Tag: combat

2 US troops killed, more wounded in Iraq

IRBIL, Iraq — Two Americans were killed and five others wounded Sunday while conducting combat operations in northern Iraq, the U.S. military said.

In a statement, the U.S.-led international coalition Operation Inherent Resolve said initial reports indicated the incident was not due to contact with enemy forces. It is under investigation.
The statement did not name the slain soldiers, deferring identification to national authorities.

U.S. troops have been helping support Iraqi forces battling the Islamic State group — “a truly evil enemy” in the words of Lt. Gen. Stephen J. Townsend, Operation Inherent Resolve commander.

“The entire counter-ISIS coalition sends our deepest condolences to these heroes’ families, friends and teammates,” Townsend said in a statement. “There are no words to describe the respect I have for you and sorrow I have for your loss. I hope there is some small solace in knowing their loss has meaning for our country and all the nations of the coalition.”

After a nine-month battle to oust ISIS from its last urban stronghold in Mosul, Iraqi forces – closely supported by the U.S.-led coalition – are preparing to retake the ISIS-held town of Tal Afar west of the city.

The latest deaths bring to nine the number of Americans killed supporting Operation Inherent Resolve this year, including noncombat deaths. Nearly 50 Americans have been wounded in action since the anti-ISIS campaign began in August 2014, according to Pentagon data.


Russian Aerospace Force to get over hundred aircraft in 2017

Russian Sukhoi Su-35S Multi-role Heavy Fighter

Russia’s Aerospace Force will get over 70 aircraft and helicopters, as well as more than 40 air defense missile systems until the end of this year, Aerospace Force Commander-in-Chief Colonel General Viktor Bondarev told Krasnaya Zvezda newspaper on Friday.

“Over 70 aircraft, more than 40 air defense missile systems and about 70 radar stations will arrive for Aerospace Force units until the end of the year,” he said.

Russia’s Aerospace Force has already received about 50 new aircraft this year: Sukhoi Su-34, Su-35S, Su-30SM, Yak-130 planes, Kamov Ka-52 combat helicopters, Mil Mi-8 AMTSh and Mi-8MTV-5-1 military transport helicopters and also over 20 standby and alert radar stations, the commander said.

Russian Sukhoi Su-34 Multi-role Attack Aircraft

“Besides, the industry is finalizing and delivering satellites, military carrier rockets and radars characterized by the high degree of their readiness for ensuring a closed field of missile attack warning.

Let me note that special attention during the planning of the Aerospace Force’s hardware upgrade was paid to constant alert units and formations where armament and military hardware had considerably used up their potential,” Bondarev said.






UK starts construction of first Type 26 frigate HMS Gowan

BAE Systems Type 26 Global Combat Ship.

The name of the first Type 26 frigate to be built for the Royal Navy has been announced during a steel-cutting ceremony held at Govan shipyard in Scotland.

Pressing the button which officially marked the ship’s construction start, UK Defence Secretary Michael Fallon announced that the first Type 26 frigate would be named HMS Gowan, the 9th Royal Navy ship to bear the name.

It was also announced that the new frigates will be referred to as the City-class.

“As an island nation, we are utterly dependant on the sea for our security and prosperity,” Admiral Sir Philip Jones, First Sea Lord, said. “The City-class confrims the historic bond between the Royal Navy’s fighting ships and our great centres of commerce and industry.”

The steel-cutting ceremony took place less than a month after shipbuilder BAE Systems received a £3.7 billion contract to build the first three ships in the class.

Overall eight vessels are planned to be built to replace the equivalent number of submarine-hunting Type 23 frigates currently in service.

The Type 26 frigates are 60ft longer and 2,000 tonnes heavier than their predecessors, equipped with bow and towed array sonar, Sea Ceptor air defence missiles and a 5in main gun.

The ships are also equipped with a mission bay for plug-in containers carrying equipment for specific tasks, such as disaster relief, and a flight deck big enough to take a Chinook – though the Fleet Air Arm’s Merlin and Wildcat helicopters will be more common.

In due course, the Type 26’s firepower will be bolstered by the future offensive surface weapon – the missile currently being developed to replace the Harpoon.



Over 3,000 Russian, Tajik troops alerted in first joint snap check

Russian Su-24 bombers. AP Photo/Vladimir Isachenkov

More than 3,000 Russian and Tajik military are taking part in the first joint snap combat readiness check that began in the Central Asian republic on Friday, Assistant Commander of Russia’s Central Military District, Colonel Yaroslav Roshchupkin, said.

