Tag Archives: Forces

British forces hand over control of last base in Afghanistan

British forces Sunday handed over formal control of their last base in Afghanistan to Afghan troops, ending combat operations in the country after 13 years which cost hundreds of lives.

The handover was hailed by British Prime Minister David Cameron but the southern Helmand province that foreign troops are leaving behind still confronts a resilient Taliban insurgency and remains a hub for opium production.

The Union Jack was lowered at Camp Bastion while the Stars and Stripes came down at the adjacent Camp Leatherneck — the last US Marine base in the country.

All NATO combat troops will depart Afghanistan by December, leaving Afghan troops and police to battle Taliban insurgents on their own.

The huge joint base built in the desert near the provincial capital Lashkar Gah was the most important installation for the NATO mission in Afghanistan.

Between 2010 to 2011, it housed almost 40,000 foreigners including sub-contractors.

Hundreds of US Marines and British troops are set to leave Helmand soon, though the precise date has not been revealed for security reasons.

In a ceremony Sunday the Afghans took formal control of the base, despite already being present in a portion of it. The British and US flags were lowered, leaving only Afghanistan’s national flag to flutter in the breeze.

Britain’s Prime Minister David Cameron later tweeted: “As flag lowers at Camp Bastion, our Armed Forces can return with their heads held high – proud of all they have achieved to keep us safe.”

A total of 453 British troops and 2,349 Americans were killed.

Many facilities such as pipelines, buildings, roads and even office furniture remain in place, with the US alone estimating $230 million worth of equipment is being left behind.

– A failure? –

Marine General Daniel D. Yoo, regional commander, said the Afghan army is now now capable of taking over the reins.

“I’m cautiously optimistic they will be able to sustain themselves. I know from my experience that they have the capability and the capacity if they allocate the resources properly,” he said.

“We’re very proud of what we’ve accomplished here,” added the officer, who was among the first Marines on the ground in autumn 2001, when a US-led coalition toppled the Taliban who had been in power since 1996.

General Sayed Malook, who leads the Afghan forces in the region and has now established his quarters in the base, said the camp would become a military training centre and house 1,800 soldiers.

“I’m certain we can maintain the security,” he said Sunday. Asked about the departure of the NATO troops, he said: “I’m happy and sad. I’m happy because they are going to their home, I’m sad because they are friends.”

Not everyone shared his optimism.

Atiqullah Amarkhail, a former high-ranking general turned analyst said the British mission in particular was a failure.

“You see that the British are leaving a broken Helmand, where the Taliban insurgency is at its highest, and government forces are struggling to hold territories, and the province is producing almost fifty percent of the world’s opium,” he said.

“These are all signs that the British mission in Helmand have been a failure.

“They failed to prevent the Taliban come back and they are leaving it to Afghans and Americans to clean up. I see a bleak future for Helmand and southern Afghanistan now. The only hope is that the Afghan forces will be able to correct the British mistakes there.”

At Camp Leatherneck troops busied themselves with packing up, sorting out what medical equipment will go and what will remain.

Corporal Ruf Stevens, in charge of vehicle transport, returned to his hut with his assault rifle in one hand and a guitar he found in a dustbin in another.

“I just think we got the job done. It’s a dirty job but pride come with it,” he said.

The operational command centre, a small room in a wooden hut filled with surveillance screens and computers, is seeing out its final days.

Surveillance has picked up little in the way of insurgent activity in recent days as the yearly fighting season comes to an end.

After Camp Leatherneck and Bastion, the most important NATO bases will be at Kandahar, Bagram, Herat and Mazar-e-Sharif.

There are now about 40,000 foreign troops in Afghanistan, down from their 2011 peak of around 140,000.

A residual force of around 12,000 soldiers including 9,800 Americans and 500 Britons will remain after December as part of a security pact signed by new president Ashraf Ghani.

Their role will be training Afghan troops and counter-terrorism.

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U.S., South Korea Reach Agreement for Wartime Control of Forces

By on Monday, October 27th, 2014

Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel and Korean Minister of National Defense Han Min-koo met at the Pentagon today for the 46th Security Consultative Meeting.

At the meeting, they agreed to implement South Korea’s proposal for a conditions-based approach to transferring wartime control of allied forces, known as operational control, or OPCON, to ensure the combined defense posture remains strong and seamless, defense officials announced.

South Korea was scheduled to take wartime control by the end of 2015; now the transfer will focus on South Korea achieving critical defensive capabilities against an intensifying North Korean threat. Therefore, no new date for transferring OPCON will be set, officials said.

Planners from the U.S and South Korea will create a new base plan that will replace the Strategic Alliance 2015 Base Plan by the 47th Security Consultative Meeting.

