Monday, 27 April 2009

SIPRI: Significant rise in arms transfers to the Middle East

SIPRI mainpage
New data from the Swedish think tank. The effects of the global financial crisis on the sale of arms remain murky for now.

Hunting pirates with the French Navy off the Somali coast

France 24
As the various navies confront the issue of piracy around the waters near Somalia, they come up against issues that remain sticky
  • rules of engagement
  • prosecution procedures for pirates caught at sea
  • is food aid that lands safely at Mogadishu really being distributed to the needy further inland?
With most countries acknowledging that a comprehensive (read: land forces) solution is required, the fear remains of a repeat of the "Black Hawk Down" incident.

opswarfare believes that the African Union peacekeeping troops play a big role here. A regional solution may be more acceptable to the Somalis...

Improving International Responses to Armed Conflict

When the latest Israeli-Gaza war (Operation Cast Lead) started, many observers were speculating over how long it would last before public opinion would "force" the IDF to stop.

IPI have done a paper detailing the options available in such a situation.

One conflict that could use a bit of the options described is the war in Sri Lanka.

Sunday, 26 April 2009

Adaptive Army

Australian Army
The Aussies are restructuring the Army in a big way. Basically, the Army will be divided into 3 groups
  • Headquarters 1st Division (current operations)
  • Forces Command (force development & strategic planning)
  • Special Operations Command (pretty much self-explanatory)
A quick review of the information paper (PDF) reveals that the changes proposed are sound. It will enable their Army to be more ops-oriented while a separate group looks after longer term issues.

Sunday, 19 April 2009

Welcome back AEL

Army Electronic Library (AEL)
The Canadian Army Electronic Library is back on public access, well sort of. I remember the days when it was one of the few (if not the only) non-US repository of Training and Doctrine (TRADOC) materials available online. Then a few years ago, it was taken of public access, no doubt due to concerns about Operations Security (OPSEC). Recently, the website has allowed some documents to be placed back on public access. There's also a useful Publications Explorer which shows a bird's-eye view of the documents available.

Wednesday, 15 April 2009

Publications/Handouts from "The Basic School"

United States Naval Academy Leatherneck program
A list of useful handouts from The Basic School, which trains all newly commissioned United States Marine Corps officers.

Regular readers should know that opswarfare has an inclination to discussions on urban warfare, specifically defensive operations. Below is an extract from B0386 - Military Operations on Urban Terrain (MOUT) [PDF].
  1. The cover and concealment available, coupled with restrictions to normal observation and line of sight in urban terrain require special attentiveness to all-around defense and mutual support to counter enemy observation and infiltration.
  2. Movement is generally restricted to the streets, roads, and alleys. Therefore, defending infantry seek to barricade these and all other avenues of approach to deny an attacking enemy freedom of movement and to canalize the enemy into established kill zones or engagement areas. At the same time, the defender must plan to improve his own ability to move within the built up area and even within certain buildings.
  3. Surveillance of the flanks and rear is intensified, and the defense must be flexible enough to permit defense in any direction to prevent encirclement. Three dimensional security - above, below, and adjacent to the defensive position - is imperative.

Tuesday, 14 April 2009

The X-Files: Low-Tech, High Payoff


A good idea by the Marine Corps to package Tactics, Techniques, and Procedures (TTPs) in a pocketable form, for easy reading and usage in the field. Keeping the text short (only 1 booklet is more than 50 pages) make it more likely that users will read it too.

Monday, 13 April 2009

Navy commander: Trio of shots ended sea standoff

The Associated Press
The dramatic ending to the standoff (between the US Navy and Somali pirates) is beginning to sound even more amazing as new details emerge.

3 shots, 3 dead. The images mentioned in the above article, taken by a Scan Eagle UAV are below, from the US Navy website. It should be clarified that when the shooting took place, the lifeboat was not so far from the USS Bainbridge.

From BBC News
The lifeboat, which had no power, was attached on a tow line about 100 ft (27 metres) behind the warship after the pirates had accepted an offer to be moved out of rough seas.
Amazing resolution from a video grab, showing the lifeboat, on which Capt. Richard Phillips was held captive.

opswarfare previously wrote about helicopter snipers, and wondered how they could shoot on such a platform. In this incident, what the SEAL snipers did was no mean feat.

The 2 images above also show the usefulness of a shipborne UAV. A persistent stare capability, coupled with a bird's eye view, enables better situational awareness for a warship.

To end off, a video clip from msnbc, which includes animation of what possibly happened during the shooting.

Visit for Breaking News, World News, and News about the Economy

Saturday, 4 April 2009

Northrop Grumman settles DOJ defective parts suit

The Associated Press
US$325 million minus US$325 million equals zero; unbelieveble. But perhaps more importantly, how was the US spying capability affected by the problematic satellite spare parts?

Thursday, 2 April 2009

Malaysia details Astros II plans

From JDW...
18 March 2009

Malaysia will take delivery of an additional order of 18 Brazilian Avibras Astros II multiple rocket launchers (MRLs) in September, Malaysian Army Chief General Tan Sri Muhammad Ismail Jamaluddin announced on 1 March.

The new MRLs will form a second regiment to add to the Malaysian Astros II regiment already in service. The 18 launchers, their various support vehicles and munitions were ordered in 2007. Deliveries of munitions for the launchers have commenced, with most of the material already in country.

Malaysia currently has 18 Astros II MRLs in service from an earlier order that was delivered in 2002. The second regiment, 52 Artillery Regiment, will be operationally ready in 2010 and will be based in the state of Kedah as part of the 2nd Division. The regiment already in service, 51 Artillery Regiment, is currently based in Negri Sembilan state as part of the 3rd Division.

Meanwhile, plans for the army to procure a self-propelled artillery capability have been postponed to the timeframe of the 10th Malaysian plan (2011-16) owing to budget constraints. Similarly, plans to buy an additional nine Denel G5 155mm guns as replacements for some of the 28 G5s currently in the inventory have also stalled due to a lack of funding.