Davie Shipbuilding announced on Monday that Asterix, the new supply ship being leased to the Royal Canadian Navy, has now been launched.
Commissioning of all onboard systems on the Resolve-class naval support ship began in early September and on Nov. 16, the ship will perform its sea-trials prior to achieving full operational capability, the firm noted.
During the sea-trials – overseen by Lloyd’s Register – the ship’s safety, quality, systems and functionality will be tested against the military standards and specifications which it has been built to, Davie added.
DUE TO A FAMILY INCIDENT, WE ARE UNABLE TO PROVIDE REGULAR SERVICES FOR THE TIME BEING, WE APOLOGISE FOR THE INCOVENIENCE CAUSED AND WILL ENDEAVOUR TO PROVIDE NORNAL SERVICES AS SOON AS IS PPOSSIBLE. THANK YOU FOR YOUR PATIENCE AND YOUR CONTINUED SUPPORT. WE AIM TO BE BACK AS SOON AS IS REASONABLY POSSIBLE.
LIELVARDE, Latvia – At the end of NATO’s deployment exercise Ramstein Dust-II 2017 to Lievarde, Latvia, it is time to look at the support provided by Host Nation Latvia.
The exercise director, German Air Force Colonel Klaus Nolte, commended the support the Latvian Air Force provided to his team: “We really appreciate the tremendous assistance we received over the last four weeks. The Latvian colleagues took good care of us so we could focus on our mission. They were key to a most successful exercise demonstrating Alliance cohesion and interoperability.”
“This base is perfectly positioned for our deployment exercise as it greatly facilitates integration into the Baltic Air Surveillance and Control Network,” added the Colonel, whose unit deployed here already in the fall of 2015. “Yet, our temporary relocation to here still needed a thorough planning process over at least 18 months with fine-tuning over the last six months,” he added.
Host Nation Support during Ramstein Dust-II 2017 was key to receiving the team of NATO’s deployable air surveillance and control unit at Lielvarde. Preparations started in May when the requirements were established and coordinated.
The support Latvia provided to the exercise included basically all real-life services such as accommodation, dining facility, and medical assistance as well as technical support such as engineering, security, communications connectivity, cargo handling, customs coordination and transportation.
“It has been a pleasure working with and for the international team. Participation in Ramstein Dust-II 2017 provided extra training opportunities for our Fighter Controllers and Data Link Operators. The exercise also contributed to enhancing interoperability of different air surveillance systems to ensure joint air surveillance and control,” said Major Eriks Karklis, Deputy Commander of the Air Surveillance Squadron of the Latvian Air Force.
At the end of September, the NATO specialists started tearing down their compound – again with Host Nation Latvia as a facilitator. After the departure of the exercise participants, Latvia’s Air Base will return to normal operations; however, Host Nation Support continues for the ongoing and future deployments of Allies to Lielvarde.
Story by Allied Air Command Public Affairs Office.
Royal Fleet Auxiliary ship RFA Tiderace has reached UK waters after getting underway almost two months ago from Okpo, South Korea, where she was built by Daewoo Shipbuilding and Marine Engineering (DSME).
The second of four Tide-class ships started her voyage on August 3 and arrived in Falmouth in the morning of September 25. Now that she is in the UK, the 39,000-tonne RFA Tiderace will begin a program of customization which will see her receive armor, self-defense weaponry and communications systems.
RFA Tiderace is expected to undergo around four months of customization before beginning a round of final sea trials before entering service next year. Meanwhile, lead ship in the class RFA Tidespring is expected to finish final sea trials in the coming weeks and enter service before the end of this year.
The 39,000-tonne Tide-class ships can carry up to 19,000 cubic meters of fuel and 1,400 cubic meters of fresh water in support of Royal Navy operations all over the world. They have been designed to support the new Queen Elizabeth-class aircraft carriers, the first of which, HMS Queen Elizabeth, arrived in Portsmouth last month.
The Tide Class has a flight deck able to accommodate the large Chinook helicopter and offer significant improvements over previous RFA tankers such as double hulls and greater environmental protection measures.
