Royal Air Force Mildenhall Supports Navy During Exercise Saxon Warrior

A U.S. Navy C-2A Greyhound aircraft assigned to Fleet Logistics Support Squadron (VRC) 40 takes off from the aircraft carrier USS George H.W. Bush (CVN 77). (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Lorelei R. Vander Griend/Released)

Sailors from the U.S. Navy conducted missions from Royal Air Force (RAF) Mildenhall during exercise Saxon Warrior, Aug. 1-10.

Bringing with them two C-2A Greyhounds, the 48-strong team from the “Rawhides” of Fleet Logistics Support Squadron (VCR) 40 participated in the multinational exercise.

The exercise provided the U.S., U.K. and other countries the opportunity to conduct training designed to sharpen joint warfighting skills and enhance the capacity to conduct combined, multinational maritime operations. The U.S. routinely trains with allies and partners in exercises like Saxon Warrior to ensure mission readiness and interoperability.

VRC-40 used RAF Mildenhall as their forward-operating base to carry out their missions to deliver supplies and personnel to and from the Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS George H.W. Bush (CVN 77).

During the exercise, the George H.W. Bush hosted British personnel aboard, working alongside their American counterparts as part of the U.K.-U.S. Long Lead Specialist Skills Program, which qualifies them in U.S. carrier operations. This vital partnership and training occurred in preparation for the arrival of the Royal Navy’s newest aircraft carrier, HMS Queen Elizabeth, and to bolster the British carrier strike capability.

A pair of F/A-18 Super Hornets from the USS George HW Bush (CVN-77) fly-by the HMS Queen Elizabeth, British Royal Navy aircraft carrier

“Our squadron, the VRC-40 Rawhides, stays based in Norfolk. But every time a carrier strike group goes out, they attach two [carrier onboard delivery] to the carrier air wing part of the strike group,” said Aviation Electrician’s Mate 1st Class Joshua Gallaher. “We make sure the aircraft are good to go at all times so we’re prepared for whatever mission is required of us. That way, when the ship requires high-priority parts for the aircraft on board, we coordinate through the Beach Det., our supply system on land, to get those parts out to the ship as soon as possible. Or if they need to get people out to the ship, we’ll take them. We perform a variety of missions.”

Gallaher said this is the first time he has worked out of an Air Force base during this type of deployment. He said they usually operate out of Navy bases such as Souda Bay, Greece or Sigonella, Italy.

“Working as the U.S. Navy, alongside the U.S. Air Force, builds a camaraderie between the two branches overall,” said Gallaher. “I think the Air Force operates differently from how the Navy does, so for them to be able to help us, knowing we would do the same for them, builds a bridge between the two. Being in England, the Air Force has already created a relationship with the locals, so when we come here it means we don’t have any issues.”

Saxon Warrior involved the U.S. Navy assisting the Royal Navy by providing the platform on which the U.K Carrier Strike Group staff were able to operate.

The aircraft carrier USS George H.W. Bush (CVN 77). (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Abe McNatt/Released)

“The strike group staff are currently operating those assets; the Destroyer Squadron 22 and embark Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 8,” said Lt. Cmdr. James Light, VRC-40, Det. 2 officer in charge. “The RAF are pretty much running our operations right now, in terms of logistics. When you look at the whole exercise, they’re running the entire air wing through a notional work-up cycle.”

The carrier on board delivery detachments are shore-based and fly out to the ship every day. Light said that there hasn’t been a carrier on board delivery based in England since 2009.

“Our experience with RAF Mildenhall has been fantastic,” Light said, thanking the members of Team Mildenhall for all the support they provided.

For more information, visit www.navy.mil, www.facebook.com/usnavy , or www.navy.mil/local/naveur/.

 

German F122 frigate ‘Lübeck’ joining NATO’s SNMG2

FGS Lübeck at sea. Photo: German Navy

The German Navy’s F122, Bremen-class frigate FGS ‘Lübeck’ is joining NATO’s Standing Maritime Group 2 in the Aegean Sea.

Setting sail on August 21, Lübeck will be replacing another German ship, F123 frigate FGS Brandenburg, which spent six months as the flagship of the international task group.

Commenting on the deployment, Lübeck’s commander, Frigate Captain Matthias Schmitt, said the ship’s main task will be to support Greek and Turkish authorities and the European border agency Frontex in controlling and preventing human smuggling activities in the Aegean Sea.

