Posts tagged ‘Africa Command’

Droids, Drones & ‘bots: Lost U.S. Drone; French Drone-Equipped Patrol Boats; Russian Armed Robots


Did Russians Down U.S. Drone over Libya?

The U.S. military believes that an unarmed American drone that disappeared near Libya’s capital in November was shot down by Russian air defenses and U.S Africa Command (AFRICOM) is demanding the return of the aircraft’s wreckage, according to Reuters.

U.S. Army General Stephen Townsend, AFRICOM’s commander, said he believed the operators of the air defenses at the time “didn’t know it was a U.S. remotely piloted aircraft (RPA) when they fired on it.”

Such a shootdown would underscore Moscow’s increasingly muscular role in the energy-rich nation, where Russian mercenaries are reportedly intervening on behalf of east Libya-based commander Khalifa Haftar in Libya’s civil war, Reuters noted on December7. Rival armed groups have been fighting for control of Tripoli for months

When the unarmed aircraft was lost November 21, AFRICOM said drone operations are conducted in Libya to assess the ongoing security situation and monitor violent extremist activity. Those operations were said to be critical to counter terror activity in Libya and are fully coordinated with appropriate government officials.

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France Orders Drone-Equipped Patrol Boats.

France has ordered six 70-meter-long (230-feet-long) offshore patrol vessels –  equipped with drones — to patrol its vast economic exclusive zone, Defense News reported December 6.

The French Armed Forces Ministry said in a statement that the ships has been ordered  “in a context of increasing threats to our fishing resources, biodiversity and international maritime rules.”France has the largest economic exclusive zone (EEZ) in the world, at about 4,514,000 square miles. By comparison, the United States’s EEZ comes in at about 4,383,000 square miles, Defense News said.

Technical specifications, issued by the DGA procurement agency in 2018, called for the ships to be able to deploy a 700-kilogram-class rotor-blade drone, and to be able to keep it under cover.

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Russia Developing Armed Robot Plans.

The Russian military is assembling proposed tactics, techniques and procedures for using robots in urban and coastal combat, the state news agency, RiaNovosti, announced Sunday (November 24).

If you clicked on the link above, you saw that report was in Russian. No we didn’t/couldn’t read it but someone at Defense One did. Here’s what they gleaned:.

The defense ministry has asked various military-industrial enterprises to provide proposals for review by early next year to the military’s Combined Arms Academy. Quoting the Russian agency, Defense One noted the initiative was meant to address “the virtual absence of a unified concept for the use of military robotics by the Russian armed forces.”

According to Defense One, the increased interest in robotic weapons may reflect Russian President Vladimir Putin’s desire for more unmanned systems as well as the military’s experience in Syria, where numerous ground and air vehicles made their first operational appearance.

December 13, 2019 at 12:00 am Leave a comment

FRIDAY FOTO (March 15, 2019)

Flying Squad.

CJTF-HOA Reinforces Commitment to Djibouti’s Rapid Intervention Battalion

(U.S. Navy Photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Timothy M. Ahearn)

No, they didn’t forget to pay the gravity bill. These soldiers from Djibouti’s Rapid Intervention Battalion  (RIB) were performing a traditional Somali dance welcoming new RIB graduates.

The Rapid Intervention Force is a U.S. Army-trained unit formed to respond to crises and promote regional security and stability in East Africa, where Djibouti is strategically located at the southern entrance to the Red Sea on the route to the Suez Canal from the Indian Ocean/Arabian Sea.

One-hundred twelve Djiboutian soldiers joined the ranks of the RIB following a graduation ceremony last June (June 28, 2018), when this photo was taken at a training site outside Djibouti City.

Soldiers from the U.S. 10th Mountain Division’s 1st Brigade Combat Team provided training in U.S. Army basic warrior tasks, including hand-to-hand combat techniques and combat life saving. The U.S. Army personnel are part of the Combined Joint Task Force-Horn of Africa (CJTF-HOA).