Plymouth-based Royal Navy fleet flagship HMS Ocean has been re-tasked to provide humanitarian aid to the Caribbean islands devastated by Hurricane Irma and in the path of Hurricane José.
The helicopter carrier and amphibious assault ship will join Royal Fleet Auxiliary Mounts Bay, providing logistical and medical support. Defence Secretary Sir Michael Fallon announced the change of tasking following a COBRA meeting.
“With the danger posed by Hurricane Jose which will hit areas already affected by the storms, we are diverting a second ship to the Caribbean, our flagship HMS Ocean, to bring the help that will be needed in reconstruction after the hurricanes have passed,” he said.
RFA Mounts Bay is already in the region and can provide a high level of capability and flexibility during disaster relief operations. She can provide emergency supplies of food, water and personnel – as well as medical support, temporary shelter and sanitation and the repair of infrastructure.
RFA Head of Service Commodore Duncan Lamb said: “My thoughts are with the people of Anguilla and neighbouring Caribbean islands affected by the devastation caused by Hurricane Irma.”
HMS Ocean was due to take over as flagship for NATO’s Standing Maritime Group 2 (SNMG2) deployment in theMediterranean but will instead head towards the Atlantic.
She has six helicopter operating spots on her flight deck with space in the hangar for many more. She currently has around 630 Royal Navy, Royal Marine and Army personnel embarked and can carry a significant amount of aid to the affected areas.
Hurricane Irma has pummelled the Turks and Caicos Islands after leaving a trail of destruction across the Caribbean, killing at least 14 people.
Howling winds and rough seas battered the British overseas territory, experiencing a top-rated category five hurricane for the first time.
There has been some damage and flooding in Haiti, which is still recovering from the devastating 2010 earthquake. Some 500,000 people were told to leave south Florida with Irma due on Sunday.
September 3, 2017 – Trenton, Ontario – National Defence / Canadian Armed Forces
A Royal Canadian Air Force CC130J Hercules departed 8 Wing Trenton, Ontario today, for Lackland Air Force Base, Texas, carrying humanitarian supplies from the Government of Canada to aid in Hurricane Harvey relief efforts.
In the wake of the hurricane, the Government of Canada offered to assist with relief efforts and the United States accepted this offer through its Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).
The RCAF airlift is part of a Whole of Government response to the relief efforts in the wake of Hurricane Harvey that has caused a mandatory evacuation of approximately 750,000 people with an additional 1.1 million people who are under a voluntary evacuation order along the Gulf Coast.
“Like all good neighbours, Canada and the United States are there for each other in times of crisis. Canadians can be proud that the Royal Canadian Air Force is well-suited to humanitarian missions at home and abroad thanks to its agility, flexibility and professionalism. The Canadian Armed Forces will continue to work with other departments in the Canadian government as well as our partners in the Federal Emergency Management Agency to be responsive to requests for aid as our American friends and neighbours recover from the horrors of Hurricane Harvey.”
— Harjit S. Sajjan, Defence Minister
The relief supplies on this flight included baby formula, blankets, cribs, and similar items. Supplies will be sent to Lackland Air Force Base, near San Antonio, Texas.
A CC130J Hercules is being used to transport the supplies. This aircraft is well-suited to disaster relief operations and humanitarian missions. The CC130J Hercules is a four-engine turboprop tactical transport aircraft with a rear cargo ramp and rugged landing gear. It is used for troop transport, tactical airlift (both palletized and vehicular cargo) and humanitarian missions. It has a maximum payload of 48,000 lbs / 21,772 kg.
Members of 8 Wing Trenton have diverse responsibilities, from delivering supplies to the Canadian Forces Station Alert in the high Arctic to airlifting troops, equipment, and humanitarian loads worldwide. They are adaptable and well-prepared to support disaster assistance missions throughout the world.
On 14 August, the Finnish Defence Ministry began implementing the recommendations of the government’s Defence Report which the parliament adopted in June. The report, which was drawn up in cooperation with the Finnish Defence Command, is a strategic planning document covering the next ten years.
