Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Iraq War 2015 - Battle For Mosul: Kurdish Peshmerga Heavy Fighting Durin...

ISIS Runs Away During Firefight With Iraqi Security Forces

In Afghanistan,Taliban reportedly engaged in heavy fighting with ISIL

If Baghdad Falls-What Would Draw the US Further Into The War?

On 17 June 2015,the outgoing Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff,General Martin Dempsey,US Army,and Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter testified before the House Armed Services Committee about the War On ISIL,with frank discussion of what circumstances would possibly increase US involvement.GEN Dempsey outlined the context of the conflict with the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant by noting that:
1.Several governments in the region are struggling for political legitimacy.
2.There is a rivalry between Sunni and Shia Muslims.
3.There is rising competition between radical and moderate Islam.This will continually challenge the region's security forces.
We have an appropriate level of effort.This is an Iraq first strategy,but not an Iraq only one.We are at the beginning of a complex,non-linear campaign.We are constantly evaluating our approach and making sure we are resourcing it appropriately.
This has to be them winning.In our military campaign,we are on the path to delivering that which we are committed to providing:the ability to defeat ISIL on their sovereign territory.We're trying to build a network that will enable the region's players to confront this threat.
Why are we not targeting known ISIL assets?Leadership targets,fuel targets are authorised.We do strike those targets.The limitation is to try to avoid civilian casualties.Commander CENTCOM has the authority to select targets.Consider that 397 strike aircraft and 1650 pilots fly these missions every day.In my judgement,the avoidance of civilian casualties is not the limiting factor of our success against ISIL.
I think our strategy matches the complexity of what we're dealing with.The reality is,some of our Sunni partners are more worried about Iran's influence than they are about ISIL.We're reaching out to Sunnis at the request of Iraqi Prime Minister Abadi.
We've got almost 50% of intelligence,search and rescue unmanned assigned to Iraq/Syria.We of course are looking at points discrete where we might be providing additional resources to the Iraqi Security Forces where it would be strategically significant.Potentially,for example,an assault on Mosul,but I would be hesitant to make that permanent because we want them to do it independently.
If Iraq fails,added Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter,we will still try to enable local ground forces if they are willing to partner with us,but there wouldn't be a unified state.If Baghdad falls-I don't see that particular scenario as very likely,because Prime Minister Abadi has surrounded Baghdad with what remains,and the fact that they are Shia will make them fight fiercely.
What would make us more kinetic?asked GEN Dempsey:
1.A credible threat to the homeland.
2.A credible threat to our forces.
For example,I believe another 9-11 probably would draw us in.
Could we go in there and do a better job against ISIL?Absolutely,but we'd be back there two years from now.I would not recommend that we put US forces in harm's way simply to stiffen the spine of Iraqi Security Forces.If the threat from ISIL doesn't stiffen them,we won't,either.If the ISF go on the offensive with a strategic target,I would certainly go to the Secretary of Defense and have that conversation of how to increase their effectiveness,but not just to stiffen their spines,GEN Dempsey told the House Armed Services Committee.

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Swedish air force Saab Gripen NG Fighter with FULL COMBAT LOAD

HMS Ocean Baltops 2015 - 49 warships

USS Jason Dunham fires 5" gun as part of BALTOPS 2015

BALTOPS 2015: A Show of Force in the Baltic Sea

BALTOPS 2015:NATO Allies,Partners Stage Amphibious Assault

On Wednesday 17 June,allied troops from NATO and partner nations staged a massive amphibious assault as part of Exercise BALTOPS 2015.The successful Baltic Sea drill was based on the scenario of trying to defeat enemy forces occupying the coast of Northern Poland,NATO said.It took place on a beach near Utska,Poland.In the exercise,several waves of amphibious assault craft and 2 US Navy hovercraft brought about 700 British,US,Finnish and Swedish Marines ashore,aided by close air support from US and Swedish fighter aircraft and attack helicopters.*
We saw an amazing exercise out on the water today,said Supreme Allied Commander Europe General Philip Breedlove,US Air Force.It was a great example of interoperability and the capability that NATO forces have together,and demonstrates that the Alliance is ready for the new security situation.*
The amphibious landing was commanded by Royal Navy Fleet Flagship HMS Ocean (L12),a landing platform helicopter ship,and the US Navy's USS San Antonio (LPD 17),an amphibious transport dock ship.Embarked on HMS Ocean were a series of Royal Navy,Army and Royal Air Force helicopters.*
In all,17 countries,includng 14 NATO allies and 3 NATO partners,participated in BALTOPS 2015 with 49 ships and 5600 troops.The annual exercise ended on Friday 19 June.

