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MILITARY TECHNOLOGY (MILTECH) is the world's leading international tri-service defence monthly magazine in the English language. MILITARY TECHNOLOGY is "Required Reading for Defence Professionals". Follow us on Twitter: MILTECH1

31 July 2015

German Armed Forces Buy Additional SFC Energy EMILY Fuel Cell Systems

SFC Energy, a leading provider of hybrid power solutions to the stationary and mobile power generation markets, has received an order by the German Armed Forces (Bundeswehr) for fuel cells to power devices on military vehicles and for soldiers in the field, for approx. €1.3 million. The order represents repeat business for SFC following the successful deployment of the EMILY fuel cell by the  Bundeswehr in December 2011, when EMILY was also assigned a NATO stock number.

EMILY was specifically developed to meet the demanding requirements in defence applications, and fully complies with military standards. The automatic, silent, environmentally friendly generator provides reliable power to electric and electronic devices on board of defense vehicles, in the field and as a battery charger, anywhere, anytime. (All photos: SFC Energy)

This is a major order for our company, as this repeat business is proof that our EMILY product can perform superbly on a large scale and under a variety of conditions," Dr. Peter Podesser, CEO of SFC Energy explained. "The process to deliver the product required a thorough and lengthy testing process, and ultimately we are very proud of the trust placed in us by the Bundeswehr. With our products we want to contribute to more safety, flexibility and mobility of soldiers in the field. We regard EMILY’s growing success as an acknowledgement of our long and good cooperation with the Bundeswehr. While we were hopeful to have delivered the products in the first half of 2015, we are pleased to move forward in our third quarter and are on track with our goals and objectives for 2015.”

The fuel used, which is methanol, features a high energy density of approx. 1,400Wh/kg, which is, according to the company, 50 times higher than that of a lead battery (only approx. 30Wh/kg). Methanol, which is approved by the  Bundeswehr and also carries a NATO stock number, is safe and available at Bundeswehr depots.

When installed in military vehicles, the EMILY is connected to the vehicle battery, providing automatic power with virtually no emissions, and with very low noise signature. The technology has made the mounting and dismounting of heavy, loud Diesel generators obsolete. At a weight of only 12kg/27lbs, fuel cells can also conveniently be used to provide power to mobile command posts or as a field charger. Deployed off the vehicle, EMILY will power almost any electric device (up to 100W average load) via the SFC Power Manager. 

In addition to EMILY, SFC Energy offers a successful portfolio of portable, mobile, stationary, and vehicle based fuel cells for defence applications, among them the SFC Energy Network and the portable JENNY fuel cell. SFC fuel cells are currently in field use in several big NATO defence organisations around the world. 

30 July 2015

India Withdraws MMRCA Tender

Indian Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar today informed the Upper House that the multi-billion dollar tender for the 126 Medium Multi Role Combat Aircrafts (MMRCA), for which RAFALE was shortlisted in 2012, was withdrawn. "The Request for Proposal (RfFP) issued earlier for the procurement of 126 MMRCA has been withdrawn," Parrikar said in a written reply to Rajya Sabha (the Council of States). "In the multi-vendor procurement case, the RAFALE aircraft met all the performance characteristics stipulated in the RfP during the evaluation conducted by the Indian Air Force."

The move comes just months after the Defence Minister indicated that the over $20 billion MMRCA tender has virtually been scrapped after the government decided to purchase 36 RAFALEs under a government-to-government contract, where talks have already commenced. Under the terms of purchase, the first 18 MMRCA aircraft were supposed to come in a 'fly away' condition while the remaining 108 manufactured under Transfer of Technology. While initially the tender was valued at about $10 billion for 126 aircraft, the current price is estimated to be over $20 billion.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi had in April announced purchase of 36 RAFALE fighter aircraft in fly-away condition from the French government directly, sidestepping the grueling three-year negotiations for the MMRCA tender.

The original RfP for the procurement of 126 MMRCA, at a then estimated cost of Rs.42,000 crores, was issued in 2007 to six vendors: Boeing F/A-18 Super HORNET, Dassault RAFALE, Eurofighter TYPHOON, Lockheed Martin F-16 FALCON, Mikoyan MIG-35, and Saab JAS-39 GRIPEN.

29 July 2015

Canada Awards Rheinmetall Two Major Contracts

The Canadian DoND has contracted Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) ELTA Systems and Rheinmetall-Canada to supply the ELTA ELM-2084 Medium Range Radar (MRR), the IRON DOME radar, including C-RAM and air-surveillance capabilities, to be produced in Canada for CA$130 million (€95 million). The solid-state, electronically-steered active array system incorporates Gallium Nitride (GaN) technology.

Canada has ordered Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) ELTA Systems ELTA ELM-2084 IRON DOME radars via Rheinmetall Canada. 

Furthermore, Rheinmetall-Canada, in cooperation with Saab, will be supplying the Canadian Armed Forces with an modular Integrated Soldier System (ISS), set to run for four years, with options for significant expansion, packed with state-of-the-art secure communications and navigation technology, for approx. CA$7 million (€5 million). Once the Canadian government declares the system fully acceptable, it can exercise options under this contract to buy up to 4,144 systems, and award a second contract for related support.

Rheinmetall-Canada, in cooperation with Saab, will be supplying the Canadian Armed Forces with an modular Integrated Soldier System (ISS).

28 July 2015

MEADS versus Next Generation PATRIOT – The Fight Continues

With MEADS being selected as Germany’s next tactical ground based air defence system in June, Thomas Homberg, Managing Director of MBDA Germany, part of MEADS International, together with Lockheed Martin and MBDA Italy, has good reason to be pleased. Speaking during Paris Air Show 2015, Homberg told the assembled press: “We are very proud and very glad that the German federal ministry of defence took a decision to use the Medium Extended Air Defence System (MEADS) and the development results of the trinational development programme as a foundation for their future ground based air and missile defence system.”

MEADS launch. (All photos via author)

Homberg said MEADS fits the requirements laid out by Germany featuring capabilities such as, “the open architecture of the system, the plug and fight capability for unprecedented interoperability, the 360° that has been demonstrated in live firing exercises in the US, the high mobility of the system and the reduced life cycle costs and specifically, the reduced number of personnel which is required to operate the system.” Homberg continued: “These were key criteria which were decisive for the German customer as far as we understand.

According to Homberg, other benefits include the fact that the German customer is taking advantage of, “a long standing partnership between leaders in missile systems,” and, “a robust and mature handover point of the trinational MEADS development programme into the German future air defence system or TLVS,” while also “taking advantage of the succesful investments that before were made”.

He went on to say: “We feel responsible and committed to deliver in tight cooperation with the German armed forces, namely with the German air force, with our industrial partners, to deliver the programme to Germany in budget, in time and in quality.

Germany: Saviour of MEADS

Stating that, “it is pretty important to have a reference customer,” Homberg said, “we are very confident that additional countries will follow because of the superiority of the system,” including, “customers beyond Europe as well.” Like Germany, Italy too is believed to make a formal decision this year about whether to acquire MEADS as the basis of a national air and missile defence system. Now having selected MEADS as a follow on to PATRIOT with MBDA Germany being the prime contractor, Germany is going ahead with the programme after the US decided to withdraw in 2011. However, the US has continued contributing to the programme as a proof of concept effort until 2014 while channelling other funds to future upgrades for PATRIOT. Also speaking during PAS15, Rick Edwards, executive vice president of Lockheed Martin’s missiles and fire control business, made clear that, “the US made a decision for financial reasons, not performance reasons, not to fund the completion of the integration of MEADS. However, there is a requirement in the US for a modernized system and contrary to what is widely said, there is no funded PATRIOT upgrade programme in the US. US Congress has in fact not funded that programme the last three years and are now conducting an analysis of alternatives looking at what technologies are available. We look forward to compete for what eventually will become a PATRIOT upgrade programme. Patriot has shortcomings including 360° capability. It has got a world class missile now but the rest of the infrastructure needs to be upgraded.”

