Sunday, 29 March 2009

Israeli drones destroy rocket-smuggling convoys in Sudan

Times Online
Further info on the airstrikes in Sudan, and the first time that the rumoured UAV involvement has been reported in mainstream media. Many have suspected for a long time that Israeli UAVs can fire ordnance (like a US Predator UAV)...

Tuesday, 24 March 2009

NATO advances towards landmark in coalition ISR

Besides the sharing of C-17 transport planes (under a project named Strategic Airlift Capability), NATO is now also looking at sharing intel from UAVs. This will benefit the poorer nations that can't afford a mid-size UAV.

Monday, 23 March 2009

Exploring Humanitarian Law (EHL) Virtual Campus

Saw this site a while ago, but just recently realised that I hadn't highlighted it yet. Ample educational resources for teaching humanitarian law to students. Should really make use of it one of these days...

Disaster management - an Air Force angle

Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF)
A humanitarian situation for an training exercise. Good to see some variety being injected into validation exercises.
Pacific alert
17 March 09
By FLTLT Carl Lorrigan
THE scenario: flooding on a scale never seen before has hit a Pacific neighbour, destroying infrastructure, causing outbreaks of vector-borne diseases, food shortages and simmering tribal tensions. Not for real, of course, but it raises the question: if it did really happen, how would we help? That was answered positively when the Northern Expeditionary Combat Support Squadron (NECSS) Command Post (CP) team went to work on just that situation for four days last month as part of Exercise Night Watch. For the purposes of the scenario, the stricken country was dubbed Stunod.

NECSS was required to establish Air Point of Departure (APOD) services at Stunod Airfield, assist with the supply of essential provisions and provide combat service support to an Expeditionary Health Flight. Night Watch is a newly-developed training activity by HQ 396 Expeditionary Combat Support Wing in the form of a CP exercise. It was specifically designed to validate the online status of NECSS before going online on March 1. WGCDR Neville Donnelly, from the HQ 396ECSW validation team, said he believed it was the first time this type of exercise had been developed and executed specifically for an ECSS CP. “Exercise Control tested CP staff by generating a wide range of scenarios and communications from all command levels,” he said.

The exercise started after NECSS executives participated in lessons regarding the roles and responsibilities within a CP and set up of the squadron CP at RAAF Base Tindal. While having to maintain command and control of APOD services, the team was faced with a diverse range of realistic injects testing CP procedures within an uncertain environment. Scenarios included past challenges and incidents that still occur within a deployed environment. Night Hawk was conducted successfully and all exercise objectives were achieved. The NECSS command and control elements met the challenges posed by the exercise. HQ 396ECSW has also further developed a workable ECSS CP exercise model for future training applications.

Sunday, 22 March 2009

Dealing with land mines and/or IEDs

The landmine/IED threat is significant for operations. Some of the methods to mitigate the dangers are as follows
  1. foot patrols with sniffer dogs
  2. transport long distances using airlift (e.g. heli-insertion) instead of convoys
  3. avoid known IED routes
However, there are disadvantages when adopting the above
  1. slower movement to contact
  2. insufficient firepower of dismounted troops (less organic heavy weapons)
  3. insufficient airlift capability to deal with required missions
  4. reduced choice of routes to target location
A DTI article highlights some further technological solutions
  1. spectroscopic imaging to detect nitrogen plume from explosives
  2. x-ray backscattering can reveal the outline of bombs under clothing or in vehicles
  3. imaging in the terahertz region
There are also several ongoing projects that utilise IED detection devices on UAVs, allowing commanders to "scan" a route before deploying a convoy.
  • sentinel hawk
  • warrior alpha
  • green dart
  • copperhead sensor on tiger shark
  • yellow jacket
Interestingly, several ASEAN countries have not ratified the Mine Ban Treaty. (List below accurate as of 1 Sep 2008)
  • Laos
  • Myanmar
  • Singapore
  • Vietnam

Thursday, 5 March 2009

Calling for choppers - the current shortage of utility helicopters

The recent news regarding doubts over the renewal of the UN peacekeeping mandate in Darfur, Sudan, reminded opswarfare of another issue, the shortage of helicopters in operations.

3 examples come to mind
  • lack of choppers for NATO in Afghanistan
  • insufficient helicopters for the relief effort in Sichuan, China
  • no pledge of helicopter transport for UN mission in Darfur
But before one jumps to quick conclusions, there are different factors at play for each of the 3 cases mentioned, and we need to look at these factors, before we start talking about solutions.

