Posts filed under ‘Skills and Training’
UNITAS 2015, the U.S. Navy’s longest running annual multinational maritime exercise, is part of the Southern Seas deployment planned by U.S. Naval Forces Southern Command/U.S. 4th Fleet.
UNITAS is conducted in two phases: UNITAS Pacific, hosted by Chile, Oct. 13-24, 2015 and UNITAS Atlantic, hosted by Brazil scheduled for November.
The annual UNITAS exercise series supports the U.S. Maritime Strategy by bringing partner nation navies together to improve interoperability and build working relationships at sea, according to the Navy.
Win in a Complex World.
WASHINGTON, D.C. — All things Army — from ground combat vehicles, protective gear, unmanned vehicles, drones, sensors, small arms, strategy and tactics will be on display and under discussion at the Washington Convention Center this week as the Association of the U.S. Army holds its annual conference and exposition.
Among the speakers will be outgoing Army Secretary John McHugh and the new Army Chief of Staff General Mark Milley. They will discuss the challenges facing today’s Army with the threat of more budget cuts and planned reductions in the size of the force.
Heidi Shyu, assistant secretary of the Army for acquisition, logistics and technology — she’s in charge of figuring out what the Army needs to buy or develop and whether and how much it will cost — is another anticipated speaker, as is General Dennis Via, commanding general of Army Materiel Command. Both of them will provide an update on Army modernization plans.
The theme of the conference is Winning in a Complex World and General David Perkins, commanding general of Army Training and Doctrine Command will discuss what that will take.
With conflicts, insurgencies and threats in Eastern Europe, the Middle East, East and West Africa as well as Asia, the U.S. military has said it will be increasingly leaning on partner nations and allies to help bear the burden of dealing with crises around the world.
And foreign militaries and defense contractors will have a big presence at the already huge expo. There will be 62 countries represented at the event, including eight international pavilions on the exhibit hall floor, according to retired Lieutenant General Roger Thompson, AUSA’s vice president for membership and meeting. Turkey will have the largest pavilion, he told the Defense News weekly military affairs broadcast Sunday.
Several U.S. contractors, including Northrop Grumman and Oshkosh Defense, will be unveiling new ground vehicles. Northrop will be showing off its Hellhound prototype Light Reconnaissance Vehicle and Oshkosh Defense will unveil its MRAP 6-by-6 All Terrain Vehicle (M-ATV). MRAP stands for mine resistant ambush protected, in other words an armored vehicle that can protect occupants from roadside bombs and other improvised explosive devices (IEDs).
Devil Dogs’ Dog.
The story goes that after the hard-fought battle of Belleau Wood in World War I, the Germans — shocked by the tenacity and marksmanship of the U.S. Marines — said the Marines fought like “Teufel hunde,” devil dogs. The story may be apocryphal but the Marines had a new nickname: Devil Dogs.
Well here is one of their military working dogs all kitted up with protective goggles, muzzle and safety harness before the start of special patrol insertion and extraction training at the Marines’ Camp Lejeune, North Carolina late last month.
During this kind of exercise the Marines fast rope down from a hovering helicopter. That begs the question: How do you get a dog down from a helicopter that can’t land in hostile territory?
Here’s the answer:
This Marine and his canine colleague, both with Marine Raider Regiment, hang from a UH-1Y Huey chopper assigned to Marine Light Attack Helicopter Squadron (HMLA) 167, during special patrol insertion/extraction training at Stone Bay, Camp Lejeune, N.C., Sept. 23, 2015. HMLA-167 Marines flew from Marine Corps Air Station New River to assist Marine Corps Forces Special Operations Command (MARSOC) with the training.
The Raider Regiment and MARSOC are part of U.S. Special Operations Command, which oversees all the services’ elite specialty units like Army Green Berets, Navy SEALs, Air Force combat air controllers and Marine Raiders
To see more photos of this doggy and his Marine Raider companions, click here.
By Land, Sea or Air.
The military is exploring ways that unmanned systems, from helicopters to submarines, can be used to transport supplies in hostile or dangerous areas.
Last year, Lockheed Martin and Kaman’s unmanned K-MAX helicopter returned from nearly three years of transporting cargo for the Marine Corps in Afghanistan — the first unmanned helicopter to do so.
With their supply truck convoys frequent targets of roadside bombs and insurgent attacks, the Marines were looking for a safer alternative. K-MAX’s cargo transportation was able to take an estimated 900 trucks off the road and their drivers and escorts out of harm’s way.
But transporting supplies isn’t limited to unmanned aircraft. Manned ground vehicles–from small, rugged all-terrain vehicles to heavy cargo trucks are being converted into autonomously operating vehicles.
The same is true of the optionally manned Proteus, a dual mode underwater vehicle that can deliver special operations forces swimmers or their equipment and supplies to shore from a submerged submarine.
Originally developed by as a swimmer delivery vehicle (SDV) for up to six Navy SEALS, Proteus, a massive 8,000-pound submersible, is now being leased by the Navy for testing as a dual mode vehicle that can operate as manned SDV or a cargo-carrying unmanned underwater vehicle (UUV). “The idea of using it as an unmanned mule is very feasible,” says George Geoghegan, maritime systems manager for Battelle — which together with shipbuilder Huntington Ingalls Industries — owns and operates Proteus.
The almost 26-foot-long Proteus has 170 cubic feet of space in its cargo area and exterior side rails that can carry bulkier cargo, although the maximum total payload is limited to 1,100 pounds. Cargo will either have to be sealed in watertight packaging or be water resistant because the cabin is flooded when underway as part of its original mission: to allowing divers to enter and exit the vehicle while submerged. But that also means there’s more room for payload.
