Posts filed under ‘Arctic’

ARCTIC NATION: NATO Air Exercise in Arctic, A-10s to Alaska, New Russian Base.

Military Update.

With an increasing number of intercontinental ballistic missile test launches by North Korea, Russia’s military buildup in the Arctic and continuing aggressive behavior toward former Soviet satellite nations that have joined NATO, the countries that ring the Arctic are increasing their defense budgets and stepping up training exercises in the Far North, as well as Eastern Europe.

Mildenhall and Lakenheath aircraft on way to Arctic Challenge

Two F-15 Eagle fighter aircraft from Royal Air Force Lakenheath, England, fly in formation next to a KC-135 Stratotanker on May 19, 2017. The aerial refueling tanker is assigned to RAF Mildenhall, England. All three aircraft were flying in Arctic Challenge 2017, a multinational exercise that ended June 2 in Finland and Sweden. (U.S. Air Force photo by Technical Sergeant  David Dobrydney)

ARCTIC CHALLENGE.

The U.S. Air Force and the air services of ten other nations are winding up Arctic Challenge a training exercise that began May 19 in Scandinavia and ends Friday (June 2).

The gathering sought to build relationships and increase technical inter-operability among NATO and non-NATO member partner nations. Participants included NATO members Belgium, Canada, France, Germany, the Netherlands, Norway and the United Kingdom, as well as non-members Finland, Sweden and Switzerland.

Lieutenant Colonel Jason Zumwalt, commander of the U.S. 493rd Fighter Squadron, said the exercise presented practice opportunities and experiences that allow Air Force pilots and aircraft maintainers to work “side-by-side with our partners and allies to plan, execute and debrief some very complex missions.”

The 493rd sent 12 F-15C Eagle fighter jets and 200 personnel from their base in England. Two  KC-135 aerial refueling tankers and 30 airmen from the 351st Air Refueling Squadron, also based in England.

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RED FLAG ALASKA.

CORRECTS: A-10 Lightning II to A-10 Thunderbolt II (What were thinking?!!)

Meanwhile, a dozen Air Force A-10 Thunderbolt II attack aircraft based in South Korea, have flown to Alaska to participate in an exercise his summer. The move is an indication that the U.S. military is carrying on with business as usual despite rising tensions over North Korea’s nuclear weapons program, according to the Stars and Stripes website.

A-10 Thunderbolt

(U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sergeant Michael Battles)

The planes and additional air crew and support personnel and will join the Red Flag Alaska 17-2 drills out of Eielson Air Force Base, Alaska and Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson, also in Alaska, through early July, according to an Air Force spokeswoman.

The exercise will simulate the first 10 days of combat with a near-peer adversary. The A-10s, also known as “Warthogs because of their homely appearance, heavy armor and fierce attack capabilities, are designed to provide close support to infantry and destroy enemy tanks.

The A-10s are based at Osan Air base in Korea, where the rest of the 25th Fighter Squadron remains to handle mission requirements.

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NEW RUSSIAN ARCTIC BASE.

The Arctic, is expected to grow more accessible as melting sea ice opens up shipping lanes and, as 4GWAR has noted since 2014, Moscow has engaged in a military buildup in its Arctic Regions, including more than a dozen new operational airfields as well as future deployments of drones, ships and submarines and future construction of mobile nuclear power plants.

The Russians recently opened their sprawling Trefoil base, located just outside the Arctic Circle, according to CBS News. The post can house 150 troops and aircraft. While parts of the base remain top secret, Moscow offered a virtual video tour of the building, CBS reported in April.

arctic-circle-svg

Arctic Circle Nations Click on image to enlarge.

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ARCTIC NATION is an occasional 4GWAR posting on the Far North. The U.S. “National Strategy for the Arctic Region” describes the United States as “an Arctic Nation with broad and fundamental interests” in the region. “Those interests include national security needs, protecting the environment, responsibly managing resources, considering the needs of indigenous communities, support for scientific research, and strengthening “international cooperation on a wide range of issues.”