“The military of Russia and Tajikistan are participating jointly for the first time in a snap readiness check. The servicemen of the two armies backed by Russian operational-tactical and army aviation are performing training and combat tasks in line with a single plan in a common operation situation on the mountainous firing grounds of Lyaur and Kharbmaydon,” he said.

The troops were alerted and deployed to the firing grounds where they started performing exercises in shooting and fire control and practicing cooperation. The checks are overseen by Commander of the Russian Central Military District Vladimir Zarudnitsky and Chief of the General Staff of Tajikistan’s Armed Forces Emomali Sobirzoda.

Eight Russian warplanes – Su-24 bombers and Su-25 attack aircraft – were earlier sent to Tajikistan.

Source: TASS Russian News Agency.


RIAT 2017: Ukrainian Sukhoi Su-27 Air Display [VIDEO]

One of the most famous of all combat jets made a spectacular return to the Royal International Air Tattoo this year, as the Ukrainian Air Force sent examples of the Sukhoi Su-27, NATO codename ‘Flanker’, for both the static and flying displays at the airshow on 15-16 July.

The Su-27, a heavy air superiority fighter, was designed during the Cold War as a Soviet counter to potential Western opponents such as the US Air Force’s F-15 Eagle. It first flew in 1977, and in the course of its development phase one of the prototypes set several time-to-altitude records. Service entry began during 1985, and when the ‘Flanker’ started appearing at Western air displays in the hands of Sukhoi test pilots, starting at Paris in 1989, it astounded spectators with its manoeuvrability.

In the post-Soviet era, the original Su-27 series has continued to equip the Russian armed forces, and carried on serving with the Ukrainian Air Force as well as other former Soviet states and several export customers. The design has continued to be developed for both Russia and overseas markets, some of the latest derivatives incorporating thrust vectoring for even greater agility.

The Ukrainian Su-27s that visited Fairford for RIAT 2017 are on the strength at the 831st Tactical Aviation Brigade, based at Myrhorod in central Ukraine. One took part in a spectacular flying display on Saturday and Sunday, while the other was a popular attraction in the static display. The support aircraft for the ‘Flankers’, an Ilyushin Il-76 four-engine jet transport was alongside in the static park.

The Air Tattoo became the first Western airshow to welcome Ukrainian participation when a Su-27 displayed at Fairford back in 1996. This year will mark the first time since 1999 that a Ukrainian ‘Flanker’ has given a flying demonstration at the event, though a single example appeared on static display in 2011. Confirmation of the aircraft’s attendance at RIAT 2017 came after a visit to Myrhorod by Wg Cdr Jonathan Nixon, the chairman of the Air Tattoo’s flying control committee, for the purpose of observing and validating the Su-27’s display.

RIAT chief executive Andy Armstrong said: “The return of the Ukrainian Su-27 this year is the result of a lot of hard work by the Air Tattoo team. I am delighted that the Ukrainian Air Force has made such a commitment to the show.

Source: Royal International Air Tattoo.

Russia’s advanced MiG-35 fighter jet to go into serial production in 2019

Marina Lystseva-TASS

The serial production of Russia’s advanced Mikoyan MiG-35 (NATO reporting name: Fulcrum-F) fighter jet will begin within the next two years, MiG Aircraft Corporation CEO Ilya Tarasenko said on Friday.

“We are now holding the trials. Following their results, serial production will begin,” the chief executive said, adding that this would happen in the next two years.

The MiG-35 is Russia’s most advanced 4++ generation multipurpose fighter jet developed on the basis of the serial-produced MiG-29K/KUB and MiG-29M/M2 combat aircraft.

The fighter jet features improved flight and technical characteristics, the most advanced onboard radio-electronic equipment and a wide arsenal of air-to-air and air-to-surface missiles.

The plane can develop a speed of 2.23 Mach and its operational radius exceeds the range of its predecessor MiG-29 by 50%.

Marina Lystseva-TASS

The flight tests of MiG-35 fighter aircraft began on January 26 and the plane’s international presentation was held in the Moscow Region on the following day.

Russia’s state armament program through 2020 stipulates the deliveries of MiG-35 fighter jets to Russia’s Aerospace Force. Commander-in-Chief of Russia’s Aerospace Force Viktor Bondarev said earlier that the purchases of over 30 such fighter jets were planned.

Source: TASS Russian News Agency.





Ukrainian Ministry of Defense: 28 combat units have been trained according to advanced NATO standards

The press service of Ukraine’s Ministry of Defense reported that 28 military units from its Armed Forces were trained according to NATO standards by instructors from Canada, Great Britain, the USA, Lithuania and Poland.

The report said that, “in 2017, 297 instructors were trained to Alliance standards. Overall, since the beginning of the military reform, about 1,200 military instructors have been trained, 600 of which had the benefit of foreign coaches’ participation.”

