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28 November 2014

Rheinmetall at I/ITSEC: Simulation Technology as a Major Contribution to Readying Soldiers for Deployed Operations

Simulation saves money by saving time, lives and resources. No virtual reality can completely live up to the effects of real life but even so, simulation systems play an irreplaceable part in the training and instruction of military and civilian personnel. They provide a 24/7 training capability that is fully flexible and weather-independent, with no risk of physical injury or material damage.

Ulrich Sasse, Managing Director of Rheinmetall Defence Electronics, President, Simulation and Training Division (Photo: Rheinmetall)

When looking at current military operational profiles, it quickly becomes clear that the focus today is on joint and combined missions that require maximum interoperability and communication between forces. Command and control of such missions requires superb leadership competence. Future training systems must also reflect the ensuing shift in tasks.

Mission training and rehearsal are now the most prominent imperatives in the military training domain. Current operational mission training and rehearsal scenarios need to be executed and trained for in a joint/combined context with a diversity of forces and entities, including air, land and sea assets.

The requirements for joint training are very complex and can only be met in an optimum training environment. First and foremost, training must always aim to provide soldiers with the multifaceted skills needed on the modern battlefield. Among the core competencies required for joint operations are the mastery of weapons systems, maintaining situational awareness, communication, teamwork, decision making, and risk assessment.

More realistic than ever, modern simulation technology makes a major contribution to readying our soldiers for deployed operations – from individual instruction in equipment operation to tactical leadership exercises for major formations.

For more than 40 years, training systems from Rheinmetall Defence have helped to prepare troops for air, land and sea operations. Our spectrum of simulation products ranges from individual training systems to highly complex, networked systems for joint and combined operations training. Prominent examples include the Leopard Gunnery Skills Trainer, the ANTares mobile tactical training environment and, of course, our live training centres such as the GÜZ combat training centre we jointly operate with the German Army.

Visitors to I/ITSEC 2014 can learn more about Rheinmetall’s activities in the field of simulation and training at stand #2213.

Ulrich Sasse, Managing Director of Rheinmetall Defence Electronics, President, Simulation and Training Division 

Multi-National Training & Network Links Highlighted at Cologne ITEC

The 25th International Training Equipment Conference (ITEC) and exhibition was held between 20-22 May 2014 at the Kölnmesse conference centre on the banks of the river Rhine, organised by London-based Clarion Events and the U.S. National Training Systems Association (NTSA).  Attendance was about 3,200, slightly more than last year in Rome, with people from 53 nations varying from Bangladesh and Bulgaria to Ukraine and Vietnam.  The increase in attendance was quite an achievement because the Berlin Air Show was in the same week.  An air show would not normally clash too much with a training conference, but at the Berlin venue there was also a training conference, and several key people went to Berlin rather than Cologne.


Keynote addresses – Multi-National is our strength – Network links in Training Exercises are the Future

The keynote ITEC speaker was Vice Admiral Heinrich Lange, Director of Forces Policy for the German Ministry of Defence, responsible for combat readiness of all three Services.  The ultimate object of training, he said, was to exercise in a full-mission environment.  He said that we need more multi-service and multi-national exercises and his keyword is "jointness".  We must overcome barriers in getting different nations together and co-ordinating all of the players.  "Multi-national is our strength and not our weakness", he said.  However, the same exercises should not be repeated unnecessarily, because we can be "over-exercised but under-trained".  He pointed out that in Afghanistan, interoperability has been the key, showing that we need to allow for different languages and cultures, both of the forces that are being trained and the people of the regions in which they are deployed.  He mentioned the Framework Nation Concept (FNC) where nations that had a comprehensive training framework were in a position to provide facilities to others.  He pointed out that simulation allows training goals to be achieved faster and without environmental impact.  This includes networking, and both military and civil players should be integrated, also senior management.  We should learn, he said, from recent crises in the Crimea and Ukraine, and consider how best to react and train for such events in the future.  We need to develop a "contingency posture" that allows for future situations including counter-insurgency.  The current climate of defence cuts favours training by simulation, which is much less costly than constantly using front-line equipment in a training mode.  In conclusion, he said that success depends on preparation, and an important part is the use of all types of simulation from simple to complex.


