Tuesday, March 29, 2016

NATO's VJTF Attacks From the Sky - Very High Readiness Joint Task Force

NATO Spearhead Force Flexes its Muscles in Poland - Very High Readiness Joint Task Force

NATO jets train with Nordic partners

Sweden Scrambles Airforce: Sweden and NATO jets intercept Russian nuclea... July 2015

LIVE! Standing NATO Maritime Group 1 in Riga MIX TV - Spanish and British ships

NATO's Eastern Flank:Deterrence Strategy Unfolds

At the NATO Wales Summit in 2014,the Alliance's deterrence framework for its Eastern Flank was set forth as the Readiness Action Plan,or RAP.The Baltic States of Lithuania,Latvia and Estonia,who are most exposed to Russian military power,welcomed the plan,and it continues to evolve today.Currently the plan revolves around the trip-wire concept provided by small rotations of Allied forces such as the Baltic Air Policing Mission.Sixteen NATO Allies are participating in this long-running mission,which began in 2004 and is based at Lithuania's Siauliai Air Base.Yet this mission can now be scaled up using the air bases at Amari,Estonia and Malbork,Poland.*
In 2017,the Very High Readiness Joint Task Force,or VJTF,comes into full operation with 5,000 Allied troops.Besides the VJTF,the US is studying the possible deployment of a 5,000 troop combat brigade to continuously rotate through the three Baltic States plus Poland,Bulgaria and Romania.As well,the UK is sending more ships to the Baltic Sea,including a destroyer;frigate;and 3 minesweepers;plus 100 ground troops to the Baltic States.Gemany will also rotate forces through the Baltic States and Poland.*
NATO's relations with its Nordic partners Finland and Sweden have been stepped up in recent years in light of Russia's aggression in Crimea and Eastern Ukraine,accompanied by its bomber flights along Nordic airspace and its unannounced land manoeuvers with thousands of troops.This new closeness between the Nordic Defence Cooperation,NORDEFCO,and NATO involves joint assessment of Baltic Sea Region security;expanded information sharing,including on hybrid warfare;coordinating training and exercises;and developing improved joint situational awareness.*
In another example of the rotational approach to deterrence,Standing NATO Maritime Group 1,with its 3 core vessels,frigate and flagship ESPS Alvaro de Bazan (F-101);combat supply ship ESPS A-15 Cantabria;and frigate HMS Iron Duke (F234),made a port call at Riga,Latvia.Following the visit,during which citizens were invited to tour the ships,they will continue patrolling and exercising in the North and Baltic Seas.Earlier in the mission,they were joined by Norwegian coastal corvettes HNoMs Storm (P-961) and HNoMs Steil (P-963).

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

USS Hartford (SSN 768) surfaces at the Arctic circle for ICEX 2016

Navy and Coast Guard divers participate in ICEX 2016

JBER Icex 2016 - FOX 4

ICEX 2016 Arctic Airdrop: Alaska Air National Guard supports U.S. Navy's...

ICEX videographic v4 - US Navy

Undersea Warfare:US Navy Submarine Forces' ICEX 2016

On 2 March,the US Navy began constructing Ice Camp SARGO on an ice floe in the Arctic Ocean to support Ice Exercise 2016.The five-week drills are researching,testing and evaluating operational capabilities of the Navy's Submarine Forces in the Arctic region.*
ICEX allows us to assess our operational readiness in the Arctic;increase our experience in the region;develop partnerships and collaborative efforts;and advance our understanding of the Arctic environment,according to Vice Admiral Joseph E. Tofalo,Commander,Submarine Forces.The Arctic environment plays a key role in national defence.With over 1,000 miles of Arctic coastline,the US has strong national security and homeland defence interests in the region,VADM Tofalo pointed out.*
The Navy's San Diego-based Arctic Submarine Laboratory is coordinating,planning and executing ICEX,which has over 200 participants from four countries.Participating besides the US are Canada,the UK and Norway.It involves complex testing,demonstration and evaluation efforts that promote and align with broader Navy,DOD and national objectives in the Arctic,said ASL Director Larry Estrada.*
Ice Camp SARGO has shelters,a command center and the infrastructure to support more than 70 personnel at one time.It is named for the USS Sargo (SSN 583),which became in 1960 the first submarine to conduct a winter transit of the Bering Strait,and a subsequent North Pole surfacing.*
Navy Submarine Forces conduct Arctic under-ice operations in support of inter-fleet transit;training;cooperative allied engagement and operations,and have done so for over 50 years.*
Two US Navy Los Angeles-class fast attack submarines arrived at Ice Camp SARGO on 14 March.The USS Hartford (SSN 768) and USS Hampton (SSN 767),from Groton,Connecticut and San Diego,respectively,will conduct multiple arctic transits;North Pole surfacing;scientific data collection;and other training evolutions.*
These submarine operations provide the necessary training to maintain a working knowledge of an extremely challenging region that is very different from any other ocean in the world,said Commander Scott Luers,ice camp officer-in-tactical-command and deputy director of operations for Commander Submarine Forces,Norfolk.Navigating,communicating and manoeuvering are all different in an arctic environment as there are surfaces both above and below a submarine,CDR Luers explained.*
ICEX 2016 is our continued commitment to the development of undersea warfare capabilities and tactics in all areas of the world,said Rear Admiral Jeff Trussler,Commander,Undersea Warfighting Development Center.Our superiority in delivery effects in and from the undersea domain to operational commanders is dependent on the regular exercise and demonstration of these capabilities,RADM Trussler noted.*
The Los Angeles-class fast attack submarines,a product of General Dynamics Electric Boat Division,have a mission of anti-submarine warfare and land attack.They have a complement of 16 officers and 127 enlisted.Considered the current backbone of the Submarine Forces,there are 41 of them in service,the newest 30 of which have VLS tubes for Tomahawk cruise missiles,as well as tubes for Mk 48 torpedoes.The newest 23 of the boats,including the USS Hartford and USS Hampton,are modified for under-ice operations,being configured and strengthened for ice-surfacing.*
General Dynamics (GD)