A link to the full text of the joint communique can be found below:
U.S., South Korea Reach Agreement for Wartime Control of Forces (25 downloads)

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Finnish Defence Forces to Replace Aging Hornet Fighter Fleet

By on Tuesday, October 21st, 2014

The Ministry of Defence has commissioned a working group to investigate what type of air defence system Finland needs in the future. Replacing the aging Hornet fighter fleet will cost an estimated 6 billion euros. Owing to the hefty price tag, the working group is also looking to see whether it’s possible to upgrade the existing fleet, which has been in service since 1995.

“Technical developments need to be taken into account as do the changing needs of our defence environment, which is what we’re investigating,” says Lauri Puranen, who is responsible for Ministry of Defence acquisitions. “A 30-year old Formula 1 car can’t survive in this world, and we need to find out if a 30-year old fighter jet can,” says Puranen.

The preliminary working group will not take a stand on the type or number of planes that should be purchased. To provide some context, neighbor Norway recently chose a new generation of F-35. In Finland, the new version of the familiar fighter jet family seems to be favored — in spite of their very high price tag. The new fighter jets would be the most expensive defence acquisition in the next decade and take place in about 2030.

According to the Defence Forces, the brand of the current fleet does not affect future decision-making.

“When it’s time to leave the Hornets, we are not tied to them or anyone else for that matter,” says General Jarmo Lindberg, Commander of the Finnish Defence Forces.

After the preliminary report, decision-makers will also have to decide whether Finnish air defence will be carried out solo, by joining forces with neighbor Sweden, or entering into the NATO alliance.

According to Lindberg, Finnish airspace will only be protected by Finns using their own fleet.

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Laser-Guided Rocket Demos Precision Strike Capability for Australian Forces

By on Wednesday, October 15th, 2014

The Australian Defence Forces recently concluded a highly successful trial of BAE Systems’ Advanced Precision Kill Weapon System (APKWS) laser-guided rocket for use on its Army and Navy helicopters. The ground trial marks the first time the APKWS technology, which transforms a standard unguided 2.75-inch (70-millimeter) rocket into a precision laser-guided weapon, has been demonstrated on a Forges de Zeebrugge (FZ) rocket.

“Through its long track record of success with the U.S. military, the APKWS technology has always been used with a Hydra rocket,” said David Harrold, director of precision guidance solutions at BAE Systems. “This demonstration highlights the unique mid-body design and versatility of the APKWS technology by showcasing the ease of deployment on the FZ rocket and its native launcher.”

During the ground-based live fire event in August, held at the Woomera Prohibited Area test range in South Australia, the APKWS laser-guided technology was on target with all seven shots fired while integrated with the FZ90 rocket motor and warhead. There was no modification required to the guidance kit to integrate with the FZ rocket. Based on the successful test, the Australian Army intends to conduct a live fire flight trial in November that could lead to the APKWS rocket fielding on the Army’s Airbus Tiger Armed Reconnaissance Helicopter and Navy’s MH-60R Seahawk platforms beginning in 2015.

Conducted by the Australian Aerospace Operational Support Group, the trial was designed to qualify the APKWS rocket for use by the Australian military to bridge the current capability gap between unguided small-diameter rockets and larger-diameter anti-armor munitions. Unlike other available offerings, the flexibility of the APKWS technology allowed the Australian Defence Force to move from concept to live fire trial in a matter of months while using its current rocket inventory and equipment.

“The APKWS laser-guided rocket is an easy-to-use, cost-effective, and flexible system,” said MAJ David Paterson, Rotary Wing Flight Commander of the Australian Army’s Aircraft Stores Compatibility Engineering Squadron. “Delivering this capability to our troops while leveraging existing equipment is a significant accomplishment that will greatly expand and enhance our military helicopters’ mission success.”

BAE Systems is the prime contractor for the APKWS rocket, which is available to international customers through the U.S. Foreign Military Sales program. Deployed in combat since 2012 by the U.S. Marine Corps, the APKWS rocket is the U.S. Department of Defense’s only fully qualified guided 2.75-inch rocket that uses semi-active laser guidance technology to strike soft and light armored targets.

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Russia to boost nuclear, space defence forces against US

By on Friday, September 12th, 2014

Russia will respond to the United States’ “prompt global strike” programme designed to take out targets within an hour by upgrading its nuclear and space defence forces, its deputy prime minister said Wednesday.

“Our response to the prompt global strike strategy is upgrading our strategic nuclear forces and resources — the strategic rocket forces and the naval ones — and also developing air and space defence resources according to the plans we have finalized,” Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin, who oversees defence, was quoted as saying by the Interfax news agency.

He spoke after President Vladimir Putin held a government meeting on Russia’s defence spending at which he accused Western countries of provoking the Ukraine crisis in order to “revive NATO.”

Using Cold War rhetoric, Putin complained of “new threats appearing” including the buildup of NATO forces in eastern Europe, the development of the US missile shield in Europe and Alaska and the development of the ‘Prompt Global Strike’ program.

“The theory of the so-called global disarming strike is also being worked on,” Putin said.

