Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Marines wrap up Exercise Koolendong

Company A takes objective - Exercise Koolendong 16

U.S. Marines Live-Fire Training In The Australian Outback

French Marines & US Marines rifle range during Exercise Koolendong 2016,...

FANC shoots integrated table 5 - French Armed Forces New Caledonia

Outback Wargames Concluded in the Northern Territory by US Marines and Allies

US Marines with 1st Battalion,1st Marine Regiment,Marine Rotational Force-Darwin recently concluded Exercise Koolendong 16 in Australia's Northern Territory along with small contingents of their Australian and French allies.The two-week drills included live fire events;close air support;and capstone defensive live fire under chemical,biological,radiological and nuclear conditions,firing downrange while wearing protective suits and conducting a decontamination,representing an extremely austere geographical and warfighting environment.*
We are focusing on our core mission essential tasks,offense and defence,in a live fire environment and some of the harshest conditions,said Lieutenant Colonel Steven M. Sutey,company commander of MRF-D.*
HMLA-367 fulfilled the Air Combat Element of the exercise with their U1-1Y Huey helicopters.They executed several close air support evolutions;aerial command and control;armed reconnaissance;and forward air controller support for Marines on the ground.This provided MRF-D with full Marine Air-Ground Task Force assets.*
The closing drill of Koolendong 16 involved holding a battalion-size defensive position while working with the Air Combat Element for close air,and,in an extremely rare evolution,having to don gas masks as about 30 cans of CS gas were dropped into their fighting holes,adding a CBRN touch to the live fire environment,responding to CBRN conditions being one of these Marines' designated missions.*
Participating in Koolendong 16 were around 1300 US Marines and Sailors from MRF-D and 4th Marine Regiment Okinawa,Japan;100 Australian Defence Force troops from 8th/12th Australian Artillery Regiment,adding a capability the US Marines don't have in a MAGTF;and,in their first Exercise Koolagong,50 soldiers from the French Armed Forces New Caledonia infantry.

Tuesday, August 23, 2016


Updated Special Report:US Soldier Killed in Action in Afghanistan Identified - American University of Afghanistan Comes Under Attack in Kabul

NATO command in Kabul,Afghanistan has announced the death of a US soldier on while on a joint foot patrol with Afghan National Defence and Security Forces near Lashkar Gah,capital of Helmand Province in the country's south.The patrol triggered an IED blast that wounded another US soldier and six Afghans.The names and service affiliations of the US troops haven't been released yet.They were part of NATO's Resolute Support Mission,training,advising and assisting ANDSF personnel.*
Separately,the US had deployed an additional 100 troops to back up the ANDSF in Helmand recently,where the Taliban have been stepping up attacks in one of their longtime stronghold provinces,focusing on Helmand provincial capital Lashkar Gah,a city of 200,000.The district is on the verge of being overrun by the Islamist extremist group,an Afghan official complained.The US troops involved in the IED attack were not part of the 100 reinforcements.NATO said an investigation of the attack is underway.*
The Taliban may become increasingly aggressive,hoping to expand their territory as this year's fighting season begins to wind down in the face of winter's approach.As well,they could be eager to make a statement by their actions with the 15th anniversary of the 9-11 attacks,which they enabled by hosting al-Qaida on their territory,being just weeks away.*
Meanwhile,the American University of Afghanistan in the Afghan capital,Kabul,has come under nightttime attack by militants using guns and explosives.Fires have been reported inside the compound,which is a private,non-profit institution.The details of the assault are still unclear,with students and others phoning out that they are trapped.ANDSF have reportedly surrounded the campus.On 7 August,an American and Australian professor from the university were kidnapped and their fate is also unknown.
Updates:At least 12 were killed,including seven students,and dozens wounded in the assault by militants on the American University of Afghanistan,which has been resolved by the ANDSF and US military advisors,who assisted the Afghans on scene.Many American staff members were working there yesterday night when the insurgents blew the gate open,opening fire and throwing hand grenades in the course of their raid.No Americans were killed,but some were reportedly wounded.*
Killed in action while serving in the NATO Resolute Support Mission near Lashkar Gah,the capital of Helmand Province,was US Army Special Forces (Green Beret) Staff Sergeant Matthew V. Thompson,28,of Brookfield,Wisconsin.SSGT Thompson,who was assigned to Joint Base Lewis-McChord,Washington,was on foot patrol with Afghan Special Forces and US soldiers,moving toward a Taliban objective,when they triggered an IED explosion.Typically the NATO troops are based at compounds or forward operating bases with their Afghan trainees,but have the authority to accompany them to the front lines and assist them there as needed.This can quickly become a combat situation,so NATO troops such as SSGT Thompson are still in considerable danger in Afghanistan.

