Friday, 14 December 2012

Afghanistan: An Army Prepares

An informative video showing the training of new Afghan troops. Past users of the M16 will immediately recognise why the rifle is causing problems for the Afghans.

  1. faulty magazines, especially at the magazine feed lip area
  2. dirty rifles, specifically carbon built-up after usage of blank rounds

Wednesday, 5 December 2012


Useful tactical vignettes; shows the positive "thinking soldier" attitude
  1. Danish soldier who speaks Pashtun; critical in Afghanistan
  2. understanding the environment; soldiers were told that they were trampling over farmland
  3. seeing the signs of impending combat; civilians suddenly running away
  4. good usage of mini-UAVs & wheeled armoured vehicles to provide cover
  5. realising that civilians moving casualties away, could actually be Taliban moving weapons away

Wednesday, 19 September 2012

The Bomb Squad - episode 1

Amazing details on IED clearance procedures, and that within the first 15 minutes. Addictive to watch such pros at work.

The Bomb Squad E01 by Mazanga_Von_Badman

Monday, 17 September 2012

The Battle for Marjah

Robotic targets on trial on the firing ranges

Great idea to use moving robots for target practice. Looks quite rudimentary at the moment, as it is a prototype.

Current movement is more like a vehicle, and less like a human, which would normally execute fire and movement.

Saturday, 15 September 2012

24th MEU's Alpha Co., BLT 1/2, live-fire urban training

Now this is a complex live-firing environment.

A realistic test of actual combat scenarios, with

  1. multiple teams (danger of fratricide is always just around the corner)
  2. elevation (notice some buildings with a 2nd floor)
  3. support arms (usage of SAW for suppressive fire, usage of training grenades)

Monday, 3 September 2012

Thursday, 19 July 2012

Canadian Army - patrol competition with live fire element

This is what I would call, real training. A patrol competition, on foot with full-packs, plus a live-fire portion with rifle, shotgun, and pistol.

Wednesday, 18 July 2012

Russian missile comes disguised as a container

Quite masterful to offer such an option, although I suspect that many ISR assets will include containers in their future threat analysis.

Thursday, 12 July 2012

Australian Navy considering submarines from Japan to replace Collins-class

Hat tip to Warship World for posting this update

Did a quick Google search and found the above newspaper article. Didn't know about this Japanese class of submarine. Actually, I didn't know Japan manufactured their own submarines, let alone one of this size.

Worth further studying. By the way, the Soryu that I remember was a aircraft carrier that was sunk in the Battle for Midway during World War 2.

Thursday, 5 July 2012

Arms Trade Treaty - the horse trading begins

The United Nations is bringing member states together to try to hammer out a treaty that will regulate the business of buying and selling weapons.

At first glance, the time period allocated [2-27 July] seems quite lengthy. Then opswarfare begins to understand why...

Tuesday, 3 July 2012

Rant on the $5B CAMO SNAFU story that's doing the rounds

Super hate it when local newspapers just mindlessly copy a trending article (e.g. via Facebook) and write a local version, without proper fact-checking.

Likely the RSIS staff interviewed was thinking "how to tell this journalist that the question is damn boliao", but "I want to be quoted in a newspaper", so decided not to explain the context. The context
  1. US Army already using Multicam in Afghanistan for a few years
  2. No official news from US Army that they are changing uniforms
  3. Camouflage pattern design is always a compromise
  4. The Daily is a internet news website recently formed in 2011
  5. No other major news channel has covered this story (for a good reason) 
Rant over.

Friday, 1 June 2012

Shangri-La Dialogue 2012

Arguably the biggest military-security meeting in Singapore is here with us again. Keynote for this year is Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono. 

As usual, the Plenary Sessions (presentations and discussion) will be on the record, while the Special Sessions will be strictly off the record.

Topics for the special sessions below
  • Session 1:  Containing the South China Sea Disputes
  • Session 2:  The Armed Forces and Domestic Emergencies
  • Session 3:  Northeast Asian Dangers and Opportunities
  • Session 4:  Submarines and Regional Security
  • Session 5:  South Asia’s Growing Security Threats
Good topics selected. Almost all are problems that countries in our region are facing, in one way or another.

Wednesday, 23 May 2012

NATO - Connecting future ground troops

Interoperability is one of the key focus areas for multi-national operations. Did not manage to find the name of this new system, but it does sound promising.