Lübeck is expected to reach Turkish waters by the beginning of September when it will take over the duties of FGS Brandenburg after a handover ceremony.

The crew of Lübeck are set to return to their homeport of Wilhelmshaven mid-November.

Returning home in September will be the crew of FGS Brandenburg, the lead ship of the German Navy’s four F123 frigates.

They are completing an eventful deployment which got off to a rather bad start after the ship ran aground in Greece while departing the port of Piraeus. Brandenburg damaged her rudder and both propellers and was sidelined for a month between April and May.

The ship returned to operations with the NATO group, however, completing her scheduled deployment.

 

National Airborne Day – 16 August

Pacific Paratrooper

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“Airborne All the Way”

Author unknown

$_35

These men with silver wings

Troopers from the sky above

In whom devotion springs

What spirit so unites them?

In brotherhood they say

Their answer loud and clear.

“Airborne All the Way.”

These are the men of danger

As in open door they stand

With static line above them

And ripcord in their hand.

While earthbound they are falling

A silent prayer they say

“Lord be with us forever,

Airborne All the Way.”

One day they’ll make their final jump

Saint Mike will tap them out

The good Lord will be waiting

He knows what they’re about

And answering in unison

He’ll hear the troopers say

“We’re glad to be aboard, Sir,

Airborne All the Way!”

For another outstanding poem in honor of the U.S. Army Airborne – Please visit, Lee at ……

https://mypoetrythatrhymes.wordpress.com/2010/08/16/happy-birthday-us-army-airborne/

Click on images to enlarge.

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Personal Note – icon_lol

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UK’s new £3bn warship HMS Queen Elizabeth arrives in Portsmouth [VIDEOS]

HMS Queen Elizabeth is being described as “a demonstration of British military power and commitment to a bigger global role”.

Britain’s biggest-ever warship has arrived at its base in Portsmouth for the first time. 

Hundreds of people lined Portsmouth Harbour to welcome HMS Queen Elizabeth, an aircraft carrier which cost more than £3bn to build.

The 280m (918ft) vessel set sail in June from the Rosyth dockyard where it was built, and since then has been undergoing tests at sea.

Technically, it remains a civilian rather than a military ship until it is commissioned later this year.

It is also an aircraft carrier which does not yet have fixed-wing aircraft on board. F-35B Lightning II jets are still being built and tested in the US, and the ship won’t be fully operational until 2020.

Those on board and watching from the shore were treated to two separate flypasts of Royal Navy helicopters, the first featuring a Sea King, two Mk2 Merlins and two Mk3 Merlins, which were then joined by two Hawk jets for the second.

Defence Secretary Sir Michael Fallon said: “She is Britain’s statement to the world: a demonstration of British military power and our commitment to a bigger global role.

“The thousands of people across the UK who have played a part in building her and her sister ship, HMS Prince of Wales, should be immensely proud as our future flagship enters Portsmouth.”

The behemoth aircraft carrier sailed into the Solent before heading into Portsmouth, where, at its narrowest point, there was less than 20m (66ft) clearance on each side.

The band of the Royal Marines played as the ship slowly navigated into the harbour, which has had to be dredged to make room.

HMS Queen Elizabeth manoeuvred towards a new extended and reinforced jetty under her own power before tugs nudged her gently into position.

An 820ft (250m) exclusion zone, enforced by armed police in small boats, meant the port was effectively closed to the flotilla of boats that had turned out to greet the ship.

Lt Cdr Neil Twigg, a fast jet pilot responsible for integrating the F-35 fighter jet into the carrier group, said: “We are very ready, there is still a lot more work to be done, the aircraft is still going through its testing programme in America and the ship has still some more sea trials but we are on the right track.”

But Admiral Chris Parry, a former senior Royal Navy officer, told Sky News that HMS Queen Elizabeth offers “real military power” to deter rogue states – as well as terrorist groups such as Islamic State.

 

Royal Canadian Navy ships to conduct operations in Canada’s northern waters

This file photo shows HMCS Montreal passing an iceberg in Strathcona Sound near Nanisivik, Nunavut Territory, during a previous Operation NANOOK. Corporal Rick Ayer / Corporal Rick Ayer

Her Majesty’s Canadian Ships (HMCS) Montréal, Kingston, and Goose Bay have left from their home port of Halifax, NS to conduct operations in northern waters.