Following this address, a Senior Officer panel was chaired by Rear Admiral Simon Williams, RN (Retd), Clarion Events and Security Director.  MGen Richard Longo, Commander of the US Army in NATO, talked about the recent 8-nation exercise "Combined Resolve" held in Bulgaria.  Instead of transporting forces fto Bulgaria, US Army range and simulation facilities at Grafenwohr and Hohenfels were used, results being transmitted to ExCon in Bulgaria and used in an exercise scenario that combined live and virtual.  A Romanian unit of 700 personnel exercised at home, the interaction with ExCom being through network links.  This was said to have "saved a ton of money" compared to deploying to Bulgaria.  On the "political" side of the exercise, the role of an ambassador was played by the real US ambassador to Bulgaria. We should do more exercises like this, he said.  Another recent exercise was in response to the annexation of the Crimea by Russia and the increased threat to ex-Warsaw Pact nations.  This involved Latvia, Lithuania, Poland and the USA, and was set up in only 5 days.  This short timescale was possible because previous relationships had allowed the necessary links to created quickly.  He noted that some of these were small nations, but, he said, "small nations often have niche knowledge" that is useful to larger organisations such as larger nations of NATO itself.

Brigadier General Dzintars Roga, Chief of Staff for Training of the Latvian Armed Forces, mentioned the NATO Collective Force Initiative (CFI) that had been adopted at a recent NATO summit in Chicago.  This is for "smart defence" and as well as the military, includes civil organisations such as police, fire service, medical, and non-government organisations (NGOs).  We also need, he said, to consider cyber and energy security as well as conventional training of military forces.

Frank Thieser, Director of Business Development at Reiser Systemtechnik, said that interoperability needed standardisation, and both were important for modern training.  The modern training environment used networked devices, and more were needed.  "Which entity is responsible for ensuring standardisation and interoperability", he asked.  One answer is through the NATO Interoperability Group.  Some NATO Standardisation Agreements (STANAGs) are about simulation, for instance STANAG 4605 on simulator High Level Architecture (HLA).  Also, the NATO Interoperability Group works with world bodies such as the international Simulation Interoperability Standards Organization (SISO) (which had a seminar at the conference, see later).  Thieser referred to simulation and training developments in the civil world, and suggested that many could be applied to the military field.  He also said that "agility and readiness" were required to combat future threats, and a proper use of modern simulation technology was essential to achieve this.

RAdm Williams mentioned training at high and low levels of complexity, and posed the question "should we train to the lowest common denominator or strive for the highest levels?"  In response, MGen Longo said that "we should train for complexity", because "if we can do complex we can do less complex".  There is also the cost factor, and simple training such as for basic checks and operating modes should not be carried out on an expensive full mission device.  The level of training complexity should reflect the relevant stage in the "training progression".  For complex military equipment this starts with simple laptop devices and proceeds through part-task trainers to Full Mission Simulators, each training aid being optimised for the particular stage of the training.

The limitations of live military ranges were discussed, including their limited geographical area and the inability to launch real long-range weapons due to cost and safety considerations.  These limitations do not apply to simulation, in which unlimited geographical areas can be used and synthetic weapons can not only be fired but their effects shown realistically.  Failure cases can be modelled including weapon hang-ups and misfires.



Military Procurement – how to speed up?

The final discussion was on military procurement and VAd Lange said that "we are way too slow".  However it is difficult to find a solution short of a complete re-structuring of the system, which would be very tricky while maintaining readiness against threats.  One difficulty, as Mr Thieser said, is "which agency is responsible?"  In the 1980s in the UK we had the same difficulty, our Operational Requirements (ORs) were taking far too long from initial writing to equipment in service.  To speed this up, during the 1982 conflict between the UK and Argentina over the Falkland Islands (Malvinas to the Argentinians), the UK set up a process of what were called "Corporate Clearances" for rapid procurement or modification of weapons and other equipment needed for the conflict (the name came from the UK name for the Falklands operation, Operation Corporate).  I was a Squadron Commander at the UK aircraft test establishment at Boscombe Down and flew "Corporate" flight trials ranging from weapon firing to new modes of in-flight refuelling.  Examples included equipping and clearing several aircraft new to flight-refuelling, and clearing UK Harriers to fire the L model of the Sidewinder missile after a very limited number of live firings.  On the latter, we only tested for (1) that the missile launched with no damage to the Harrier, and (2) it would guide towards its target.  It was not considered necessary to carry out the usual extra firings to obtain the probabilities of damage and kill on a variety of targets at different firing geometries.  Afterwards, when in the Operational Requirements branch of our Ministry of Defence, I wrote a paper on how better to carry out such rapid Clearances of new equipment.  I was therefore asked to write a protocol for what we now call an "Urgent Operational Requirement" (UOR), to be used for future rapid procurements, and this is still in use today.