The Ministry also revealed that since the start of the year, “150 standards of collective and individual training were forged in the Armed Forces, putting into effect “the only electronic database of training standards and teaching-training materials for troops.”

In higher education establishments that train ground troops, the military “deployed and commissioned 22 complex dynamic simulators for the crews of tanks, infantry fighting vehicles and armored personnel carriers.”

“The fundamental changes in the system of training troops, measures in building up the educational training database led to a certain increase in the quality of training,” the report explained.

It was also noted in the department that in 2017, according to the new standards, 166 operational training activities and 184 basic combat training activities were conducted. In addition, 20 joint operational and combat training activities took place at the Armed Forces firing ranges.

The groundwork for training advances was laid out on June 8 when the Verkhovna Rada voted for deeper cooperation between Ukraine and NATO in order to gain membership in this organization as the basis of foreign policy. The President of Ukraine, Petro Poroshenko signed the bill into law.

Source: UAWIRE.

Saber Guardian 17: 3ABCT moves to Black Sea Region

3ABCT Arriving in Europe (Photo by U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Timothy D. Hughes)

Fort Carson Mountaineer, By Staff Sgt. Ange Desinor, 3rd Armored Brigade Combat Team Public Affairs Office, 4th Infantry Division, 3 July 2017

GRAFENWOEHR TRAINING AREA, Germany — Soldiers of the 3rd Armored Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division, conducted a quick turnaround on equipment maintenance and rail operations to move five battalions to the Black Sea region for an upcoming series of multinational exercises.

Exercise Saber Guardian 17, a U.S. Army Europe-led multinational exercise, will take place in Bulgaria, Hungary and Romania from July 11-20, 2017. The exercise is the largest of 18 Black Sea region exercises and will draw approximately 25,000 service members from 23 allied and partner nations to showcase collective deterrence capabilities.

For the 3rd ABCT, the series of exercises is further opportunity to assemble and move the majority of its forces across central and eastern Europe as it demonstrates the ability to mass at any given time to respond to a crisis anywhere in Europe.

It’s the “Iron” Brigade’s eighth movement of a battalion or larger since arriving in Europe in January to serve in a deterrent role as U.S. Army Europe’s regionally allocated land force under Operation Atlantic Resolve.

The brigade just concluded a force-on-force scenario hosted by the Joint Multinational Readiness Center as part of Combined Resolve VIII. Immediately following that intense nine-day fight, Soldiers cleaned and prepared armor and wheeled vehicles for rail movement at Grafenwoehr and Hohenfels training areas.

“I’m really excited to be going to Romania,” said Sgt. 1st Class Alexander Graybill, platoon sergeant, Company C, 588th Brigade Engineer Battalion, 3rd ABCT. “Going to Romania with a new mission will allow us to apply the lessons learned to Saber Guardian. I feel that it will allow us to have more time to polish up on areas and prepare to go to Combined Resolve IX back in Germany later this summer.”

A U.S. Army Stryker chemical reconnaissance vehicle from Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 588th Brigade Engineer Battalion

Graybill and his Soldiers are going to provide upper and lower tactical internet communications to Soldiers participating in the exercise.
“We are loading up equipment and vehicles and leaning forward to ensure we are all set up and ready. We ensure that the commander is able to communicate with all the Soldiers on the battlefield,” he said.

Along with the brigade head­quarters, the five battalions relocating from Germany to participate in the Getica Saber exercise, a U.S.-led fire coordination exercise and combined arms live-fire exercise July 10-15, 2017, at Cincu, Romania, are the 1st Battalion, 66th Armor Regiment; 3rd Battalion, 29th Field Artillery Regiment; 588th Brigade Engineer Battalion; and 64th Brigade Support Battalion.

The 4th Squadron, 10th Cavalry Regiment, moves to Varpalota Training Area, Hungary, to participate in Brave Warrior 17, which focuses on joint maneuvers. The squadron joins its Troop A, which has been training in Hungary since February.

A soldier of the 4th Squadron, 10th Cavalry Regiment in Hungary 2017

A sixth Iron Brigade unit, 1st Battalion, 8th Infantry Regiment, already has been training in Romania and Bulgaria as part of its Atlantic Resolve mission. The battalion will participate in the Eagle Sentinel and Peace Sentinel live-fire exercises in Bulgaria as part of Saber Guardian 17.

Despite the quick transition from Combined Resolve VIII to Saber Guardian, 3rd ABCT Soldiers were looking forward to a new venue to train with NATO allies and partners.

