Posts filed under ‘Counter Insurgency’

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 (March 3, 2017)

The Long Tan Line.

1st CEB Hikes During MTX 2-17

(U.S. Marine Corps photo by Lance Corporal Danny Gonzalez).

 Chosin Reservoir, 1950? Nope. Chilikoot Pass, 1899? Wrong. Retreat from Moscow, 1812? Wrong again.

This FRIDAY FOTO shows U.S. Marines snowshoeing downhill  at the Marine Corps Mountain Warfare Training Center in Bridgeport, California on February 22, 2017. The Marines are assigned to the 1st Marine Division’s 1st Combat Engineer Battalion, which conducted training that tested Marines’ mobility and survival skills in a mountainous, snow-covered environment.

March 3, 2017 at 1:59 am Leave a comment

AFRICA/SPECIAL OPS: Seven Countries Host Special Operations Exercise

Flintlock 2017.

A U.S.-led multinational military exercise — Flintlock 2017 — is underway in seven northern and western African countries. Flintlock is an annual training exercise for Special Operations Forces (SOF) designed to reinforce cooperation and the capabilities of participating nations.

flintlock-2017-niger-troops

Nigerien armed forces participate in the opening ceremonies of Flintlock 2017 in Diffa, Niger, February 27, 2017. (U.S. Army photo by Specialist Zayid Ballesteros)

Last year, Exercise Flintlock 2016 was hosted by Senegal and Mauritania. This year, seven countries are hosting Flintlock 2017: Burkina Faso, Chad, Cameroon, Mauritania, Morocco, Niger and Tunisia.

In addition to U.S. Green Berets from the 3rd Army Special Forces Group, which is regionally aligned to North and West Africa, SOF units from Australia, Belgium and Canada will be participating in the three-week exercise. The 20 personnel from Canada will include staff from the Canadian Special Operations Regiment and medical specialists from Canadian Forces health services group, according to the Ottawa Citizen

Other countries sending troops, 20 in all,  include:  Algeria, Cape Verde, Nigeria, Senegal,  Austria, Belgium, Denmark, France, Germany, Italy, The Netherlands, Norway, Spain and the United Kingdom.

west-africa-map

The region where Flintlock is taking place is threatened by violent radical groups like Boko Haram and al Qaeda. Brigadier General Donald Bolduc, head of Special Operations Command Africa, said the training is focused on helping partners coordinate a regional response to extremist threats from al Qaeda-aligned groups and the Islamic State (ISIS), according to Stars and Stripes.

“These threats are a shared challenge we can only meet together,” Bolduc said during the Flintlock opening ceremony in Chad,” according to U.S. Africa Command. The exercise will pay special attention to protecting borders and guarding against cross-border attacks. Boko Haram, the Nigerian-based terrorist group, has launched attacks on neighboring Cameroon, Chad and Niger.

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Colonel Major TN Pale, Burkina Faso’s Army Chief of Staff, salutes U.S. Army Green Berets during the opening ceremony of Flintlock 2017 at Camp Zagre, Burkina Faso on February 27, 2017.  (U.S. Army photo by Sergeant Benjamin Northcutt)

March 2, 2017 at 11:59 pm Leave a comment

SPECIAL OPS: Closing in on “Iron Man” Prototype Suit

TALOS.

prowler1

Revision Military’s Prowler Human Augmentation System, which distributes a soldier’s combat load, is among the technologies SOCOM is studied for its ballistic protection suit project. (Photo courtesy Revision Military).

BETHESDA, Maryland — The quest for a lightweight, ballistic protective suit for U.S. commandos is about 18-months away from a major milestone, the top acquisition official at Special Operations Command (SOCOM) says.

“We’re about a year and a half-ish out,” from unveiling the next prototype, James “Hondo” Geurts, SOCOM’s civilian acquisition executive told an industry conference on Wednesday (February 15).

In development since 2013, the Tactical Assault Light Operators Suit, or TALOS, was the brainchild of then-SOCOM commander, Admiral William McRaven, who was concerned that SOCOM operators were at particular risk during raids when they didn’t know what was on the other side of the door.

The futuristic commando body armor has been likened to the suit worn by the superhero, “Iron Man,” a characterization SOCOM has not discouraged – although TALOS won’t be able to fly.

