrie, a indiqué le chef du gouvernement britannique sur son compte Twitter.

 

Il s'agit d'un rappel anticipé du parlement britannique, qui devait initialement faire sa rentrée lundi 2 septembre.

 

Les Occidentaux réfléchissent à une action militaire contre Damas à la suite de l'attaque chimique présumée le 21 août dont ils tiennent le régime de Bachar el-Assad pour responsable.

 

Le porte-parole de M.Cameron a indiqué mardi que l'armée britannique se préparait à l'éventualité d'une action militaire, tout en assurant qu'"aucune décision n'a encore été prise" sur la forme que pourrait prendre la réponse.

 

La semaine dernière, plusieurs médias ont rapporté que les forces gouvernementales syriennes avaient lancé une vaste attaque chimique dans une banlieue de Damas faisant, selon diverses estimations, entre 350 et 1.300 morts. Ces rapports ont provoqué en Occident une nouvelle vague d'appels à une intervention militaire dans le conflit syrien.

 

Le chef de la diplomatie britannique William Hague a même déclaré lundi qu'une réponse militaire internationale à l'utilisation présumée d'armes chimiques en Syrie serait possible même sans le soutien unanime des membres du Conseil de sécurité de l'Onu.

 

Le ministre syrien de l'Information Omran al-Zoubi a déclaré que l'armée syrienne n'avait jamais recouru à l'arme chimique.

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27 août 2013 2 27 /08 /août /2013 16:50
BAE Completes 2,000 Miles of Hybrid GCV Mobility Testing Ahead of Schedule

27.08.2013 BAE Systems

 

BAE Systems’ Ground Combat Vehicle (GCV) Hybrid Electric Drive (HED) system successfully completed 2,000 miles of testing on a fully integrated “Hotbuck” mobility platform, a significant milestone for the U.S. Army’s GCV program. The Hotbuck is a stationary, state-of-the-art test stand that simulates real-life environments and terrain and puts actual miles on the HED system. Under BAE Systems’ own rigorous timeline, the testing was completed four months ahead of schedule.

 

“This testing achievement is a significant advancement in the overall GCV program. With actual hardware to show, this puts the BAE Systems team ahead of schedule both now and in the next phase of the program, saving the customer development time and money,” said Mark Signorelli, vice president and general manager of Armored Combat Systems at BAE Systems. “Our primary objective was to test our hybrid electric technology over time against realistic environments, and the successful completion of the testing is a testament to the quality and maturity of the technology.”

 

Developing and testing actual hardware was not a program requirement for the Technology Development (TD) phase, but BAE Systems chose to take the initiative to demonstrate the fuel efficiency and performance of a hybrid system for the Army’s next infantry fighting vehicle.

 

The Hotbuck integrates HED components that will be used in BAE Systems’ GCV offering including the traction drive system, thermal systems, engines, generators, controllers and software. Conducted at the BAE Systems Santa Clara, California facility, the 2,000-mile advanced testing precisely replicated conditions at two well-known military test tracks. The results of the tests further validated the performance, efficiency and maturity of the HED technology applied in BAE Systems’ GCV design, marking a significant milestone for the TD phase of the program.

 

The HED system in BAE System’s GCV offering will contribute to: the availability of high torque at any ground speed resulting in greater agility, greater acceleration and maneuverability than a comparable mechanical system; up to 20 percent less fuel consumption than a conventionally powered GCV, reducing overall costs and the number of fuel convoys; availability of electrical power to incorporate new battlefield technology for the next 30 to 40 years; and 40 percent fewer parts than a comparable mechanical drive system, requiring less maintenance and decreasing vehicle lifetime cost.

 

BAE Systems was awarded a contract for the TD phase of the GCV program in August 2011. TD phase work is scheduled to be complete by June 2014.

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27 août 2013 2 27 /08 /août /2013 16:30
HMS Astute Fires a Tomahawk Cruise Missile (TLAM) During Testing Near the USA photo UK MoD

HMS Astute Fires a Tomahawk Cruise Missile (TLAM) During Testing Near the USA photo UK MoD

27 Aug 2013 By Ben Farmer, Defence Correspondent

 

The Armed Forces are drawing up contingency plans for action after a weekend of briefing from Downing Street that military intervention action may be imminent against Bashar al-Assad’s government. The most likely course of action according to most observers is a barrage of Tomahawk cruise missiles from warships in the Mediterranean, possibly with added air strikes from warplanes

 

In reality, plans for possible action against Bashar al-Assad’s regime have been drawn up for weeks, if not months at Permanent Joint Headquarters in Northwood, according to military sources.

 

What those plans need to include will depend on the extent and objective of the action to be taken, neither of which are yet clear. They must include not only what Britain, France and America will do, but also how Syria might respond.

 

The most likely course of action according to most observers is a barrage of Tomahawk cruise missiles from warships in the Mediterranean, possibly with added air strikes from warplanes.

 

These punitive, but largely symbolic strikes would be designed to show the Syrian government it cannot gas its own people with impunity, but would do little to change the overall picture in Syria.

 

Such a strike would need little planning. Both the Royal Navy and America are believed to have submarines in the area and the Mediterranean-based US Sixth Fleet also has four destroyers capable of firing missiles. Military sources said these are already armed and “good to go”.

 

Only last minute details would need to be clarified, including where the vessels would fire from in the Mediterranean’s congested waters and whose airspace the missiles would fly through.

 

British warplanes could reach Syria from the UK at a stretch, but sources said it would be “challenging” and they would need refuelling in mid-air. If needed, they would more likely be forward deployed to a base in the region such as RAF Akrotiri in Cyprus. Again this could be done quickly. Tornado or Typhoon jets are not currently in the region, but could be in Cyprus in hours.

 

More difficult to plan for would be the reaction of the Syrian regime. Commanders and politicians will want to make sure they are ready for possible retaliation. Syria has access to missiles and also links, through Iran, to militant groups capable of striking throughout the region. Security may be tightened and forces in the region put on higher alert.

 

If military intervention is more ambitious in scale, then the contingency plans become far more extensive. Then commanders must plan for sustaining military action, for feeding, fuelling and equipping a mission over a longer time.

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27 août 2013 2 27 /08 /août /2013 11:50
Syrie: préparatifs sur une base militaire anglaise à Chypre

27/08/2013 Par Le Figaro.fr


En cas de frappes occidentales en Syrie, la base britannique d'Akrotiri à Chypre serait idéalement placée. Or, selon le Guardian, les préparatifs s'accélèrent sur cet aéroport militaire situé sur la côte sud de l'île, à quelque 160 kilomètres de la Syrie.

Deux pilotes d'un vol commercial auraient ainsi observé la présence d'avions de transports C-130 ainsi que celle de plusieurs avions de chasse. Le voisinage confirme lui aussi qu'une activité supérieure à la normale a été observée lors des dernières 48 heures. Plusieurs responsables militaires américains et britanniques travaillent sur l'utilisation de la base en vue de frappes contre le régime de Bachar el-Assad, rapporte le Daily Telegraph.

Depuis l'indépendance de Chypre en 1960, la Grande-Bretagne a conservé deux sites militaires sur l'île. La base aérienne d'Akrotiri est le plus important des deux. Elle sert actuellement au soutien logistique des forces de l'Otan en Afghanistan et accueille de nombreuses installations électroniques d'écoutes. Elle a aussi été utilisée par les Britanniques dans les frappes contre le régime de Mouammar Kadhafi.

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27 août 2013 2 27 /08 /août /2013 11:50
HMS Vigilant fires an unarmed Trident II ballistic missile photo UK MoD

HMS Vigilant fires an unarmed Trident II ballistic missile photo UK MoD

Aug. 23, 2013 defense-aerospace.com

(Source: House of Commons Library; published August 13, 2013)

 

Update on the Trident Successor Programme - Commons Library Standard Note



The programme to replace the UK’s nuclear deterrent from 2028 onwards continues apace. In December 2012 the Government published its first update report to Parliament on the progress of the Trident renewal programme and in July 2013 published the Trident Alternatives Review. That review was commissioned in 2011 in order to assist the Liberal Democrats in making a case for potential alternatives to the like-for-like replacement of Trident, as stipulated in the 2010 Coalition Agreement.

This note briefly examines the progress that has been made since Initial Gate on the programme was passed in May 2011, including the contracts that have been placed to date and the estimated costs of the replacement programme.

It also looks at wider issues such as the Trident Alternatives Review and the potential impact of the Scottish referendum on independence which is expected in autumn 2014.


Click here for the full report (20 PDF pages) on the UK Parliament website.

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26 août 2013 1 26 /08 /août /2013 16:50
A 17 Squadron Typhoon aircraft with Meteor missiles attached

A 17 Squadron Typhoon aircraft with Meteor missiles attached

 

 

August 24, 2013 by Think Defence

 

RAF Typhoon aircraft will be armed with Meteor missiles from later this decade after an agreement was signed by industry and the four Eurofighter nations.

 

During a short ceremony at the Paris Air Show, Defence Ministers from the UK, Germany, Italy and Spain witnessed a contract being signed between Eurofighter and NATO Eurofighter and Tornado Management Agency (NETMA) that will see the missile system integrated onto the aircraft.

 

The Meteor Beyond Visual Range Air to Air missile, manufactured by MBDA, is a state of the art long range weapon that can be used against a range of targets. The missile will complement the missile systems already in use on the aircraft, giving pilots a greater choice of weapons depending on their mission objectives.

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26 août 2013 1 26 /08 /août /2013 06:30
HMS Illustrious - photo UK MoD

HMS Illustrious - photo UK MoD

26/08/2013 par Jacques N. Godbout – 45eNord.ca

 

Si le président Obama semblait hésiter encore il y a quelques jours sur la réponse à appropriée à l’attaque chimique qui a tué des centaines de personnes s’il était avéré que le régime d’Assad en était responsable, les Britanniques quant à eux sont d’ores et déjà prêts à se joindre à une intervention militaire, si on en croit le quotidien The Telegraph.