“I’m always able to adapt to new areas and new experiences,” said Staff Sgt. Kenneth Kelly, geospatial engineer, Headquarters and Headquarters Company. “This is my first time going to Romania and being part of something big. I feel very fortunate to be part of the team.”

Later in July and August 2017, a company from 1st Bn., 66th Armor Reg., will participate in Noble Partner 17 in the Republic of Georgia.

This collective training throughout the region is designed to further partner capacity and improve interoperability as part of a profound demonstration of U.S., allied and partner commitment to security and stability in the Black Sea region.


Baltic Fleet’s fighter jets hold air combat drills in Russia’s westernmost region

Mikhail Metzel/TASS

TASS Russian News Agency, 28 June 2017

KALININGRAD, June 28. /TASS/. Pilots of the Baltic Fleet’s Sukhoi Su-27 fighter jets have held a training air combat in the skies of Russia’s westernmost Kaliningrad Region, the Fleet’s press office reported on Wednesday.

“A group of Su-27 multirole fighter jets of the Baltic Fleet’s naval aviation has held a training air combat and intercepted the designated air target over the Kaliningrad Region,” the press office said in a statement.

The pilots also searched for a notional border intruder, launched an attack with a maneuver of dodging air-to-air missiles and practiced pilotage in a pair and in a close combat formation, the statement said.

The crews of Su-27 fighters are on round-the-clock alert, defending the airspace of the Kaliningrad Region. Since the beginning of this year, the pilots have performed about 120 flights to monitor various aircraft and also foreign surface ships in the Baltic Sea.

Over 30 pilots have increased their qualification after performing flights in various weather conditions.





Russia may start exporting advanced MiG-35 fighter jet in couple of years

MiG-35 Fulcrum F

TASS Russian News Agency, 19 June 2017

LE BOURGET (France), June 19. /TASS/. The exports of Russia’s most advanced Mikoyan MiG-35 (NATO reporting name: Fulcrum-F) fighter jet may begin in a year or two after the plane is finalized to meet its required characteristics, state arms seller Rosoboronexport CEO Alexander Mikheyev said on Monday.

“I believe that within a year or two the plane will be brought to the state that meets its required characteristics, will receive its required outlook and is eventually accepted as a product for exports,” the chief executive said at the Le Bourget aerospace show.

Deputy CEO of Russia’s MiG Aircraft Company Viktor Chernov said earlier on Monday that the MiG-35 will complete state trials in 2017. According to him, the fighter jet has very good prospects:

“This machine, which is completing state trials this year, will have very good prospects – we count on such markets as South and Southeast Asia, Latin America and African countries.”

The MiG-35 is Russia’s most advanced 4++-generation multipurpose fighter jet developed on the basis of the serial-produced MiG-29K/KUB and MiG-29M/M2 combat aircraft.

The fighter jet features improved flight and technical characteristics, the most advanced onboard radio-electronic equipment and a wide arsenal of air-to-air and air-to-surface missiles. The plane can develop a speed of 2.23 Mach and its operational radius exceeds the range of its predecessor MiG-29 by 50%.

The United Aircraft Corporation announced in early February it had signed a contract with Russia’s Defense Ministry on the delivery of two such fighters in 2017-2018. According to a TASS source in the defense sector, a contract for more than 30 MiG-35 for the Defense Ministry may be signed in 2018.

The flight tests of MiG-35 fighter aircraft began on January 26 and the plane’s international presentation was held in the Moscow Region on the following day.

Russia’s state armament program through 2020 stipulates the deliveries of MiG-35 fighter jets to Russia’s Aerospace Force. Commander-in-Chief of Russia’s Aerospace Force Viktor Bondarev said earlier that the purchases of over 30 such fighter jets were planned.



Special Forces in Focus: Sweden’s Särskilda operationsgruppen

Swedish Special Forces Särskilda Operationsgruppen.

The Baltic Post, 19 June 2017

Särskilda Operationsgruppen (English: Special Operations Task Group, abbreviated (SOG) is a special forces unit within the Swedish Armed Forces which has been active since 2011. The unit is headquartered at Karlsborg Fortress in Karlsborg, Västra Götaland County.

Särskilda operationsgruppen was formed in 2011 by merging the Special Protection Group (SSG) and the Special Reconnaissance Group (SIG).

The Special Operations Task Group (SOG) answers directly to the Supreme Commander and the Director Special Forces. The unit, combined with the Special Forces Command, comprises the Swedish Armed Forces Special Forces (FM SF). In addition to this, there are several special forces support units (FM SOF). The personnel are specially selected, trained and equipped units for air, sea and land transportation, technical, logistical and medical support. For example: Special Maritime Transportation unit (STE), Special Signals Group (SSE) and the Section for Special Operative Technology (SOT).