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

F15 night takeoff - RAF Lakenheath

F-15 Combat Take-Off in the Middle East

B-1 Bomber Taxi & Takeoff From Al Udeid Air Base,Qatar

Kurds retake Syria's Tal Abyad: Report

The War Room:The US Air Force and the War On ISIL-plus the air strike on Libya

The hot,dusty expanse of Al Udeid Air Base in the deserts of Qatar is the home of US Central Command's Combined Forces Air Component,Lieutenant General John Hesterman III,commander.Since August 8,coalition airpower has significantly degraded ISIL's ability to organise,project and sustain combat power while taking exceptional care to limit collateral damage and civilian casualties,LTGEN Hesterman said.Coalition airpower has helped ground forces regain territory,removed significant numbers of fighters from the battlefield,and eliminated the majority of ISIL oil refining capability.*
As the enemy's tactics change,so have our air power tactics,and we are still fighting and eliminating ISIL fighters,added Major John Easton,Air Forces CENTCOM tactics officer.ISIL is very much afraid of our ability to strike them.*
I expect my team to lean forward,and they are,LTGEN Hesterman continued.Not only has airpower been effective,but it has enabled virtually every victory on the battlefield and given the ground forces time to regroup and get their forces in order.It's also given all our coalition nations the space and time to execute the international lines of effort for countering flow of foreign fighters;countering ISIL financing;providing humanitarian assistance;containing ISIL's messaging and stabilising liberated areas,all of which will be necessary to finish ISIL.
Responding to critics of the air campaign,Lieutenant Colonel Dave Haworth,Combined Air Operations Center Combat Operations Director,said that while pilots struck large numbers of targets in Desert Storm and the opening days of Operation Iraqi Freedom,those fights had extremely different and available target sets.In previous campaigns,we were fighting against a conventional military that massed in the open,away from the civilian population.Those target sets don't exist in this fight now.We're fighting an enemy that hides behind civilians.You simply can't compare then to now.*
A very recent example of what air power has achieved is the success of Kurdish YPG and Free Syrian Army ground forces in recapturing most of the strategic town of Tal Abyad,Syria from ISIL near the Turkish border.Only pockets of ISIL resistance remain in the town,which is a critical link in ISIL's supply line to their capital Raqqa,80 kilometers to the north.The Kurds and FSA entered the town on Monday 15 June after a day of swift advances enabled by coalition air strikes.More than 16,000 residents of Tal Abyad and nearby villages were displaced by the heavy fighting-terrorised by ISIL and bombarded from all sides,a refugee told the Al Jazeera news channel.The main push to the town had begun on 11 June.*
In another effective use of air power,in this case against al Qaida militant leader Mokhtar Belmokhtar,Air Force Secretary Deborah Lee James confirmed that the Air Force had carried out an air strike in Libya with precision weapons.It was the first US air strike in Libya since 2011.Pentagon spokesman Colonel Steve Warren,US Army,added that two Boeing F-15 Strike Eagles carried out the raid with 500 lb. bombs in Eastern Libya,escorted by observation drones.
Belmokhtar was leader of an al Qaida affiliate which he co-founded called Al-Murabitoun,having formerly been chief of Al-Qaida in the Islamic Maghreb,AQIM.In that capacity,he was mastermind of the 2013 seizure of a gas plant in Algeria that resulted in the deaths of 38 hostages,including three Americans and several British.Belmokhtar also claimed responsibility for a double suicide bombing in Niger that killed 20 people.
The internationally recognised government of Libya stated on Tuesday that Belmokhtar and other militants were killed in the US raid,which took place on a farm south of Ajdabiya,about 160 kilometers south of Benghazi,as Belmokhtar met leaders from other Islamist extremist groups,including Ansar al-Sharia.*
In 2014,US special operations forces mounted an operation in Libya in which they captured Ahmed Abu Khattala.an organizer of the 2012 attack on the US Consulate in Benghazi that killed US Ambassador Christopher Stevens and three other Americans.*
Boeing (BA)

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

BALTOPS 2015 Ships Sail from Gdynia for Training - NATO and partner ships

USS San Antonio in the Baltic Sea: June 8, 2015 -Russian jets buzz

B-2A Spirits at RAF Fairford 7th June 2015

B-52H Stratofortress at RAF Fairford 5th June 2015

Large NATO Maritime Drills Commence in Baltic-strategic bombers deployed to Europe