 

Le ministre britannique des Affaires étrangères a déclaré dimanche que le Premier ministre David Cameron avait parlé avec le président Barack Obama et que les deux étaient d’accord qu’il doit y avoir une «réponse sérieuse».

La Syrie a certes accepté de laisser les Nations Unies inspecter à compter de lundi le site de l’attaque aux armes chimiques, mais un responsable américain a affirmé que ce serait alors «trop ​​tard pour être crédible» et qu’il n’y avait guère de doute que c’était bien le gouvernement syrien qui était à blâmer.

La Grande-Bretagne a déclaré elle aussi dimanche que les preuves d’une attaque aux armes chimiques dans la banlieue de Damas auront déjà été détruites avant la visite du site par les inspecteurs de l’ONU.

«Nous devons être réalistes sur ce [les résultats, ndlr] que l’équipe de l’ONU peut atteindre», a déclaré le secrétaire des Affaires étrangères William Hague à la presse.

Si les puissances occidentales semblaient encore chercher la réponse appropriée à dans ce qui est vraisemblablement la pire attaque aux armes chimiques dans le monde en 25 ans, un porte-parole de l’Armée syrienne libre a déclaré quant à lui dans une interview que les rebelles disposeraient d’informations selon lesquelles plusieurs pays occidentaux ont bel et bien pris la décision de lancer une attaque militaire contre le régime syrien en réponse à l’usage qu’il a fait d’armes chimiques.

Selon le porte-parole de l’ASL, «Le monde ne peut pas supporter la mort de 1 500 personnes sans agir».

En outre, quelques jours après l’attaque au gaz toxique, des problèmes d’alimentation en eau et en nourriture commencent aussi à poindre, les habitants de la capitale syrienne craignant que leurs approvisionnements soient contaminés.

Le gaz toxique a frappé la zone de la Ghouta, où des hectares de terres agricoles fournissent la capitale de 3 millions de personnes, Damas, en légumes frais, viande et produits laitiers.

De son côté, le Premier ministre français Jean-Marc Ayrault a déclaré dans une interview que la communauté internationale ne pouvait pas permettre que de pareils crimes contre l’humanité aient lieu en Syrie et, chez les Britannique, si on en croit le Telegraph, des navires de guerre sont prêts à unir leurs forces aux forces navales américaines dans une attaque possible contre la Syrie.

Selon le journal, des sources gouvernementales britanniques ont déclaré que les pourparlers entre les dirigeants occidentaux étaient en cours, mais que, s’il y avait consensus, l’intervention militaire pourrait commencer dans les prochains jours.

 

 

Comment pourrait se dérouler l’intervention

Le HMS Triumph, un sous-marin britannique de classe Trafalgar, capable de lancer des missiles Tomawhak (Photo: WikimédiaCommons)

Comme l’armée de l’air syrienne est jugée suffisamment forte pour abattre des avions ennemis, toute attaque serait probablement lancée d’abord à partir de la mer.

Un sous-marin à propulsion nucléaire de la Marine royale britannique est d’ailleurs déjà dans la région tandis qu’un certain nombre de navires de guerre ont récemment quitté la Grande-Bretagne pour des exercices en Méditerranée.

Les commandants d’une pareille opération pourraient aussi, au besoin, utiliser la base de la Royal Air Force britannique d’Akrotiri, à Chypre, pour l’appui aérien.

Si une intervention militaire était décidée, la première vague de missiles pourrait alors être lancée dans une semaine.

Des sources militaires font remarquer que le début d’une campagne contre la Syrie pourrait ressembler aux premières heures de la campagne de 2011 contre le colonel Mouammar Kadhafi en Lybie.

La campagne de Libye avait commencé avec un blitz de missiles Tomahawk à partir de navires de guerre américains et d’un sous-marin britannique de classe Trafalgar.

La Royal Navy, bien sûr, ne révèlent pas les positions actuelles de ses sous-marins, mais on sait bien qu’ils traversent régulièrement la région sur leur chemin vers le canal de Suez.

En outre, la Sixième Flotte des États-Unis dispose actuellement de quatre contre-torpilleurs lance-missiles dans la région et chacun d’eux pourrait participer à l’attaque.

La Royal Navy a également sa task force de réaction rapide en Méditerranée. Le groupe comprend deux frégates et le porte-hélicoptères HMS Illustrious.

 

Et les Russes?

Le président américain Barack Obama s’était prononcé vendredi contre une intervention militaire en Syrie sans mandat des Nations-Unies: «Si les États-Unis décident d’attaquer un autre pays sans avoir reçu le mandat de l’ONU et sans présenter de preuves suffisantes, on peut se demander si de telles démarches peuvent être conformes au droit internationale», avait déclaré le chef de la Maison Blanche dans une interview accordée à la chaîne américaine d’information continue CNN.

Toutefois, il semble bien improbable qu’une intervention militaire obtienne l’aval de l’ONU, les Russes , alliés indéfectibles du régime de Damas et qui ont droit de veto au Conseil de Sécurité s’y opposant.

Cependant, s’il est avéré que le régime Assad est responsable de la pire attaque chimique depuis un quart de siècle, la donne pourrait changer.

Entre temps, les Russes continuent de donner de la voix, le président de la commission des affaires internationales de la Douma (chambre basse du parlement russe), Alexeï Pouchkov, déclarant dimanche 25 août que le président Obama aspirant à la guerre en Syrie répète les démarches de son prédécesseur George W.Bush qui préparait la guerre en Irak, devenant ainsi un clone de ce dernier.

La différence entre l’Irak de Saddam et la Syrie d’Assad étant, ce qui semble échapper aux Russes, que les armes de destruction massives, cette fois, existent bel et bien et qu’on en a manifestement fait usage.

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23 août 2013 5 23 /08 /août /2013 16:50
Air Vice-Marshal Elaine West - photo UK MoD

Air Vice-Marshal Elaine West - photo UK MoD

23 August 2013 Ministry of Defence and Defence Infrastructure Organisation

 

Elaine West has become the first woman to be promoted to Air Vice-Marshal within the RAF.

 

Air Vice-Marshal West will take up the role of Director of Projects and Programme Delivery at the Defence Infrastructure Organisation. She will lead the way in programming and delivering multi-million-pound infrastructure projects to support military training, improve defence capability and oversee the draw down of Army units from Germany.

 

Prior to Air Vice-Marshal West’s promotion, the highest rank held by a regular serving female officer in the modern day RAF was Air Commodore. The highest ranking female officer in the Navy has been Commodore and the highest rank achieved by a woman in the Army has been Brigadier.

 

Air Vice-Marshal West said:

It is with enormous pride that I take up my new appointment. I am privileged to have served in the RAF and to have enjoyed so many challenging roles over the years.

To now be the first female military two-star is a truly unexpected bonus. I know so many inspirational women across all 3 Services who continue to make a substantial contribution to operations and our Armed Forces more widely.

This is a terrific opportunity and one that I’m looking forward to immensely.

Defence Secretary Philip Hammond said:

We need the best and the brightest talent in senior positions as we transform Defence over the next few years as we build Future Force 2020, and that means selecting people from across Defence, irrespective of gender.

I am pleased that we are demonstrating in Defence that there are no ‘glass ceilings’ for female officers who have the necessary abilities to rise to the senior ranks.

Chief of the Air Staff, Air Chief Marshal Sir Andrew Pulford, said:

Elaine West’s promotion to the rank of Air Vice-Marshal is thoroughly well-deserved and I wish her every success in her challenging role within the Defence Infrastructure Organisation.

The Royal Air Force is proud of its record as an equal opportunities employer – we were recognised most recently by the Times as one of the UK’s top 50 female employers – and it is fantastic to see more female officers reaching top positions within the Service.

The vast majority of roles in the Armed Forces are open to women and I would encourage everyone, regardless of gender, to take full advantage of the opportunities available to them within the military.

Air Vice-Marshal West joined the RAF in late 1978 and through her commitment and leadership has climbed through the ranks over her 34-year career. She has served her country in bases across the world and her appointment will now help to inspire generations of women to continue aiming high to reach the top ranks within the military.

The Armed Forces are committed to increasing the number of female personnel and to promoting diversity at all levels. The RAF has consistently received extensive recognition for its work on gender equality and promoting career opportunities for women.

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23 août 2013 5 23 /08 /août /2013 11:50
Reductions Will Limit Armed Forces' Capabilities, UK Military Chief Warns

Aug. 22, 2013 - By ANDREW CHUTER – Defense News

 

LONDON — Britain’s new chief of the defence staff has warned that reductions to military manpower and budgets will require the government and others to “recalibrate” what the armed forces can achieve.

 

“We have to recalibrate our expectations of the level of capabilities we can field on new operations from a standing start,” Gen. Sir Nick Houghton said in an interview in an internal Ministry of Defence magazine.

 

Houghton, who took over as Britain’s top military officer last month, said it was not possible to retain the degree of sophistication in capability terms “when you adopt a more generic contingency posture ... we will not have the perfect capability for every scenario.”

 

The warning from Houghton comes just weeks after the next US ambassador to London said during a US Senate confirmation hearing in Washington that it was of “critical concern” that the British continue to have “full-spectrum capability, remain operable with us and also that they are able to continue to lead missions on behalf of NATO.”

 

Britain has slashed defense spending as part of wider financial austerity measures, with personnel numbers heavily cut and capabilities completely axed — albeit temporarily in some cases.

 

Part of those changes involves cutting regular British Army troop numbers to 82,000 from 102,000 while building reserve force numbers up to 30,000.

 

With the withdrawal of combat troops from Afghanistan due to be complete by the end of next year, the British are moving toward contingency operations under a restructuring of the military scheduled to be complete by the end of the decade.

 

Houghton said the combination of “manpower reductions, keeping our people motivated, maintaining the right skillsets in the right places and continuing to prosecute operations and run the day-to-day business of defense is a huge challenge”

 

The chief of the defence staff said reform at the MoD was “long overdue” but admitted mistakes had been made in the transformation process, risking “ people becoming cynical and detached from what Defence is trying to do.”

