Tag: Air

Nordic Air Defence Exercise to be held in Mikkeli, Finland from 30 October

Finnish Army’s ASRAD-R air defense system

A Nordic planning exercise of the air defence branch, Exercise Nordic Helmet 2017 will be held in Mikkeli from 30 October to 2 November 2017.

Involving the planning of upcoming air defence exercises as well as exchanging of information and experiences concerning air defence weapons systems, the exercise will be led by Inspector of Air Defence, Colonel Ari Grönroos from the Finnish Army Command.

Altogether 20 professional soldiers are to participate in the exercise from Finland, Sweden and Norway. Meanwhile, meeting of the participating countries’ Inspectors of Air Defence will be organised.

Exercise Nordic Helmet 2017 is part of Nordic defence cooperation, Nordefco, resting on sustained contacts between Nordic armed forces and defence administrations as well as regular meetings. Finland currently holds the Nordefco chairship.

Organised in alternate years in Finland, Sweden and Norway, the exercise Nordic Helmet was previously organised in Finland in 2014.


Allied Air Command central to US-led BMD exercise Formidable Shield 17

Ballistic Missile Defence Ops Cell in Ramstein HQ Allied Air Command. Romanian, British and german airmen watching on screens.

RAMSTEIN, Germany – Allied Air Command successfully accomplished support for the US-led Ballistic Missile Defence (BMD) exercise Formidable Shield 17 from September 24 to October 18, 2017.

This tactical level BMD exercise was conducted by Naval Striking and Support Forces NATO (STRIKFORNATO) on behalf of the US Sixth Fleet. Allied Air Command enabled the datalink architecture through NATO’ system of systems that can manage, communicate and provide decision-making information to NATO command entities.

A US exercise with NATO involvement, Formidable Shield 17 demonstrated the capability of Nations and the Alliance to execute live intercepts of missile threats using a complex system of sensors and shooters in defence of NATO Allies’ territories, populations and forces from the sea.

This exercise provided nations the ability to connect fire units and sensors to NATO’s data-link architecture.  With the assistance of US Joint Interface Tactical Control Officers and through a complex architecture, Allied ships and aircraft were able to integrate surveillance pictures from the tactical to the operational levels of command.

For the first time in Allied Air Command history a fully Integrated Air and Missile Defence Picture involving joint assets was used to support a no-notice launch and simultaneous engagement of ballistic and air defence targets to test the live-fire version of the defence in depth concept of operations.

Canada, France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Spain, the United Kingdom, and the United States participated with forces in exercise FORMIDABLE SHIELD 17; Belgium and Denmark also send staff members.  In total, 14 ships, ten aircraft, and more than 3.300 personnel participated in this exercise.  NATO AWACS sorties conducted important link integration and range safety functions throughout the exercise.

Story by Allied Air Command Public Affairs Office


Formidable Shield 2017 concludes with supersonic target engagement

HNLMS Tromp launches an ESSM during an earlier evolution as part of FS 17. Photo: Dutch Navy

Europe’s premier integrated air and missile defense drill Formidable Shield concluded October 17 with ally ships engaging a supersonic target off the coast of Scotland.

The US Navy-led exercise began September 24 and saw the participation of warships from Canada, France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Spain, the United Kingdom and US.

During the closing collective self-defense scenario, Dutch frigate HNLMS Tromp (F803) fired a Standard Missile (SM) 2 and an Evolved Sea Sparrow Missile (ESSM) against the supersonic target.

U.S. Air Force F-16 Fighting Falcons from 31st Fighter Wing, Aviano Air Base, Italy, were designated as “opposition forces” and fired the supersonic target during this exercise scenario.

The two missiles fired against the supersonic target Oct. 17 occurred during the third live-fire event of FS17. During FS17, four nations conducted a total of 11 successful missile launches.

During the first live-fire event Oct. 7, the Canadian frigate HMCS Montreal (FFH 336) fired three Evolved Sea Sparrow Missiles (ESSM) and the Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Mitscher (DDG 57) fired two SM-2s at four incoming anti-ship cruise missiles.