Part of MEADS are 360° rotating AESA radars ,which include an Italian made Multifunction Fire Control Radar (MCFR) and a Lockheed Martin built Surveillance Radar. Used against Short- and Medium Range Ballistic Missiles (SRBM & MRBM), the PAC-3 Missile Segment Enhancement (MSE) effector is an integral part of the MEADS system while Homberg said that he did not have, “the slightest doubt,” that the (Diehl Defence) IRIS-T SL missile against traditional air defence threats would indeed also be integrated as part of the TLVS programme. Speaking about MEADS’ primary effector, Edwards said: “MSE is a significant performance improvement over the baseline PAC-3 and is in full rate production now. It enters service with the US Army this summer." Addressing questions about cost of MSE, he said: “We are coming off a very high volume of production of build that will get at over 300 interceptors a year. This will put cost and performance of the PAC-3 MSE against any missile in the world.

German MEADS element.

MEADS: 360° Capability – A Force Multiplier

Speaking about performance of the programme, Edwards said: “In the last five years every single milestone of the programme was met and the budget that the three countries laid out in 2004 was also met. When we talk about a model for collaboration this team has proven that we effectively work together. 18 months ago (in November 2013) at the White Sands missile range, history was made when the MEADS system intercepted two targets simultaneously coming from opposite directions, both a tactical ballistic missile and a drone simulating a cruise missile. The experiment was performed flawlessly and to see the missiles going in opposite directions engaging those targets was the culmination of ten years of work for our team.
With, “the threat evolving during deployments,” as he said, Edwards stressed the importance of ,“the ability to engage multiple targets coming from multiple directions: I anticipate any country that has bought that system including PAC-3 [PATRIOT] will want to understand the benefits of how the 360° capability really is a force multiplier for the capability they already have. Look at how Saudi Arabia intercepted a SCUD coming out of Yemen with a legacy PAC-2 system, which has a proximity warhead. For that kind of targets that could be effective but if that threat has a weapon of mass destruction you need to have the kinetic energy of a hit-to-kill missile. Looking at the map, that threat can come from multiple directions.”

Finalising Development of MEADS

Questioned about the timeline of the TLVS programme, Homberg said: “The exact phasing and the exact configuration are subject to discussions which we expect right now to happen.” He went on to say: “Some things are obvious. We have to finalise the development of the MEADS major end items. We have achieved a high level of maturity of all components, they are ready up to 80 to 90 percent. The German customer to our understanding wishes to integrate a secondary effector into the system. Not only Germany is thinking in that direction but other customers as well, so here is work to be done.” However, Homberg stressed that, "we are not going to see a fully Germanised system.” Edwards indicated that, “overall the system is more than 85% complete to its original plan before we cut it short. The technical hurdles and the technical risk in our view are behind us. What you are looking at now are things that come normally just before you go in production of the programme. There is more effort to do in training, in the logistics plans, software qualification, although we did run tactical software. The tactical operations centre was fully operational and we demonstrated that last year. This gave a lot of insight into that. There is not anything in the remaining stove that has any of us concerned about our ability to accomplish on time or on cost.

Raytheon’s Next Generation PATRIOT

Despite the decision by the German government to select MEADS as its next tactical ground based air defence system, it became apparent during PAS15 that Raytheon is not yet willing to give up on the TLVS programme. Raytheon’s vice president for Integrated Air and Missile Defence Systems, Tim Glaeser, who until 2004 served as the Commander of the US Army’s 11th Air Defense Artillery Brigade and commanded US and Kuwaiti Patriot forces during Operation "Iraqi Freedom," spoke to MT during the show. He is in no way convinced that MEADS will outperform Raytheon’s Next Generation PATRIOT: “We have a very defined growthpath for Next Generation Patriot. This will include a PATRIOT 360° AESA GaN (gallium nitride) sensor. GaN has been acknowledged as leap ahead technology that improves performance and decreases operational and maintenance cost of the weapon system. We open the architecture with what we call a common command and control node giving us the ability to integrate a nation’s indigenous sensors or effectors or weapon systems into our architecture. They get to leverage the entire investment of their country’s air and missile defence capability. We also integrate a family of effectors to include the PAC-3 hit-to-kill MSE effector which has already been integrated and fired off a modified PATRIOT launcher. We have had seven flight tests today and they have all been very succesful. That capability is available to any nation who chooses to want that today, you do not have to wait for a MEADS or something in the future to fire that. We think that taking what you have and making it better is probably the most cost effective way in constrained environments to ensure you have a credible air and missile defence capability. The family of effectors and the integration of indigenous capability allow you to select the most cost effective interceptor, to process a particular engagement against the threat.”

Next Generation PATRIOT radar. 

The International PATRIOT Community

Glaeser also spoke about the benefits of having a wider PATRIOT community: “The 13 international PATRIOT partners contribute into an engineering services contract each year and we meet once a year and we decide together what improvements both in hardware and software we want to make to the weapon system. These are shared funding based on the number of fire units each nation has and once each engineering change proposal is completed and qualified, then each nation has the opportunity to buy none, one, some or all of these improvements which is a very cost effective way and a unique way to ensure that PATRIOT stays ahead of emerging threats.

Glaeser promoted the incremental, low risk way in which the legacy PATRIOT is evolving into the Next Generation PATRIOT with feedback derived over the years from, “2,500 in the loop simulations and over 600 test firings,” being used to make the system better. “The new GaN based AESA array can be installed as a bolt on replacement to PATRIOT 's current radar main array,” Glaeser told MT: “The modification to the AESA GaN array allows us to actually do that upgrade in a country. We have built an upgrade kit so that the international customer does not have to send the radar back to the US, we can do it forward deployed. More importantly, you get to retain the entire technology upgrades in the back end of the radar which includes the Radar Digital Processor that allows us to make future improvements to that radar be it software rather than hardware changes, so again a very cost effective way of taking what you already have, making it better, and then adding even new gamechanging technology like AESA GaN to the array on the front. If you so choose, or have a requirement for 360° coverage, you can add what we call the rear quarter panel arrays on to that sensor, also AESA GaN technology.

PATRIOT launch.

With the addition of GaN-based active electronically scanned arrays (AESAs), Raytheon's PATRIOT Missile Defence System will be capable of detecting and tracking airborne threats in a 360° radius, according to the company.

Rotating Versus Staring Arrays 

Speaking about the relevance of 360° capability, Glaeser, a former PATRIOT air defence battalion commander himself, went on to say: “The 360° coverage is a very interesting topic. When we first fielded PATRIOT in the early 1980s, a battalion of PATRIOTs has six fire units in the US Army configuration. It had a sectored system. You can use a very simple TTP of just using three or four Patriot fire units and you can get 360° coverage. It depends on where your threat is coming from. We jokingly say if you are surrounded by an enemy that can shoot ballistic missiles at you from 360° you have a bigger problem than PATRIOT or MEADS are ever going to solve. You should know where your ballistic missile threat is coming from in any operational scenario. You have other TTPs as well where you have mutually supporting, overlapping fires, defence in depth, you have more than one means providing you coverage. It depends on how you set up your defence design.”