Powered by 20 lithium polymer batteries that weigh about 100 pounds each when underway, Proteus has a range of about 350 nautical miles at an energy-saving low speed of 3 knots, and a maximum speed of 9 knots fully-loaded, according to Geoghegan. Like an SDV, Proteus can be transported to a denied area in the dry deck shelter of a submarine. It can work at depths of 150 feet when manned, 200 feet unmanned.
Unmanned, the vessel can be pre-programmed to run underwater from point to point but it does not have obstacle avoidance capability. However, Geoghegan says that’s just another payload that can be added.
Polaris Defense offers their entire line of rugged ground vehicles as capable of manned or unmanned operation. “We build our vehicles with the ability to be optionally unmanned. And it’s everything from tele-operated to fully unmanned,” said General Manager Rich Haddad, adding “we’re not an autonomy company. We’re agnostic about whose autonomy package goes on the vehicle.”
But the company has acquired a ground guidance software package called Primordial “that could easily morph into a mission planning type of capability. We are integrating that into our vehicle but it is not in itself an autonomy package,” Haddad said.
Polaris supplies a range of all terrain vehicles for elements of U.S. Special Operations Command.
Polaris supplied the ground vehicles that contestants were required to drive in DARPA’s Robotic Challenge to identify robots that could perform human tasks in disasters. And a Polaris 6×6 vehicle was converted by TORC Robotics into the autonomous and semi-autonomous Ground Unmanned Support Surrogate (GUSS) that is being studied by the Marine Corps Warfighting Lab.
To read more on this topic, click here to see our story in Military Logistics Forum magazine’s September issue (pages 8-9).
Blue Water Raiders.
Marines and sailors slice through the waters off southern California in rigid hull inflatable boats (RIB) from the amphibious transport dock ship USS New Orleans to conduct an exercise known as visit, board, search and seizure. They were heading for a simulated enemy vessel on September 23 near San Clemente Island.
The Marines and sailors are with the Maritime Raid Force of the 13th Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU), 1st Marine Expeditionary Force. This was the first at-sea exercise for these troops preparing for deployment to the Pacific and Central Command areas of responsibility in early 2016.
To see more photos of this exercise, click here.
We inadvertently failed to post this week’s Friday Foto on Friday and did not notice the error until just after midnight Friday/Saturday.
Our apologies to loyal readers who’ve been kept waiting.
Staying Ahead of the Threat 2015.
MARINE CORPS BASE QUANTICO, VIRGINIA — In the 21st Century, the U.S. Marine Corps will confront a number of challenges, like the hybrid warfare seen in eastern Ukraine and the rise of teeming coastal mega cities around the world, according to a panel of generals and colonels speaking at this year’s Modern Day Marine expo.
In opening the panel discussion on building the future Marine Corps by harnessing innovation, Lieutenant General Robert Walsh noted hybrid warfare was on the rise around the globe in Syria, Iraq and “going on in Ukraine right now.” The hybrid battlefield contains a mix of non-state actors (guerrillas or foreign volunteers) combined with regular military and “state capabilities” like precision weaponry and high tech communications and propaganda methods. “We’ve got to be able to stay ahead of the threat” through innovation, said Walsh, deputy Marine commandant for Combat Development and Integration.
“The new normal was Benghazi,” said Lieutenant General Ron Bailey, deputy commandant for Plans Policies and Operations. As Libya slid into chaos the Marines had to mobilize a special purpose Marine Air-Ground Task Force to handle a rapidly disintegrating situation on the ground, in the air and at sea. In the future, Marines will have to be prepared to fight in five battlespaces: air, land, sea, space and cyberspace, Bailey said.
The hybrid warfare in Ukraine “is the reality of the fight we will have to fight” against soldiers in uniforms mixed in with local citizens and volunteers (the so-called Little Green Men, who were believed to be Russian soldiers in mufti). “We need non-lethal weapons that will enable us to fight among the people” and still be able to take out enemy threats, Bailey added.
The future battlefield will probably look nothing like Afghanistan and Iraq, where Marines have been fighting for the last 14 years. Instead, urban areas near the sea and river deltas will be the most likely environment, said another panelist, Brigadier General Dale Alford, commander of the Marine Corps Warfighting Lab. And that environment will be “complex, congested, cluttered, contested, connected (with the cyber world), constrained and coastal,” he said. The world population is moving towards the cities and 75 percent of the world’s largest cities are in the developing world – many of them in the littoral areas close to the sea.”That’s where our Marines are going to fight. That’s where we’re going to have to operate,” he added.
Pointing at a slide showing images of recent conflicts in Ukraine, the Middle East and Africa, Alford noted the Marines will have to deal with challenges like iPADs and Google Earth being used to direct mortar attacks, off-the-shelf unmanned quad copters being used by terrorists and insurgents for surveillance and reconnaissance, MANPADs (shoulder-fired ground- to-air missiles) “in the hands of teenagers.”
Like other panel members, Alford said innovation and new techniques bubble up from below, from junior officers and sergeants and corporals who are in the fight. “We need our young pups out there to innovate and figure out how we’re going to do this,” he added. Panel members also called on industry to provide technical solutions for these new challenges.
A video on the topic, a hot one in NATO circles, is here.
[UPDATES to restore dropped word ‘Corps’ in dateline, expand definition of hybrid war, add detail to “cluttered, coastal environment” explanation and recast headlines to reflect changes.]
Red Sky at Morning.
Last week was so busy, we missed wishing the U.S. Air Force a happy 68th birthday. So we thought we’d make it up to the folks work in the wild blue yonder with this photo.
An F-16 Fighting Falcon aircraft sits on the flightline before morning sorties at Tyndall Air Force Base in Florida. The aircraft is assigned to the Ohio Air National Guard’s 180th Fighter Wing