An intermediary device will standardise the data, and enable data to be transferred between troops from different nations, using different communication systems.

Monday, 21 May 2012

NATO announces interim missile defence capability

Nato's missile defence shield 'up and running'
A picture tells a thousand words. BBC helpfully provides 3.

On the other hand, opswarfare does find some of the comments in the BBC article a little too "quoteworthy".

For example,
They can simply not carry large enough conventional munitions to do extensive damage on impact, and they lack the accuracy to hit prescribed targets with reliability".
Actually, NATO's enemies need not inflict "extensive damage" nor "accuracy", or even with "reliability". Therein lies the beauty of asymmetric warfare.

Wednesday, 21 March 2012

How to deal with "lone gunman"-type scenarios

"An active shooter, by definition, is someone that displays the ability and willingness to shoot people indiscriminately and without regard to his own life, said Maj. Sean McCarthy, the deputy provost marshal and commanding officer, Military Police Company, Security Battalion."
Yet another example of realistic training to adapt to actual conditions on the ground. Recently discovered that the personnel guarding the Sungei Gedong camp were no longer soldiers from the units inside it. This move towards professionalism is a good move.

Tuesday, 20 March 2012

Rescue 3D - showing how military units can help, and not just destroy

Quite inspired by this film that I watched at the Singapore Discovery Centre, during my reservist training. It's more "soft sell" than the usual defence promotional videos. 

Granted that it isn't produced as a promo video, but as a 3D documentary. Another thing that got me thinking. What could a armour battalion (the unit that I belong to) do in such a scenario?

I was stuck for a while. We didn't have helicopters or big airlifters. We had a medical platoon, but that was available in all combat battalions. Using my brain a bit more revealed some possibilities.

We have a few Broncos (all terrain vehicles) that could be used in a "Haiti situation" (i.e. an earthquake) to transport rescue crew and earthquake victims to and from the affected areas. The Broncos have excellent cross country capability, and exert low ground pressure. These characteristics would allow it to go where the roads were blocked, without the danger of causing more collapsed buildings.

The Armoured Recovery Vehicle (ARV) variant of our Bionix vehicles could also be used for rescue operations, by using its crane to lift heavy loads, e.g. clear rubble.

Friday, 24 February 2012

Situation deteriorates in Syria

A practical call by the ICRC for a daily 2-hour ceasefire. Report summary below.
The human rights situation in the Syrian Arab Republic has deteriorated significantly since November 2011, causing further suffering to the Syrian people. Widespread violence and increasingly aggravated socio-economic conditions have left many communities in a perilous state. Meeting basic needs to sustain everyday life has become increasingly difficult.
The present situation risks further radicalizing the population, deepening inter-communal tensions and eroding the fabric of society. Divisions among the international community complicate the prospects for ending the violence.  
The Government has manifestly failed in its responsibility to protect its people. Since November 2011, its forces have committed more widespread, systematic and gross human rights violations. Anti-Government groups have also committed abuses, although not comparable in scale and organization to those carried out by the State. 
The commission calls for an end to gross violations and related impunity, and recommends that the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) and the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the Syrian Arab Republic continue to monitor gross human rights violations with a view to ensuring that perpetrators are held accountable. In cooperation with the Special Rapporteur, OHCHR should maintain and update the confidential database established by the commission. 
The commission also recommends the initiation of an inclusive political dialogue, bringing together the Government, the opposition and other anti-Government actors to negotiate an end to the violence, to ensure respect for human rights and to address the legitimate demands of the Syrian people. A contact group composed of States with diverse positions on the situation should be established to initiate a process leading to such a dialogue. 
Reconciliation and accountability will be achieved only if there are credible consultations with the population, including women and minorities, as well as with victims. Profound political, justice and security sector reforms must also be undertaken.

Thursday, 16 February 2012

Three Iranian suspects arrested over Thai blasts

BBC News
It's still early days to confirm if indeed the attacks were officially sanctioned by Iran, but this tit-for-tat exchange with Israel is a dangerous situation that may escalate at any time.

Really hope someone knocks some sense into the both of them, as there will be collateral damage in other countries, as there has been already, in the 3 cases in Georgia, India, and Thailand.

p.s. This report does show the amateur antics of Iranian secret agents, if indeed they are state-sponsored staff.