The second live-fire event took place on Oct. 15, with the Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Donald Cook (DDG 75) firing one SM-3 Block IB guided missile against a medium-range ballistic missile target. Also on Oct. 15, the Spanish frigate SPS Alvaro de Bazan (F101) fired one ESSM against an incoming anti-ship cruise missile while Tromp fired two ESSMs against a pair of incoming anti-ship cruise missiles.

Notable ‘firsts’ that occurred during FS17 include: the first time NATO’s smart defense concept was demonstrated with ships serving as air defense units protecting naval ballistic missile defense units; the first no-notice launch of anti-ship cruise missiles as part of an IAMD scenario; and the first time a NATO IAMD task group was exercised at sea.


Ruska 17: a Succesful Test of Finland’s Air Defense

Chief of Staff of the Finnish Air Force, Brigadier General Jari Mikkonen and a F/A-18 Hornet multi-role fighter equipped with air-to-ground precision-guided weapons at Rissala Air Base during Ruska 17 exercise.

Ruska 17 Air Operations exercise, which took place in from 9 to 13 October, focused on all aspects of the air defense of Finland. In terms of the amount of troops participating Ruska 17 was the largest exercise of the Finnish Air Force in 2017. One of the training targets of Ruska was to test the use of the precision-guided air-to-ground weapons of the Finnish Air Force F/A-18 Hornet multi-role fighter fleet as a part of the operations of the Finnish Defence Forces.

“Ruska 17 was successful in testing our capability to fight a battle as an air force, says Brigadier General, Jari Mikkonen, the Chief of Staff of the Finnish Air Force. ” In this year’s exercise we were able to train the whole chain of functions required for the execution of air operations in an efficient and safe manner, Air base operations, Command and Control, surveillance, operational command and flight operations are all functions that one needs to master.”

“During the exercise week we carried out successful large-scale air operations that included the use of our air-to-ground capabilities. An exercise that puts the performance and capabilities of all types of Air Force war time units into a test is vital to the air defense of Finland.

The main goal of Ruska exercises that have been organized annually is to train Finnish Defence Forces personnel, conscripts and reservists in their tasks in all functions of the war time air defence of Finland.

During Ruska 17 Finnish Defence Forces personnel, reservists and conscripts were trained to plan an conduct operations including the usa of the F/A-18 air-to-ground precision-guided weapons.

“Well-trained troops are key elements in our capability to fulfil our mission, BGen Mikkonen says. “Ruska 17 was an excellent opportunity to train our personnel, reservists and conscripts. A motivated reserve force that knows its duties well ensures the continuity of our operations and brings flexibility and resilience. Judging by what I saw during Ruska 17 and the feedback I’ve received, our reserve is meets these standards well.

A Test of Finnish-Swedish Cooperation

Finnish-Swedish air force cooperation has a long history and in the recent years it has intensified. In 2016 Finland’s and Sweden’s combat aircraft took part in each other’s Ruska 16 and Flygvapenövning 16 exercises.

In Ruska 17, the Swedish air force took part in the exercise with flying units carrying out both air defense tasks of Finland in the and acting as the adversary of the defenders. Earlier this fall, Finnish Air Force F/A-18s were also seen in a similar role in Sweden’s Aurora 17 exercise.

In Ruska 17, a significant milestone was achieved as the Swedish Air Force Gripen multi-role fighters were integrated in the air defense system of Finland performing their missions together with the Finnish F/A-18 multirole fighters showing significant interoperability. The air forces train together in the context of the Finnish-Swedish Defense Cooperation (FISE) that the governments of Finland and Sweden have agreed to pursue.

This ensures that the air force cooperation can deepen further in the future.

Ruska 17 Air Operations Exercise proved that the procedures and systems of the Finnish and Swedish Air Force are interoperable.