Its recommendations include an increase in the wartime strength of the Finnish armed forces, from 230,000 to 280,000 soldiers; the assignment of some conscripts to the rapid manning of units in the event of a crisis or conflict (their service will be extended from 6 to 12 months); and raising the army’s combat readiness level, to which an additional €55 million euros will be allotted annually from 2018.
In addition, as of 2021 expenditure on the purchase of new armament and military equipment will rise by an extra €150 million annually. Finland is planning two major armament programmes in the period from 2019 to 2031; it wants to acquire four multi-role vessels (at an estimated cost of €1.2 billion) and multi-role fighters as successors to the F-18 Hornet (at an estimated cost of €7-10 billion).
These changes represent a correction to the previous large-scale reforms of the armed forces which were carried out in 2013-14. At that time, the search for budgetary savings led to the cuts to the wartime strength from 350,000 to 230,000 soldiers; to the number of professional and civilian personnel from 15,000 to 12,000; and to the total number of structures in the armed forces from 51 to 32 (by merging units, centralising logistics, and eliminating one level of command, among other measures).
The defence model of non-aligned Finland is based on general conscription and a huge trained reserve. The most important branch of the armed forces is the army itself, which in peacetime numbers 3500 professional soldiers and around 14,000 conscripts.
After mobilisation, these forces are divided into manoeuvrable troops (35,000), which are the main strike force of the army; regional troops (125,000), that is, territorial defence, tasked with slowing down the enemy; and local forces (5000), which are assigned to defend military sites, critical infrastructure and support to the authorities.
The serious delays in the ongoing BGN1.5 billion (USD898 million) process for the acquisition of eight new jet fighters for the Bulgarian Air Force (BuAF) has resulted in the nation’s Ministry of Defence (MoD) now seriously considering the possibility of co-operation with the Russian aerospace and defence industry in the general overhaul and modernisation of Bulgaria’s existing fleet of 15 MiG-29 jet fighters and 14 Su-25 ground attack aircraft.
In an interview with Bulgarian National Radio (BNR) on 21 July, Defence Minister Krasimir Karakachanov revealed that he recently met the management of the Russian Aircraft Corporation MiG (RSK MiG) to discuss options for logistical support of Bulgarian MiG-29s.
Bulgaria received 2 Klimov RD-33 engines for its MiG-29 fighters, which were overhauled by Polish military overhaul facilities. They were delivered to the Graf Ignatievo air base. The overhaul facilities started work on the last two Bulgarian engines last year, which were included as part of a package deal between Bulgaria and Poland.
The minister also revealed, that at the end of December 2015, two Polish RD-33 were delivered to Graf Ignatievo AB, which Warsaw provided to Sofia on a temporary basis. It was agreed, that they will not be used for more than 200 engine hours or 2 years. Moscow has stated that the overhaul of these engines by the Polish military was ‘Illegitimate’ and will now discuss options for ‘legitimate’ maintenance support for the Bulgarian MiG-29 fleet.
NATO is eyeing the German naval station Warnemünde as logistical support for ships assigned to its maritime task groups, German media are reporting.
According to the Ostsee-Zeitung which received a confirmation from the German defense ministry, Germany had earlier offered NATO to share the base in Rostock with German Navy vessels already stationed there.
The report further says that in addition to logistic support, NATO’s Norfolk headquarters was evaluating the mooring berths that could be used for different types of ships.
It was noted, however, that the Warnemünde naval base command was not aware of any such plans. Another factor to consider is the fact that Germany’s five new corvettes are set to be stationed there once they start entering service from 2019. It is estimated that the five corvettes would bring around a 1,000 more personnel to the base.
From West Africa to Southeast Asia, military coalitions support partners on the ground in driving down the levels of violence arising from the transnational threat so local forces can deal with their own security challenges, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff said here today.
Marine Corps Gen. Joe Dunford spoke before an audience at the National Press Club, discussing the broad design of the campaign being conducted today against violent extremism in the context of all the challenges that face the United States, including North Korea, China, Iran and Russia.