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June 1, 2017 at 11:59 pm Leave a comment

FRIDAY FOTO (March 10, 2017)

Logging Some Miles.

Air Liaison Officers test cadets

(U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Daniel Snider)

Who says modern warfare is just about pushing buttons? Not these Air Force Academy cadets. The cadets were carrying a log during a medical evacuation march at Camp Bullis, Texas, last month (February 16, 2017). The cadets were required to trek multiple miles carrying logs and simulated casualties to a medical evacuation zone in limited time.

Not exactly simple as rolling off a log.

March 10, 2017 at 12:45 am Leave a comment

FRIDAY FOTO (December 30, 2016)

Wintry Mix.

Now that winter is underway in the Northern Hemisphere, we thought we’d run a series of photos illustrating U.S. forces dealing with cold and snowy weather around the world.

frifo-12-30-2016-no-1-sun-and-snow

(U.S. Marine Corps photo by Sergeant Kirstin Merrimarahajara.)

The first photo (above) comes from Lithuania, where a Marine works his way through sun beams and snow in a field training exercise November 29, 2016 during Iron Sword 16, at the Rukla Training Area.

 

frifo-12-30-2016-no-2-snow-propeller

(U.S. Navy photo.)

As snow streams down, sailors change a propeller on an EP-3E Aries II aircraft during a night check at Naval Air Station Whidbey Island in Oak Harbor, Washington. The sailors are assigned to Fleet Air Reconnaissance Squadron 1.

 

frifo-12-30-2016-no-3-ice-drilling

(U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Cassandra Whitman.)

Senior Airman Carlos Aleman and Technical Sergeant Craig Slaten drill a hole in the frozen Tanana River in Fairbanks, Alaska on December 5, 2016. The airmen, both assigned to the 354th Civil Engineer Squadron, drilled in the area to build up the ice and create a stable bridge for transporting equipment and supplies.

 

frifo-12-30-2016-no-4-pickax-arm

(U.S. Air Force photo by Justin Connaher.)

Army Specialist Joseph Feola loosens the frozen ground so his fellow soldiers can drive tent stakes while conducting cold weather training in single-digit temperatures at Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson, Alaska on November 29, 2016. Feola is assigned to the 95th Chemical Company, 17th Combat Sustainment Support Battalion.

 

3rd ID teaches suppressive fire to Ukrainian Soldiers

(U.S. Army photo by Staff Sergeant Elizabeth Tarr.)

Ukrainian and U.S. soldiers exit an armored vehicle during suppressive fire training in Yavoriv, Ukraine, November 18, 2016.

 

U.S. Marine live-fire exercise in Norway

(U.S. Marine Corps photo by Sergeant Michelle Reif.)

Marines and Norwegian soldiers operated a variety of armored vehicles including this tank in Setermoen, Norway, during a live-fire exercise to acclimate troops to mountainous regions and extreme cold weather conditions, November 17, 2016.

 

106th Rescue Wing Honor Guard Trains in the Snow

(Air National Guard photo by Staff Sergeant Christopher S. Muncy.)

Airman 1st Class Avery Friedman performs taps during training at Francis S. Gabreski Air National Guard Base in Westhampton Beach, New York, Dec. 15, 2016. Friedman is a member of the 106th Rescue Wing Honor Guard.

 

 

December 30, 2016 at 12:53 am Leave a comment

FRIDAY FOTO (September 23, 2016)

Pretty, But Rugged Environment.

Station Valdez, Alaska, training

 (U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 1st Class Bill Colclough)

Coast Guard Petty Officer 3rd Class John Gerbrands (left) guides a rescue heaving line to a 25-foot response boat during crewman qualification training in Valdez Harbor on Prince William Sound, Alaska.

Gerbands is assigned to Coast Guard Station Valdez, the service’s northern-most boast station. To see more photos of this training session, click here.

September 23, 2016 at 1:41 am Leave a comment

ARCTIC NATION: Another Russia-NATO Flashpoint?

Kola Peninsula.