Returning to the question posed at ITEC, what is required is for something like the UOR system to be used also for procurement of simulators and other training aids as well as for bombs, missiles, electronic warfare and flight refuelling.  Rapid procurement can also be achieved by buying "off the shelf" rather than specifying bespoke equipment.  For instance, the civil "Level D" design of Full Flight Simulator.  This is a worldwide standard that all airlines use, with over 1000 in service and numbers increasing.  Fundamentally all you need to specify to the manufacturer is that he will deliver a Level D design that is tested and certified as such by the appropriate aviation Regulatory Authority.  In the simulation area there is so much good off-the-shelf hardware and software, that it is difficult to justify creating "special specifications".  One rather gross example was revealed at a previous ITEC conference, where we were told that the whole design for the visual systems for the F-35 Full Mission Simulator was constrained by a requirement for it to fit in old buildings that had originally been designed for F-16 simulators with much cruder visuals!  This led to a very small visual dome of unique design, into which the F-35 pilot and seat are motored on rails because the dome is too small for normal access.  This is a clear example of "the tail wagging the dog", when many dome-based visual systems were already on the market, and in use, at the time.  It would be interesting to know the additional expense compared to using an existing dome system.

The Exhibition.

On the exhibition floor there were 109 exhibitors from 18 countries.  These were led by host nation Germany with 27, followed by the UK and USA with 22 each, then Italy with 7 and France with 6.  Others ranged from Australia and Belgium to Switzerland and Turkey.  The usual array of stunning imagery was on display including I.G.s new to ITEC from bDesign (Israel), Diamond Visionics (USA), EuroSimtec (Germany) and IFAD (Denmark).  There were also a number of dome displays and complete Part-Task Trainers and Flight Training Devices (PTTs/FTDs).  At the compact display end, there was a resurgence of Head-Mounted Displays including from Cybermind (Netherlands), Selex (Italy) and, from the USA, Oculus, Rockwell Collins and Sensix.  There were three new types of motion platform.  Beck Engineering and Consulting (BEC) of Reutlingen demonstrated a cab on a moving arm that gave all six degrees of freedom and large motion throws; Project Syntropy of Magdeburg showed a model of a large 6-jack platform with an underslung cab, in service with DLR at Braunschweig; and Saab demonstrated a small platform with motion under two side-by-side seats.






The Conference.

In the conference, 72 papers were presented from 13 countries including Croatia, Latvia, Philippines and Singapore.  There were also 8 panel sessions and a full-day seminar from the international Simulation Interoperability Standards Organization (SISO).  As well as presentations on mainstream land, sea and air training, subjects included Augmented reality; cyber threats; haptics (touch-based systems); maintenance training; medical simulation; and military/civil co-operation.  Modelling is a large area and presentations covered models of behaviours, the environment, 3-D objects, terrain; and serious gaming.

The SISO seminar covered the Coalition Battle Management Language (C-BML) and the associated Military Scenario Definition Language (MSDL), Federation Object Models (FOMs), simulator High Level Architecture (HLA), and the SISO Common Image Generator Interface standard (CIGI).  The final session was on future SISO standardization efforts and included the use of JavaScript Object Notation (JSON), the Reuse and Interoperation of Environmental Data and Processes (RIEDP), WebLVC for linking virtual and web-based federations, and the US DoD Test and Training Enabled Architecture (TENA).  I apologise for using a string of abbreviations, but they show the flavour, also the trend towards future standards for networked training.

Conclusion

The above shows that the training and simulation area is expanding both in amount and capability.  Major advantages include that it costs less than constantly using live hardware for training, and that it can train for situations that are simply not possible using live vehicles and their weapons, before the conflict situation itself.  It is now recognised at all levels that the best way to achieve realistic mission training is by using network links between the various entities.  Such entities can include not only simulations but also live assets.  For such training, land, sea and air systems should be included, not only from one nation but from several nations.  Not only military systems but others such as police, fire, medical, local and central government, and so forth.  And as we saw in the Bulgarian exercise mentioned above, as well as networked links, other people can be involved such as ambassadors and politicians who may have to take decisions that affect the conduct of the exercise.

Looking to the future, the next ITEC will be at the Prague PVA Expo from 28-30 April 2015.  If you have any contact with the training and simulation area, and wish to save money in your training systems, you should plan to attend.  There is also the larger U.S. I/ITSEC event in Orlando from 2-4 December 2014.  See you either in Orlando or Prague, or both !
Ian Strachan
Ian Strachan is a regular contributor to MT.



For more information, please see MILITARY TECHNOLOGY 12/2014, available at I/ITSEC 2014 on booth #773.

27 November 2014

MILITARY TECHNOLOGY at I/ITSEC 2014

The Interservice/Industry Training, Simulation and Education Conference (I/ITSEC) promotes cooperation among the Armed Services, Industry, Academia and various government agencies in pursuit of improved training and education programmes, identification of common training issues and development of multiservice programs.

The Training, Simulation and Modeling Industry has a very important job to do in providing the very best of Training Equipment and Simulation Technologies for forces in the field and at home. I/ITSEC strives to meet these very important and ever changing needs. The attendees that are present at I/ITSEC understand that training is a core process in a successful and modern business. In these successful organisations, training is continuous, pervasive, and institutionalised. These organisations come to I/ITSEC to find the resources that they will need to adapt to the new tasks and threats of tomorrow.