Saturday, August 20, 2016

Special Report:Fighting Flares Again in the Afghan North - critical city threatened

Taliban militants launched a pre-dawn multi-pronged attack on Khanabad district of Kunduz Province in Northern Afghanistan,seizing control of the district and threatening the provincial capital Kunduz city.This comes less than a year after Afghan National Defence and Security Forces,backed by US airpower and NATO special operations forces,who secured the international airport as a haven for government officials,drove the Taliban back from the strategically located city,a regional transport centre for the Afghan north,in heavy combat last September.*
A lack of sufficient ammunition and manpower were being cited to explain the defeat.
We resisted for hours,but we received no support,complained Khanabad district administrator Hayatullah Ramiri to Reuters.According to the Associated Press,the Islamist extremists also confiscated weapons and military vehicles during their rampage.Civilians were seen fleeing the district.Other reports from Kunduz city say some government officials wasted no time in once again seeking refuge at the international airport when clashes approached the city gates.*
Kunduz city was a militant stronghold prior to the US invasion of Afghanistan following the 9-11 attacks.In their attempt to recapture the city last year,the Taliban freed more than 600 prisoners from the Kunduz jail,including almost 150 militants.*
Even as the battle for Kunduz Province re-erupts,fighting is also intense in Helmand Province in the south and Nangarhar Province in the east of Afghanistan;while the Taliban had seized yet another district in the north of the country,in Baghlan Province just to the south of Kunduz,less than a week ago.
Update:Fighting continued in Khanabad district of Kunduz Province,Afghanistan on Sunday after the Taliban Islamist extremist group captured it on Saturday,although a provincial government spokesman said that the ANDSF had retaken the centre of Khanabad.The spokesman said 38 Taliban militants had been killed in the battle so far.The Taliban were reportedly hanging on in other parts of the district,which is about 30 kilometers east of the provincial capital,Kunduz city.Nationwide,significant swathes-perhaps at least 10 to 20% of Afghanistan's territory-is either under Taliban control now or being contested by them.

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Orion Versatility Video - NASA

Orion Backstage: Up the Hatch with Astronauts - NASA

Orion: Cockpit -NASA

NASA Asteroid Redirect Mission Approved for Phase B

On 15 August 2016,NASA management approved the Asteroid Redirect Mission for movement to Phase B of its design and development-a project lifecycle milestone for the mission.Key Decision Point-B established the content,cost and schedule commitments for Phase B activities.*
The target launch date for the robotic segment of the mission has been set as December 2021;and the crewed segment was given a launch date of 2026,though still in its early concept mission phase.The project's cost cap has been increased from 1.25 to 1.4 billion dollars ex launch vehicle and post-launch operation phase.*
The content of the robotic segment of the mission is to demonstrate advanced,high-power,high-throughput solar electric propulsion;
advanced,high-speed autonomous proximity operations at a low-gravity planetary body;
controlled touchdown and liftoff with a multi-tonne mass from a low-gravity planetary body;
astronaut spacewalk activities for sample selection,extraction,containment and return;
and mission operations of integrated robotic and crewed service stack:all of which are needed for human missions to the Mars system.
With KDP-B under our belt,ARM can now move forward to define partnerships and engagements,said Michele Gates,ARM program director at NASA headquarters in Washington,D.C.For instance,in September,the agency will issue a request for proposals for the robotic spacecraft to aerospace companies that previously worked with the ARM design team on a six-month study of spacecraft concepts to meet mission requirements.*
After collecting the multi-tonne boulder from the asteroid,the rocket ship will slowly edge the boulder to the lunar position.The proposed target asteroid,2008 EV5 (subscript),is a primitive,carbonaceous asteroid believed to be rich in volatility,water and organic compounds.It will be carefully redirected to the Moon,where a series of proving ground missions for the Mars system will be carried out in the 2020s in order to validate mission concepts of human-robotic and spacecraft operations.