During their deployments, Montréal, Goose Bay and Kingston will conduct surveillance in Canada’s northern waters and will visit a number of communities.

HMCS Montréal and HMCS Goose Bay will also participate in Op NANOOK, Canada’s main annual northern military operation, the Royal Canadian Navy noted.

As a part of this year’s Op NANOOK, Montréal and Goose Bay will work together with the Canadian Army, the Canadian Rangers, the Royal Canadian Air Force and other government agencies.

NANOOK started on Aug. 12 and runs until Aug. 27.

 

NATO jets in Baltics scrambled 8 times last week to escort Russian aircraft

Ejército del Aire F/A-18C. 5 Spanish Air Force F/A-18Cs make up the Baltic Air Policing element in Estonia, based in Ämari as of 1 May 2017.

VILNIUS – NATO fighter jets serving in the Baltic air policing mission were scrambled eight times last week to intercept Russian military aircraft flying in international airspace over the Baltic Sea, the Lithuanian Defense Ministry said on Monday.

The ministry said that a total of 21 Russian planes were intercepted, around half of which were fighter jets, while the NATO jets also identified several transport and passenger planes over the Baltic Sea.
Most of the Russian aircraft had their automatic transponders switched off, the statement said.

The biggest number of scrambles took place last Thursday, when the alliance’s jets took off three times in total and intercepted ten aircraft.

Polish Air Force F-16C Block 52+ Fighters have been based at Based in Siauliai in Lithuania since May 1 2017.

Russia reveals Il-22PP special mission aircraft

The Ilyushin Il-22PP Porubshchik special mission aircraft was revealed in public for the first time on 12 August. It was photographed over Kubina on the occasion of the 105th anniversary of the Russian Air Force. Source: Piotr Butowski

Russia has shown for the first time its new Ilyushin Il-22PP Porubshchik special mission aircraft. The ‘escort jammer’ aircraft made its public debut on the occasion of the 105th anniversary of the Russian air force over Kubinka on 12 August.

The Il-22P is a signals intelligence (SIGINT) and stand-off-jamming platform that has been built around a converted Il-22 ‘Coot-B’ airframe, which is itself a theatre-level airborne command post and radio relay aircraft based on the Ilyushin Il-18D turboprop airliner.

While the Il-22PP retains the airframe and power plant of the Il-22, it has four large fairings located symmetrically on both sides of the fuselage. These contain antennas of the L-415 electronic countermeasures (ECM) system made by the KNIRTI institute of Kaluga.

Another antenna is fitted to the tail, while a further antenna is located under the fuselage. A fixed pod beneath the fuselage contains 16 32-round 26 mm UV-26M chaff/flare launchers for self defence; two more 14-round 50 mm (2-inch) launchers are built into the under-fuselage. The aircraft has a livery resembling that of the civilian Aeroflot airline, although it carried the inscription ‘Russia Air Force’ and the red star marking. It also has the inscription ‘Il-18’ on the nose.

According to the Myasishchev design bureau, which is responsible for the conversion, “the airplane is intended for detection and suppression of state-of-the-art secretive and jam-proof systems of combat control of various functions”. These are “radars, guidance channels of surface-to-air missile systems, mid-course flight path correction channels of cruise missiles, as well as tactical data exchange networks such as Link 16.

 

Poland celebrates Armed Forces Day in Warsaw today

Polish Army Leopard 2 Main Battle Tank, Warszawa, 15 August 2017

War planes streaked through the sky, more than 1,500 troops marched, and long lines of military vehicles thundered through the centre of the Polish capital as the country marked Armed Forces Day with a bang on Tuesday.

As in previous years, troops from other NATO countries joined the annual parade, among them American, Canadian, British and Romanian units that have been deployed to help strengthen the Western military alliance’s eastern flank.

There were also soldiers from more than a dozen other allied and partner states, including Croatia, Spain, Germany and Ukraine.

Crowds of onlookers

The Warsaw parade attracted crowds of onlookers and featured 200 or so army vehicles including self-propelled howitzers, battle tanks and missile launchers. Among the hardware on show were Leopard and Twardy tanks, Rosomak armoured vehicles, Langusta missile launchers and Osa mobile air defence missile systems.