 

Houghton also used the interview to take a swipe at bureaucracy at the London headquarters of the MoD and said changing the cultural and behavioral practices there remained one of the biggest reform challenges.

 

“Head Office by design has got to be smaller and more strategic, and therefore we’re going to have to adopt new behaviors. Currently we are guilty of creating bureaucracy, people checking up on others and holding people to account unnecessarily,” he said.

 

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22 août 2013 4 22 /08 /août /2013 12:50
NAWCAD Team Helps British Crew Complete New Helo Tests

The upgraded CH-47 Chinook, outfitted with bright red skis, hovers over the airfield at Naval Air Station Patuxent River as it completes checks of a new digital automatic flight control system. The system gives the aircraft better low speed capabilities, allowing for safer maneuvering and increased control. (Courtesy photo by Fred Troilo)

 

Aug 21, 2013 ASDNews Source : Naval Air Systems Command

 

NAVAL AIR SYSTEMS COMMAND, PATUXENT RIVER, Md. — Royal Air Force (RAF) flight crews completed testing of their new MK6 tandem rotor helicopter with the help of the Naval Air Warfare Center Aircraft Division (NAWCAD) here Aug. 10.

 

NAWCAD employees provided assistance to the RAF under a commercial service agreement with Boeing. NAS Patuxent River offers many unique testing areas such as sloped landing pads, maneuvering courses and heavy lift stations. Flying in these testing areas ensured the helicopter’s new digital automatic flight control system (AFCS) could operate successfully in a wide range of environments and scenarios, from operations in a desert theater to supply drops in the Arctic.

 

 “This is going to give us increased control in degraded visual environments, when operating in very difficult conditions such as in the dark or with dust and snow that prevent the pilot from seeing,” said RAF Flight Leader Chris Boddy. “This gives control to the aircraft so the pilot can monitor the profiles of the aircraft flying and not be overworked.”

 

 In addition to the digital AFCS, the upgraded version of Boeing’s CH-47 Chinook contains distinctive items such as the COBRA fire suppression system, the external rescue hoist and a rotor brake. The new frame structure of the MK6 allows for lower maintenance and vibration signatures for longer life.

 

 Several RAF teams visited NAS Patuxent River over the test period, allowing different crews to conduct tests and gain experience flying the aircraft.

 

“We really appreciate all the facilities we have been able to use on base and places in the local community as well,” Boddy said. “It’s been a good place to work and live.”

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21 août 2013 3 21 /08 /août /2013 12:30
An RAF Typhoon conducts a low-level flypast over HMS Dragon [Picture: Leading Airman (Photographer) Dave Jenkins, Crown copyright]

An RAF Typhoon conducts a low-level flypast over HMS Dragon [Picture: Leading Airman (Photographer) Dave Jenkins, Crown copyright]

21 August 2013 Ministry of Defence

 

A Royal Navy warship and RAF Typhoons have put their skills and technology to the test during a joint exercise.

 

The aircraft joined HMS Dragon and US fighter jets in a training exercise to detect, classify and monitor contacts on the sea’s surface in the challenging conditions of the Gulf.

The Type 45 destroyer provides a complementary service to the highly manoeuvrable and effective Typhoon fast jet combat aircraft.

One of Dragon’s fighter controllers, Lieutenant Francis Heritage, said:

We received the help of a United States Air Force Joint Surveillance Target Attack Radar System (JSTARS) aircraft to cue our fighters onto their targets.

The JSTARS surface radar is incredibly powerful. When combined with our own organic sensors and those of the jets under our control, we can provide force protection over a massive area.

The American surveillance jet fed information directly into Dragon’s operations room, allowing the destroyer to cue fighter jets – US Marine Corps F/A-18 Hornets, US Air Force F-15 Strike Eagles and the Typhoons of Dragon’s affiliated RAF unit, No 6 Squadron – onto their objectives.

Another of Dragon’s fighter controllers, Flying Officer Dave Bowl, said:

This is a great example of how the front line units of the Royal Air Force can work hand-in-hand with the Royal Navy’s most capable and advanced warship.

Dragon is in the second half of her inaugural deployment, which is a mix of carrying out maritime security operations with the UK’s Gulf partners and contributing to the wider air defence of the region, such as when she joined forces with the USS Nimitz Carrier Strike Group a few weeks ago.

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21 août 2013 3 21 /08 /août /2013 12:30

19 août 2013 BritishForcesNews

 

UN inspectors face a difficult task when they travel to Syria on Sunday.

It's being reported that already two out of three sites of interest may be too dangerous to visit.

One of Britain's foremost expert on chemical weapons Chris Abbott spoke to Forces News about the task ahead.

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21 août 2013 3 21 /08 /août /2013 11:35
Service personnel at a flag ceremony at Camp Bastion to mark the relocation of Task Force Helmand [Picture: Sergeant Barry Pope, Crown copyright]

Service personnel at a flag ceremony at Camp Bastion to mark the relocation of Task Force Helmand [Picture: Sergeant Barry Pope, Crown copyright]

19 August 2013 Ministry of Defence

 

The headquarters of UK military forces in Afghanistan has moved from Lashkar Gah to Camp Bastion in an early morning helicopter operation.

 

The move, which was completed on 9 August, has been hailed as probably the most complex headquarters move on operations ever undertaken by the British Army.

Task Force Helmand (TFH) headquarters has been based in Lashkar Gah since May 2006, co-ordinating UK operations across Helmand province for over 7 years. The headquarters has now moved to Camp Bastion, the main hub of UK forces in Afghanistan.

The move reflects the fact that Afghan security forces now plan and conduct their own operations across the province and the UK military presence outside Camp Bastion is consequently in the process of drawing down.

Headquarters staff during the move
Headquarters staff from 1st Mechanized Brigade moving from Lashkar Gah to Camp Bastion [Picture: Sergeant Barry Pope, Crown copyright]

The UK Secretary of State for Defence, Philip Hammond, said:

The growing capability of the Afghan security forces our troops have trained is allowing us to reduce the number of UK forces in Afghanistan this year – and the relocation of HQ Task Force Helmand from Lashkar Gah to our main base at Camp Bastion marks a key milestone as we draw down. By the end of next year the UK’s combat operations in Afghanistan will be over.

In a carefully planned operation, key staff from the headquarters – which is led by the British Army’s 1st Mechanized Brigade – flew via Chinook to Camp Bastion in the early morning of 9 August 2013 to join an advance party already in place. A series of helicopter moves throughout the day ferried the remaining staff over to ensure the transition of control was seamless. Control was formally handed over to the new headquarters at around 10am local time the same morning.

A short ceremony was then held in memory of those members of the Armed Forces who have lost their lives on operations in Afghanistan.

The new Task Force Helmand headquarters building
The new Task Force Helmand headquarters building at Camp Bastion in Afghanistan [Picture: Sergeant Barry Pope, Crown copyright]

Brigadier Rupert Jones, Commander TFH, said:

The brigade headquarters move was seamless, both operationally and technically, thanks to the hard work of a great many people both here in Helmand and also right across Defence. It represents probably the most complex HQ move on operations ever undertaken by the British Army.

The move of the headquarters from Lashkar Gah is a significant moment in the campaign and reflects the progress made by the Afghan security forces and that they are now in the lead for security across Helmand. The move is in line with our progressive lift off from the Afghan security forces.

The move brings to an end a significant chapter in the British Army’s history with the headquarters at Lashkar Gah having controlled a great many feats of arms by TFH through the years.

The move follows the formal progression of TFH’s Brigade Advisory Group, made up of soldiers from 4th Battalion The Rifles, from advising their counterparts in the Afghan National Army’s 3/215 Brigade at the kandak (battalion) level to the brigade level.

1st Mechanized Brigade flag being raised
The 1st Mechanized Brigade flag being raised at the new Task Force Helmand headquarters at Camp Bastion [Picture: Sergeant Barry Pope, Crown copyright]

Brigadier Jones added:

With our advising role now focused at the brigade level, this was the right time to move the Task Force headquarters to be next to that of our counterparts in 3/215 Brigade at Camp Shorabak.

Major Dan Ashton, from the Royal Corps of Signals, was responsible for co-ordinating the challenging project. He said:

Ensuring that the brigade’s units were fully supported throughout this relocation was critical. The ability of the brigade staff to work at the same level of operational tempo whilst split across 2 locations has been hugely impressive and is testament to the quality of the people within the headquarters. The level of support required to facilitate this move has been incredibly far-reaching, incorporating organisations across Afghanistan and the UK.

The HQ relocation was a technical and logistical feat, with a number of previously unencountered challenges, but has set the conditions for 1st Mechanized Brigade’s successors and the successful redeployment of UK forces from Afghanistan.

215 Signal Squadron personnel installing communications equipment
215 Signal Squadron personnel installing communications equipment inside the new Task Force Helmand headquarters at Camp Bastion [Picture: Sergeant Barry Pope, Crown copyright]

Major Liz Byfield, Officer Commanding 215 Signal Squadron, responsible for the technical aspects of the move, said:

The complexity and technical challenges of the move should not be underestimated. It required communication specialists from across Afghanistan and the UK to support. It wasn’t just the sheer amount of IT we had to move, but the number of different systems which interact with each other, with different levels of security classification, which made the move a huge undertaking.

It’s the little things you don’t always think of at the beginning – like US equipment running on different types of power – which made things more difficult.

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19 août 2013 1 19 /08 /août /2013 16:50
An RAF Hawk T2 fast jet training aircraft lands at RAF Valley (library image) [Picture: Corporal Paul Oldfield RAF, Crown copyright]

An RAF Hawk T2 fast jet training aircraft lands at RAF Valley (library image) [Picture: Corporal Paul Oldfield RAF, Crown copyright]

16 August 2013 Ministry of Defence

 

Defence minister Philip Dunne has visited RAF Valley in Anglesey to see how military fast jet pilots of the future are being trained.