Speaking about MEADS, Glaeser said: “As we understand, it needed three radars to get that 360° coverage. They had two fire control radars that were rotating and when they were prosecuting a very stressing ballistic missile threat, one had to stop and stare. At that time it became the same sectored system that PATRIOT is today. We at Raytheon have done a lot of analysis on rotating versus staring arrays and we conclude that a staring AESA GaN array optimizes your capability to engage all the known threats, even stressing threats, if we orient the main array to where we believe the main attack is going to come from.

On LCC and Personnel

Talking about life cycle costs and personnel requirements, Glaeser said: “One radar beats three any day of the week in terms of training, costs, logistics. That is why we opted for that particular solution. The US has studied this and was part of the MEADS development for many years but in February of 2011, the US government made a decision not to procure MEADS. They did it for three reasons: one, it was a billion dollars over cost, two, it was a decade behind schedule, and three, it did not work and they were paying 58% of the bill. Germany was in it for 25% at the time and Italy 17 percent. So, four and half years later, Germany makes a decision or announcement that they are going to continue development of MEADS. So, they are going to pay all that development costs by themselves and then procure the weapon systems. Just think of the infrastructure that will be required: new training, new maintenance, new logistics, new manuals, new spare parts and no other nation has the capability. All the other nations that we know of have recently made decisions to upgrade PATRIOT or buy new PATRIOT or buy additional PATRIOT fire units. We know as we are in production right today that you have to stay ahead of obsolescence all the time. So, think of something that has not really been developed for four and a half years and now we are going to start it again. What obsolescence issues might be confronted as they start this programme up again?

TLVS: Raytheon Waiting in the Wings

Questioning some of the criteria that led to the selection of MEADS, Glaeser said: “Having talked to the German MoD and politicians, we understand that PATRIOT is the preferred alternative solution. They have set up a very defined series of milestones that MEADS as they move along with the TLVS selection will have to meet. If they would struggle or be challenged to meet some of those milestones the German government would look to Next Generation PATRIOT as an alternative. We will keep the German government informed of our milestones as we proceed forward. If and when MEADS has future challenges, we will be ready and able to fill any void that may occur.”

Glaeser then spoke about the current status of the German PATRIOT programme: “We are proud of the fact that Germany has been a PATRIOT partner member since the early 1980s. They still have a significant number of PATRIOT fire units that are currently at Configuration 3 and we understand that they will move forward with modernisation efforts to take them to the latest baseline of Configuration 3+. We understand that PATRIOT will be in their military formation to the year 2025 or 2030. So, there is a decade plus of future Patriot partnership together with the German MoD.”

PATRIOT has evolved from the Anti Tactical Missile (ATM) PAC-2 and the PAC-2 Guidance Enhancement Missile (GEM) upgrade to the PAC-3 that uses hit-to-kill technology instead of the conventional explosives that were previously used. Initial PAC-3 missiles have been superseded by Cost Reduction Initiative (CRI) missiles while Missile Segment Enhancement (MSE) versions are being introduced that feature insensitive munitions improvements. An enhanced M903 launching station is also being introduced that enables mixed loads of PAC-2 GEM and PAC-3 MSE missiles. Under the US Army’s PATRIOT P3I modernisation programme, a new Radar Digital Processor will deliver a 40% reliability improvement of the system’s radar set while a new so-called Modern Adjunct Processor is also being incorporated. The PATRIOT 3+ baseline configuration being used for the programme also features modern man stations with touchscreens. In addition to the US Army which intends to keep PATRIOT in service beyond 2048, Germany’s neighbour the Netherlands has also opted for PATRIOT Configuration 3+ with the Dutch military already looking to extend the service life of their PATRIOT  systems until 2040.

In a move that was decribed by Lockheed Martin’s Rick Edwards as, “disappointing,” Poland decided to opt for an off the shelf system, subsequently selecting PATRIOT systems for its Wisla programme, with Raytheon thus beating EUROSAM’s SAMP/T. However, Edwards emphasised that MEADS will compete for a second programme called Narew, presumably with IRIS-T SL: “We are still active in Poland and were responding to that short range system. Being a modular system with plug and play capability, MEADS could become the backbone depending on how Poland wants to architect the programme for other capabilities to plug in to.

Meanwhile, the Polish PATRIOT systems will compromise all the Configuration 3+ upgrades the US is currently implementing with the Next Generation PATRIOT’s AESA GaN main array and the rear phased array panels being retrofitted to achieve FOC in 2022.
Pieter Bastiaans

21 July 2015

Lockheed Martin Purchase of Sikorsky Exposes Lack of Faith by Boeing as well as UTC

Lockheed Martin has announced its $9 billion purchase ($7.1 billion after tax breaks) of legendary helicopter manufacturer Sikorsky. The move comes after the new head of United Technologies Corporation (UTC) chief executive Gregory Hayes decided that making jet engines, air conditioners and elevators was collectively better for business than the $7.5 billion that Sikorsky contributed last year.

Sikorsky has been the US Department of Defense’s (DoD) biggest and most consistent helicopter supplier across all of its services in recent times. The UH-60 BLACK/SEA/PAVE/JAY HAWKs are the foundation of the US military’s utility helicopter strength. Now, having taken fat profits from the US taxpayer for decades, UTC is no longer prepared to ride the lower profits now expected as the business transitions between the decline of the UH-60 and the rise of the CH-53K, as well as the arrival of the Future Vertical Lift rotorcraft (if indeed the Boeing/Sikorsky design ultimately succeeds against Bell Helicopter’s V-280 tiltrotor or any other, as yet, unidentified competitor).

Here is the first curious anomaly. What does this move say about UTC’s belief that it will deliver the CH-53K to schedule now with the capability as advertised, as well as believing that there is an international market in addition to its prime customer, the US Marine Corps (USMC), who will sign up to buy this new Leviathan of a rotorcraft?

Further, what measure of confidence does this demonstrate that the UTC Board ascribes to its joint venture development, the SB.1 DEFIANT for the Joint Multi Role Technology Demonstrator (JMR TD), with partner Boeing? And has not the work of Sikorsky Innovations, the internal think tank within Sikorsky, which is described by the company as, “dedicated to demonstrating innovative technology solutions to the toughest problems in vertical flight,” been sufficient to show that there is a bright future ahead for rotorcraft? If they have seen all of this, and still reason that there is more to be gained from selling the company for $1.5 billion over its annual profit contribution, then there appears to be something seriously wrong somewhere.

Either Lockheed Martin has more money than sense, or the UTC Board has just parted with the ‘Crown Jewels’ of rotorcraft development in the next generation. So why has Lockheed Martin, an organisation that specialises in helicopter integration not manufacture, bought legendary steel bender Sikorsky?

Perhaps a better question might be to ask why Boeing did not buy the mighty American rival. Is it that they too do not see a bright future for the rotorcraft business? While Boeing has a strong suit of helicopter manufacturing capability already under its belt and is still going strong with the seemingly endless production lines turning out manufactured and re-manufactured AH-64 APACHE and CH-47 CHINOOK helicopters, its rotorcraft research and development (R&D) has almost become the ‘bastard child’ of its innovation.