“Swedish Air Force took part in Ruska as a part of both the defensive Blue force and their adversary”, Bgen Jari Mikkonen says. “In this week’s exercise, the FISE defense cooperation was realized in our ability to conduct air operations together. We showed that both our procedures and our systems are interoperable enabling us to deepen our cooperation further. By taking part in each other’s exercises we make more extensive and versatile air operations possible and also develop our capabilities.”

The decision on Ruska 17 and its execution schedule was made over a year ago which also marked the start for the exercise planning.

Preparations for Ruska 17 also included one preparatory exercise: During week 40 in early October Finnish and Swedish aircraft participating in Ruska took part in Baana 17 air exercise that focused on flying operations to and from a temporary road base in Vieremä, Eastern Finland.

Late in the week preceding Ruska live exercise stage was also the time when most of the troops required for the event were called for service and equipped for their mission. A total of 5,100 personnel took part in Ruska 17 with 2,900 reservists included in the number.

During Ruska 17 Finnish F/A-18s and Swedish Gripens operated from several temporary war time air bases, including Vieremä road base in Eastern Finland.

According to BGen Mikkonen, the Ruska 17 exercise planning, preparatory actions and the live exercise stage were conducted successfully.

“The Red force provided the Blue forces with an adversary that showed variety in its actions and the difficulty level of the training was gradually raised during the exercise. The Blue force showed skills and capability of the Finnish air defense that is sure to have a pre-emptive effect on military crises.”

The flight operation of Ruska 17 ended in the afternoon of October 13. Before concluding the exercise, the temporary air base functions established will be removed and the reservists will return to their civilian duties.

“After the exercise I’m looking forward to receiving feedback and suggestions for the development of the exercise concept”, Brigadier General Mikkonen says. “I want to take this opportunity to thank the troops participating in the exercise for excellent performance. I’d also like to thank the residents of the area of operations for understanding as the jet noise caused by a large-scale exercise such as Ruska can be quite high at times”.


Suomen Ilmavoimat


The Role of Joint NATO Air Power in NATO Deterrence provides theme of Joint Air and Space Conference 2017

Director of the JAPCC, General Tod D. Wolters welcomes the distinguished speakers and panelists. Photo by Sgt1 L. Brandon (RNLAF), Publications Promotions & Communications Section, JAPCC

RAMSTEIN, Germany – The Joint Air Power Competence Centre (JAPCC) Kalkar, Germany hosted a multinational team of distinguished speakers and panelists at the 2017 Joint Air and Space Power Conference, held in Essen, Germany, October 10 to 12.

The theme for this year’s conference, ‘The Role of Joint NATO Air Power in NATO Deterrence’ provided the catalyst for important debate which will help shape thinking regarding the future development of effective Joint Air Power.  The issue of deterrence was raised extensively in the previous two JAPCC conferences, both in the context of strategic communications and with regard to NATO’s ability to operate in a degraded environment.  Appropriately then, this year’s Conference was dedicated to deterrence and, specifically, to consider the role of Joint Air Power in delivering deterrent effect.

General Tod D. Wolters, the Director of the JAPCC, opened this year’s Conference.  In his opening remarks, he welcomed attendees, distinguished speakers and panelists.  In reiterating the importance of this event and it’s Airpower Deterrence focus he said, “it is clear that our levels of cooperation have never been higher through the dedication to NATO’s three core tasks of Collective Defense, Crisis Management, and Cooperative Security, and precision focus on deterring potential threats to the Alliance.  The key to deterrence is demonstrating that NATO has both the political will and the military capability to back up the assurances of the North Atlantic Treaty”.

Keynote Addresses were delivered by Lieutenant General Jeffrey Lofgren, from Allied Command Transformation and General Sir James Everard, Deputy Supreme Allied Commander Europe.  Top experts from the political, academic, military and media spheres then debated, in four themed panels; Today’s Security Challenges and Threats to NATO and Partners; Political Cohesion and Decision-Making – is NATO fit for Deterrence?; Deterring from the 3rd Dimension – NATO’s Current Capabilities and finally Joint Air Power – Urgent Priorities.  The themes generated the threats and questions raised, and how the Alliance and its partners might best evolve and leverage air and space capabilities to enhance Deterrence and sustain NATO’s three core tasks.