 

One of the roles of RAF Valley is to provide advanced fast jet training, producing world-class combat pilots for the RAF, Royal Navy and international partner air forces.

During his visit, Mr Dunne, the Minister for Defence Equipment, Support and Technology, saw first-hand how students of 4 Squadron capitalise on the benefits of the synthetic training environment, from mission planning to the detailed debriefs drawing on the wealth of information assimilated during live flying.

Mr Dunne said:

I was delighted to see the highly sophisticated flying training system which was introduced last year at RAF Valley.

Philip Dunne at RAF Valley
Left to right: RAF Valley Station Commander, Group Captain Adrian Hill, Defence Minister Philip Dunne, and Mr Al Shinner of Ascent [Picture: Senior Aircraftman Mark Dixon, Crown copyright]

The innovative UK Military Flying Training System (UKMFTS) brings together the Hawk T2 aircraft, qualified RAF flying instructors and cutting-edge flight and mission simulators to ensure the next generation of fast jet pilots are fully prepared for their transition to the front line:

The extensive use of synthetic training means that every flying hour is more productive than before and makes this entire programme more cost effective for the United Kingdom,” said Mr Dunne. “It also reduces the time taken to familiarise pilots with flying a combat aircraft when they move to an operational role.

The training system at RAF Valley combines military instructors and a primary civilian contractor, Ascent, to deliver a cost-effective range of synthetic training on the ground, using a range of simulators. The advanced cockpit of the Hawk T2 closely resembles that of current and future combat aircraft such as the Typhoon, the Tornado GR4 and the Lightning II.

Hawk T2 fast jet simulator
An RAF airman demonstrates a Hawk T2 fast jet simulator at RAF Valley (library image) [Picture: Corporal Paul Oldfield RAF, Crown copyright]

Group Captain Adrian Hill, RAF Valley’s Station Commander, said:

Each student covers a much wider syllabus than ever before, delivering a more proficient fast jet pilot to front line operational conversion units in preparation for their future operational role.

The Hawk T2 is an integral part of the UKMFTS, a training system that enables a significant download of training from front line aircraft to more inexpensive training platforms and synthetic training systems.

The minister has seen how we, military and contractor, work together to produce some of the finest combat pilots in the world. Our students leave here extremely well prepared for the challenges they will face on the front line.

Mr Dunne is shown around the cockpit of an RAF Sea King search and rescue helicopter
Mr Dunne is shown around the cockpit of an RAF Sea King search and rescue helicopter at RAF Valley [Picture: Senior Aircraftman Mark Dixon, Crown copyright]

During his visit, Mr Dunne also thanked the locals of Anglesey who continue to support the RAF in their crucial flying training activity, and the vital search and rescue service provided by 22 Squadron.

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26 juillet 2013 5 26 /07 /juillet /2013 11:50
First Tranche 3 Typhoon is on the move

Jul 24, 2013 ASDNews Source : BAE Systems PLC

 

    Evolution of Typhoon Tranche 3 capability

 

The first Tranche 3 Typhoon, BS116, has been transferred from final assembly to the paint shop facility where it spent two weeks getting a makeover - check out the video and learn more about the painting process.

 

Next pit stop

The Tranche 3 jet will progress to the hush house, our sound-proofed engine testing facility, for a series of engine ground runs in the next few weeks.  First test flights are expected to take place in September/October 2013.

 

Tranche 3 capability includes over 350 modified parts designed, engineered and assembled ready to incorporate the most advanced capability enhancements.

 

Capability enhancements

Enhancements include provision for conformal fuel tanks and extra electrical power and cooling to cater for an E-Scan radar which will enhance performance, reliability and availability whilst delivering lower support costs for Typhoon customers.  Extra computing power and high speed data network systems will give the aircraft capacity for even more capability in the future.

 

About the Tranche 3A contract

Under the Tranche 3A contract signed in 2009, a total of 112 aircraft have been ordered for the four European partner nations of Germany, Italy, Spain and the UK, with 40 aircraft bound for the Royal Air Force.

 

Deliveries of Tranche 3 Typhoons are expected to start later this year.

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25 juillet 2013 4 25 /07 /juillet /2013 18:50
Time to Cancel FRES SV?

by in

 

 

 

Can UOR equipment provide a viable alternative for Cavalry regiments ?

 

Introduction

In this article I will attempt to bring together a number of threads that are based on current events, but also based on ongoing discussions in the comment threads of this site, as pertaining to various inter-related subjects. There are a number of distinct elements, but the overall theme is that of Armoured Reconnaissance in the British Armies FF2020 organizational structure.

Specific themes include:

  • Taking UOR kit into the core fleets
  • Getting the greatest value for money in a time of tight budgets
  • The role of the armoured cavalry regiments
  • The continued requirement for FRES Scout in a smaller army

Hopefully I will be able to bring these threads together to make a cohesive argument for what is I believe to be a fairly modest proposal, as given away by my suitable contentious and attention grabbing headline – that we can cancel FRES SV and spend the money elsewhere.

 

Armoured Reconnaissance, cavalry roles, and FF2020

There has been considerable discussion across the comment threads of various TD articles on the shape and form of armoured reconnaissance capabilities, and what kind of kit should replace the large number of venerable CVR(T) platforms that used to equip what were once calledFormation Reconnaissance Regiments”.

It might be said that the armour branch of the British Army has been in continual flux since the end of the Cold War; and due to the many and varied attempts to replace CVR(T) that pre-dated the existing FRES Scout programme, the armoured Recce role in particular has been in a somewhat confused state of doctrinal development, versus deployed reality in the middle east. We benefit on this site in having an Ex-Cavalry Officer, a serving member of the Singapore Armed Forces with a recce role, and other experts all of whom have varying opinions. Of course opinions are just that, they cannot be wrong nor are they universally “right” and as in any military endeavor there is rarely a single “one size fits all” solution to a particular problem set.

Personally I have been a supporter of the FRES Scout capability (if not the chosen vehicle) and 30 plus tonnes of what is essentially a Infantry Fighting Vehicle to replace the far lighter weight CVR(T) seemed like the right way to enhance protection on the modern battlefield for the Cavalry regiments. Herein lies the crux of the size, weight and capability arguments to me – Cavalry regiments have traditionally had roles above and beyond reconnaissance.

These have included:

  • Screening the main force
  • Rear guard for the main force
  • Flank guards
  • Rear area security
  • Response force (to assist in plugging gaps and preventing enemy breakthroughs)

On paper at least, all of these roles were ascribed to Cold War BAOR Armoured Reconnaissance Regiments equipped with lightweight CVR(T) series vehicles. Of course the fact that they are “armoured recce” regiments, also means advancing to contact with known / unknown enemy forces in order to “fight for information”.  This is where the arguments – sorry – discussions (!) normally begin in the comment threads, with the tension between fighting for information versus stealthy acquisition of such information.  The proponents of the stealth approach eschew protection for mobility, firepower for situational awareness and revel in the capabilities provided by modern optical / optronic and other sensors in assisting their desire to remained undetected by, and “not in contact” with the enemy.

However for the sake of simplifying concepts and categorizing capabilities with nice neat labels, we might say this is the difference between “armoured recce” where the mere fact of being armoured suggests fighting for information, and “surveillance”.

Either way, whichever style, concept of operations or tactical doctrine the reader prefers, the army that presided over the last few decades of failed programmes eventually chose a vehicle based on the General Dynamics Ascod 2 IFV to be the FRES Scout – the armoured recce platform of the future.  The Venn diagram below attempts to take the standard Iron Triangle and add in the “recce” element, showing the FRES Scout in the sweet spot in the centre of the overlapping capabilities.

I have also added some of the other vehicles available to the army to show extremes of protection and firepower (Challenger 2 MBT for both), the new Scimitar MK2 in the intersection of mobility, firepower (30mm cannon) and STA (new optics, thermal imager etc) and the Husky in the intersection of mobility, STA and protection – although I this case the point I am making is that the protection is relative to the Jackal 2. This is a point I shall return to later, at which point hopefully my intention will be more clear.

9339936677 64b33e2029 z Time to Cancel FRES SV?

 

Do we still need FRES Scout ?

So, onto the contentious main thrust of my modest proposal, to first ask a question: with the smaller army and new force structure of FF2020 do we still need FRES Scout or indeed the tracked Common Base Platform of the FRES SV family at all ?

As I have noted, I don’t have a problem with the size, shape, weight or capability of the FRES Scout, I am not a massive fan of light weight tracked or wheeled alternatives.  No, I ask the question based on the force structure and value for money propositions.

When FRES Scout was originally envisioned, and indeed when it was chosen in it’s current Ascod 2 incarnation, we had 7 Formation Reconnaissance Regiments.  Unit’s that could be assigned as a Divisional asset, with lots of CVR)(T) series vehicles in a Regiment, and BAOR Armoured Regiments had even more CVR(T) vehicles, with each having their own Close Recce Troop of 8 x Scimitar.  So there were a lot of Cavalry / Armoured Recce units, and a lot of vehicles that needed replacing.

However that is not the reality of today’s army or that of the near future. Instead we have:

  • 3 x Heavy Cavalry / Armoured Recce units in the Reaction Force
  • 3 x Light Cavalry units in the Adaptive Force

So we now have only 3 regiments destined to receive a fairly small number of FRES Scout, while the 3 Light Cavalry regiments and their aligned Reserve force Yeomanry Regiments are to be equipped with wheeled vehicles, mostly Jackal 2 for the regulars, and LR Wolf WMIK for the Yeomanry (at least in the interim). Tellingly there is no “to be replaced by FRES Scout” note against these Light Cavalry Regiments in the FF2020 glossy brochures.

However there are factors other than the Scout variant requirements to take into account. FRES SV was to replace 100’s of remaining FV432 series vehicles, and CVR(T) series vehicles other than the Scimitar. Command vehicles, ambulances, signals vehicles, repair and recovery vehicles used by Armoured Regiments, Armoured Infantry, Armoured Combat Engineer units etc etc…..