The AH-64 APACHE was developed by Hughes Helicopters, then McDonnell Douglas and has only owned by Boeing since 1997 during which time it has pushed forward the evoltion of the helicopter throught the AH-64D and now the AH-64E.

The CH-46 and CH-47 were initially designed by Boeing Vertol although the current AH-6 can trace its design pedigree back to Hughes Helicopters OH-6 CAYUSE.

The RAH-66 COMANCHE armed reconnaissance helicopter programme for the US Army, also a joint venture with Sikorsky, was cancelled in 2004 after $7 billion had been spent on its development. Perhaps memories of this not only spooked the UTC board into a lack of faith over its design for the JMR TD, but also were too painful for Boeing executives to contemplate in taking Sikorsky and going into the uncertain future of rotorcraft, ‘alone and unafraid’ as their army aviator customers would say.

One of the reasons for Boeing’s reluctance to buy Sikorsky may be then that Boeing is really more of a, “company that makes helicopters, not a helicopter company,” as several insiders have described it.

Cutting to the chase, there is little appetite for Boeing to ‘go it alone’ these days in terms of helicopter innovation. Both of its most recent major projects, the V-22 tiltrotor and the coaxial SB1 DEFIANT have been through joint ventures with Bell Helicopter and Sikorsky respectively.

SB-1 DEFIANT Concept of Sikorsky-Boeing rigid rotor coaxial compound helicopter.  Lockheed Martin will now partner with Boeing over this development, which is in direct competition with Bell Helicopter’s V-280 VALOR tiltrotor, a platform in which Lockheed Martin is the prime contractor for many of the systems...
Its decision to back Sikorsky’s coaxial design as the next generation helicopter in the US Army’s JMR TD seemed to suggest that it was not confident enough to go it alone and wanted to share the development costs and risks. However, that meant turning its back on tiltrotor technology as the solution for the future, a curious position to be in at a time when the first official international sale of the V-22 OSPREY to Japan was finally officially announced and there appears to be a growing murmour that tiltrotor actually has a future not only in the military sector but also as a commercial aircraft for runway free passenger transportation.

This now means that Lockheed Martin will partner with Boeing over the development of the SB.1 DEFIANT, which is in direct competition with Bell Helicopter’s V-280 VALOR tiltrotor, a platform in which Lockheed Martin is the prime contractor for many of the systems. The DOD must be wondering how this will all manage to work out in delivering competitive, value-for-money systems that are not subject to incestuous contractual and development relationships. Perhaps this opens the door for Europe’s rotorcraft manufacturers to re-evaluate their assessment of the FVL competition.

Almost as an after thought, ownership of the long-running CH-53K development means that Lockheed Martin will now be in direct competition with Boeing in the heavy lift market, going toe-to-toe for sales against the well established CH-47F CHINOOK.

And in case you had forgotten, there are also three more classes of FVL rotorcraft to consider beyond 2030: Light, medium and ultra.
Andrew Drwiega, Special Correspondent

20 July 2015

China and Brazil to Cooperate in Jungle Warfare Training

During a recent visit to the Brazilian Army’s Centro Instrucao de Guerre na Selva (CIGS - Jungle Warfare Training School) in Manaus, it became apparent that China has formally requested Brazilian assistance in training its own troops in the disciplines of jungle warfare.

The CIGS has an enviable track record of training non-Brazilian troops in jungle warfare. Of the almost 6,000 graduates of the school to date, approaching 500 are from foreign countries. The majority of these, to be sure, are from Brazil’s Latin American neighbours, but an appreciable number are from other regions of the world, including Europe.

According to the school’s commandant, Coronel Alcimar Marques de Araujo Martins, the Chinese recently sent a delegation to CIGS, intending to send their first group of officers and NCOs to participate in the CIGS courses. Discussions rapidly progressed, however, to the point at which China has now formally requested Brazilian instructors be posted to China to help modify and upgrade that nation’s own jungle warfare training.

MT understands that the arrangement may be similar to a recent agreement between Brazil and Canada in which instructors from the Brazilian Army’s Paratroop Brigade’s Pathfinder Company swaps instructors with the Canadian paratroops’ equivalent unit. Although in its early stages, it is understood that China’s intent is for the arrangement to be long term and scalable.
Tim Mahon, reporting from Manaus, State of Amazonas, Brazil

International Jungle Warfare Symposium

Brazil’s Amazon Military Command (CMA - Comando Militar de Amazonia) confronts an immense task in its Area of Responsibility (see separate post Strong Arm, Friendly Hand). Part of the expertise it has developed in order to fulfil these responsibilities revolves around the Centro Instrucao de Guerre na Selva (CIGS - Jungle Warfare Training School), an institution now celebrating its fiftieth anniversary and one that has established itself as one of the preeminent training facilities for jungle warfare.

Not all participants in the symposium will necessarily be personally introduced to CMA’s mascot.
Brazil takes its international involvement seriously, as evidenced by the number of international operations to which its troops contribute and the extent to which multinational training takes place with its immediate and more distant neighbours.

As part of its continued programme of outreach, CMA will host the first ever Jungle Operations International Symposium later this year. Taking place in Manaus, Amazonia (headquarters of CMA) from 17th-18th November 2015, the symposium – which will be conducted in both Portuguese and English – will leverage the considerable experience Brazil has developed in jungle operations over the last half century.

Interested parties can obtain further information and request joining instructions here – and should prepare to be impressed!
Tim Mahon

“Strong Arm, Friendly Hand” – The Brazilian Army in the Amazon

Almost 400 years ago, Captain Pedro Teixeira’s “Bronze Guns and Iron Men” made an epic voyage of exploration along the Amazon, as far as modern day Quito in Ecuador. Since then, and as the modern state of Brazil has evolved and grown, the issue of protecting and preserving the largest river basin in the world has continued to attract serious attention.

Patrolling in a jungle environment
Brazil’s care of the Amazon, from a strategic perspective, is entrusted to the Comando Militar de Amazonia (CMA – or Amazon Military Command.) The task it faces is a considerable one. The Amazon basin has a surface area in excess of seven million square kilometres (of which 5.2 million lie within Brazil proper), occupies two fifths of the entire area of South America and one twentieth of the world’s surface, as well as containing one fifth of the world’s fresh water and one third of all its forests. Security challenges include the necessity to counter significant incidents of illegal logging, fishing and mining as well as transborder issues of immigration, narcotics trafficking and terrorism.
To counter these challenges, CMA has just 17,000 men, organised into four Jungle Infantry Brigades and supporting units, including fire support, aviation support, intelligence and logistics. Since the command was split into CMA and CMN (Comando Militar de Norte) in May 2013, those 17,000 troops admittedly now ‘only’ have the Western Amazon to police (CMN now having some 9,000 to cope with the Eastern Amazon region) but that is still a massive task. To put it in perspective, the CMA AoR equates roughly to an area greater than France, Germany, the Low Countries, the Iberian Peninsula and Italy – combined!