Dunford took questions from the audience that began with defeating the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria.
“The United States is supporting the Syrian Democratic Forces in seizing the key Syrian city of Raqqa, Dunford said, noting that the SDF is about 50,000 strong, of which about 20,000 to 25,000 are Arab and the rest are Kurdish. As the U.S.-led coalition supports local efforts to seize Raqqa, another effort led by the U.S. State Department is establishing a governance body, the general said.
“That governance will leverage Arab leaders who are from Raqqa and will also work on establishing a security force made up of local personnel so stabilization efforts that will follow the seizure of Raqqa,” Dunford added.
ISIS is one manifestation of the transregional violent extremism that is devastating cities across Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan and many other countries, he said. What connects extremist groups from West Africa to Southeast Asia is the flow of foreign fighters, the flow of resources and the narrative or message they disseminate, Dunford said, noting that he calls these things “connective tissue between the groups.”
He added, “Strategically, the idea is to be able to cut the connective tissue … by establishing a broad coalition with a good exchange of information and intelligence so we can get after the flow of money, the flow of foreign fighters and deal with the narrative.”
The Iraq-Syria coalition has 60 member countries, he said.
“I met a few months ago with about 45 of my counterparts from around the world to improve our information and intelligence sharing,” the chairman told the audience. “We have an interagency intelligence and information sharing location in the Middle East where right now we have about 20 countries represented militarily and by their intelligence organizations,” along with law-enforcement and other national agencies.
The idea is that like-minded nations share intelligence and information that will allow for effective military operations, “but also, in effect, a legal framework in countries where foreign fighters either came from or will return to,” Dunford said.
Combat operations then are designed to enable local forces to deal with specific regional challenges, and there are several regional efforts linked by a strategic framework that connects them, he explained. The strategic framework goes after the three elements that connect the extremist organizations, he said.
“The long-term end state of the strategy is to drive the level of violence down in each of the countries where it exists, in each of the regions where it exists, drive the level of violence down and increase the capacity of local forces such that local forces can deal with that challenge,” Dunford added.
“That’s where we’re going,” he said, “[and] … the majority of fighting — and the majority of casualties — are being experienced by local forces that are fighting for their own countries.”
A Broader Strategy
In Afghanistan, where Defense Secretary Jim Mattis is determining whether to increase the number of U.S. troops on the ground, Dunford said the decision will be made in the context of a broader strategy review for South Asia that is ongoing and is expected to be complete in mid-July.
So as Mattis makes a decision about force levels, he will clearly communicate with the president and the secretary of state, Dunford said. In fact, he added, the direction Mattis has received is to do it in conjunction with the secretary of state.
“When Secretary Mattis makes the decision about force levels, you can expect that he’ll communicate that in a broader context — again, specifically, the context of that strategy review, Dunford said, adding that the decision “won’t be just about Afghanistan.”
A number of interdependent variables across the region bear on the problem inside Afghanistan, the general said, “and we’ll be prepared to talk about those as well when we talk about force management levels.”
Dunford said he thinks it’s important that the conversation about Afghanistan take place in the context of U.S. vital national interests in South Asia as a whole, mentioning two of them.
One is the remaining threat from terrorist organizations in South Asia that have expressed a desire to have another 9/11 attack in the United States and to conduct other attacks, the general said.
“There are about 17 different groups of the 20 that we’ve globally identified as terrorist organizations [that] operate in the South Asia area, and continuing to put pressure on those groups is critical and vital to our national interests,” Dunford said, noting that he thinks the pressure those groups have been under for the last 15 years has prevented another 9/11.
He said the other U.S. interest in the region is preventing a regional conflict in South Asia.
When Mattis, Dunford and other military leaders formulate a strategy for Afghanistan, the chairman said, “it’s less about what happened over the past 16 years than it is about our national interests today in South Asia, the context within which we are pursuing our national interests in South Asia, and the diplomatic, economic and military campaign plan that’s necessary for us to protect and advance our national interests in South Asia.”