Up to 125 Warrior variants maybe updated for some of these roles under the Armoured Battlefields Support Variant (ABSV) project as part of the Warrior Capability Sustainment Programme – but even for a smaller army, 125 such vehicles is not enough. Even if the FRES Utility programme was also meant to replace some FV432 series vehicles as well as the AT105 Saxon and some CVR(T) family members,  FRES UV will be a wheeled vehicle and there remain a large-ish number of pretty old tracked armoured support vehicles to replace with some urgency.  Let’s return to this subject after we examine the return of UOR kit, and it’s absorption into the core fleets.

 

UOR to Core

As we now know, a large amount, probably the majority, of vehicles procured under Urgent Operational Requirements (UOR) for operations in Afghanistan is to be returned to the UK and absorbed into the ‘core fleets’ of the army. The one vehicle type mentioned that appears to have been axed is the Warthog, but I will return to this momentarily.

The Venn diagram below shows 4 major factors in the decision to take UOR vehicles into the future as ‘core’ equipment.  Realistically we can’t always hit the sweet spot in the middle (red x marks the spot), but we maybe able to fit into one of the other intersections, providing a “good enough” capability with existing UOR kit, and within the budgetary constraints currently imposed.

9339936537 30b6777feb z Time to Cancel FRES SV?

 

According to Wikipedia, roughly we are talking about the following numbers of UOR vehicles:

  • Mastiff – 350 ish
  • Ridgeback – 168 (including Command, Ambulance and Weapons carrier)
  • Husky TSV – approx 350 (including Command, Ambulance and new Recovery variants)
  • Jackal 2 / 2A – 250
  • Coyote – 70
  • Warthog – 100
  • Scmitar Mk 2 – 60

Many of the numbers are “ ish “ because articles quoting procurement numbers are often contradictory, and I can’t find numbers for losses in country.

We know the Mastiff is going to be the mount for the 3 x Mechanised Infantry battalions of the Reaction Force, there being plenty of them for this role, including command vehicles, enough to carry the mortars, be out fitted as ambulances etc. No doubt others will remain with, or going into storage for RE EOD units.

However what I am interested in, is maximizing return on investment and value for money by use of various of these UOR vehicles in the Cavalry / Armoured Recce Roles.

 

A modest proposal – leverage the kit we already have instead of procuring FRES Scout

If we can bin the Nimrod MR4 at such a late stage in the project, surely we can bin the FRES Scout, and utilize existing equipment ? We may use the FRES SV programme budget to enhance these existing vehicles, and perhaps make ‘top up’ purchases to get numbers to where we need them to be.  The remainder of the FRES SV budget could then go to FRES UV ! As anyone who has read my pieces before will know, I believe Infantry should only be “light” for a very good reason (Marines, Airborne, Airmobile, Alpine) and that having Infantry battalions in the “General Purpose – Light” role simply because we can’t afford enough armoured (or “protected”) vehicles is just not good enough for such a small army on the non-linear and asymmetric battlefield. So diverting money to FRES UV seems like a good idea, but we digress………..

There are many forms of battlefield recce, from the Infantry Recce platoon crawling through undergrowth under cover of darkness to achieve a good over watch point, to Royal Corps of Signals units intercepting and direction finding enemy communications and other electronic emissions. Royal Artillery UAV’s, from Desert Hawk to Watchkeeper, Lynx and even Longbow radar equipped Apache’s of the Army Air Corps. In this context I believe that the role of the Cavalry Regiment, when tasked with Recce should be non-stealthy, survivable and capable of fighting for information during high tempo maneuver warfare.

That said, the role of the Formation Recce Regiment as the eyes and ears of the Division seem to have been replaced in current operational doctrine with the “Brigade Reconnaissance Force” (BRF)as the task oriented construct, which maybe based around the core provided by a Cavalry Regiment. Although many of our readers / commentor’s do not seem to understand the innate flexibility of a task oriented organizational structure, arguing for units that are dedicated to specific tasks; those of us who are ex-army will probably agree the ability to task organize and form battle groups and other composite units and sub-units as required to undertake the task at hand is at the core of the British Armies operational flexibility.

So for the new Brigades that form the Reaction Force, and the 3 planned brigades that can be pulled together from the pool of Adaptive Force units, I can see a BRF being created based around the Cavalry Regiment, but including Infantry Recce platoons, STA and air assets etc, as shown in the diagram below:

9342723086 a5b35b9cdc z Time to Cancel FRES SV?

 

Therefore with this context set, let us move onto the details for the modest proposals.

 

Modest Proposal 1 – the Light Cavalry Regiments

At the moment it would appear that the 3 regular Light Cavalry Regiments of the Adaptive Force will be equipped with the Jackal 2 vehicle, as we have a large number of them returning from theatre. Personally I have big issues with the Jackal, mainly as any vehicle in this mine / IED centric universe that seats the crew over the front axle is simply not good enough.  Also despite the much vaunted situational awareness benefits,  I don’t like it at all for the “Cavalry” role. However, we do have a lot of them, so I would push the Jackal 2 into the Recce platoon role for the Mastiff mounted Mechanised Infantry. I would also push it into the Support Coy’s of these battalions, for use by the MG Platoon and even Anti-Tank platoon as it is undoubtedly a pretty good weapons platform. We probably have enough to also equip the Light Protected Mobility Infantry Battalions (those to be equipped with Foxhounds) in the same way.  We have them, we are going to keep them, lets use them, but just not for Cavalry roles.

For the 3 Light Cavalry Regiments I would pull together all the Husky TSV models. With approx 350 on the books, including the base variant with an open weapons station mounting a 7.62mm MG, command and ambulance variants, and even a new recovery variant, we could have 3 regiments that use variants of the same vehicle for the majority of their sub units.  For Regimental HQ, a bigger aid post, and general purpose usage, the Light Cav could utilize some of the approx. 168 Ridgeback vehicles in service. On the theme of UOR Kit,  I have not seen anything about what is going to happen to the Hirtenberger 60mm mortars that were purchased, but I would pass them all to these Light Cav Regiments, more for their utility in dropping smoke screens and provide IR / white light illumination than for HE.

The majority of the Husky’s might retain the current open topped, manned “weapons station” with .50 cal M2 or 40mm H&K GMG, however some might be equipped with the full Selex Roadmaster suite with both mast mounted sensors and RWS. Even better, an Anti-tank version would have its RWS equipped with a Javelin launcher – hey I did say we could use some of the FRES Scout money to enhance the UOR Kit as required !

Some additional Husky’s for the Reserve Yeomanry Recce regiments would be a good idea. With the Whole Fleet Management concept, and the role of these regiments in supporting their aligned Regular Adaptable Forces regiment, perhaps enough to provide a single squadron’s worth of vehicles per regiment would be enough, with UK based troop and squadron level training using the LR WMIK’s ?

On a slight side note, the un-armoured Navistar MXT upon which the Husky TSV is based was one of 9 originally selected contenders for the Operational Utility Vehicle order before it was cancelled, and morphed in to the dormant requirement for a Multi-Role Vehicle (Protected).  With the various versions of the Husky already in service, plus the new Navistar MXT-VA APC variant, perhaps we should just bite the bullet, indulge in some standardization and just take the Husky on as MRV-P ? It does not offer the protection levels of the much more expensive Foxhound, but it doesn’t need to meet this requirement.  I am sure the APC version is at least offering the same levels of protection as the old Saxon did ?

 

Heavy Cavalry – the Challenger 2 Recce Variant

Oh yes, I went there…….

In one comment thread, our illustrious leader TD himself suggested if we want a “heavy” Cavalry Armoured Recce vehicle, why not go the whole way and use a Challenger, just as U.S. Army Cavalry regiments are equipped with M1A1.

While I understand there is a considerable difference in mass between a 30 plus tonne FRES Scout Ascod 2 and 60 tonne plus Chally 2, with all the Recce, Surveillance and Target Acquisition assets we at our finger tips outside of the Armoured Recce regiment, why not lever the upcoming the Chally upgrade programme, the fact that we have existing and spare vehicles in storage and save our selves a lot of money !

TD covered the Challenger 2 LEP in this article.  With the more powerful but smaller engine leaving space for perhaps a diesel genny APU, for quiet fuel efficient power generation for running the sensors and comms kit,  new optical sensors, the additional RWS (and thus optical / thermal sensor channel) of the Theatre Entry Standard kit etc,  a Chally 2 for Recce use would potentially have an excellent multi-channel optical sensor capability.  This could perhaps be further enhanced with other elements of the full Selex Road Marshal suite as TD described in this article.

Perhaps we would just need an armoured box on the turret roof into which the mast mounted sight could be retracted ?

The Heavy Cavalry Regiment does not need to all heavy though.  Although I am on record as stating CV(T) is too light and not well enough protected to fight for information, again we have spent cash on upgrading a whole bunch of these vehicles for operations in Afghanistan, so why not lever that investment and add a squadron of these vehicles to our Heavy Cav regiment ?  With 60 ‘brand new” Scimitar 2 light armoured recce vehicles, and an unknown (to me via Google) number of remanufactured Spartan APC, Sultan command vehicle, Samaritan ambulances and Samson recovery vehicles, all with new hulls offering enhanced protection, more powerful diesel engines and upgraded suspension; we would appear to have enough to add a 16 vehicle Scimitar 2 “Close Recce Squadron” plus enough of the other variants for Squadron and Regiment HQ’s, and even an STA troop with battlefield radar etc (as per the old Formation Recce Regiment).

Again if we have an amount of the FRES SV budget to spend, why not upgrade the remaining Stormer based ex-StarStreak and Shielder vehicles that are still in storage – extra space is always appreciated in command vehicles and ambulances.

 

Heavy, medium and light capabilities integrated into a Reaction Forces “Brigade Reconnaissance Force”

So to answer the undoubted criticism that the Chally 2 is just too heavy for the way we have traditionally conducted armoured recce ops, lets look at how it can fit into a range of capabilities available to the Brigade commander of a deployed brigade of the Reaction Forces.