Jungle warriors learn to collect and preserve water by any means possible during their training.
Exacerbating the problem is the transport issue. Some of the major cities in the area are inaccessible by road and can only be reached by air or water. “In the Amazon, rivers are our roads and highways,” said Major Antoine of the CMA headquarters staff in a briefing to journalists in Manaus in July.
One of the lasting impressions from a visit to CMA is the extent to which the Brazilian Army is an integrated part of the community – not merely a uniformed arm of government. As well as its security tasks, CMA’s contribution to the region includes helping to provide some of the basic needs of the 22 million inhabitants – food, water, sanitation and energy. Indeed, according to the Commander of CMA, Army General Guilherme Theophilo, the fundamental tasks of his command are to “Promote integration, to provide education, to provide health and to prevent and suppress environmental and transborder crime.” The order in which those priorities are stated is, perhaps, a telling indicator of the seriousness with which CMA pursues its ‘non-military aims.’ Later in this series of blogs, at another Brazilian Army command visited in July, evidence that this philosophy extends right across the nation will be revealed.

The strategies adopted by CMA in dealing with its substantive issues break down into four main policies: Presence, Resistance, Deterrence and Cooperation.

The strategy of presence is seen in the deployment of the command’s Special Border Platoons or PEF. There are some 24 of these currently, each about 50 strong and commanded by a Lieutenant or, more often, a Captain. As Major Antoine explains “the PEF commanders need a certain level of maturity since they will often be in a position requiring independent decision-making.” Which is hardly surprising, given their deployment to remote border areas is normally a year in length – with the result that some of these are accompanied tours, with families joining their spouses in relatively Spartan living conditions for the duration. A former PEF commander, retired Colonel Paulo Eduardo Ribeiro, pointed out that “the PEF role is a critically important one to ensure the objectives the government has for the Amazon region are met.”

Resistance is visible in the training jungle warriors receive at the Jungle Warfare Training School (see separate blog “Jungle Warriors in the Making.”) Learning to survive and operate in a potentially hostile environment in which temperature, disease, predators and finding sufficient food and water are all challenges is a key component in what makes the PEFs and the Jungle Infantry Brigades effective.

Deterrence also stems from the training CMA’s troops undergo. Knowledge that there are PEFs patrolling the border areas –and other troops regularly visiting the sites of potential illegal activities – has a huge deterrent effect on would-be hostile elements.
The strategy of cooperation, however, provides the stronge
st evidence of CMA’s integrated activities and its commitment to regional security. Investment in new key assets – such as the LPR-40 riverine craft recently purchased from Colombia – and active cooperation with the security forces of neighbouring countries – on both sides of their respective borders – shows that the army is leveraging all of its facilities, despite severe budget pressures, to accomplishing well defined strategic objectives.

Treated with respect and from a background of knowledge, the jungle can provide a wide variety of sustenance.
Like the rest of the Brazilian Army, CMA is in the middle of a period of transformation. The most obvious of these will be the creation of a fifth Jungle Infantry Brigade, adding at least a further 2,000 jungle-trained troops to the command’s ORBAT. Also of key importance will be the significant expansion of the PEF Special Border Platoons, which will increase from the current 24 to 50, highlighting the critical role these small but important units play in the overall strategy.

In my experience, visits to major military commands often focus on the purely military role played by the participants in the briefing. After a brief but fascinating exposure to the Amazon Military Command, I am left with the impression we have been shown not just the command’s military capabilities, but also the serious nature of its commitment to being an integral part of developing one of the world’s most precious resources – the command’s ‘heart,’ if you will. And that is perhaps best summed up in the words of General Theophilo. “To serve in the Amazon is a privilege. To fight for its sustainable development is an obligation.”
Tim Mahon, reporting from Manaus, State of Amazonas, Brazil

17 July 2015

Royal Air Force (RAF) Fights Modern Day ‘Battle of Britain’ Over Iraq and Syria

I believe we are fighting a new Battle of Britain,” said Michael Fallon, UK’s Secretary of State for Defence, during his keynote speech on the second day of the Royal Air Force (RAF) Air Power conference in London.

Fallon was refering to the RAF’s extensive operations against what he described as the ‘fascist’ forces of IS [so called Islamic State]. According to Fallon, “our TORNADO aircraft provide 70% of the coalition’s tactical recce capability and produce imagery of a higher standard than any other. Our REAPER’s capability matches that of the United States. In addition, we’re the only coalition country conducting manned ISR [intelligence, surveillance, reconnaissance] over Syria.”

He pointed to the RAF’s deployment of MBDA BRIMSTONE missiles and Goodrich RAPTOR reconnaissance pods used by TORNADO GR4 aircraft for ground attack, as well as Raytheon SENTINEL intelligence gathering aircraft alongside the Boeing RC-135W RIVET JOINT (Project Airseeker) and E-3 SENTRY aircraft. “We are delivering in total 30% of the ISR of the entire international operation in the Middle East,” he declared.

Ground crew load a PAVEWAY IV Laser Guided bomb onto an RAF TORNADO GR4's at RAF Akrotiri, Cyprus. (Photo: Crown)

Fallon said that the second AIRSEEKER would be delivered in August, seven months ahead of schedule.

The RAF AIRSEEKER RIVET JOINT RC-135W signals intelligence aircraft has state of the art airborne electronic surveillance capabilities

The Secretary of State for Defence was also not reluctant to point a finger at the threat posed by current “Russian expansionism.” He cited the increased frequency that the UK’s air defence fighters had been required to challenge and escort Russian long-range bombers that were pressing NATO’s air defences. He said that while on a visit to RAF TYPHOON crewsat Amari air base in Estonia, the jets had been launched from alert six times. He confirmed that the RAF’s deployment would be continued in 2016.

The news that the defence budget would be increased by 0.5% from next year alongside the announcement that the NATO requirement of 2% GDP spend on defence would be guaranteed until the end of the decade was, said Fallon, confirmation that defence remained, “the number one priority,” of the Conservative government. Efficiency savings would also be allowed to be reinvested by the RAF into the force.

The forthcoming Strategic Defence and Security Review (SDSR), which he said had been going in ernest for the last six weeks and was expected towards the end of the year, would reflect how the UK was going to face the challenge of a world that had become, “a darker and a more dangerous place.”
Andrew Drwiega, Westminster, London

A RAF VOYAGER KC2 refuels two RAF TORNADO GR4, 4 March 2015, over Iraq. The RAF aircraft provide combat air support for the coalition against Da’esh. (Photo: USAF/Staff Sgt. Perry Aston)

16 July 2015

Royal Air Force Air Power Conference Opens in London

The annual Royal Air Force Air Power conference in London began on Wednesday with a welcome from Air Chief Marshal Sir Andrew Pulford, Chief of the Air Staff who was mindful of the 75th Anniversary of the Battle of Britain. He said that delegates to the two day conference included representatives from 32 air forces and that the theme Securing the Skies: Protect and Project was being held at a time of uncertainty.

The keynote speech followed and was delivered by Gen. Sir Nicholas Houghton, Chief of the Defence Staff in the UK. He said that while reviewing the upcoming Strategic Defence and Security Review (SDSR) he did so against that positive news that Michael Fallon, the UK Defence Secretary, had just announced that defence spending would be increased in the coming years and that the UK would meet the NATO requirement of 2% of GDP (Gross Domestic Product) until the end of the decade.

Houghton revealed that the Review has only formally been formulated over the last six weeks. He said that the currently the national perception between defence spending and security had been eroded. Since 1989 and the ending of the Cold War with the collapse of communist regimes in Europe, he argued that there had been a redefinition of national security. “Defence became more discretionary to national security,” he said. After 9/11 the principal threat was perceived more in terms of terrorism and the best way to address it was where they were provided sanctuary. “The view that there is no direct military threat to the UK in the classical sense has taken a firm hold,” he said adding that the perception included the belief that defence was expensive and inefficient.