Geurts’ estimate of when the prototype — the fifth TALOS test suit — would be ready is in keeping with the timeline envisioned by McRaven and his successors. In addition to lightweight body armor, the original concept of TALOS called for sensors to monitor the wearer’s heart rate, temperature and other vital signs. Using an integrated “system of systems” that would combine sensors, communications equipment and an electrically-powered exoskeleton, TALOS advocates believed it would not only protect special ops troops but also make them run faster, hear and see better and carry heavy loads without excessive fatigue.

“Will it do everything we want? Probably not,” Geurts conceded at the Special Operations/Low Intensity Conflict Symposium hosted by the National Defense Industrial Association. But that was never the intent, he added. Research for the various TALOS components has explored improving night vision goggles, shrinking communications technology and developing more powerful, more portable and longer lasting power sources. One technology improvement, a powered exoskeleton, enabled a Marine Corps captain paralyzed by a sniper’s bullet to walk to his valor award ceremony.

Geurts is looking to leverage TALOS technology developments to get new capabilities into the field. The number of spinoffs arising from TALOS has been “phenomenal,” Geurts said. He noted SOCOM is always interested in bringing innovation and improvements into the field as soon as possible. “Velocity is our competitive advantage,” he said. Survivability doesn’t rely on body armor alone, said Geurts, adding “it’s also part ‘what information do you have and what’s your situational awareness.”

February 17, 2017 at 1:24 am Leave a comment

FRIDAY FOTO (November 4, 2016)

HALO Hello.

Southern Strike 17

U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Trevor T. McBride.

It looks like one Naval Special Warfare member is saying to a comrade “Come on in, the water’s fine!” as he leaps from an Air Force MC-130 Combat Talon II during a high-altitude, low-opening jump over Gulfport, Mississippi.

The air borne insertion was part of Southern Strike 17,  a multi-service exercise emphasizing air-to-air, air-to-ground and special operations forces training.

The Mississippi Air National Guard’s Combat Readiness Training Center hosted the  two-week exercise which ended Friday. About 2,000 personnel from 51 units representing all of the armed services participated.

To see more photos, click here and here. Click here to see video of a night action against troops role-playing insurgents.

November 4, 2016 at 12:02 am Leave a comment

FRIDAY FOTO (July 8, 2016)

Danger Zone.Engine is go

U.S. Air Force photo by Technical Sergeant Zachary Wolf.

The spinning propeller of this U.S. Air Force Super Tucano forms a perfect pair of circles but the sign painted on the tarmac in front of its shelter indicates the risk of getting to close.

The A-29 Super Tucano , manufactured by Brazil’s Embraer, is a single engine turboprop aircraft designed for light attack, counter insurgency, close air support and aerial reconnaissance missions.The aircraft is also used for training pilots.

This A-29 is with the 81st Fighter Squadron based at Moody Air Force Base in Georgia. The squadron conducts combat training for Afghan air force pilots and maintainers in the aircraft.

Under a U.S.-funded $427 million contract, a total of 20 A-29s are going to the Afghan Air Force with the last to be delivered to Afghanistan by 2018, according to the Military.com website.

The Pentagon said A-29s manned by Afghan pilots trained in the U.S. conducted the first close air support missions by  the fledgling Afghan Air Force on April 14 , according to Military.com.

To see a video of the Super Tucano in action, click here.

July 8, 2016 at 1:32 am Leave a comment

FRIDAY FOTO (July 1, 2016)

Don’t Blink.

160628-N-KK394-143

U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Anderson W. Branch

This is what a U.S. Navy Super Hornet looks like a split second before it launches off the flight deck of an aircraft carrier. This F/A-18E Super Hornet, assigned to Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) 86 — known as the Sidewinders — was captured by the camera just before departing the carrier USS Dwight D. Eisenhower (CVN 69) in the Mediterranean Sea.

Just behid and to the left of the Super Hornet, you can see the steam cloud rising from the steam-powered catapult that essentially hurls aircraft off the carrier deck which is too short for a normal takeoff. Click here to see a video of a catapult assisted carrier launch.

The Eisenhower is deployed in support of Operation Inherent Resolve, the U.S.-led campaign against the violent extremist group that calls itself the Islamic State. The U.S. government calls the Islamist terror group the Islamic state in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL).

Air crews from the “Ike” launched strikes against the Islamic State/ISIL forces in Iraq starting Tuesday (June 28), according to Navy Times. The Eisenhower relieved the homeward-bound USS Harry S. Truman, which has been on station in the Eastern Mediterranean since December, supporting the 6th Fleet’s campaign against the terrorist group.

 

July 1, 2016 at 4:25 pm Leave a comment

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