Obviously you can’t strip all of the constituent units recce capabilities, as they still need their own limited capabilities for use at their more local level, on  the more constrained operational frontage of a particular battle group. However please don’t get to caught up in the details, this is just an example.  Also don’t forget that other UOR kit that applies but is not specifically depicted might include a Desert Hawk unit, and Apache and Watchkeeper, plus RA Warrior FST vehicles etc.

The other capability not depicted is that which would sit at Brigade HQ in the form of the Intelligence cell and the C3 capabilities required to pull together the outputs and disseminate the consolidated intelligence picture to combat units.

9342722862 640037c932 z Time to Cancel FRES SV?

 

 

Tracked Armoured Support Vehicles

We have 100 Warthog vehicles that apparently are not being integrated into the core vehicle fleet. As noted at the beginning of this article, part of the FRES SV programme is to deliver command vehicles, ambulances and larger ‘aid post’ vehicles, and other tracked armoured support vehicles to replace up to hundreds of old FV432 family vehicles. So again, keeping the Warthog, and potentially buying a few more seems to provide an alternative to various types in the FRES SV “Common Base Vehicle” family.

I understand that the Warthog would not be as well armoured or as well protected, but as previously noted, with a considerably smaller army, with a commitment to deploy a division at the most (based on best efforts) perhaps the Warrior upgrade programme will provide enough of the better protected support vehicles.

So the 100 Warthogs could certainly equip armoured ambulance units, and other CSS elements. If we wanted to make our Reaction Forces Armoured Brigades fully tracked, perhaps an additional buy of Warthog for the  3 Mechanised Battalions would allow the Mastiff to be passed down to the Adaptable Forces Protected Mobility Infantry battalions.

 

Summary and conclusions

In summary my modest proposal is to lever the UOR kit that we already own to enable the required Armoured Cavalry capabilities within the bigger set of ISTAR capabilities for the Army FF2020 order of battle.

I would suggest cancellation of FRES Scout and the FRES SV family, spending the budget elsewhere, including enhancements to the UOR equipment, including additional procurement. I really don’t see that the FF2020 orbat is big enough to warrant the FRES SV and it’s considerable expenditure anymore. The UOR kit, Chally 2 Recce Variant etc could keep us running well into the 2020’s and longer.

With funds diverted to the FRES UV requirement, with the tracked equipment in the Reaction Forces, perhaps we could dive into collaboration with the French who need to replace over 1000 VAB’s; or go with the RG35, but we don’t really need a heavy 8 x 8 IFV for this armoured utility role.

Looking further forward into the future, eventually we will need to replace Chally 2 just as our European NATO allies will need to replace a lot of Leopard 2’s – perhaps a common heavy chassis, suspension and drive train will provide for a front or rear mounted engine to provide an MBT, a heavy IFV and heavy APC (e.g. similar to the Namer), with Scout and other variants as required.

OK guys,  I will hand it over to the comment section now, so you can rip my modest proposals to bits.

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25 juillet 2013 4 25 /07 /juillet /2013 11:55
EMIA-FE : Une structure interopérable

24/07/2013 Sources : EMA

 

Comprenant 115 militaires en provenance des trois armées, l’EMIA-FE est structuré, à l’instar de l’OTAN ou de l’UE, autour de bureaux d’expertise (J1 à J9). Il est interopérable avec tous les états-majors opérationnels des pays alliés et partenaires. Depuis 2012, en vertu du traité de Lancaster House, l’EMIA-FE compte dans ses rangs des officiers britanniques.

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25 juillet 2013 4 25 /07 /juillet /2013 07:50
Royal Navy receives upgraded Merlin helicopters

Two new Merlin Mk2 helicopters in flight at Royal Naval Air Station Culdrose [Picture: Andrew Linnett, Crown copyright]

 

23 July 2013 Ministry of Defence and Defence Equipment and Support

 

The first of the UK's fleet of next-generation anti-submarine maritime patrol Merlin Mk2 helicopters have been delivered to the Royal Navy.

 

The 5 helicopters have been handed over to the Fleet Air Arm following an upgrade as part of a £750 million contract with Lockheed Martin.

Fitted with advanced glass cockpits and improved aircrew consoles and avionics, the Merlin Mk2 has advanced touch-screen displays and an improved ability to detect and track targets and share data with other aircraft and ships while airborne. These improvements will also enable the helicopters to carry out counter-piracy and casualty-evacuation duties.

Lieutenant Commander Simon Laurence uses the new touch-screen displays on the flight deck of a new Merlin Mk2 [Picture: Andrew Linnett, Crown copyright]

Lieutenant Commander Simon Laurence uses the new touch-screen displays on the flight deck of a new Merlin Mk2 [Picture: Andrew Linnett, Crown copyright]

Thirty Merlin Mk1 helicopters are being converted to Mk2s by Lockheed Martin. Once handed over to the Royal Navy, the airframes will undergo a series of extensive trials. The first helicopters are expected to be ready to deploy on operations by the summer of 2014.

Commander Ben Franklin, Commanding Officer of the Merlin Helicopter Force, said:

I am extremely proud to be leading the Merlin Force during this period. The delivery of the first 5 aircraft to the Royal Navy’s Fleet Air Arm is a real milestone of this successful programme, which will provide vital support to the Navy as it fulfils its role in protecting UK interests across the globe.

Crew members from 824 Naval Air Squadron leaving two of the new Merlin Mk2 helicopters after a flight [Picture: Andrew Linnett, Crown copyright]

Crew members from 824 Naval Air Squadron leaving two of the new Merlin Mk2 helicopters after a flight [Picture: Andrew Linnett, Crown copyright]

Commodore Andy Lison, responsible for the Merlin, Lynx and Sea King teams in MOD’s Defence Equipment and Support organisation, said:

I am delighted that we are now firmly in the delivery phase of the project. The Merlin Mk2 is a truly exceptional aircraft and the programme to develop and build this aircraft has brought together the very best of MOD and defence industry to future-proof this vital capability for Defence.

The observer's panel inside a new Merlin Mk2 [Picture: Andrew Linnett, Crown copyright]

The observer's panel inside a new Merlin Mk2 [Picture: Andrew Linnett, Crown copyright]

Bob Kramer, Vice President and Group Managing Director, Lockheed Martin UK Integrated Systems, said:

The Merlin capability sustainment programme represents a magnificent team effort led by Lockheed Martin and AgustaWestland, supported by our suppliers, to provide the Royal Navy with unrivalled capability to carry out its anti-submarine patrol and policing requirement.

Merlin Mk1 helicopters have been in service with the Fleet Air Arm since the late 1990s and, after thorough testing and evaluation, have been deployed on operations since 2000.

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24 juillet 2013 3 24 /07 /juillet /2013 12:50
A soldier on operations in Afghanistan using the PRC-152 UHF radio in tactical satellite mode [Picture: Sergeant Barry Pope RLC, Crown copyright]

A soldier on operations in Afghanistan using the PRC-152 UHF radio in tactical satellite mode [Picture: Sergeant Barry Pope RLC, Crown copyright]

24 July 2013 Ministry of Defence

 

MOD has awarded a £45 million maintenance contract for the Armed Forces Bowman radio system that will secure up to 300 British defence jobs.

 

Bowman is a secure digital voice and data system which allows front line soldiers to communicate with colleagues and commanders on the ground, at sea, or in the air. It plays a vital role in Afghanistan, giving troops better awareness of any operational situation.

The contract awarded to General Dynamics UK to provide essential support for troops across the globe who use Bowman will secure 150 jobs at the company’s site in Oakdale, South Wales, while a further 150 jobs will be sustained across the supply chain.

Wincanton in Bicester, Exelis in Basingstoke and DRS in Farnham are among the larger firms set to benefit as well as small and medium-sized enterprises including Cablescan in Brough and AWE Electronics in Staffordshire.

Soldiers on operations in Afghanistan using the PRC-177F tactical satellite radio and the PRC-325 HF radio [Picture: Sergeant Barry Pope RLC, Crown copyright]

Soldiers on operations in Afghanistan using the PRC-177F tactical satellite radio and the PRC-325 HF radio [Picture: Sergeant Barry Pope RLC, Crown copyright]

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

General Dynamics have a proven record of delivering high quality support services to our Armed Forces. Bowman is a key communications asset, used by all 3 Services across the globe, enabling greater situational awareness and critically providing a secure system for information-sharing and communications.

This £45 million contract is a good example of how one of our prime contractors is working closely with UK-based small and medium-sized enterprises, helping to rebalance the economy and laying the foundations for lasting growth and shared prosperity in the defence industry.

Soldiers on operations in Afghanistan using the PRC-152 UHF ground-to-air radio [Picture: Sergeant Barry Pope RLC, Crown copyright]

Soldiers on operations in Afghanistan using the PRC-152 UHF ground-to-air radio [Picture: Sergeant Barry Pope RLC, Crown copyright]

One of the companies who will benefit from this contract, Cablescan, is responsible for repairing any electrical wiring in radios damaged on operations in Afghanistan and returning them to the front line.

Richard Willis, Managing Director at Cablescan, said that the Bowman contract would provide the company with a bedrock of sustainable work over the next 5 years that would boost company growth and create new jobs.

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24 juillet 2013 3 24 /07 /juillet /2013 11:35
JDS Kashima passes Fort Blockhouse, Gosport, as she enters Portsmouth Harbour [Picture: Leading Airman (Photographer) Simmo Simpson, Crown copyright]

JDS Kashima passes Fort Blockhouse, Gosport, as she enters Portsmouth Harbour [Picture: Leading Airman (Photographer) Simmo Simpson, Crown copyright]

23 July 2013 Ministry of Defence

 

Three Japanese warships have arrived in Portsmouth for a 4-day visit to help forge closer links with the Royal Navy.

 

The ships belong to the Japanese Maritime Self-Defence Force Training Squadron and are visiting as part of a 5-month global deployment.

The squadron comprises training vessel Japanese Defence Ship (JDS) Kashima, 2 destroyers – JDS Shirayuki and JDS Isoyuki, and 180 cadets.