The UK and Europe was based on a rules-based order that had been preserved since 1945. Their status was also based on power: that of the United States and Europe. However a decline was now being experienced which would limit. “It is [not only] a more competitive world…but order is being challenged by violent extremism.”

Another challenge he said, came from Russia which, “was prepared to use the full breadth of hard and soft power to achieve its aims - allied to massive disinformation.”

The questions for the SDSR came down to how much power was required, what sort of power and how would it be employed?  He said that the UK’s natural ambition was to lead not follow events; to help shape the world around it, not be shaped by it. Carrier projection [the two new QUEEN ELIZABETH-class ships] spoke to the language of strategic authority. “We need to retain those capabilities that make us a natural framework nation for others to rally round in coalition,” he affirmed.

There would be three key roles: A mixture of protection and deterrance (including space and cyber) and defence against terrorism at home and abroad; there would also be a contribution towards stability and understand and shape the security environment; finally, the effective response to crisis. This was, he said, the most difficult to get right.

In conclusion he said that the actual spending power of the defence budget will now rise in real terms during the parliament and that every saving will be reinvested in defence. “It is no longer about the management of decline…there is a lot here for air professionals and the industrial base to think about.”
Andrew Drwiega, Westminster, London

09 July 2015

Close Encounters of …a Different Kind…

Much has been written of ‘military ethos’ and the dire need for it in retaining and refining the esprit de corps essential for making men – and women – do extraordinary things in the name of defence of family, friends and nation. I’ve been seeking an acceptable definition of what military ethos actually is for over 20years. While I have had explanations and attempts at definition from a host of military, governmental and academic sources over the years, I am always struck by the comment made to me when interviewing a British Field Marshal eight years ago – a man with a thirty-plus year military career behind him at the time who, after a significant pause, said “I’m not sure I can define it – but I am sure I know it when I see it.”

Sir – I think I may now have seen it!

Scant seconds after being introduced to Lt.Col. Alexander Passos, commanding officer of Brazil’s 1° Batalhao de Infantaria de Selva (AMv) – the 1st Jungle Infantry Battalion (Airmobile) – he was explaining to us why his battalion could legitimately claim to be O Melhor Batalhao do Mundo – the ‘best battalion in the world.’ The events of the next half hour lent some credibility to the claim – but even accepting it was primarily hubris, Passos’ troops did him – and themselves – proud.

Military ethos is, indeed, difficult to define. It is, however, the glue that holds troops together – in peacetime and in war – and provides the foundation for actions the rest of us, not in uniform, sometimes find difficult to appreciate or even understand. But a battalion of over 800 men, parading in full kit, singing their battalion song and a powerfully invigorating song commemorating the struggle with the Enaxena people early in Brazil’s history, is enough to set the spine tingling and the thought processes flowing.

It’s not just about the music or even the sense of occasion. It’s about the transparency of passion, the honest, uncomplicated nature of the patriotism and the untrammelled pride in belonging to the unit ‘family’ that shines from every face – even the tiredest and most heavily burdened. It’s about hearing each company commander introduce his unit (there are eight companies in the 1st Battalion) and his unit responding with a stentorian shout of “Selva!” (Jungle!) – which seems to serve as combined exhortation, battle cry and affirmation of self. It’s about listening to the pride in the voices of the officers and men describing the battalion’s equipment, role and history. It’s about the eight hundred voices of the battalion raised in stirring martial song that somehow communicates on a level that requires little understanding of the language in which it is sung.

One of 24 jungle battalions in the Brazilian Army, 1st Battalion has a 100 year history of uninterrupted service and has two of its three rifle companies permanently on three hour notice to deploy – anywhere. Although it lacks an organic aircraft component, helicopters from Amazon Military Command are at its permanent disposal. The battalion also provides the army with services as a testbed for the evaluation of new equipment and doctrine.

Any senior army officer – anywhere – will almost certainly agree, when asked, that the high spot of his career was commanding his battalion or regiment. There is something ‘right’ about the normal size and purpose of such a unit that makes it easier for the commander to exercise benevolent control and for his subordinate officers and men to know, understand and respect their commander. With great respect to Colonel Passos, therefore, I suggest he might find himself faced with strong competition for the title of ‘Best Battalion in the World.’ But his men – his jungle warriors – spare no effort in making sure they support his claim and live up to his expectations. And the pride in his face – and that of his Adjutant, Major Neves Franco – is self-evident and genuine.

And that is probably as close to getting to a definition of military ethos as I am likely to get. Is it clear? No. Does all the above even qualify as a definition? Probably not. Is it real? No doubt: none whatsoever.

Everywhere in Amazon Military Command the pride, quiet confidence in self and colleagues and sense of identity with unit, command and nation shines through – in spoken word, in gesture and body language, in action. These soldiers test themselves, expect their leaders to do the same and have total confidence in their ability to overcome any obstacle or challenge. That’s not a writer’s hype for the sake of inking a few more words. It’s a genuine feeling of wonder – perhaps a little awe. And I haven’t felt like that for a very long time.


Tim Mahon, reporting from Manaus, State of Amazonas, Brazil

07 July 2015

RUSI Land Warfare Conference Recap

The UK’s Secretary of State for Defence, the Rt Hon Michael Fallon has called upon the British Army to, “adopt and accommodate,” the higher technology wars of the future, the Royal United Services Institute (RUSI) Land Warfare Conference heard earlier this month. Addressing delegates in London on 1 July, Fallon described how the UK was now living in a, “darker world,” emphasising the advent of hybrid warfare and cyber attack. “This has changed the rules of the game,” Fallon asserted.

But we must go further….We can’t defend the country without a strong army and this is why we are maintaining our manifesto pledge to maintain the existing size of the regular and reserve forces and considering what the army’s future role should be?”

Describing ongoing work regarding the UK government’s forthcoming Security and Defence Strategic Review (SDSR), Fallon highlighted three emerging themes regarding the assessment of threats and capabilities required to best deploy the forces for homeland security. Themes included “productivity; innovation; and internationalism.”

Referring to productivity, Fallon described ongoing commitments in Sierra Leone (medical support), Nepal (Humanitarian aid), Iraq (training of Peshmerga forces) and Kabul (mentoring of Afghan National Security Forces) with 46,000 armed forces personnel deploying to 40 countries so far in 2015. “We can’t expect the threat to diminish and we have to work smarter,” he said while promoting the government’s GBP900 million 10-year contract with Babcock to maintain, repair and restore the army’s vehicles and thereby allowing the service to concentrate on delivering effect on the battlefield. Turning his attention to innovation, Fallon described how the 2011 SDSR had recognised how the army had to be more flexible in a multi-threat environment with the introduction of the Army 2020 concept. “We are now seeing that future force emerge, prepared and equipped with a GBP160 million equipment plan allowing us to bring urgent operational requirements such as the FOXHOUND and MASTIFF protected patrol vehicles into service as well as the cutting edge SCOUT vehicle.”

Fallon also revealed that a GBP150 million contract has been signed with CTA International for 40mm cased telescope cannon and airburst ammunition for the SCOUT vehicle. “77 Brigade involves striving to be masters of the narrative, debunking misinformation spread by adversaries. These army pioneers understand you can’t win the war without winning the battle of hearts and minds,” he added.