Exercise BALTOPS 2015 has begun in the Baltic Sea area.The massive NATO drills got underway with ships from 17 NATO and partner nations sailing from Gdynia,Poland on 8 June.The annual exercise is designed to enhance flexibility and interoperability in order to strengthen combined response capabilities,and thus ensure regional stability.It will test the maritime defence capabilities of NATO and partner nations and feature an amphibious landing by 700 US,Swedish and Finnish troops.About 5600 air,ground and maritime forces will conduct air defence,maritime interdiction,anti-submarine warfare and amphibious operations in a joint environment.
The US-led exercise is under Commander,Naval Striking and Support Forces NATO.It will involve 49 ships,61 aircraft,a submarine and a landing force.Participants are:Belgium,Canada,Denmark,Estonia,Finland,France,Germany,Georgia,Latvia,Lithuania,the Netherlands,Norway,Poland,Sweden,Turkey,the UK and the US.According to Rear Admiral Brad Williamson,Commander,Standing NATO Maritime Group 2,the drills will provide another great training opportunity for our ships,and will give Alliance and partner nations the chance to operate at sea as part of a large multinational force.The ability of maritime forces to quickly integrate is the cornerstone of the Alliance.*
BALTOPS 2015 will demonstrate the resolve of Allied and partner forces to defend the Baltic region,and is much larger than last year's effort.As well,US Strategic Command and its component US Air Force Global Strike Command have deployed 3 B-52H Stratofortress bombers and 2 B-2A Spirit bombers to Europe to participate in both BALTOPS 2015 and Saber Strike 2015,which is a US Army Europe-led exercise.The B-52s were deployed from Minot Air Force Base,North Dakota to demonstrate the ability of AFGSC assets to project conventional air power anywhere,anytime by conducting flying missions with European nations.The assets were deployed to RAF Fairford,England on 5 June.*
Our partnership with the countries out here in US Air Forces Europe and Air Force Africa is significant,said Lieutenant Colonel Bradley Dyer,23rd Expeditionary Bomb Squadron commander.We need their support,and we want to assure them they have our support as well for any kind of conflicts that may arise in the future-our relationship with them is key,LTC Bradley emphasised.*
In addition to the B-52s,2 B-2A Spirit bombers were deployed from Whiteman Air Force Base,Missouri to RAF Fairford as well for hot-pit refueling and engine-running crew change skill tests,the Air Force said in a news release.The events were meant to demonstrate the ability of the aircraft to forward deploy and deliver conventional and nuclear deterrence anytime and anywhere.The bombers will integrate into several exercise activities,including air intercept training,simulated mining operations during Saber Strike,inert ordnance drops during BALTOPS and close air support over international waters in the Baltic Sea and the territory of the Baltic states and Poland.
The deployment to RAF Fairford was specifically designed and closely coordinated with the United Kingdom and our regional allies to ensure maximum opportunities to synchronise and integrate with their military assets,explained Admiral Cecil Haney,Commander US Strategic Command.

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

U.S. Marines & Australian Soldiers • Exercise Koolendong

U.S. and Australian War Games - Talisman Saber 2013

Aegis BMD Stellar Wyvern (FTM-25) Flight Mission Success

Exercise Talisman Sabre 2015 Gains Significance From China's Posturing

The biennial US-Australian military exercise Talisman Sabre 2015,being held in mid-July this year,is always a notable event in the Asia Pacific region because of its scale alone,but this time it takes on added significance because of China's widely perceived belligerence over its expansive South China Sea territorial claims,particularly in light of its militarisation of the Spratly Islands,where it has swiftly been building reefs up into islands and constructing military airstrips on them-and a PLA Navy port on Hainan Island as well,where three ballistic missile submarines and two guided missile corvettes have been observed.Exercise Talisman Sabre 2015 is even getting an extra participant this year in that Japan will be take part for the first time,although in a small way,sending just 40 troops to exercise only with the US Marines,and not with Australia's defence forces.*
Talisman Sabre 2015 is the largest combined military exercise undertaken by the Australian Defence Force,the Australian Department of Defence said in a Media Release.It is the principal Australian and United States bilateral training activity focused on the planning and conduct of mid-intensity 'high-end' warfighting.New Zealand and Japan will also participate with their defence forces.A New Zealand contingent of over 500 personnel,including ships and aircraft,will operate as part of the Australian forces.
Australia's Chief of Joint Operations,Vice Admiral David Johnston,said the inclusion of the New Zealand and Japanese forces would enable the ADF to deepen its engagement with close defence partners in the region but did not change the bilateral nature of the exercises between Australia and the US.The primary aim of the exercise remains improving Australia-US readiness and the way we operate together through combined training,VADM Johnston explained.*
More than 28,000 US and Australian personnel will participate in drills held across Australia,US Pacific Command noted,in an effort to increase their ability to defend Australia's national interests.*
On 27 May,US Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter laid out the US point of view on China's recent island-building campaign on reefs in the Spratly Islands chain of the South China Sea.Speaking at a change of command ceremony for US Pacific Command in Hawaii,Mr.Carter minced no words:
First,we want a peaceful resolution of all disputes and an immediate and lasting halt to land reclamation by any claimant.We also oppose any further militarisation of disputed features.Second,and there should be no mistake.The US will fly,sail,and operate wherever international law allows,as we do all around the world.
With its actions in the South China Sea,China is out of step with both international norms that underscore the Asia Pacific's security architecture,and the regional consensus in favour of noncoercive approaches to this and other long-standing disputes.China's actions are bringing countries in the region together in new ways.And they're increasing the demand for American engagement in the Asia Pacific.We're going to meet it.We will remain the principal security power in the Asia Pacific for decdes to come,Mr.Carter promised.