After anchoring in the Solent overnight on Sunday, 21 July, the vessels arrived in the naval base on Monday, with JDS Kashima firing a 21-gun salute as she approached Southsea. The saluting gun at Fort Blockhouse, Gosport, responded in similar fashion.

JDS Isoyuki passes the submarine escape training tank tower of Fort Blockhouse as she enters Portsmouth Harbour [Picture: Leading Airman (Photographer) Simmo Simpson, Crown copyright]

JDS Isoyuki passes the submarine escape training tank tower of Fort Blockhouse as she enters Portsmouth Harbour [Picture: Leading Airman (Photographer) Simmo Simpson, Crown copyright]

The cadets’ stay in Portsmouth includes visiting the Royal Navy’s marine and air engineering facilities at HMS Sultan in Gosport, and experiencing operations room and bridge simulators at HMS Collingwood in Fareham.

Naval history is also on their itinerary, with visits to the Naval Historical Branch at the naval base and Portsmouth Historic Dockyard.

JDS Shirayuki passes the stern of JDS Isoyuki as the former enters Portsmouth Harbour [Picture: Leading Airman (Photographer) Simmo Simpson, Crown copyright]

JDS Shirayuki passes the stern of JDS Isoyuki as the former enters Portsmouth Harbour [Picture: Leading Airman (Photographer) Simmo Simpson, Crown copyright]

Commander Jeff Short, who has helped to arrange the visit, said:

The Royal Navy has a lot in common with the Japanese Maritime Self-Defence Force. We have engaged as maritime nations since 1613 and exchanged students for the last 150 years.

More recently, we have worked together on counter-piracy operations in the Indian Ocean and we share common equipment such as the Merlin helicopter.

While we may be separated by geography, we are joined by the sea and, just as importantly, by our similar ethos and doctrine. This visit is eagerly anticipated by the Royal Navy and the interaction of the Japanese cadets with our young officers at Sultan and Collingwood will be one of many highlights.

Japanese sailors line the deck of their ship as they enter Portsmouth Harbour [Picture: Leading Airman (Photographer) Simmo Simpson, Crown copyright]

Japanese sailors line the deck of their ship as they enter Portsmouth Harbour [Picture: Leading Airman (Photographer) Simmo Simpson, Crown copyright]

Rear Admiral Fumiyuki Kitagawa, who is embarked on JDS Kashima, said:

Japan and Great Britain have a history going back hundreds of years. The Royal Navy was the model for the foundation of the Japanese Navy so we are very pleased to be here. One of our first priorities is to absorb a bit of history by going around HMS Victory and the capital, London.

The public can also get involved with the visit by climbing on board JDS Isoyuki when she opens up her gangway free of charge to visitors on Wednesday 24 July between 10am and 4pm. And the squadron’s embarked 40-strong military band will be performing the same day next to HMS Victory between 12:30pm and 1:30pm.

The squadron – which last visited Portsmouth in 2008 – departs at 9am on Thursday 25 July.

JDS Shirayuki passes the stern of JDS Isoyuki in Portsmouth Harbour [Picture: Leading Airman (Photographer) Simmo Simpson, Crown copyright]

JDS Shirayuki passes the stern of JDS Isoyuki in Portsmouth Harbour [Picture: Leading Airman (Photographer) Simmo Simpson, Crown copyright]

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23 juillet 2013 2 23 /07 /juillet /2013 07:30
Syrie. Londres aurait renoncé à armer les rebelles

18 juillet 2013 Ouest-France

 

La Grande-Bretagne a renoncé à armer les rebelles syriens et n’exclut pas que le président Bachar al Assad puisse rester au pouvoir pendant encore plusieurs années, a-t-on appris, ce jeudi, de sources informées à Londres.

 

« Il est clair que la Grande-Bretagne ne va pas armer les rebelles, de quelque manière que ce soit », a dit une des sources interrogées en rappelant que le Parlement de Londres avait exigé la semaine dernière d’être consulté au préalable sur cette question.

 

Des armes qui pourraient tomber dans de mauvaises mains

 

L’évolution de la position britannique s’explique notamment par l’hostilité de l’opinion publique à un quelconque engagement aux côtés des rebelles syriens et par la crainte de voir les armes envoyées aux insurgés tomber entre les mains de groupes islamistes farouchement anti-occidentaux.

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19 juillet 2013 5 19 /07 /juillet /2013 16:50
The UK's first F-35 Lightning II during a test flight – Picture Lockheed Martin

The UK's first F-35 Lightning II during a test flight – Picture Lockheed Martin

18 July 2013 Ministry of Defence

 

The Royal Air Force's famous 'Dambusters' will be the first operational UK squadron to use the Lightning II aircraft.

 

The Lightning II is the short take-off and vertical landing UK variant of the Lockheed Martin F-35 Joint Strike Fighter – a supersonic multi-role stealth aircraft with the ability to operate from land or sea.

Chief of the Air Staff, Air Chief Marshal Sir Stephen Dalton, made today’s announcement at a Royal United Services Institute conference on air power.

In a speech to senior representatives of air forces from around the world, Sir Stephen explained that 617 Squadron, known as the ‘Dambusters’, are to disband on 1 April 2014 as part of the planned drawdown of the Tornado GR4 Force. The squadron will then reform in 2016 with both RAF and Royal Navy personnel and take delivery of the highly advanced Lightning II.

617 Squadron badge (stock image) [Picture: Crown copyright]

617 Squadron badge (stock image) [Picture: Crown copyright]

The next Lightning II squadron to stand up will carry a Royal Navy squadron number but be similarly jointly manned.

Air Chief Marshal Dalton said:

I am delighted to announce that 617 Squadron’s outstanding contribution to the United Kingdom’s air power, past and present, will unequivocally continue when it reforms as the UK’s first operational F-35B Lightning II squadron.

The Lightning’s state-of-the-art stealth and precision target capabilities and the battle-proven Typhoon Force will complement each other and set the baseline for UK combat intelligence, surveillance, target acquisition and reconnaissance air power as a contemporary global force for the 2020s and beyond.

Lightning will be operated jointly by Royal Air Force and Fleet Air Arm pilots from land or from the Queen Elizabeth Class carrier – overall, a hugely flexible and futuristic joint capability.

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19 juillet 2013 5 19 /07 /juillet /2013 16:50
Astute Class attack submarines under construction at Barrow-in-Furness -Picture BAE Systems

Astute Class attack submarines under construction at Barrow-in-Furness -Picture BAE Systems

18 July 2013 Ministry of Defence and Defence Equipment and Support

 

Assembly of the Royal Navy's sixth Astute Class attack submarine, Agamemnon, has begun at Barrow-in-Furness.

 

The keel, which is the first part of the boat to be built, was unveiled at a ceremony at BAE Systems’ shipyard in Barrow-in-Furness by Defence Minister Philip Dunne today, 18 July.

It comes as MOD announces that the first 2 of the 7 Astute Class submarines, HMS Astute and HMS Ambush, are nearing completion of their extensive sea trials and have been handed over to the Royal Navy to begin to prepare for operations.

The 7 Astute Class submarines are being built for the Royal Navy to replace the Trafalgar Class submarines. The Astute Class have greater firepower, state-of-the-art communications equipment and advanced stealth technology, making them quieter than their predecessors and harder to detect.

HMS Astute and HMS Ambush are the first submarines in class to be accepted by Navy Command, which is responsible for operating all of the Royal Navy’s vessels. The next 3 submarines in the class: Artful, Audacious and Anson are all at varying stages of build and today’s keel-laying for Agamemnon marks the next key milestone for the programme.

BAE Systems Maritime - Submarines is responsible for delivering all 7 Astute Class submarines and for the design of the successor to the Vanguard Class, which will carry the UK’s nuclear deterrent.

MOD has agreed a new contract with BAE Systems that will not only help to sustain the thousands of highly skilled defence jobs based at Barrow-in-Furness but also drive down the costs of building future submarines.

Agamemnon's keel is unveiled at a ceremony at BAE Systems’ shipyard in Barrow-in-Furness by Defence Minister Philip Dunne [Picture: Andrew Linnett, Crown copyright]

Agamemnon's keel is unveiled at a ceremony at BAE Systems’ shipyard in Barrow-in-Furness by Defence Minister Philip Dunne [Picture: Andrew Linnett, Crown copyright]

Minister for Defence Equipment, Support and Technology Philip Dunne today signed a new contract which will deliver £380 million of savings over the next 8 years. This will ensure that the Royal Navy’s submarine capability is delivered efficiently and provides good value for money for the taxpayer.

Mr Dunne said:

The keel-laying of the sixth submarine, Agamemnon, and the handover of HMS Astute and HMS Ambush to the Royal Navy are huge milestones, reflecting significant progress in the programme.

By ensuring the UK’s submarine programme remains affordable, this new contract will help deliver the Astute Class, pave the way for the future Successor nuclear deterrent submarines and secure around 5,000 jobs at BAE Systems and thousands more in over 400 suppliers across the UK submarine supply chain.

Rear Admiral Simon Lister, MOD’s Director of Submarines, said:

This is the sixth submarine in the Astute Class and we expect her to be built quicker and more efficiently than her predecessors, demonstrating the re-establishment of the national submarine-building capability in Barrow-in-Furness.

Better organised, better planned and better built, new techniques in the back office and on the shop floor will ensure the time-honoured skills of the workforce are made the most of.

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19 juillet 2013 5 19 /07 /juillet /2013 16:50
A Vallon man 'sweeps' the ground to make sure the route is clear of IEDs [Picture: Sergeant Alison Baskerville, Crown copyright]

A Vallon man 'sweeps' the ground to make sure the route is clear of IEDs [Picture: Sergeant Alison Baskerville, Crown copyright]

19 July 2013 Ministry of Defence

 

A thought-provoking exhibition on improvised explosive devices (IEDs) opens today, 19 July, at the National Army Museum in London.

 

Some call them the perfect soldier. They never sleep. They don’t need feeding. Permanently on duty, they can wait patiently for years, until it is time for them to act.