Sunday, March 20, 2016

Special Report:More US Marines Headed for Iraq - Updated

On Saturday,19 March,US Marine Corps Staff Sergeant Louis F. Cardin,27,of Temecula,California,was killed in a rocket attack by ISIL militants on his small outpost near Makhmur,Iraq,south of the ISIL stronghold of Mosul.Several other Marines were wounded in the barrage.In response,the US is sending an additional detachment from the 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit,Camp Lejeune,North Carolina.This is being done following consultations with the Iraqi government.The size of the detachment is undisclosed.*
Mosul is a city of a million people and its recapture is a major goal of Operation Inherent Resolve,the multinational anti-ISIL effort to which both the US and Iraq belong,along with many other NATO and Middle Eastern allies.*
SSGT Cardin was a member of the 2nd Battalion,6th Marine Regiment,26th MEU.He was providing force protection fire support at a recently established coalition fire base near Makhmur in Northern Iraq.His is the second combat death in OIR,and reminds us of the risks our men and women in uniform face every day.Our thoughts and prayers are with the service members involved,their families and their coalition teammates who will continue the fight against ISIL with resolve and determination,Pentagon Press Secretary Peter Cook said in a statement on 19 March.*
Update:According to US officials,the fire base is called Fire Base Bell.It has about 200 Marines and an artillery battery.The artillery is to protect US and allied forces who are based nearby on a train,advise and assist mission;but also to help the Iraqi Security Forces in orchestrating their buildup to the Battle of Mosul.The plan is that,eventually,the US Army will assume control of Fire Base Bell,as the Battle of Mosul draws nearer.*
Thursday,the Marines of Fire Base Bell helped the ISF launch their Mosul campaign by firing illumination rounds so the ISF could see the ISIL militants;then the Marines opened up with artillery shells to assist the ISF in recapturing several villages near Makhtour from the Islamist extremists,which was indeed accomplished.

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Largest ever S. Korea-U.S. Ssang Yong exercise kicks off

South Korea, US prepare for possible invasion of North Korea

Joint U.S./ROK/Australia/New Zealand Exercise • Kim Jong-un Threatens Nuclear War

Fleet assembles for Exercise Ssang Yong - US,South Korea,Australia,New Zealand

Exercise Prepares US,South Korean,Australian and New Zealand Forces for Amphibious Assault

Exercise Ssang Yong 2016 is underway in the Pacific Ocean and the Southeast Korean Penninsula.More than 17,000 troops from the US,Republic of Korea,Australia and New Zealand commenced the drills on 10 March.On 12 March,US Marine Corps and US Navy personnel from the 13th Marine Expeditionary Unit,Camp Pendleton,California and the 31st MEU,Japan,joined ROK Marines,Australian Army and Royal New Zealand Army troops for amphibious assault training at Doksukri Beach,South Korea.A flotilla of 19 ships took part in the effort,7 of them from Expeditionary Strike Group 7,which is drawn from 2 Amphibious Ready Groups and has more than 9,000 Marines.Ships from the Royal Australian Navy,Royal New Zealand Navy and 3 ROK ships from Commander,Flotilla sailed in a joint Marine Expeditionary Brigade/Expeditionary Strike Group.*
The role of the 13th MEU is to conduct amphibious operations that help build a greater partnership with other naval forces in the Korean theatre of operations,said 13th MEU commander Colonel Anthony Henderson.It gives us an opportunity to show how we conduct our full spectrum of operations from amphibious landings to humanitarian assistance.The MEU will help support the MEB/ESG with its ground,logistics and aviation combat elements,COL Henderson explained.Amphibious landings,aviation operations and landing craft air cushion surface operations will be supplemented by the Marines also doing community service ashore for a well-rounded experience.*
Upholding the reputation of the 1st Marine Regiment,the Marine Corps legacy of being fierce combatants in the Korean War,is very much on the minds of the 13th MEU Marines,who will execute live-fire training in the course of the exercise.*
What we have done for the last year as a naval integrated team with all these ships and how we function across our mission sets-using the sea as manoeuver,providing presence and ensuring stability by our operations-is what we train to and what we're prepared to demonstrate in Ssang Yong 2016,said Sergeant Cesar Martinez,an infantry platoon sergeant with the Fighting 13th Marines and Sailors.