Some of the most innovative companies in the MS&T industry are present each year at I/ITSEC. Previous exhibit displays have included: Computer-Based 3D graphics, Flight Simulators, Convoy Trainers, SCORM, Information Technology, Advanced Distributed Learning, Aerospace, Communications, Public Safety, and many more.  I/ITSEC is “Mission Critical” National Security in a global context.

For I/ITSEC 2014, MILITARY TECHNOLOGY has published various interesting topics in issue 12/14, available on booth #773.



Issue #12/14 includes opinions, news, C4I reviews, industrial and political news, spotlights on Pakistan’s Armed Forces and Industy, and a Look at USSOCOM’s Tactical Assault Light Operator Suit (TALOS) Programme. Furthermore the issue includes articles on Fuel Cells/Batteries/Alternative Developments (Personal), Biomechanical Developments, the Future Roles of GEOINT in Defence and Contingency Planning, Border Security in Difficult Terrain, and a Pistols and Handguns topic featuring the US DoD’s Modular Handgun System (MHS) Programme of Record, as well as a review of the current Handgun Market.

For I/ITSEC 2014, issue #12/14 includes an in-depth look at Simulation & Training for 2015 and Beyond, Augmenting Virtual Reality, and Combined Arms Synthetic Training, as well as articles on Training Systems Integration, Blast Simulation, and Simulation & Training News. Furthermore, this issue includes the Simulation and Training Bosses (SATB) Series - Selected Industrial Views with the following statements:

  • Alenia Aermacchi
  • Bob Gower, Vice President, Boeing Training Systems and Government Services
  • Gene Colabatistto, Group President, Defence & Security, CAE
  • Joe Swinski, President The DiSTI Corporation
  • Christoph Weber, Executive Vice President Aerosystems Division, ESG Elektroniksystem- und Logistik-GmbH
  • Cory Kumm, Worldwide Director of Military & Simulation, Havok 
  • Dan Schimmel, CEO VT MÄK
  • Ron Vadas, President of Meggitt Training Systems 
  • Bob Williams, Vice President, Raytheon's Global Training Solutions
  • Frank Thieser, Director Business Development & Strategy, Reiser
  • Ir. Chris Haarmeijer, CEO RE-liON
  • Ulrich Sasse, Managing Director of Rheinmetall Defence Electronics, President, Simulation and Training Division
  • Oliver Meyer, Senior Vice President Simulation & Training, RUAG Defence 
  • Jean-Jacques Guittard, VP Training and Simulation at Thales


MILITARY TECHNOLOGY #12/2014, as well as the latest issue of NAVAL FORCES are available at I/ITSEC 2014 on booth #773.



Check back for frequent news, articles, and features from the show!

26 November 2014

Swedish Armed Forces to Test CybAero RPAS from VISBY Corvette

CybAero has been selected by the Swedish Defence Materiel Administration (FMV) to conduct test and demonstration flights from Sweden's VISBY-class corvette in Q3, 2015. It is estimated that the flights, which will employ CybAero's APID helicopter systems, are to be conducted by the Swedish Armed Forces over Swedish waters. The purpose of the flights is to test the strategic and tactical benefits of these systems onboard Swedish Navy vessels.

"We are, of course, very proud to have been selected, and this is a testament to the high level of confidence FMV has placed in us," says Mikael Hult, CEO of CybAero. "Now that we have been chosen by FMV to conduct the test and demonstration flights, we have a great opportunity to put our systems on display, and this will serve as a good reference point for potential clients in Sweden and abroad."

One of the most important applications of remotely piloted aircraft systems (RPA) is within maritime applications, and in recent years, CybAero has worked hard to establish its systems in this segment. CybAero will soon make its first deliveries to China Customs, which is the company’s first end client within maritime applications.

CybAero's APID helicopter systems. 


21 November 2014

General Atomics Aeronautical Systems Advances Sense and Avoid Capability

General Atomics Aeronautical Systems, Inc. (GA ASI), a leading manufacturer of Remotely Piloted Aircraft (RPA) systems, radars, and electro-optic and related mission systems solutions, yesterday announced two key technological advances related to its ongoing Sense and Avoid (SAA) system development efforts.

GA ASI Advances Sense and Avoid capability onboard a PREDATOR B. (Photo: GA)

In collaboration with the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and Honeywell, GA-ASI tested a proof-of-concept SAA system, marking the first successful test of the FAA’s Airborne Collision Avoidance System for Unmanned Aircraft (ACAS XU). The company also performed the first flight tests of a pre-production air-to-air radar for SAA, called the Due Regard Radar (DRR), making it the first radar of its kind designed for an RPA.