March 15, 2019 at 2:50 pm Leave a comment

FRIDAY FOTO (April 20, 2018)

So Where’s the Plane?

Pararescue Airmen practice military free fall

(U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sergeant Gustavo Castillo)

Illustrating the “Free” in free fall, this photo shows Air Force para rescue jumpers (PJs) performing a military free fall jump over Djibouti in East Africa on April 17, 2018. The airmen are assigned to the 82nd Expeditionary Rescue Squadron. They are deployed in support of humanitarian aid and contingency operations in the Combined Joint Task Force-Horn of Africa area of responsibility.

April 20, 2018 at 12:05 am Leave a comment

AROUND AFRICA: Update, Kenya Election, New AFRICOM Chief

Kenya Election

Adds background, corrects size of Kenya’s economy

Kenya in Africa. Map from CIA World Factbook

Kenya in Africa. Map from CIA World Factbook

Kenya’s Supreme Court has been petitioned to examine the East African nation’s contested presidential election.

Uhuru Kenyatta – son of Kenya’s first president – was declared the winner of the March 4 election with 50.7 percent of the vote. But his opponent – Prime Minister Raila Odinga – says he has evidence of voter fraud and is asking the high court to examine his party’s claims. Kenyatta, who had been deputy prime minister, faces charges of crimes against humanity before the International Criminal Court in The Hague for his alleged part in the post election violence that left more than 1,000 people dead. Kenyatta’s running mate, William Ruto, faces similar charges.

Odinga’s followers did not take to the streets to protest as they did when he lost another election in 2007 that was marred by widespread claims of fraud. Instead, his Coalition for Reforms and Democracy (CORD) party is taking his case to the courts, which have a better reputation for integrity now than they did in 2007, the New York Times reported.

Kenya’s constitution stipulates that the parties have one week to legally challenge an election and the Supreme Court has two weeks to rule on the challenge before the president is officially installed, according to the Voice of America.

Kenya, which gained its independence from Britain in the 1960s, is the 11th largest economy in Africa.


463px-Africom_emblem_2.svgThe U.S. Senate has confirmed the nomination of Army Gen. David Rodriquez to be the next commander of Africa Command, one of the six regional combatant commands.

Rodriquez, who is currently vice chief of staff of the Army, will take over from Army Gen. Carter Hamm, the current AFRICOM commander, who is retiring later this year.

AFRICOM, created by President George W. Bush, is responsible for protecting U.S. interests and assisting allies and partner nations in Africa. Based in Stuttgart, Germany, its area of operation includes all of Africa except Egypt which comes under U.S. Central Command.

The command’s missions — outlined by Ham earlier — include: Countering terrorism and violent extremist organizations; Countering piracy and illicit trafficking; Partnering to strengthen defense capabilities; and preparing for and responding to crises.

March 13, 2013 at 11:58 pm Leave a comment

AFRICA: New Head of Africa Command Tapped

Rodriquez would succeed Ham

(U.S. Army photo)

President Barack Obama has nominated Army Gen. David M. Rodriguez as the next chief of Africa Command.

If the choice is confirmed by the Senate, Rodriquez (photo left) would be the third commander of the newest U.S. regional combatant command. He would succeed Gen. Carter F. Ham, who had headed AFRICOM since March 2011.

Africa Command, based in Stuggart, Germany is responsible for protecting U.S. interests in Africa and assisting allies to counter insurgencies, terrorism and piracy. The only U.S. military presence in Africa is Camp Lemonier, a former French Foreign Legion post in Djibouti near the Horn of Africa.

A 1976 West Point graduate, Rodriguez is currently commander of U.S. Army Forces Command.

He was the top deputy commander in Afghanistan during the surge of troops ordered by Obama to stabilize the country in preparation for a U.S. withdrawal in 2014.


October 22, 2012 at 12:47 am Leave a comment


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