Referring to the SDSR’s focus on international cooperation, Fallon urged there was “no question of the UK sitting this out. When a gunman can slaughter innocent british tourists on a beach in Tunisia; Islamic State (IS) continues its murderous rampage across Iraq and Syria; large-scale migration from North Africa; and Russian expansion threatening our NATO allies; we have to defend with all our hearts. Global problems like these require global solutions.”

In line with this strategy, Fallon described how the UK was planning to send another 125 troops to boost counter-IED training of Iraq’s security forces and outlined how 3,000 troops had been deployed in eastern Europe as part of NATO Immediate Assurance measures in collaboration with Poland, Latvia and Lithuania. Additionally, he also described efforts to, “step up,” the programme for medical, infantry and logistics training to the Ukrainian armed forces, as well as ongoing commitments to the NATO Very High Readiness Task Force and plans to stand up a Joint Task Force with France in 2016. Referring to ongoing operations against IS, Fallon said: “It will be a long and hard campaign and the measure of success will be how the Iraqi government must be capable of delivering security to the country. IS is a very direct threat to our way of life and our citizens and we are looking at and making an assessment that will help frame the SDSR itself.

Finally, Fallon assured delegates that the UK government would meet NATO expenditure limits (2%  of GDP) in 2015 with planning budgets for 2016 through to 2019 due to be published later this year.

Senior NATO commanders have described the contemporary operating environment and in particular current threats emerging from Russia, China and Islamic State (IS). Speaking on the “Persistent Engagement” and “Applying Land Power” panels at the RUSI Land Warfare Conference, service officials described highly complex and hybrid operating environments, requiring NATO partners to exploit the joint operations concept across the services and connect with other government agencies According to Maj.Gen. Almantas Leika, commander of the Lithuanian Land Force, the threat of Russian armed forces on the country’s eastern border proved the nation state was witnessing “evolving capabilities” with Russian forces now skilled in conducting information operations and propaganda including “strategic surprises” and the “opportunist employment of instruments.” In April, Ukraine released imagery which it said supported claims that Russian special forces were operating in a clandestine capacity in Crimea and eastern Ukraine.

Meanwhile, Lt.Gen. HR McMaster, director, US Army capabilities integration center, described how Russia was conducting a, “limited war for limited objectives.” He highlighted how Russia was using unconventional forces and a very sophisticated campaign of propaganda and political subversion  in order to achieve their strategic objectives.

We are seeing state and non-state threats with the likes of Russia and China using unconventional means to undermine security,” McMaster said. However, referring to any counter-strategies to be engaged by NATO must be able to consolidate any gains made in the future.

Sir Graeme Lamb, Senior Associate Fellow at RUSI described the contemporary operating environment as an “autonomous war,” featuring independent and self-determining actions outside the control of participating NATO nations.

This century is different. We’re connecting but we’re just not informed and in that space you can do a great deal of damage, It’s science fact, not just science fiction with individuals capable of bringing industrial violence to bear,” Lamb explained. “It’s no longer war away from the masses or among the masses. It’s war by the masses!

Finally, Lt.Gen. Timothy Evans, commander of the NATO Allied Rapid Reaction Corps (ARRC) reiterated that the organisation would achieve Full Operational Capability in 2016- a year before the UK takes over a the ARRC framework nation. Designed to provide a “lead fighting brigade” and with access at anytime to three of 11 NATO Special Operations Forces pledged to the concept, the ARRC is aimed at providing a more flexible command and control (C2) concept of operations for the Alliance. The ARRC will participate in Exercise “Arrcade Fusion” in the Baltic States towards the end of the year, designed to test and develop interoperability amongst various force elements from the NATO Alliance at short-notice and with support of a Joint Task Force headquarters. Arrcade Fusion 2014 comprised theatre-level operations as well as air and sea command integration with land operations.

The commander of the UK Ministry of Defence’s (MoD’s) Joint Forces Command, General Sir Richard Barrons, has outlined a hit list of technology uplifts allowing the armed forces to conduct warfare in the “information age.” Speaking to delegates on 30 June, Barrons paid particular attention to processing power; the military use of space; and unmanned technology. “The nature of warfare doesn’t really change. It is hard, brutal, visceral and irrational. We threaten to use force or apply force,” Barrons explained with reference to ongoing activities to counter IS in Iraq and Syria, Russian competition across NATO boundaries, and nationalistic events in the South China Sea. “But the character of conflict does change over time and as we move into the information age, military capability follows it.”

Specifically, Barrons highlighted three areas which he said the UK armed forces should pay particular focus to. The first included optimal processing power of intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) data; miniaturisation of sensor payloads; data mining; and the exploitation of open source intelligence (OSINT) and social media.

Second, he called for increased military use of “space” with requirements for higher resolution of satellite and airborne intelligence image intelligence (IMINT); appetite for longer range; improved precision and stealth capabilities; and flexibility in future munition warheads.

Finally, in the realm of unmanned technology, Barrons described the, “evolution of robotics and autonomous systems,” as well as new forms of capability to launch complex weapon systems and sensors.

Hypothesising about a layered ISR approach, he outlined a concept of operation centred around multiple geostationary (GEO) satellites with 0.6m resolution; and ability to house a synthetic aperture radar payload. In the commercial space, he acknowledged developments being made in low earth orbit (LEO) military and nuclear-hardened satellites (capable of withstanding High Altitude Nuclear Electro-Magnetic Pulse threats), each comprising a cheaper alternative with two-year lifespan. Additionally, he called upon hybrid air vehicles and high altitude long endurance (HALE) unmanned vehicles to provide three to four months in loitering capability for communications and ISR support as well as a study as to how air-breathing ISR assets can best operate in an Anti-Access Area Denied (A2AD) environment. “85% of intelligence used is coming from OSINT but we need data scientists and analysts to turn this into visual data and show us how best to use it,” Barrons explained while highlighting how IS hosted Twitter and Facebook profile in 23 different languages.

Discussing cyber warfare, he called for more integration of cyber operations into wider deployment of the armed forces. “Cyber is just another part of full spectrum targeting and part of the interaction of states versus non-states and we need to draw on expertise of civil society,” he stated.

Finally, he hailed the development of robotics and autonomy as two “great advantages” now available to armed forces and urged the British Army to consider options to replace personnel and working dogs in dangerous situations such as Explosive Ordnance Disposal and compound breaches with robotic systems.

The British Army’s Chief of the General Staff, General Sir Nicholas Carter, has called for the UK’s armed forces to “fight smarter” in a contemporary and future operating environment which he described as the “Hot Peace.” Addressing delegates, Carter explained how current warfare appeared “short of war,” with the British armed forces learning “significant” lessons from recent campaigns in Afghanistan and Iraq about the use of land power. “The character of conflict has evolved with anybody now able to look into what we are doing on the battlefield. Enemies are indistinguishable from the population and our success is now judged through [their] perception. We have to get used to the political objectives getting much harder to define with manoeuvres becoming more multi-dimensional than they were,” Carter said while describing integration as the “new operational art” form.

We have to become more adaptable and agile and provide policy makers more options than in the past, with an orchestration of range of different units, not necessarily under our control,” he added.

Describing how greater levels of efficiency could be generated if all instruments of national power were orchestrated together, Carter also stressed the importance of developing relationships and trust with partner nations, highlighting French operations in Mali as a positive example.

Referring to multi-national operations, Carter stressed interoperability as “fundamental” in moving forward, citing the British Army’s 3rd Battalion, The Parachute Regiment, jumping and “properly integrating” with US airborne counterparts in Fort Bragg earlier this year. “Interoperability has to be taken to another level,” he urged.