Our latest Sense and Avoid test represents a major step forward for integrating RPA safely into domestic and international airspace,” said Frank Pace, president, Aircraft Systems, GA-ASI. “Our proof-of-concept SAA system is now functional and ready for extensive flight testing with the FAA, NASA, and our industry partners.”

A functional flight test of GA-ASI’s SAA system—which includes automatic collision avoidance and a sensor fusion capability designed to provide the pilot on the ground with a clear picture of the traffic around the aircraft—occurred 4, 5, and 10 September at GA-ASI’s Gray Butte Flight Operations Facility in Palmdale, CA, onboard a PREDATOR B RPA. During the test, PREDATOR B proved the functionality of ACAS XU during collision avoidance maneuvers against ADS-B and transponder-equipped aircraft executed automatically onboard the RPA with the pilot ready to override the system. Automatically executing collision avoidance maneuvers will enable PREDATOR B to maintain safety in the National Airspace System in the unlikely event of a loss of the command and control data link. ACAS XU is specifically designed to be interoperable and backwards compatible with Traffic Alert and Collision Avoidance System (TCAS) II, which is the worldwide collision avoidance system used on most commercial transport aircraft.

GA-ASI is currently working with NASA to integrate the proof-of-concept SAA system aboard NASA’s Predator B, called Ikhana. Ikhana will serve as the primary test aircraft in a SAA flight test scheduled to take place this month and next at NASA’s Armstrong Flight Research Center in Edwards, Calif. The flight test campaign will evaluate the SAA system in a wide variety of both collision avoidance and self-separation encounters and will include a sensor fusion algorithm being developed by Honeywell. (Photo: NASA)

Meanwhile, DRR testing has been occurring at various locations across Southern California this year onboard a Beechcraft King Air in an attempt to detect and track multiple test aircraft across the full Field-of-Regard, including General Aviation aircraft beyond ten miles. The tests are the first in an extensive flight test campaign designed to develop the Engineering Development Model (EDM) DRR fully and make it ready for flight testing on Predator B. The ultimate goal of GA-ASI’s SAA programme is to enable “due regard” operations in international airspace and routine access in non-segregated civilian airspace in the US and around the world. The company’s pioneering efforts commenced in 2011 and have included the successful demonstration and follow-on integration of Automatic Dependent Surveillance-Broadcast (ADS-B) onboard the GUARDIAN RPA, the flight test of a SAA architecture and self-separation functionality on PREDATOR B, and testing of a prototype DRR on a TWIN OTTER aircraft and PREDATOR B. 

20 November 2014

News from Africa

Algeria is turning its attention to its southern borders, as the growing threat of penetration by traffickers, as well as by terrorists from Islamic State (IS), the MUJAO, and other groups, spurred the heightened attention to the Niger and Mali frontiers. Algeria over the last few months bolstered its security presence along the borders with Libya and Tunisia, sending at least 3,000 additional soldiers to the east. This latest deployment, however, was to Adrar province, adjacent to Mali.  Military authorities sent 4,500 Special Operations and infantry forces to repel any infiltration attempts in Bordj Badji Mokhtar.

Islamic State threatens Algeria.
Army command also reportedly hired 218 Bedouin and Touareg trackers to support troops protecting the 1,800km long southern border between Mali and Niger, in Tamanrasset and Adrar provinces. This is in addition to flying night sorties to track terrorist movements. The decision was made after the army command received a report indicating an alarming increase of terrorism-related crimes. The report talked about violent, international networks engaged in smuggling arms and individuals along the Mali border, as well as in Tamanrasset and Illizi.  Army forces stationed on the borders recently thwarted infiltration attempts by terrorists.

The latest operation 8 November netted al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) figure Ouhli Abdurrahman, alias Abou Alqama al-Nidjiri.  During the action in Bordj Badji Mokhtar, ANP troops killed several terrorists. Dozens more have been eliminated in recent months.

The security measures implemented on the borders came in the wake of warnings about the possible infiltration of pro-IS elements into Algeria.  Several recent arrests indicate that the threat may come from anywhere. Algerian authorities recently dismantled a 15-member cell engaged in recruiting fighters for terrorist groups operating inside and outside Algeria.  Interpol warned Algeria to be on the lookout for suspected ISIS fighters that may cross international borders.  Unofficial estimates indicate that 200 Algerians have joined ISIS. Official figures put the number at 80.

***

Zimbabwe Defence Forces should be equipped with military technology to adapt to the changing warfare, Defence Minister Dr Sydney Sekeramayi has said at a ceremony marking the graduation of 52 officers of Junior Staff Course Number 62 at the Zimbabwe Staff College in Harare on 13 November. Dr Sekeramayi said it was important to equip the Defence Forces with military technology because of innovations in information technology. "Due to dynamic nature of technology, the emerging nature of conflicts and to a larger extent, innovation in military technology, the face of warfare in general is changing dramatically," he explained. "Asymmetric warfare is one such emerging new phenomenon that the big powers are using against developing countries like Zimbabwe. I am glad that the Zimbabwe Staff College takes into account all these developments when designing its curriculum in order to counter future threats."