Helicopters for combat in Afghanistan
low threat level of MANPADS (although RPGs are sometimes used as makeshift alternative)
choppers useful for quick insertion of troops and supplies
usage means travelling by road is reduced (and reduced IED threat)
critical for casualty evacuation (casevac)

Helicopters for utility in Sichuan, China
remote region where earthquake hit
heavy lifting

Helicopters for peacekeeping in Darfur
long distances, lack of road network
insufficient troops to station everywhere; helicopters aid as quick reaction force

(was stuck in draft since August 2008...)

Tuesday, 3 March 2009

Air International - 5 past issues

A lot of detailed info from a new magazine that opswarfare picked up recently at the Bukit Merah library. A quick check shows that Air International is available at the following NLB branches. (p.s. this was another old draft post, brought back to "life")
  • Bishan
  • Bukit Merah
  • Jurong
  • Tampines
A quick rundown below of some "juicy" bits from 5 past issues.

November 2007

RAF Quick Reaction Alert (QRA)
  1. RAF is in charge of Air Policing Area 9
  2. QRA comes under command of NATO's Combined Air Operations Centre 9 at RAF High Wycombe, Buckinghamshire
  3. 27mm cannon on Typhoon is still not cleared for use
  4. Falkland islands has a QRA detachment
  5. RAF participates in NATO Baltic Air Policing QRA, rotating with other NATO partners
Retirement of SEPECAT Jaguar
  1. A capability gap created?
  2. Comparison of Jaguar with Typhoon, the latter coming off looking quite deficient in air-to-ground capability
  3. Maybe they should compare with Tornado instead
Indian Air Force at 75
  1. 2 SU-30MKI are deployed at Car Nicobar
  2. Andaman & Nicobar are just 200km from Myanmar and 100km from Indonesia
Feb 2008
EA-6B Prowler
  1. ICAP III program
  2. ALQ-218
  3. ASQ-140
  4. EA-18G will add ALQ-227
July 2006
MASC project for Royal Navy (AEW platform for new RN carriers)

Global Hawk numbers
  • 7 Block 10
  • 6 Block 20
  • 11 Block 30
  • Plans in place for 26 Block 30, 15 Block 15, for a total of 54
French Navy Night-flying
  1. Super Etendard Modernise (SEM)
  2. Sfim CN2H-AA NVG
  3. 100 hours of unaided flying (w/o NVG)
  4. limited field of vision
  5. lack of depth of field perception
  6. Democles laser designation/targeting pod
  7. tactical air navigation (TACAN)
  8. accuracy of 0.1nm (0.2km)
  9. block 2 (20,000 to 30,000 feet) sanctuary 2 - 22,000 feet
US Navy
  1. MH-60S transport
  2. also with armed helicopter capability MH-60S (AH)
  3. AAS-44C infra-red sensor, and 8 Hellfire missiles, plus window mount 7.62mm & 12.7mm machine guns
  4. MH-60R ASW
Export Flankers
  1. SU-30MKI Flanker-H of India
April 2007
Constant Peg (once classified aggressor programme to evaluate Russian fighter jets), 4477th Test Squadron, Red Eagles

May 2007
SU-24 Fencer
  1. Su-24M Fencer-D
  2. further upgrade by Gefest & T in 2000
  3. 50-150m height, 1,100km/h, can toss bombs at a distance of 10km from target, with CEP of 10-15m
  4. Su-24M2
  5. prolonged ultra-low altitude of 30-50m
  6. short periods, 10-30m
  7. fairly demanding in terms of handling characteristics
  8. Orion-A radar, 2 bands, centimetric (B-band) and millimetric (A-band)
  9. A-band, higher resolution, shorter range
  10. combat debut in 1984, Afghanistan
  11. used in Chechnya also

Blood debts and exotic others

Kings of War
(Another old post affected by the "curse" of the draft mode)
We are all human beings. We feel the same when certain bad things are done to us. I liked the Shylock quote; I studied the Merchant of Venice during Literature in Secondary School...

US Marines in Afghanistan, Part Deuce

2 short videos of the 24th MEU in Afghanistan...
(By the way, this was one of the many posts stuck in draft mode in my blogger account)
Video 1
Video 2

On a related note, opswarfare is reading One Bullet Away by Nathaniel Fick. One good lesson learned from the book is the so called "Five Bullets".
  1. mission statement
  2. challenge and password
  3. rules of engagement
  4. lost Marine plan
  5. escape and recovery plan
This is a good checklist for use in training, to help facilitate when actual ops occur.