The crowd could also catch a glimpse of American Stryker armoured vehicles and Jackal and Panther vehicles used by the British army. Romanian troops showcased weaponry including Oerlikon anti-aircraft guns.

Marching detachments included students of military academies and members of paramilitary organisations. For the first time, the country’s new territorial defence force joined the event, observers noted.

Taking to the skies

More than 60 aircraft contributed to the show, which began with the Red-and-White Sparks, an aerobatic demonstration team of the Polish air force. It staged a colourful flyover, leaving a trail of smoke in national colours. There were also SW-4 Puszczyk, W-3 Sokół, Mi-8, Mi-17 and Mi-24 helicopters, accompanied by American Apache, Chinook and Black Hawk machines.

Also flying past were CASA C-295M, Hercules and Bryza transport airplanes as well as Orlik training planes. The air show closed with F-16, MiG-29 and Su-22 fighter jets soaring across the sky.

Polish Air Force F-16C Block 52 Flypast

The parade was followed by a picnic in a city park where people could get inside some of the military vehicles and inspect a variety of historical hardware on display.

The August 15 celebration marks Poland’s landmark victory against the Russian Bolsheviks in the 1920 Battle of Warsaw, in which Polish troops led by Marshal Józef Piłsudski defeated an advancing Red Army despite being vastly outnumbered.

The day was first celebrated as a holiday from 1923 to 1947, and then restored as Armed Forces Day in 1992 after decades of Soviet-imposed communism.

(str/pk)
Source: PAP, TVP Info, Polsat News

 

 

Russia, UK to update agreement on prevention of incidents at sea

HMS Dragon (foreground) with the Russian aircraft Carrier ‘Admiral Kuznetsov’ (background)

The Russian government approved a draft protocol to the agreement between the USSR and the UK signed on July 15, 1986.

The Russian government approved a draft protocol to the agreement between the USSR and the UK signed on July 15, 1986

The draft protocol was prepared by the Defense Ministry and was discussed with the UK side, the portal reads. The Defense Ministry jointly with the Foreign Ministry will have negotiations with the UK to sign the agreement on behalf of the Russian government.

The draft protocol contains changes, which update with 1986 agreement, including in the list of actions, the countries’ ships should not undertake against each other.

For example, the agreement’s provision, which reads “Ships of the Parties shall not simulate attacks by aiming guns, missile launchers, torpedo tubes and other weapons in the direction of passing ships of the other Party” is now amended by a ban for using lasers in a manner, which may hinder health or equipment.

Similarly to this, additional regulations are applied to the actions of aircraft as they approach ships of aircraft of the other party.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tarja Halonen, the former President of Finland says that Estonia has no reason to fear Russia

Tarja Halonen, president of Finland from 2000-2012

There is no reason for Estonia to panically fear Russia, Tarja Halonen, president of Finland from 2000-2012, told Eesti Paevaleht daily in an interview.

“You are in the European Union, NATO, and you use the euro. In this manner you are not only in a safe house, but have become an independent mature country,” Halonen said. “That is why we say to you sometimes that calm down now and there is no reason to panic. Which does not mean, however, that we say that there’s no reason to be worried looking at Russia,” she added.

In the words of Halonen, Finns know Russians better than Americans do.

“Rule of law, human rights and democracy, they haven’t had very much of them ever and therefore it is difficult to build them up too. They are attempting to achieve it somehow, but it’s difficult work,” Halonen said.

“It was difficult even in Germany when East and West Germany were brought together, but it was only for 50 years that East Germany had been out of the system. Just like Estonia,” she added.

“You forget it easily that we had our one hundred years under the Russian tsar too, we had the Winter War and the Continuation War. We lost a large portion of our country and had to resettle a large number of residents. We paid the Soviets a big amount of money in damages of war. But what I always say is that we were on the easier side,” Halonen said.

“You had your very difficult time – the occupation. That is difficult for us to understand too. So, yes, in my opinion we should be tolerant in the criticism that we level against each other. Our mutual relations have a strong base and we criticize each other not for being there, but just certain things,” the former president of Finland added.

Halonen took part in the festival of opinion culture held in the central Estonian regional capital Paide on Friday and Saturday, where she read the keynote of a discussion titled “How to stand against populism and extremism?”