Minister of State for National Security Sydney Sekeramayi
Dr Sekeramayi said training in military technology, military leadership and socio-economic issues would broaden understanding of the challenges in various parts of the world. He said professional training in the security sector had raised the country's image internationally. "Investments in professional training and career development activities over the years have seen the Zimbabwe Defence Forces an envy of many," Dr Sekeramayi said. "This is evidenced by the prestigious achievements made by our gallant uniformed forces both locally and internationally
Training programmes, especially in military technology would preserve the legacy of the founding fathers of the ZDF. Training is one of the pillars of success for our Defence Forces as it improves their efficiency and effectiveness in maintaining peace and tranquillity in our beloved Zimbabwe, SADC, Africa and beyond. I urge you to remain vigilant and patriotic as some elements bent on reversing the gains of our independence are always looking for the slightest opportunity to exploit. The defence of our sovereignty is not negotiable and it will never be bought or sold."

***

Troubled by the current wave of insecurity in the nation, especially in the North-east region, the Nigerian Navy (NN) on 15 November said it had begun continuous training for personnel to be better positioned in tackling such challenges. Chief of Naval Staff (CNS), Vice Admiral Usman Jibrin, made this disclosure at the closing ceremony of the Chief of the Naval Staff Annual Conference (CONSAC), held in Lokoja, Kogi State. Themed ‘Transforming for Enhanced Nigerian Navy Operational Efficiency’, the conference’s objective was to adapt and appropriately respond to current and emerging security challenges facing the nation. He said: “Modern trends require an adequately trained force and it is in this regards that we will continue to develop our manpower to meet the ever changing security challenges." 

"Training would continue to adapt to ensure that the NN contributes more to the development of the country by ensuring Nigeria’s maritime environment and other troubled spots around the country in line with my mission and vision statement," Chief of Nigerian Naval Staff (CNS), Vice Admiral Usman Jibrin said. "Efforts at ensuring an environment of peace and security will continue to be our focus and will be pursued with greater zeal."

At the end of the conference, the Chief of Policy and Plans, Naval Headquarters, R.Adm. Ameen Ikioda, however said the single most influential challenge to the smooth implementation of the NN transformation plan is funding.

***

Nigerian Chief of Defence Staff, Air Chief Marshal Alex Badeh met with his Cameroonian counterpart Lt.Gen. Meka Rene Claude at the Defence Headquarters, Abuja, on 12 November in a bid to work out modalities on areas of cooperation between the two Armed Forces to tackle the terrorism challenge faced by both countries.

Nigerian Chief of Defence Staff, Air Chief Marshal Alex Badeh Wednesday met with his Cameroonian counterpart Lt.Gen. Meka Rene Claude.
Badeh pointed out that in the interest of mutual national security of both nations, their Armed Forces needed to forge ahead together in order to harness available areas of cooperation for the protection of their people. He also called for regular joint military training exercises, which he emphasized, would be beneficial to both countries as it would avail them the opportunity to learn from each other, thereby improving their capabilities and relationship.

For his part Gen. Rene Claude called for collaboration between both nations’ military, stating that this collaborative effort should be a continuous process, since both countries have many areas in common. He pledged Cameroon’s support to the Nigerian Armed Forces in the war against terrorism.

Air Chief Marshal Alex Badeh commended Cameroon Defence Forces for their support and commitment to the fight against Boko Haram and other criminalities. “This is clearly attested to by the recent success our two countries have recorded against Boko Haram in the past few weeks,” he added. While acknowledging and appreciating all that Cameroon and Nigeria have achieved so far, the Nigerian Defence Chief said “it is crucial that we consolidate on the gains made and enhance the level of co-operation that currently exists between our two militaries.”
At the meeting, the Ministers agreed that member states could conduct operations around their common borders even as the draft resolution for the legal framework is being worked out. In addition, the Ministers agreed to operationalize the Multinational Task Force which is to be headed by a Chief of Staff by 20 November 2014.

***

Veteran diplomat Michel Kafando, just sworn in as Burkina Faso's interim president to oversee a year-long transition to civilian rule, will on Wednesday appoint Army strongman Lt.Col. Isaac Zida as prime minister.  The deal has been agreed between politicians and Army leaders. Zida was put in power in the immediate aftermath of the uprising against longtime-leader Blaise Compaore last month.  Kafando was sworn in on Tuesday and pledged he would not let the country become a "banana republic."  Poised to formally take over Friday from an interim military ruler, the 72-year-old emphasised his "humility" as a leader aware that he temporarily held "power that belongs to the people."  Kafando, who served as Burkina Faso's UN envoy from 1998-2011 and as foreign minister in 1982-83, was chosen to head the transition after tortuous negotiations between the military, political parties and civil society groups.  He is barred from standing in elections scheduled to be held in November next year under the transitional deal.