SOG consists of two so-called response units (IE). IE1 focuses on combat tasks (Direct Action) and IE2 focuses on intelligence gathering (Special Reconnaissance). The requirements to IE2 are slightly lower than for IE1. In IE2 there are also female intelligence operators.

What most people see of the operators is when they are employed as personal protection for the Supreme Commander or other high-ranking officers of the Swedish Armed Forces when they visit Swedish areas of operation. However, their most frequent usage is during multi-national special operations such as Direct Action, Special Reconnaissance and Military Assistance.

SOG combat operations are of great strategic importance that cannot be accomplished by conventional forces or weapon systems. Combat missions can be to eliminate high-value targets or objects of great importance to the enemy, to conduct complex rescue operations of Swedish personnel held captive or hostage, or to gather time-critical intelligence through action.

Special reconnaissance and intelligence gathering is intended to gather information of great tactical importance about the enemy´s activities, enemy personnel or other bits of information of operational significance.

Special Forces can also be tasked with advising and training foreign military units as part of an international peace-keeping military operation.

The unit maintains a high degree of readiness and can be deployed on short notice within a 6000 km radius of Stockholm and can operate in any environment, for example jungle, desert, mountain/alpine, sub-arctic and urban. The unit is deployed on request by the UN, EU or NATO but must then be sanctioned on a political level.

The unit is lightly equipped for greater mobility, both tactically and strategically. SOG strive for simplicity in planning and execution, and unpredictability through unconventional and flexible methods.

Due to operational security, the unit’s capabilities, equipment, operational methods, previous or on-going operations and the identities of their personnel are classified.

The SOG’s predecessors, the SSG and SIG, participated in operations in the Balkans, Congo, Tchad and the Central African Republic. Swedish special forces has also been continuously deployed in Afghanistan from the beginning of the conflict up until the withdrawal of ISAF forces in 2014. From 2015 a contingent of around 30 operators from the SOG along with its support units has been participating in Operation Inherent Resolve, acting as trainers for Kurdish Peshmerga forces.

Särskilda operationsgruppen on patrol.

Each operator has a broader skill base than regular soldiers and one or two patrol skills at which he or she is exceptionally skilled. A typical SOG team consists of four operators: A team leader, a demolitions expert, a radio operator and a combat medic. Each patrol can be augmented with, EOD technicians, JTAC-specialists or snipers.

Selection is open for Armed Forces members of both sexes who are at least eligible for specialist officer’s training and can only be attempted once unless mitigating circumstances caused the candidate to fail on the first attempt.

The candidates are advised to prepare themselves at least six months prior to the selection course and are invited to attend a pre-selection weekend where they will be tested and advised on their likelihood of success or failure and also where they need to improve.

The selection process takes two weeks and is held once a year. Historically, candidates for SOG´s predecessor, the SSG were sought out by the unit and invited to attempt selection. Selection for SOG however, is advertised on the Armed Forces website and is open for anyone who meets the basic requirements. The part of selection consists of an extremely grueling field exercise, stretching over more than a week, where the candidates are tested on their fitness, field craft and land navigation and the tests are conducted during great stress. The second week consists of psychological tests, similar to those undertaken by fighter pilots. They are also tested for their predisposition for phobias, such as heights and confined spaces. If the candidate is successful, he will begin the basic operator course which lasts for 12 months and is divided into three blocks:

  • Basic combat skills
  • Patrol skills
  • Special skills course

Once completed, the operator will be put in an operational team and can be deployed with the unit.

Personnel applying to join the unit as EOD or JTAC operators undergo the same selection process as the normal operators, but do a shorter 8 month basic operator course, after which they continue with specialist training in the EOD or JTAC function.

Operators train at their own compound at a secret location near Karlsborg, which, among shooting ranges, also features a large multi-story CQB-building, with bullet-absorbing lining in its walls. The building also facilitates helicopter insertions on its roof.

Särskilda Operationsgruppen, Special RECON Unit.

The SOG coat of arms is blazoned thusly: Upon a black shield is a six-pointed star in silver in the upper left corner. It was developed by the Armed Forces Board of Traditions and symbolizes the unit´s ability of un-conventional problem solving, effectiveness of duty and clandestine operations, and the asymmetrically positioned star symbolises asymmetric warfare.

The unit insignia, worn by each operator on the combat uniform consists of a winged Norse dagger (Seax) with an asymmetrically positioned six-pointed star.

Personnel within the Swedish Special Operations Forces, SOG and its support units also wear an olive green beret with a black, embroidered cap badge, the only non-metal cap badge within the Swedish Armed Forces.