In closing remarks, Wolters acknowledged that “the stability of the NATO Alliance is immeasurably important to the maintenance of peace and order in the world, not just the North Atlantic.  The challenges we face are multi-directional and multi-dimensional, and they will not be overcome without multilateral and multi-domain solutions”.

Story based on information provided by the Publications Promotions & Communications Section, JAPCC

Russia’s formidable S-400 Triumf air defense missile system

Mikhail Japaridze/TASS

MOSCOW, October 9. /TASS/.

Russia’s Federal Service for Military and Technical Cooperation reported on October 9, 2017 that Moscow and Riyadh had reached an agreement on the delivery of S-400 air defense missile systems and other armaments to Saudi Arabia.

The S-400 Triumf (NATO reporting name: SA-21 Growler) is a Russian long-and medium-range air defense missile system. It is designed to destroy air attack and reconnaissance means (including stealth aircraft) and any other aerial targets amid intensive counter-fire and jamming.

Development and entry into service

The work on the conceptual design of the point air defense missile system initially designated as the S-300PM3 was launched by the Almaz research and production association (currently the Almaz research and production association named after Academician Alexander Raspletin, Moscow) in the mid-1980s under the supervision of Chief Designer Alexander Lemansky. This work was intensified in the late 1990s and on February 12, 1999 the system was demonstrated for the first time at the Kapustin Yar practice range (the Astrakhan Region) to then-Defense Minister Igor Sergeyev. The trials of the most advanced air defense missile system were carried out in the 2000s.

On April 28, 2007, the S-400 went into service and the first battalion of the newest surface-to-air missile systems assumed combat duty on August 6 that year in the town of Elektrostal (the Moscow Region). Six weeks later, On September 27, 2007, the Triumf’s developer, Alexander Lemansky who saw the launch of his missile system into serial production, died at the Kapustin Yar practice range. The system’s first live-fire exercises were successfully carried out at the Kapustin Yar practice range in 2011.


The S-400 is based on the S-300PMU2 air defense missile complex. It differs from its predecessors by its extended combat range and the capability of using new surface-to-air missile systems. It is capable of detecting and destroying low-observable (stealth) and fast-moving aerial targets.

S-400 system and its integral parts

The S-400 Triumf comprises the following:

  • a combat control post;
  • a three-coordinate jam-resistant phased array radar to detect aerial targets;
  • six-eight air defense missile complexes (with up to 12 transporter-launchers, and also a multifunctional four-coordinate illumination and detection radar);
  • a technical support system;
  • missile transporting vehicles;
  • a training simulator.

The S-400 system can also additionally include an all-altitude radar (detector) and movable towers for an antenna post. All the S-400’s means are mounted on the wheeled all-terrain chassis (produced by the Minsk Wheeled Tractor Factory and the Bryansk Automobile Enterprise) and can be transported by rail, water and air transport.

The S-400 can selectively operate with the use of no less than 5 missile types of various takeoff weights and launch ranges to create a layered air defense zone.

The S-400 is also capable of exercising control of other air defense missile systems (the Tor-M1, the Pantsyr-S1), providing highly effective air defense even amid a mass air attack with the use of electronic warfare means.

Technical characteristics

  • target detection range – up to 600 km;
  • aerodynamic target kill range – from 3 to 250 km;
  • tactical ballistic missile destruction range – from 5 to 60 km;
  • target destruction altitude – from 2 to 27 km;
  • engageable target velocity – up to 17,300 km/h;
  • the number of targets engaged at a time – up to 36 (up to six with one air defense missile complex);
  • the number of simultaneously guided missiles – 72;
  • the time of the system’s deployment from its march position – 5-10 min, the time of making the system combat ready from the deployed position – 3 min;
  • the operational service life of ground-based systems – no less than 20 years, air defense missiles – no less than 15 years;

Russian Aerospace Force Deputy Commander-in-Chief Viktor Gumyonny said on April 8, 2017 that missiles capable of “destroying targets in outer space, at long distances and large speeds” had started arriving for S-400 systems.