Burkina Faso Army Leader Lt.Col. Zida to be appointed as prime minister.
Mass unrest erupted in late October over Compaore's bid to change the constitution, which would have allowed him to extend his 27-year rule of the former French colony.  Compaore was 36 when he seized power in a 1987 coup in which his former friend and one of Africa's most loved leaders, Thomas Sankara, was ousted and assassinated. He held on to power in the following decades, being re-elected president four times since 1991. His foiled attempt to extend his rule was closely watched across Africa, where at least four heads of state are considering similar tactics to stay in power, from Burundi to Benin and the Democratic Republic of Congo. Compaore has taken refuge in neighbouring Ivory Coast, where he is living in a luxury villa owned by the state.

***

One of Nigeria's most powerful Muslim leaders, the emir of Kano, has voiced support for vigilantes fighting Boko Haram, urging others to form civilian militias and questioning the competence of the military.  The comments were made by Sanusi Lamido Sanusi, who became emir earlier this year after being sacked from his post as the central bank governor, where he was one of the government's most high-profile critics. It is extremely rare for Nigeria's clerics to speak explicitly about political and military affairs, but many expected Sanusi to defy convention and inject himself into public debate after assuming the highly influential post.  He was sacked from his post and the subject of a government investigation, fuelled by allegations of misconduct, after he went public with charges that hundreds of millions of dollars had gone missing from the central oil fund and refused to back down in the face of threats from the president and the federal government. He called on people to be alert to the security situation and prepare to defend themselves.  While Sanusi did not mention Boko Haram by name, it was clear he was discussing efforts to resist the Islamist rebels.  He pointed out that those with special skills and tasks, such as hunters and vigilantes, should utilise it well in the fight.  Sanussi stated that the people should not wait for the military to come to their aid, as the military usually only arrives after the innocents have been slaughtered or they flee from the battle.

Nigeria's military has been cooperating with various vigilante forces in the northeast for more than a year, often relying on civilians to do the bulk of the fighting against the insurgents.  Witnesses said it was vigilantes who recaptured the symbolically important northeast town of Chibok from Boko Haram at the weekend, with troops staying clear of the heavy fighting. The military has repeatedly been accused of leaving civilians defenceless against Boko Haram attacks and failing to respond to distress calls made in advance of raids.

19 November 2014

CAPTOR E-Scan Radar Development Contract Signed

Defence Ministers from the UK, Germany, Italy, and Spain today met in Edinburgh, Scotland, to witness the signing of a €1 billion contract for the development of an electronic radar system for the Eurofighter TYPHOON.

Eurofighter has signed a €1 billion contract with NETMA, the NATO Eurofighter and Tornado Management Agency (NETMA). (Photos: Eurofighter)

The contract, between Eurofighter Jadgflugzeug and NETMA, the NATO Eurofighter and Tornado Management Agency (NETMA), will enable the integration of CAPTOR E-Scan, one of the world’s most advanced Active Electronically Scanned Array Radar Systems (AESA) onto the Eurofighter TYPHOON. According to Eurofighter, the fighter’s large nose aperture, combined with the ability to move the antenna, will give the Eurofighter TYPHOON greater ‘vision’ than its competitors, delivering better operational performance to the aircraft and to its weapon system.

Alberto Gutierrez (CEO Eurofighter) and UK Air Vice Marshall Graham Farnell.

Alberto Gutierrez, the CEO of Eurofighter, described the occasion as “a pivotal moment” in the life of the Eurofighter Programme. He said: “The signing of this contract is a massive boost to all of us and is a pivotal moment. It enhances a weapons system that offers a mix of capabilities that is simply unmatched anywhere in the world. It is something that Europe should be immensely proud of.”

Air Vice-Marshal Graham Farnell, who signed the contract on behalf of the Partner Nations, said: “The Eurofighter TYPHOON lies at the heart of NATO airpower and will continue to do so for many decades to come. This new capability will ensure the fighter remains a vital component in the mix. It’s an historic day in the life of the Programme.”

The Eurofighter consortium, along with its primary supplier, Euroradar, and a range of other suppliers across Europe, will all contribute to the integration programme helping further sustain high technology jobs across the four nations.

Andrew Cowdery, the Chairman of Euroradar, said: “We have already been working closely with Eurofighter and the Eurofighter Partner Companies on this milestone development and we are delighted that the future of this key capability has now been secured. CAPTOR E-Scan radar builds on the best know-how, industrial expertise and collaboration among leading European defence electronics companies.