In the tactical environment, Carter also called for a “new direction,” capable of being scaleable, modular and distributed and able to deploy smaller headquarters which might not need to employ with the full orchestra of assets. “The Divisional-level is essential and the level at which we would fight wars, allowing us to act independently in those circumstances to plan and execute simultaneous tactical engagements,” he continued while describing how the 77th Brigade (formerly the Security Assistance Group) had been expanded to aggregate a new form of warfare through non-kinetic means. The brigade was rebranded in January as part of the Army 2020 concept with a remit to collaborate with cross-government agencies in defence engagement and building stability overseas strategies.

Furthermore, he called for a new approach in handling the numerous and diverse sources of intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) information. Referring to the 1st ISR Brigade, also created under Army 2020 and which became operational in September, Carter described how integration of air and land assets must be taken to “another level.”

The ISR Brigade reports to the Force Troops Command with responsibility for all of the army’s ISR capabilities including Electronic Warfare, Signals Intelligence, target acquisition and UAVs.

Referring to the Russian threat on NATO’s eastern border, Carter acknowledged the information battlespace as a very “sophisticated area to operate in” before describing the Cyber domain as a threatre in which anybody could participate.

Dealing with non-state threats, do we need a different solution?” he asked. “We need to be more readier everywhere and require a rather different range of contingencies than we have had in the past.”
Andrew White 

06 July 2015

Jungle Warriors in the Making

Almost 1,800km from the sea and 5,000 from the source of the Amazon river, the 2.2 million inhabitants of the city of Manaus live in the steamy, hot and humid climate that immediately springs to mind on mention of the word Amazon. What better place than this, then, to train and educate Brazil’s jungle warriors? Situated close to the urban sprawl that is the city, the Centro Instrucao de Guerre na Selva (CIGS or Jungle Warfare Training School) is a fifty year old institution that has established itself as one of the world’s leading jungle warfare training facilities.

A sign at the entrance to the Centro Colonel Jorge Texeira, housing the CIGS, welcomes visitors to “The Home of the Brazilian Jungle Warrior,” and offers an integrated series of instructional and educational facilities that sit alongside research and development activities that have already provided insights into the physiological and psychological stresses unique to the jungle environment. CIGS – which is soon to undergo perhaps the most fundamental change in its half century history – is truly a hidden jewel.

Commandant of CIGS, Coronel Alcimar Marques de Araujo Martins, explains that the central structure of training is divided into three main courses: the ‘C’ Course, aimed at Sergeants at the squad and platoon command level; the ‘B’ Course, catering for Lieutenants and Captains at the platoon and company level; and the ‘A’ Course, which provides training for more senior officers at the Major and Colonel commanding companies and battalion levels. The important fact, Alcimar points out, is that the objective of all the courses is “to teach command in a jungle environment” – so in a sense, this is a “train the trainers” approach to developing jungle warfare expertise.

Since the first course at CIGS in February of 1967 – which consisted of 31 sergeants – the number of students enrolled in the ‘B’ and ‘C’ Courses has grown to a typical level of 120 students per 10 week course, each of which are held three times per year. Competition for places on the courses is fierce, with some 350 applications for 120 places on the last course, according to Alcimar. The senior officer course is a slightly less intense eight weeks in duration, though the same level of physical and mental stress is applied to students.

Challenging, exhausting and providing a ‘journey into self’ for the successful applicants, the esprit de corps that results from graduating the CIGS is palpable among the staff and alumni. The unique symbols of a graduate include the distinctive gorro headdress, the onça or jaguar badge (the school has a total of nine jaguars ‘on strength) and, perhaps most prized – because the graduate has to purchase it with his own funds – the facao, a sword-knife reminiscent of the medieval falchion and bearing more than a passing resemblance to the modern machete.

The onça possesses strength, agility and intelligence – attributes the school strives to instil and exploit among its students and hence the reason for the creature’s adoption as its de facto mascot, according to Alcimar. The school’s staff also share the animal’s character – some 498 fully committed staff, including 58 officers and sergeants, provide instruction ranging from methods of surviving in a hostile environment to special warfare techniques such as patrolling, river navigation and crossing procedures and individual weapons skills – firing standard weapons in the jungle requires very different skills from those employed in more traditional combat environments.

Alcimar shows justifiable pride in the quality and motivation of the CIGS cadre. “They are selected from among many applicants, they are motivated to succeed, they are experts in the techniques we teach and they are fully committed to supporting and training the students,” he says, going on to explain that the an individual instructor will spend up to 2,500 hours per year in the jungle surrounding Manaus: an average for a student attending one of the ‘B’ or ‘C’ courses runs some 1,100 hours, by comparison.

There are several large training areas in the local area available to CIGS for training. Two of them – the so-called Devil’s Square of 115,000 hectares and the Juma training area of 96,000 – are each well over twice the size of urban Manaus. Students live in the jungle throughout the course, for which the administrative planning schedules show activities and events pretty much 24/7 – many of which are unexpected from the students’ perspective, adding to the desired levels of stress and uncertainty staff seek to inject into the training.

Students become infinitely familiar with the issues of survival in the Amazon jungle: finding food and water from the environment, being aware of the potential dangers of predatory animals, snakes and poisonous plants, being stealthy and covert in movement – the list of issues the student has to keep in mind at all times is practically endless. Which is what makes successful graduation a prize to be relished by the individual. In its history, 5,825 soldiers and officers have graduated from CIGS – and every one of them knows his unique number on that list, as Paulo-Edouardo Ribeiro, a former Colonel who graduated the course in 1991, confirmed.

Of that number of nerly 6,000, a total of 474 officers and NCOs have come from countries other than Brazil. Over 300 have come from neighbouring Latin American nations, but well over 100 have come from Europe (with France dominating the nationalities – though many ‘French’ students are, in fact, from the Légion Étrangère and not necessarily French nationals, therefore) and a significant number from the United States. There is some justification for the assertion that CIGS and the US Marine Corps’ own jungle warfare training facility lead the pack in terms of pre-eminent establishments of their kind across the globe.

Nor does the range of CIGS activities stop at ‘mere’ training: the zoo attached to the facility houses over 200 animals of various sorts, all local to the Amazon jungle and all contributing to the considerable research the centre engages in as well as providing a reference collection for familiarisation. It is open to the local civilian population and apparently well patronised by them – which makes the fact that lack of external funding may well put the facility at risk, given the stresses placed on the Army’s budget currently.

There is hope, however. Plans at the Army Chief of Staff level to make CIGS the centre of one of the planned six integrated warfare training centres around Brazil mean that there are ambitious plans to expand the campus, integrate other training methodologies and facilities with the existing ones, and provide the basis for expanding the crucial contribution CIGS makes to the medical understanding and treatment of uniquely Amazonian ailments.

“Small, but beautifully formed” is a phrase that springs to mind after visiting CIGS. Commitment, expert knowledge, strong motivation and a highly developed sense of esprit de corps are revealed in every comment made by Alcimar and his staff. Perhaps the most telling comment, though, comes from an unidentified soldier in a video shown to demonstrate the Centre’s breadth of activity in the “7.5 million square kilometres of mystery and danger” that is the Amazon basin. “Change is the key to survival….and here we change their DNA.” Words to live by…
Tim Mahon, reporting from Manaus, State of Amazonas, Brazil