Thursday, 27 September 2007

SIGINT equipment

The cover story in the 8th August 2007 edition of Jane's Defence Weekly (JDW) highlights the various airborne assets deployed by the US to defeat the IED threat. Some of the equipment mentioned include the below
  • RC-135V/W Rivet Joint
  • Guardrail SIGINT
    • Guardrail Eagle signal exploitation upgrade package
    • Delta Wing
    • X-windows Multi-user Interactive Development and Analysis System (X-MIDAS)
    • Hyper Wide
  • EP-3E
  • E-8C Joint Surveillance and Target Attack Radar System (JSTARS)
  • Horned Owl
    • modified Beech C-12R utility transport
    • AN/APY-8 Lynx synthetic aperture radar (SAR)
    • King Air-based Aerial Reconnaissance Multi-Sensor (ARMS)
  • Constant Hawk
    • US Army 345th military Intelligence Battalion
    • modified Shorts 360-300 utility transport
  • Air National Guard RC-26B
  • EA-6B Prowler
    • low-band jamming pod
    • VAQ-141
    • VMAQ-1, -2 and -4
  • EC-130H Compass Call
    • 41st & 43rd Electronic Combat Squadrons
opswarfare intends to do some searching to find out more about their capabilities.

Friday, 14 September 2007

The law of armed conflict (LOAC): teaching file

As conflicts become more complicated (e.g. urban operations, combatants not in uniform, operations other than war, etc), the chances of civilian casualties are much higher than before. This is one of the areas where the law of armed conflict is used to guide armed forces in their conduct. The above is a Red Cross teaching file.

A few quick points spotted while reading lessons 1 & 2...
  • combatants will be accorded proper POW treatment only if they are wearing uniforms
  • besides punishment on the armed forces, soldiers may be personally liable if they violate the law of armed conflict
  • the white flag is a flag of truce, not a flag indicating the intent to surrender
Update (6th October 2007)
opswarfare has just experienced LOAC training while in reservist training. Very realistic, very useful for real combat operations.

Wednesday, 12 September 2007

Staggering Eagle

Staggering Eagle
Great insights and stories from a monthly newsletter of a British Territorial Army Infantry unit, the E (Essex & Hertfordshire) Company, 3rd Battalion The Royal Anglian Regiment.

Welsh soldiers take on the Taliban

Operation Chakush
Details of a British army operation in Afghanistan. The video below is from the Army news page.
Map of Afghanistan with Helmand  هلمند highlighted.
The Helmand region (highlighted above in red in a graphic from wikipedia) has seen plenty of heavy fighting, and this operation seems to be another attempt to wrestle control from the Taliban.

In the video, it can be seen that some of the troops are wearing T-shirts instead of their normal uniform tops (but of course still wearing their body armour), which shows how hot conditions are over there.

Is the Cold War back?

The Russian armed forces have tested a new bomb. The western media is rightfully skeptical at the moment. The original Russian TV clip is below.

Sunday, 9 September 2007

Bold Quest 07 begins to test Coalition Combat ID

This is the latest in a series of fratricide prevention exercises conducted by various western nations. opswarfare's view is that the equipment should be deployed in actual operations as soon as possible.

opswarfare first wrote on the issue of fratricide prevention in 2005, and has been following the issue as it passed another milestone in 2006.

So what's next?

Well, for a start, the scenarios where most fratricide incidents have occurred should be first to try out the equipment in actual combat. The first scenario that comes to mind naturally are air-strikes, especially close air support missions that are "on call".

For this phase, equipment can be mounted on vehicles (tanks, infantry fighting vehicles, trucks, etc.) which are currently in theatre (e.g. Iraq or Afghanistan). The typical scenario could involve a unit, pinned down by enemy fire, calling for a quick air-strike from a loitering aircraft in the vicinity. The aircraft will take one additional step before releasing ordance on the target, namely "painting" the target with the emitter (most likely using encrypted millimetre-wave radio waves) to confirm that the target is not "friendly".

Saturday, 8 September 2007

US Sets Contract Terms for Next Tactical Radio Upgrades (defense procurement, military acquisition, defence purchasing)

Defense Industry Daily
The very first "modular" radio sets involved several components.
  1. radio transceiver
  2. vehicle adaptor
  3. amplifier (for vehicle configuration)
  4. battery (for manportable configuration).
Later improvements came in the form of added security (encryption and frequency-hopping), multi-band capability (one radio for VHF, HF, and UHF), and location-finding (GPS, blue-force tracking) capability.

However, the radio sets remained bulky, with separate configurations needed for vehicles and dismounted troops respectively.

The new radio sets mentioned in the Defense Industry Daily (DID) article features a "plug and play" design which allow for seamless transition from mounted to dismounted operations. This is done by incorporating a rechargeable battery into the modular radio, and also by reducing its size from a manpack to a handheld.

The soldier simply "unplugs" the walkie-talkie portion of the system and uses when dismounted, and "plugs" it back when back at the vehicle, to recharge the batteries, and also make use of the amplifier on the vehicle set for longer range.

The 2 competing products are from Harris and Thales.