This milestone confirms the commitment of the four Nations to provide the Eurofighter TYPHOON with the best capabilities to seize current and emerging opportunities in the export market.

Both Eurofighter and Euroradar have confirmed that the radar has significant growth potential and existing and new customers will be able to participate in tailoring the radar to meet their individual operational requirements.

  • CAPTOR E-Scan radar capability will further improve the Eurofighter TYPHOON's combat effectiveness, allowing TYPHOON to continue to maintain its superiority  over other available combat aircraft. 
  • The radar will fit both Tranche 2 and Tranche 3 aircraft offering customers the freedom to retrofit their existing Eurofighter TYPHOON aircraft when required.
  • CAPTOR E-Scan radar offers a variety of benefits over the mechanical M-Scan, including increased detection and tracking ranges, advanced air-to-surface capability and enhanced electronic protection measures.
  • The new radar retains the key features of the existing CAPTOR radar architecture in order to exploit the maturity of the current much acclaimed system and will use latest generation technology to execute concurrently a full complement of air-to-air and air-to-surface tasks.
  • Key discriminators of  CAPTOR E-Scan radar include: A very large antenna size and repositioner offering an extremely Wide Field of Regard (WFoR); the 200°  field of regard, giving TYPHOON a significant tactical advantage in air combat and great situational awareness; the larger antenna allows a greater number of TRMs (transmitter receiver modules) thus greater power and reception leading to earlier target detection and greater utility across the EW spectrum.

I am particularly proud of the contract signed today,, said Finmeccanica’s CEO and General Manager, Mauro Moretti. “It is further evidence of how the products and services provided by Finmeccanica Group represent cutting edge technological solutions capable of guaranteeing high performance levels in line with the best market standards. The production of the new CAPTOR-E radar will be managed, in the role of project leader of the Euroradar Consortium, by Finmeccanica-Selex ES which, together with Finmeccanica-Alenia Aermacchi, will also jointly integrate it into the aircraft. Today’s signing represents an important step forward towards the future prospects of the EUROFIGHTER programme since the aircraft upgrade will enable it to compete more effectively on international markets.


(left to right) Pedro Argűelles Salaverri (Spanish Secretary of State for Defence), Mr Philip Dunne (UK MP Minister for Defence Equipment, Support & Technology), Alberto Gutierrez (CEO Eurofighter), UK Air Vice Marshall Graham Farnell,  Dr Katrin Suder (German State Secretary for Defence), Hon. Domenico Rossi (Italian Under Secretary of State for Defence), Norman Bone (Managing Director UK, Finmeccanica – Selex ES), Fabrizio Giulianini (CEO – Finmeccanica – Selex ES).

The main advantage of the CAPTOR-E is its ability to perform several tasks practically simultaneously. This means that the pilot is able to scan a wide area in front of the aircraft or on the ground, while identifying ground targets or tracking individual flying objects at the same time. The new technology enables an increased range in target acquisition and target tracking and, thanks to the rotating antenna, a considerably larger field of view, compared to other state-of-the-art combat aircraft.

Airbus Defence & Space (DS) is playing a major role in the development and integration of the radar, via its Military Aircraft and Electronics business lines. “Together with our partners in the Euroradar consortium we are developing the world’s most powerful fighter radar,” said Thomas Müller, Head of the Electronics business line at Airbus DS. “This order will ensure ongoing development of radar technology, which is a core military capability in Germany.”

Berndt Wünsche, Head of Combat Aircraft at Airbus DS, stated in Edinburgh: “This decision ensures that the EURFIGHTER will continue to be the best combat aircraft available in the world. The CAPTOR-E radar will open up completely new options for deployment and will substantially improve the EURFIGHTER’s export opportunities.”

The main advantage of the CAPTOR-E is its ability to perform several tasks practically simultaneously. This means that the pilot is able to scan a wide area in front of the aircraft or on the ground, while identifying ground targets or tracking individual flying objects at the same time. The new technology enables an increased range in target acquisition and target tracking and, thanks to the rotating antenna, a considerably larger field of view, compared to other state-of-the-art combat aircraft.

The Euroradar consortium comprises Finmeccanica Selex ES (Great Britain, Italy), Indra (Spain), and Airbus DS (Germany). The consortium has already developed and produced more than 400 CAPTOR radars. Selex ES will produce the new radar at its facilities in Edinburgh and Nerviano (Milan) while Finmeccanica Alenia Aermacchi (Turin site), in the radar integration phase, will be responsible for the navigation systems. The Finmeccanica Group is responsible for over 60% of the electronics on board the Eurofighter TYPHOON, roughly 20% of the aerostructures, and for the training and simulation activities for both the four partner nations (United Kingdom, Italy, Germany and Spain) and for customers in its export markets.