S-400 systems on combat duty in the Russian Armed Forces

According to public sources, 19 regiments armed with S-400 complexes were on combat duty in the Russian Armed Forces as of April 2017. Overall, these regiments included a total of 38 battalions and 304 launchers in Elektrostal, Dmitrov, Zvenigorod, Kurilovo (Moscow Region), Nakhodka (the Primorye Territory), Kaliningrad, Novorossiysk (the Krasnodar Territory), Polyarny (the Murmansk Region), Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky (the Kamchatka Territory), Novosibirsk, Vladivostok, Sevastopol and other places.

The state armament program envisages the arrival of 56 S-400 battalions for troops by 2020, which will make it possible to rearm 28 two-battalion air defense missile regiments.

A battalion of Triumf surface-to-air missile systems was deployed on November 25, 2015 from the Moscow Region to Syria’s Hmeymim air base accommodating the Russian air task force. Later on, according to media reports, another S-400 battalion was deployed in the Syrian province of Hama.



Why NATO Can’t Move Forces Like Russia is able to

M1A2 Abrams Main Battle Tanks are lined up on rail cars in Latvia

From mismatched rail lines to red tape, a host of obstacles show why NATO needs its own version of Russia’s upcoming Zapad 2017 exercise.

Richard Barrons knows how to move large amounts of military equipment around continental Europe. When he served in Germany as a young British officer in the 1980s, NATO forces worked steadily to hone the skills of theater-wide deployment.

“There were major reinforcement exercises to bring troops from the UK and the U.S. across the continent to the West German border with East Germany,” recalls Barrons, the British Army general who led the UK’s Joint Forces Command before stepping down last year. “We trundled down West German autobahns at 15 kilometers an hour in a vast convoy of armored vehicles. And we had to keep within four hours of our bases to maintain a high level of readiness, which was also regularly exercised without warning.” Such pains were as necessary as they were onerous, he said. “Moving large forces requires a great deal of skill and can only be learned and tested by actually doing it.”

And should the many militaries of a multinational force fail to properly coordinate the transport of troops, arms, and gear from far-flung locations over civilian roads and railways, the battle can be lost before it has started.

Stryker vehicles make their way down a highway in Riga, Latvia

An exercise involving exactly such large geographical maneuvers is currently getting underway in Russia. Under the name Zapad (“West”), an estimated 100,000 troops will spend the third week of September practicing to defend their western frontier. NATO’s Baltic members worry that the exercises are a rehearsal for invasion, and whether that’s right or not, the alliance is long past due to restart Zapad-type exercises of its own.

For the past couple of decades, NATO has focused on out-of-area missions while giving short shrift to the defense of Europe. The United States has been closing bases in Germany; France withdrew its last forces in 2014, and Britain will do so within the next several years.

The alliance’s newest members have not been required to update their infrastructure to support a theater-wide war effort.To be sure, NATO has a rapid-reaction force that could quickly come to the aid of one of its members, but the alliance would struggle to mobilize and move the larger forces required to repel any serious attack.

For the past couple of years, Gen. Ben Hodges, the commander of the U.S. Army in Europe, has visited European capitals with slides that show the alliance’s logistical gaps. One shows the 1987 edition of NATO’s Reforger exercise, in which 115,000 troops from six militaries (and their equipment) travelled up to 600 kilometers by road, rail, or air to reach their mock battlefronts.

Another slide shows how the alliance’s multinational defense-of-Europe exercises have dwindled to a fraction of their former size.

Russia’s 2014 annexation of Crimea was a wakeup call of sorts. Last year, NATO held its largest exercise since the Cold War, gathering some 30,000 troops from 24 countries to Poland for ten days of war games. Yet a broad NATO mobilization would face many obstacles.