And when they do, in an instant they can change lives, causing confusion and destruction. Over the last decade the improvised explosive device has become the insurgents’ weapon of choice and entered our lexicon of evil.

But beyond tabloid headlines, what do we really know about these devastating devices, which have in fact been around for more than a century?

The National Army Museum’s gritty and thought-provoking ‘Unseen Enemy’ exhibition scrapes away the surface to reveal the truth about the IED, its history, the people who plant them and why, those who search for them, and those who must deal with their awful consequences.

Amy Cameron, the museum’s education officer, whose idea it was to put on the exhibition, said:

The use of IEDs has created a legacy for today’s generation of soldiers, and the impact will continue for many years to come. They have changed modern conflict, and their use will continue to spread throughout the world in the future.

This exhibition highlights the experiences of the men and women who deal with these devices. The stories they tell reveal their dedication, resilience and courage in ways that are moving, humorous and inspiring.

With unprecedented help from military IED and medical experts, ‘Unseen Enemy’ bristles with fascinating, sometimes spine-chilling, things to look at and learn about.

Patrolling with equipment that can weigh as much as 50 kilograms in temperatures as high as 50 degrees Celsius tests even the fittest [Picture: Sergeant Martin Downs RAF, Crown copyright]

Patrolling with equipment that can weigh as much as 50 kilograms in temperatures as high as 50 degrees Celsius tests even the fittest [Picture: Sergeant Martin Downs RAF, Crown copyright]

Major Eamon Heakin, an ammunition and explosives disposals expert from the Royal Logistic Corps, was one of the advisers:

There are so many different stories to tell,” he said, “everything from the search dog at the front of the road party to the EOD (explosive ordnance disposal) operator who finally advances to deal with a device.

And there’s logistics too, getting all the stuff into place can be just as big a headache as actually dealing with the IED. Really it’s a story about teamwork. Without all the different people doing their jobs, you can’t achieve anything.

The exhibition is very interactive. For example, visitors will have the chance to put themselves in the boots of the troops by walking down a simulated Afghan street seeded with hidden devices.

Having first learned a bit about what the troops call ‘ground sign’, those things that warn you that something is not quite right, you set off on your short patrol. Deciding what is innocent, and what is not, means that each adrenalin-filled step could be your last.

And although you won’t be doing it in 50-degree heat while carrying 50 kilograms of kit, there is still a good chance that you will feel a trickle of sweat running down your spine. Amy explained:

We have included enough elements to indicate that every step counts, you can’t switch off, and you can’t have a bad day.

At the end you get to see all the things you should have spotted. Anything less than 100% is a fail. Which illustrates another aspect of the bomb-maker’s trade. Why is he doing this?

A Royal Marine from 42 Commando crossing a water-filled ditch while on patrol with a working dog [Picture: Leading Airman (Photographer) Dave Hillhouse, Crown copyright]

A Royal Marine from 42 Commando crossing a water-filled ditch while on patrol with a working dog [Picture: Leading Airman (Photographer) Dave Hillhouse, Crown copyright]

When an insurgent lays an IED, his intention isn’t just to blow people up. He also wants to slow things down, create doubt and disrupt the normal pattern of local life. Planting IEDs in fields, ditches and paths means that civilians can’t farm, or go to market, or tend to their daily business.

And if a soldier finds one he asks himself ‘why have they chosen this place?’ For the inexperienced, every pebble can become suspicious. Amy said:

I think that’s one of the biggest challenges that soldiers face. Because, if you approach everything in that frame of mind, it means that you don’t get your job done.

It is a grim game of cat and mouse where the insurgent and the soldier are constantly trying to stay one step ahead. Amy continued:

So we do take a good look at the complexity of the attacks, and we look at how the military develop their tactics and training to counter those developments.

This was another area where Major Heakin’s help was indispensable. He said:

We’ve spent hours listening to interviews, looking at equipment and videos and talking to capability staff officers right from the start to make sure we are being as open as we can be without compromising security.

What has been so amazing for me,” said Amy, “is just how young some of the troops are who do this job. They have to juggle all this information with such intelligence.

They have to balance all these complexities and they do it with such grace. They tell me they are nervous at first, especially if they are the Vallon man (the individual selected to go ahead with the mine detector).

But their confidence soon builds and they are quick to point out that they get so much training, the quality of which is second-to-none.

Insurgents use all manner of explosives and containers to make IEDs [Picture: Sergeant Martin Downs RAF, Crown copyright]

Insurgents use all manner of explosives and containers to make IEDs [Picture: Sergeant Martin Downs RAF, Crown copyright]

The reality of IEDs is a gritty one, and it’s one that the museum does not shrink from telling:

Our displays don’t pull any punches,” said Katy McMullen, the National Army Museum’s marketing and communications officer. “There is a medical section with some graphic things on show.

We suggest to visitors that, if they are sensitive, then this is a display that they should approach with some caution. But you can’t tell a story like this without telling all aspects of it.

It is Major James Salt from the Royal Army Medical Corps who gets the credit for doing all the running around to tell this side of the story:

Knowing what things to include from the initial point of wounding, throughout all the stages of the medical journey to recovery, was straightforward,” he said. “It was getting hold of kit for the exhibition and rounding up willing but busy people to relate their stories to Amy that was time-intensive.

Thanks to Majors Salt and Heakin, it is the product of these interviews with personnel who have an IED story to tell that sets this exhibition apart. Over the last 12 months, Amy travelled to military bases all over the UK to talk to them:

It is the strongest way of getting it across. Yes we have to interpret objects and write captions in order to get a narrative going, but it’s the soldiers’ voices that really portray the experiences which people can relate to and get some understanding of the emotions, camaraderie and the brotherhood.

Their voices are far more powerful than any words on a panel.

The displays range from technically-advanced counter-IED equipment to the ingeniously simple and fiendish examples of devices that have been constructed from everyday items:

We have some personal objects too. And some really cool scientific gadgets where we talk about advances in technology and innovation,” said Amy. “We have built a prosthetic man from artificial limbs, eyes, hearing aids, colostomy bags and even prosthetic testes to show the complexity of injuries caused by IEDs.

Combat monkey
Combat monkey is a team mascot who has been on many deployments earning respect, and his own badge, combat jacket and helmet, from both British and American troops [Picture: Crown copyright]

And then there is combat monkey. On loan from Corporal Leigh Charlton, who operates the explosive ordnance disposal team’s remotely-controlled vehicles, combat monkey is a team mascot who has been on many deployments, earning respect, and his own badge, combat jacket and helmet, from both British and American troops.

Like many of the individuals who have played a central role in the exhibition, Corporal Charlton won’t be able to attend the opening as he is on another tour of Afghanistan.

But this time he is in Camp Bastion, which is why combat monkey can continue his period of rest and recuperation at the museum:

These guys are amazing and inspiring,” said Amy. “To think that they come through the most challenging experiences that a human being can face, deal with it, and then go out and do it again. That’s pretty extraordinary.

Unseen Enemy runs until 31 March 2014 and entry is free.

This article is taken from the July 2013 edition of Defence Focus - the magazine for everyone in Defence.
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19 juillet 2013 5 19 /07 /juillet /2013 09:58
Londres vend des armes à la Syrie

18/07/2013 Par Florentin Collomp Correspondant à Londres

 

Selon un rapport parlementaire, le Royaume-Uni a autorisé des exportations de matériel militaire à plusieurs pays sensibles dont l'Iran, la Syrie et la Chine.

 

Alors que David Cameron vient d'abandonner sa proposition d'armer les rebelles syriens, le Royaume-Uni a-t-il livré des composants permettant de fabriquer des armes chimiques au régime de Bachar el-Assad? Un rapport parlementaire révèle l'exportation par le pays de 12,3 milliards de livres (14 milliards d'euros) d'armement à 25 nations figurant sur sa propre liste de régimes sensibles.

 

Selon le comité de contrôle des exportations d'armes de la Chambre des communes, du fluorure de sodium, qui peut servir à la fabrication d'armes chimiques, a été exporté vers la Syrie ces deux dernières années. Des véhicules tout-terrain et des pièces de sonars ont également été vendus à Damas. Londres vient par ailleurs d'annoncer l'envoi de tenues de protection contre les armes chimiques aux insurgés syriens. Le gouvernement assure qu'aucun équipement «de nature à être utilisé pour faciliter la répression interne», «provoquer ou prolonger des conflits régionaux ou internationaux» n'est concerné. Mais la logique commerciale semble l'emporter sur les droits de l'homme: sur les 27 régimes à caractère sensible désignés par le Foreign Office, seuls la Corée du Nord et le Soudan Sud n'ont pas de contrat d'armement avec la Grande-Bretagne.

 

Fusils d'assaut au Sri Lanka

 

Plus de 3000 licences d'exportations de «produits stratégiques sous contrôle», qui peuvent avoir un double usage civil ou militaire, ont été signées ou renouvelées. L'Iran a bénéficié de 62 contrats, essentiellement pour du matériel cryptographique. La Russie reçoit du matériel biotechnologique, des fusils, des systèmes d'armes guidés par laser et des drones. La Chine a acheté pour 1,4 milliard de livres d'équipements, alors qu'il existe un embargo européen sur les livraisons d'armes à Pékin. Des fusils d'assaut ont été exportés au Sri Lanka, malgré les rapports sur la répression. Israël représente plus de la moitié des montants vendus à l'étranger.

 

Président de la commission parlementaire, l'ancien ministre de la Défense, John Stanley, s'est dit «stupéfait» par cette «somme gigantesque» - il a d'abord cru que «quelqu'un avait ajouté des zéros»! Il demande au gouvernement des «clarifications» sur l'utilisation possible des produits autorisés à la vente par les fournisseurs britanniques dans certains régimes douteux. «Le gouvernement doit reconnaître le conflit inhérent entre la promotion soutenue des exportations d'armes à des régimes autoritaires tout en critiquant en même temps leur non-respect des droits de l'homme», souligne le député.

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