Sunday, 12 February 2012

Exercise Sandfisher

Videos from Exercise Sandfisher, a bilateral exercise between the SAF Naval Diving Unit and the 3rd Reconnaissance Battalion, US Marine Corps.

Wednesday, 1 February 2012

Visit to aircraft carrier USS John C. Stennis

The US Embassy recently sent an invite to visit the USS John C. Stennis. I quickly responded with a "Yes", and looked forward to my second visit to a aircraft carrier. (1st visit to USS George Washington in October 2011)

I reached Changi Naval Base (CNB) before the designated time of 1pm. Chatted with the US sailors on duty while waiting for the rest of the visitors to arrive. A quick security check, then onto the shuttle bus. Spotted a South Korean destroyer, ROKS Munmu the Great, docked in CNB also.

First highlight was seeing a submarine. A check later revealed that it was the USS Connecticut, a Seawolf-class submarine. Pity it wasn't available for a visit.

Once onboard the Stennis, we were given a quick intro by the Public Affairs Officer (PAO) Lt. Cmdr. Zachary Harrell (I hope I got his name correctly).

We were then allowed to roam around the hangar to take photos and mingle with the sailors.

Lt. Cmdr. Michael Morley, PAO for Logistics Group Western Pacific (COMLOG WESTPAC), provided an interesting comparison between the Seahawk helicopters and submarines. He felt that the choppers were more useful because of their versatility.

Next, we took the elevator to the flight deck. We were introduced to a EA-6B Prowler pilot (from VAQ-133), who explained the main feature of the Prowler, which is to jam enemy radars.

She also highlighted that the squadron will be transitioning to the EA-18G Growler soon.

Yours truly then took a tumble, courtesy of one of the arrestor cables; super malu :)

I was rushing to the stern of the carrier, where a E-2C Hawkeye airborne early warning aircraft (from VAW-112) was open for viewing. It was eye-opening to be able to view the interior of the Hawkeye. Space was cosy, but not too cramped.

Last but not least, it was great to be able to see the famous "Ouija board", which provides a "live" view of the position of the planes on deck. There is also a corresponding board for the hangar deck. We were introduced to the different objects used to represent the status, e.g. a purple nut indicates the plane needs to be refuelled. (the refuelling crew on board wear purple vests)

A new touchscreen system will eventually replace the Ouija board. The officer joked that he hoped to play "Angry Birds" on the touchscreen.

Photos of the visit at the link below.

p.s. I found myself using the 18-55mm kit lens exclusively. Lighting conditions were good, and most shots were shot at 18mm (around 27mm in 35mm format).

p.p.s. For a glimpse of life on a carrier, do view this 2008 PBS documentary "Carrier". Episode 1 here.

Monday, 23 January 2012

Ross Kemp: Back On The Frontline

Episode 1, Part 1 of 3

Combat Tactical Challenge - Help Me!

The Centre for Army Lessons in the Australian Army publishes a series of Combat Tactical Challenges.

More details in the link below.

opswarfare hopes to keep an archive of the scenarios presented.


Tropical Cyclone Baldrick impacted on the North Queensland coast between Cardwell and Ingham, causing major damage to infrastructure (roads, buildings, power and water) in several towns along the coast.

You are deployed as part of Op BALDRICK ASSIST to provide immediate assistance to the town of Ingham and surrounding areas. You are among the first responders to the scene; your arrival is just 4 hours since the region was impacted.

You are the brick commander whose primary mission on this day is to clear debris from a series of roads on the southern approach to the town. This will allow emergency response vehicles into the town so that they can begin to set up infrastructure to support the local population.

Myanmar Signs Truce With Ethnic Rebel Group, the Karen

Glad to see that 2 of the conflicts featured in opswarfare's series of current conflicts in South-East Asia have been resolved with ceasefires. The Burma/Myanmar government has signed ceasefire agreements with both the Shan State Army - South and the Karen National Union.

Communist Party of Philippines / New People's Army

Part 3 of the ongoing series on current conflicts in South-East Asia.

The Philippines vs Communist Party of Philippines / New People's Army
Note: As opswarfare will concentrate on combat operations, it will refer to the group as the New People's Army (NPA). [The NPA is the armed wing of the Communist Party of Philippines]  

A excerpt from Jane's on the current situation
"Over the years, the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) has launched several military campaigns, the most recent being Oplan Bantay Laya II, and declared the insurgents' irreversible decline at least twice since the end of the Cold War and the decline of communism worldwide."