Some member states still require many days before providing diplomatic clearance – essentially, entry permission – to NATO troops. Several countries have railheads that don’t support the heavy equipment used by the U.S. and other allies, and some countries’ roads don’t support that equipment.

Baltic railroads even use a different rail gauge than their NATO allies. More fundamentally, there’s no plan to deal with any of this.

Russian troops near the Crimean city of Simferopol 2014

“Today there’s no consensus among the 28 [NATO members] about what the plan should be for the defense of the alliance,” said Barrons. “There is no NATO general deployment plan, so in the heat at the moment you’d have to figure one out as you needed to get moving. Without planning and regular training at scale, we’d end up with massive traffic jams. By contrast, the Russians do practice, and they do so as a single entity.”

The alliance, then, needs its own Zapad. “In light of the volatility of current relations with Russia, the magnitude of Russian forces, and the geographic advantages those forces have in proximity to potential points of conflict compared to the alliance’s main fighting forces, it’s high time for NATO to start testing its readiness for large-scale, rapidly breaking contingencies,” said Ian Brzezinski, a deputy assistant secretary of defense under George W. Bush.

“That was a main purpose of the Reforger exercises during the Cold War. Today we need similar exercises but ones that also test, refine, exercise and demonstrate the ability of European allies to rapidly deploy to the alliance’s Eastern front.”

Given that Russia never stopped holding its Soviet-era Zapad exercises, a similar NATO effort could hardly be portrayed as escalation. What’s more, it would allow the Western alliance to address the gaps that have chewed away at its territorial defense capabilities over the past couple of decades.

“Even before the capabilities are all in hand, NATO needs to wargame the reinforcement challenge in a scenario of an escalating large-scale, multi-domain conflict with Russia with multiple fronts, for example the Baltics and the Black Sea,” says Alexander Vershbow, who was until last year NATO’s Deputy Secretary-General.

“While a lot of this can be done through simulations and CPXs, both the forces and the political authorities in NATO capitals need to be stress-tested as well.”

Zubr-class LCAC landing troops on the coast of the Baltic Sea

Planned major exercises would also be an impetus for member states to improve their roads, railheads, and diplomatic clearance procedures. Equally importantly, they would have to make sure their armed forces were capable of exercises involving divisions rather than platoons. Exercises do, of course, involve expense. But with all NATO’s member states having committed to raise their defense spending to 2 percent of GDP, exercises defending the continent seem a sensible way to spend some of that money.

Large exercises are about more than logistics; they are about credibility. It’s long past time to repair the logistical and organizational foundations that support NATO’s cornerstone promise to come to any member’s defense. Even if the U.S. is unlikely grow its European military force back to Cold War strengths, it should push for NATO Zapads.



U.S., Coalition Continue Strikes to Defeat ISIS in Syria, Iraq

U.S. Marines with Marine Fighter Attack Squadron 232, Special Purpose Marine Air-Ground Task Force Operation Inherent Resolve with a combination of surveillance flights and kinetic strike missions, enabling Iraqi Security Forces in their fight against the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant. (U.S. Marine Corps Photo by Cpl. Leah Agler)

Aug. 20, 2017 — U.S. and coalition military forces continued to attack the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria yesterday, conducting 15 strikes consisting of 24 engagements, Combined Joint Task Force Operation Inherent Resolve officials reported today.

Officials reported details of yesterday’s strikes, noting that assessments of results are based on initial reports.

Strikes in Syria

In Syria, coalition military forces conducted six strikes consisting of six engagements against ISIS targets:

— Near Dayr Az Zawr, a strike destroyed 10 ISIS oil-storage barrels.

— Near Raqqa, five strikes engaged two ISIS tactical units and destroyed three fighting positions.

Strikes in Iraq

In Iraq, coalition military forces conducted nine strikes consisting of 18 engagements against ISIS targets:

— Near Qaim, a strike destroyed an ISIS supply cache.

— Near Beiji, a strike engaged an ISIS tactical unit and destroyed a vehicle.