One of the most interesting articles in Thursday’s New York Times was an opinion piece by a German journalist about the Kola Peninsula, Russia’s northwestern-most territory in the Far North.

kola-peninsula-tundra-map

Kola Peninsula tundra ecoregion highlighted along the Barents and White Seas. (Source: WWF via the Encyclopedia of Earth).

Ice-coated barbed wire fences, surveillance cameras and settlements that look more like military installations mark this frigid region, but the coastline is warmed by the waters of the Gulf Stream, according to Jochen Bittner, a political editor for Die Zeit.

That makes the forbidding landscape of the Kola Peninsula “a gigantic marine pier, guaranteeing Russia’s naval fleet access to the Atlantic and offering a hub for operations in an area of the world that might become the next crisis zone between Russia and NATO: the North Pole,” says Bittner.

It’s no secret the Russian military has been building up its facilities in the Arctic, including several new air bases. But Bittner’s piece brings some diplomatic and political perspective to what’s at stake for Russia and the West in this increasingly important region.

To read more, click here.

ARCTIC NATION is an occasional 4GWAR posting on the High North. The U.S. “National Strategy for the Arctic Region” describes the United States as “an Arctic Nation with broad and fundamental interests in the Arctic Region, where we seek to meet our national security needs, protect the environment, responsibly manage resources, account for indigenous communities, support scientific research, and strengthen international cooperation on a wide range of issues.”

 

April 28, 2016 at 11:06 pm Leave a comment

ARCTIC: Troops From 13 Nations Train in High North

Cold Response 2016.

Norwegian tanks Cold Response 2016

Norwegian Leopard tanks get ready for a training scenario during Operation Cold Response 2016.   (Norwegian Defense Forces photo)

Elements of the U.S. 2d Marine Expeditionary Brigade are in Norway until later this month as part of Exercise Cold Response 16, which has brought together 132 NATO Allied and partner nations and approximately 16,000 troops to practice joint crisis response capabilities in cold weather environments.

The multinational force comprises personnel from Sweden, Finland, Denmark, Latvia, Poland, Germany, France, Britain, Canada, Belgium, Spain and the Netherlands — as well as the U.S. Marine Corps..

BSRF supports exercise Cold Response 16 in Norway

Marine Corps photo by Corporal Immanuel Johnson

Marines with Black Sea Rotational Force (above) maneuvered across the Northern Trøndelag region of Norway last month to prepare for Cold Response 16.

Hosted by the the Norwegian military, Cold Response  — which runs from February 19 to March 22 — is held every two years to prepare NATO and partner nations like Sweden to coordinate operations under extreme winter conditions.

The Marines have brought mobile artillery, special operations units, Abrams tanks, amphibious assault vehicles as well as light armored and combat vehicles to Norway.

Allied Strong: Norwegian Minister of Defense visits Cold Response 16 forces

U.S. Marine Corps photo by Corporal Dalton Precht.

Norwegian Minister of Defense Ine Marie Eriksen Søreide (above) talks with Lieutenant Colonel Justin Ansel, commanding officer of Task Force 1/8, and officers from Norway and Sweden at a training location near Steinkjer, Norway, March 2, during Cold Response 16.

We’ll have more photos and news from this exercise in coming days.

 

March 3, 2016 at 11:22 pm Leave a comment

FRIDAY FOTO (January 29, 2016)

Cannon at Dusk.

2-377th PFAR makes it rain

U.S. Air Force photo by Alejandro Pena

U.S. Army Paratroopers fire high-explosive rounds from an M119A2 105mm howitzer during live-fire training at Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson, Alaska on January 11, 2016.

These soldiers are from the 25th Infantry Division’s 2nd Battalion, 377th Parachute Field Artillery Regiment, 4th Infantry Brigade Combat Team.

Odd fun fact: the motto of the 25th ID, first activated in Hawaii in 1941, is “Tropical Lightning.” While the division is still headquartered at Schofield Barracks in Hawaii, two brigade combat teams, including the 4th BCT are posted in Alaska.

To see a photo essay of this live-fire training click here.

 

January 29, 2016 at 12:02 am Leave a comment

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