The Pentagon’s Prompt Global Strike program is developing conventional weapons that could take out targets anywhere on the planet within an hour’s notice.

Deputy Defence Minister Yury Borisov said earlier Wednesday that Russia could be forced to develop technology in order to counteract new weapons, but stressed this would be a defensive move.

“We may be forced to do this, but we will develop systems in order to counteract these new types of weapons, because the main credo of our country is defensive and we do not plan to change that,” he was quoted as saying by RIA Novosti news agency.

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UAE Forces Buy Ground Tactical Datalink

By on Friday, August 29th, 2014

Tactical Communications Group (TCG), the leading independent supplier of Tactical Data Link (TDL) solutions, announced a contract award to provide its Ground Tactical Data Link Systems (GTS) hardware and software components, as well as engineering and operational TDL services, training, and system maintenance, to the United Arab Emirates (UAE) Armed Forces. The award is the first Direct Commercial Sale between the UAE Armed Forces and TCG.

The capabilities provided by this system include operational support for Link 16 and Link 11 A/B and a comprehensive and intuitive built-in training and test capability for these data links.

The system also provides a “Multi-MIDS” capability that will allow the Emirates to deploy centralized and overlapping Link 16 coverage across a wide Area of Responsibility. The JREAP capability of the GTS provides additional ability to extend the coverage and share TDL information.

“We are pleased to begin our service for the UAE Armed forces,” said Michael Hiney, TCG’s President and CEO, “and we are looking forward to supporting our Emirati allies as they employ their TDL-equipped capabilities and platforms. TCG is known world-wide for our TDL expertise and we will strive to be a valuable resource for the Emirates.”

“This order is a significant step forward for TCG’s growing worldwide presence, especially within the Arab States of the Gulf,” said Kevin Mawn, TCG Vice President of Operations. “We are very pleased by the Emirate’s confidence in TCG’s capabilities and look forward to helping them grow their TDL ground infrastructure.”

TCG’s Ground Tactical Data Link System (GTS) supports the operational and training needs of end users who integrate Link 16 and other Tactical Data Links (TDLs) into their ground infrastructure to support C2 and non-C2 activities.

The GTS includes features that are found in large scale Command and Control (C2) environments. There is a sophisticated tactical display and MIL-STD-compliant message generator to support TDL operations as well as a powerful and intuitive simulation capability to support training and interoperability testing. Data recording and playback functions allow for data analysis and exercise or operational debrief. The playback functions also allow the platform operators to evaluate tactics and procedures.

The GTS can be configured to support a Multi-MIDS environment that provides Link 16 ground coverage across a large geographic and/or country-wide area.

Founded in 2001, Tactical Communications Group (TCG) is the leading independent supplier of tactical data link (TDL) software solutions for military communications systems.

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Saab Wins US Special Forces Contract for Carl Gustav

By on Friday, August 29th, 2014

Defence and security company Saab has signed a new framework contract with the USSOCOM for the company’s Carl-Gustaf man-portable weapon system (in the US named MAAWS; Multi-role, Anti-armor Anti-Personnel Weapon System).

The contract is a follow on agreement to a previous 5 year contract for the 84mm recoilless rifle system. In connection with award of the contract, USSOCOM issued an initial order with a value of MSEK 99 (approx. $14.3 million).

The framework contract enables the USSOCOM to place orders for weapons and ammunition over a 5 year contract period up to a total value of BSEK 1.3 (approx. $187 Million).

“This is another great milestone for Saab and the Carl-Gustaf system. This new order demonstrates the continued belief by the customer in the capabilities and versatility of our product as well as its future potential.” says Görgen Johansson, Senior Vice President and Head of Saab’s business area Dynamics.

“The Carl-Gustaf has repeatedly proven itself in the most demanding environments and it is a versatile, powerful tool for the soldier. The fact that the system is also being fielded to U.S. Army light infantry combat teams speaks for itself.” said Lars Borgwing, President and CEO of Saab Defense and Security USA, LLC.

The Carl-Gustaf system has a successful history and has successively been modernized and adapted to meet new requirements. Anticipating future operational needs, a new, lighter weight, version of the Carl-Gustaf is currently under development. The next generation system will also include additional functionality that will greatly increase the capability of the already formidable weapon system.

Other recent advances to the Carl-Gustaf system include the release of the new 655 CS (Confined Space) High explosive anti-tank (HEAT) round designed to reduce back blast and allow soldiers to safely employ the weapon in confined spaces, minimizing the hazardous effects of traditional shoulder fired munitions.

Saab serves the global market with world-leading products, services and solutions ranging from military defence to civil security. Saab has operations and employees on all continents and constantly develops, adopts and improves new technology to meet customers’ changing needs.

Saab Defense and Security USA, LLC. (SDAS) delivers advanced technology and systems to United States armed forces and other government agencies. Headquartered in Sterling Virginia, the company has business units and local employees in four states. SDAS is a wholly owned subsidiary of the Saab Group.

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