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Exercise Pitch Black 16:Air Combat in Australia's Northern Territory - some NATO countries invited

The Royal Australian Air Force's massive,biannual air combat exercise Pitch Black 16 continues on this week.The multinational drills are focusing on offensive and defensive air combat in a simulated war environment.With up to 115 aircraft and more than 2500 personnel,Pitch Black is running from 29 July to 19 August in the vast open skies of the sparsely populated Northern Territory,based at RAAF Darwin and RAAF Tindal about 300 kilometers to the south,and utilising both the Delamere Range Facility and Bradshaw Field Training Area.*
Participating besides the host nation are the US,Canada,Germany,Singapore,Indonesia,New Zealand,Caledonia,Thailand,France and the Netherlands.It was Germany's first participation in Australia's largest air exercise.The UK is not participating this time because of other obligations at the Farnborough Air Show.*
Besides several US Air Force,Thai and Indonesian F-16 and Singaporean F-15 fighters,as well as Australian F-18 Hornets and Superhornets,many transport aircraft and tankers are involved in the war games as well,such as the US Marine Corps KC-130 tanker and the Australian KC-30A tanker/transport.In the Pitch Black scenario,the Red Force from Tindal is the aggressor against the Darwin Blue force with increasing complexity as the drills progress.Air defence systems will be tested and allied forces will develop how they operate together.Air to air combat;air to ground attack;command and control;and tactical air transport will be tested by large formations of aircraft practising challenging air operations.In today's air war,it's more about integrating into a complex and joint environment than achieving mission goals as an individual,providing immediate and responsive military options across the spectrum of operations.Air-land integration is also a new emphasis,as the US Army's 5th Battlefield Coordination Detachment works with Australian Army counterparts to develop a joint approach to enable ground forces to communicate in real time with aircraft.
Troop transport and forward air controller drills are also being incorporated in Pitch Black 16 as part of the air-ground integration package.*
Such mutually beneficial tactics and procedures will build an effective coalition,as a larger team needs to operate cohesively in order to achieve success as well as stabilise and secure the Asia-Pacific region.

Tuesday, August 2, 2016

USAF F-15 Eagles Morning Launch At Canadian Air Force Base Goose Bay

U.S. KC-135 Refuels Canadian CF-18 Hornet

Canadian CF-18 Hornet Fighter Jets Landing at Hickam AFB,Hawaii

Royal Canadian Air Force CF-18 Take Off at Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson

Canada's NORAD Underground Complex (North American Aerospace Defense Command) AeroSpace...

Air Defence Puzzle:Complex Exercise Challenges NORAD,US STRATCOM

NORAD,the North American Aerospace and Defense Command,along with its close partner and fellow combatant command US Strategic Command,conducted a day of joint,comprehensive intercept and safe passage exercises in all three of the NORAD regions with a broad range of warplanes on 1 August 2016,the command revealed in a press release.The carefully planned and controlled drills ensured NORAD's rapid response capability.Normally,only one intercept at a time is conducted with only one type of interceptor and bomber involved.This test injected more layers of complexity by varying types of aircraft,commands involved,location and nationality.The scenario was a more realistic simulation of what an actual attack by a sophisticated enemy would be like.*
In these exercises,US Strategic Command B-52H Stratofortess and B-2 Spirit bombers conducted flights through each of the NORAD regions that were intercepted by three types of fighter aircraft:
2 F-22 Raptors in the Alaska NORAD Region,based at Elmendorf Air Force Base,Alaska;
2 CF-18 Hornets in the Canadian NORAD Region,based at Canadian Forces Base Winnipeg,Manitoba;and
2 F-15 Eagles in the Continental United States NORAD Region,based at Tyndall Air Foce Base,Florida.*
US Defense Secretary Ash Carter noted that the bomber flights provided NORAD with an excellent opportunity to hone our air defence capabilities,while also allowing us the opportunity to closely coordinate operations with our allies and the geographic combatant commands.*
Our ability to conduct intercept and safe passage escort procedures to coincide with American flights reinforces Canada's outstanding collaboration and interoperability with our closest ally.Canada and the US continue to expand on our close partnership,added Canada's Minister of National Defence Harjit S. Sajjan.*
The intercepts honed Operation Noble Eagle's procedures,cross-border interoperability and coordination,and to reinforce the enduring defence relationship between the US and Canada.
NORAD is the binational Canada-US command that provides aerospace warning,aerospace control and maritime warning for Canada and the US,NORAD explained.*
Operation Noble Eagle has guided the joint Canadian-US defence of North American airspace since the 9-11 attacks on the US by al-Qaida.