— Near Rawah, three strikes destroyed two ISIS headquarters, a weapons cache and a staging area.

— Near Tal Afar, four strikes engaged an ISIS tactical unit and destroyed seven rocket systems, two command-and-control nodes, two mortar systems, a vehicle-borne-bomb factory, a supply cache and a front-end loader.

Other Recent Strikes

Additionally, officials today announced the results of 26 strikes consisting of 38 engagements conducted in Syria and Iraq on Aug. 17 and Aug. 18 for which the information was unavailable at the time of yesterday’s report:

— Near Raqqa on Aug. 17, three strikes engaged three ISIS tactical units and destroyed a fighting position.

— Near Raqqa on Aug. 18, 20 strikes engaged 14 ISIS tactical units, destroyed 14 fighting positions and damaged a tunnel entrance.

— Near Tal Afar on Aug. 18, three strikes destroyed 24 ISIS roadblocks, two vehicle-borne-bomb factories, an ISIS headquarters, an ISIS command-and-control node and a fighting position and suppressed three mortar teams.

Part of Operation Inherent Resolve

These strikes were conducted as part of Operation Inherent Resolve, the operation to destroy ISIS in Iraq and Syria. The destruction of ISIS targets in Iraq and Syria also further limits the group’s ability to project terror and conduct external operations throughout the region and the rest of the world, task force officials said.

An Australian F/A-18A Hornet from No. 1 Squadron, part of Operation OKRA — engaging Islamic State in Iraq and Syria — which comprises six RAAF F/A-18F Super Hornets, six RAAF F/A-18A Hornets, an E-7A Wedgetail Airborne Early Warning and Control aircraft and a KC-30A Multi-Role Tanker Transport aircraft.

The list above contains all strikes conducted by fighter, attack, bomber, rotary-wing or remotely piloted aircraft; rocket-propelled artillery; and some ground-based tactical artillery when fired on planned targets, officials noted.

Ground-based artillery fired in counterfire or in fire support to maneuver roles is not classified as a strike, they added. A strike, as defined by the coalition, refers to one or more kinetic engagements that occur in roughly the same geographic location to produce a single or cumulative effect.

For example, task force officials explained, a single aircraft delivering a single weapon against a lone ISIS vehicle is one strike, but so is multiple aircraft delivering dozens of weapons against a group of ISIS-held buildings and weapon systems in a compound, having the cumulative effect of making that facility harder or impossible to use. Strike assessments are based on initial reports and may be refined, officials said.

The task force does not report the number or type of aircraft employed in a strike, the number of munitions dropped in each strike, or the number of individual munition impact points against a target.


Putin praises Russian Airborne Force for preserving military traditions

Russian President Vladimir Putin has congratulated the Airborne Force personnel and veteran paratroopers on the Airborne Force Day, yesterday, the Kremlin press service said.

“Today, we pay homage to the courageous and strong spirited people who chose the hard and demanding but honorable service in the Airborne Force,” the president said in his congratulatory message. “They value their brothers in arms more than anything and are always ready to stand up for the defense of our Homeland. And of course, I would like to offer my most sincere gratitude to veteran paratroopers, who courageously wrote the history of the legendary Airborne Force,” Putin added.

He stressed that soldiers and military officers continued to serve their country with dignity and honor, “they keep the military traditions of their predecessors and handle all the tasks set before them, showing excellent training skills, unity and devotion to duty.”

August 2 marked the 87th anniversary of the Russian Airborne Force as on August 2 1930, a Russian paratrooper unit consisting of 12 people conducted the first parachute jumps during military exercises which took place near the city of Voronezh. In 1932, the massive establishment of airborne units began.

According to Russia’s Defense Ministry, the main goal of the Russian Airborne Force is participating in containment activities in strategic areas and fulfilling tasks in cooperation with other military branches aimed at resolving crisis situations in the period of threat and in the time of war. In the time of peace, the Russian Airborne Force continues to perform tasks concerning strategic deterrence and may also take part in peacekeeping operations.