Rotor & Wing Magazine :: Second CH-53K Joins Marine Flight Test Program

Rotor & Wing Magazine :: Second CH-53K Joins Marine Flight Test Program

Monday, March 7, 2016

Vandenberg Air Force Base Minute Man III Launch GT 218 - second launch in one week

F-22 Fighters Fly Over South Korea in Show of Force

Prepared for National Emergency,US Stages Series of Pointed Warnings To North Korea

Beginning in January,the US has been staging a series of warnings to North Korea and other potential nuclear adversaries following North Korea's recent underground nuclear weapon detonation and long-range missile test flight-supposedly to launch a satellite,but believed by the US to have been an intercontinental ballistic missile test.In January,a US Air Force B-52H Stratofortress heavy bomber was flown on a deterrence mission over South Korea,escorted by 2 fighter jets.The B-52 can deliver a substantial number of nuclear-tipped cruise missiles and other precision strike nuclear and conventional payloads.*
This was followed on 17 February by a flight of 4 US Air Force F-22 Raptor advanced technology fighter jets that had been launched from Japan over South Korea,escorted by 4 South Korean F-15K Slam Eagles and 4 US Air Force F-16 Fighting Falcons.The aircraft landed at Osan Air Base near Seoul,South Korea,where there was a red carpet ceremony of unity between the US and South Korean Airmen.*
In February,there were 2 Minuteman III ICBM test launches in one week from Vandenberg Air Force Base,California.US Air Force Global Strike Command Airmen from the 91st Missile Wing,Minot Air Force Base,North Dakota and the 625th Strategic Operations Squadron,Offutt Air Force Base,Nebraska,launched an unarmed LGM-30G Minuteman III ICBM with a test re-entry vehicle from Vandenberg.Most significantly,the launch was controlled from a US Strategic Command Boeing E-4B Nightwatch flying command post,a designated national emergency aircraft.The missile flew about 4200 miles to Kwajalein Atoll in the Marshall Islands.
The flight test program demonstrates one part of the operational capability of the ICBM weapon system,said 576th FLTS commander Colonel Craig Ramsey.But perhaps most importantly,this visible message of national security serves to assure our partners and dissuade potential aggressors,COL Ramsey added.*
On 25 February,a second unarmed Minuteman was launched from Vandenberg by the more conventional ground control method.*
On 7 March,around 17,000 US troops and more than 300,000 South Korean forces began their annual spring exercise to practice defending against a North Korean attack.The drills will last through April and have been described as the largest ever in the series.*
North Korea is known to be developing the KN08 mobile ICBM that will threaten the entire US,and to already have one of them that is operational.*
Boeing (BA)

Tuesday, March 1, 2016

Orion Spacecraft Arrives for Exploration Mission-1 in 2018

B-52 Bomber "Deterrence" Flight 2016 - South Korea

US Air Force MOST FEARED B-61 Nuclear Bomb inert drop from F-15 sends deadly message

USMC Combined Arms Company winter-survival training in Norway - Cold Response 16

NATO'S Massive Winter Exercise in Norway with B-52s

A sizeable NATO exercise,Cold Response 2016,involving about 16,000 air,ground and maritime forces from 12 countries is running in the Trondelag region of Central Norway through 9 March.The troops will collectively develop tactics,techniques and procedures for extreme cold-weather combat operations.
Of special interest is the deployment of three US Air Force B-52H Stratofortress strategic bombers from Barksdale Air Force Base,Louisiana to participate in the exercise.The aircraft landed at Moron Air Base,Spain on 27 February.
We appreciate the opportunity to take part in such a large multinational exercise at the invitation of our Norwegian allies,and we are especially thankful to test our skills in such unique cold-weather conditions,said Lieutenant Colonel Dennis Cummings,2nd Expeditionary Bomber Group Commander.*
During the drills,the B-52s will execute multiple sorties,simulating strikes against ground targets in the training area.The nuclear-capable heavy bomber can deliver large payloads of precision nuclear or conventional ordnance over long distances,while providing decision makers the option of rapid military power projection.*
Other US participants in Cold Response 2016 include KC-135 Stratotankers;F-16 Fighting Falcons;and C-130 Hercules transports for ground forces support.