Russia’s Airborne Force currently contains two air assault divisions – the 76th Guards Air Assault Division deployed to the city of Pskov and the Seventh Guards Mountain Air Assault Division (Novorossiysk), two airborne divisions – 98th Guards Airborne Division (Ivanovo) and the 106th Guards Airborne Division (Tula), four airborne brigades – the11th Guards Air Assault Brigade (Ulan-Ude), the 31st Guards Air Assault Brigade (Ulyanovsk), the 56th Guards Air Assault Brigade (Kamushin) and the 83rd Guards Air Assault Brigade (Kubinka), as well as the 45th Guards Independent Reconnaissance Brigade. Besides, the Russian Airborne Force also includes logistics units and educational establishments.





Ukraine hosts 17 nations for Black Sea drill Sea Breeze

USS Hue City entered the Black Sea on July 9, 2017. US Navy file photo

Defense forces from 17 countries are attending the multinational Black Sea exercise Sea Breeze which is taking place from July 10 to 22, in Ukraine.

The exercise is co-hosted by the U.S. and Ukraine and will involve air, land, sea, and amphibious forces.

The annual recurring multinational exercise is in its 17th edition and will focus on a variety of warfare areas to include maritime interdiction operations, air defense, anti-submarine warfare, damage control tactics, search and rescue, and amphibious warfare.

Sea Breeze is designed to enhance flexibility and interoperability, strengthen combined response capabilities, and demonstrate resolve among allied and partner nation forces to ensure stability in the Black Sea region.

This year’s participating nations include: Belgium, Bulgaria, Canada, France, Georgia, Greece, Italy, Lithuania, Moldova, Norway, Poland, Romania, Sweden, Turkey, Ukraine, the United Kingdom, and the U.S.

Participating U.S. Navy units will include the Ticonderoga-class guided-missile cruiser USS Hue City (CG 66) and Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Carney (DDG 64) in addition to other units.

Original article: NAVALTODAY.

CH-53K King Stallion flight testing moves to NAS Patuxent River

US Marine Corps Aviation CH-53K King Stallion Heavy Lift Helicopter

The CH-53K King Stallion has completed its first long-range test flight from West Palm Beach to the base as it transitions to its next test phase.

The CH-53K King Stallion has completed its first long-range test flight from West Palm Beach, Fla. to Naval Air Station Patuxent River, MD. as it transitions to its next test phase, Lockheed Martin announced on Wednesday.

The flight was over 800 miles with a total flight time of six hour is the first of a planned series of long-range flight testing until 2018. The program will be overseen by Sikorsky, the Navy and Marine Corps during the transition to Patuxent River /

“This first movement of CH-53K flight testing to our customer’s facility denotes that the aircraft have achieved sufficient maturity to begin transitioning the focus of the test program from envelope expansion to system qualification testing,” Dr. Michael Torok, vice president of CH-53K programs at Sikorsky, said in a press release. “This has been the plan from the beginning and is another important step toward getting these fantastic aircraft into the hands of the U.S. Marine Corps.”

The CH-53K King Stallion is a heavy-lift transport helicopter being developed by Sikorsky for the U.S. Marine Corps. It is an extensive redesign of the CH-53E Super Stallion, featuring three powerful new engines that give it triple the lift capacity and a larger cabin than the Super Stallion.

The rotorcraft can carry an external load of up to 27,000 pounds more than 120 miles, giving it excellent mobility for heavy cargo lifts and is large enough to carry HMMWV vehicles internally.

The King Stallion has a composite airframe structure that is lighter and stronger than earlier models along with composite rotor blades. It is suitable for troop and cargo transport, medical evacuations, and search-and-rescue operations. The Marine Corps is expected to purchase 200 King Stallions, with the first six being delivered next year.

The Sea Stallion series of heavy lift helicopters has been in use with refurbishment and upgrades by the Marine Corps for over 50 years.

Semper Fi

Original article: By Stephen Carlson, UPI.