Posts tagged ‘Australia’

FRIDAY FOTO (August 2, 2019)

Sabre Dance.

US / ADF special operations forces HALO parachute jump Talisman Sabre 2019

(U.S. Marine Corps photo by Lance Corporal Nicole Rogge)

U.S. and Australian troops jump out of a Royal Australian Air Force C-27J Spartan tactical transport plane over Queensland, Australia on July 17, 2019. The airdrop was part of Talisman Sabre, a biennial exercise to enhance interoperability between U.S. and Australian troops — and partner nations in the Pacific region.

Talisman Sabre — jointly sponsored by the U.S. Indo-Pacific Command and Australian Defence Force Joint Operations Command — incorporates U.S. Army, Navy, Marine Corps and Air Force personnel and equipment with the Australian Defence Force, and well as ships, aircraft and personnel from New Zealand, the United Kingdom, Japan and Canada.

The United States has been increasing its military cooperation with Australia for more than a decade, including the continuing six-month rotation of hundreds of U.S. Marines to Robertson Barracks outside Darwin, in northern Australia, 4GWAR noted in 2012. That first company-sized contingent has grown to 2,500 Marines, which was the intention of a 2011 agreement reached between then-President Barack Obama and Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard.

The RAAF’s C-27J Spartan is a battlefield airlifter can airdrop cargo and paratroops in-flight. It can also airlift a variety of cargo loads or evacuate up to 21 stretcher cases of sick or wounded personnel. The Italian-made, U.S.-designed turboprop plane bridges the gap between Army helicopters and larger Air Force transport aircraft.

To see more photos from the joint exercise, click here, here, here, and here.


August 2, 2019 at 2:27 pm Leave a comment

ASIA/PACIFIC: U.S. Marines at Australian Exercise.

The Marines Have Landed …

USS Green Bay conducts Talisman Saber 17

(U.S. Navy photo by Petty Officer 3rd Class Sarah Myers)

U.S. Marines maneuver combat rubber raiding craft toward Cowley Beach in Australia on July 8, 2017, during an amphibious raid rehearsal as a part of exercise Talisman Saber 17. These Marines are assigned to the 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU).

… and Landed.

Marines Helo Australia Talisman Sabre 17.JPG

(U.S. Navy photo by Petty Officer 3rd Class Sarah Myers)

Here Marines are disembarking from a CH-53 Super Stallion helicopter for a ground assault training exercise as part of Talisman Saber 17 in Australia on July 12, 2017. More than 33,000 U.S. and Australian personnel are participating in the biennial joint exercise, which runs through July 25.

Talisman Saber, jointly sponsored by the U.S. Pacific Command and Australian Defence Force Headquarters Joint Operations Command, incorporates U.S. Army, Navy, Marine Corps and Air Force and the Australian Defence Force, as well as other government agencies from both countries, according to Pacific Command.

Featuring 21 ships, including the U.S. Navy aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan (CVN 76), the Bonhomme Richard Expeditionary Strike Group, and more than 200 joint aircraft, this is the seventh iteration of the exercise. For 2017 it is focusing on training a Combined Task Force of U.S. and Australian forces in a mid-intensity, high-end warfighting scenario.

July 20, 2017 at 11:43 pm Leave a comment

FRIDAY FOTO (June 29, 2017)

Tilt-rotor mission.

FRIFO 6-30-2017 Ospreys

(U.S. Marine Corps photo by Lance Corporal Amy Phan)

Marine Corps MV-22B Osprey tiltrotor aircraft fly in formation off the coast of Sydney, Australia on June 29, 2017. The aircraft are assigned to Marine Medium Tiltrotor Squadron 265.

To see a video of the Osprey in action, day or night, land or sea, click here.

June 30, 2017 at 12:19 am Leave a comment

DEFENSE INDUSTRY: Trump Defense Budget Boost; Brazil to Spend More

Trump Seeks Defense Budget Boost.


(4GWAR photo by John M. Doyle)

President Donald Trump unveiled his fiscal 2018 spending plan Thursday (March 16) which sets the framework for a final budget request to Congress. If passed, the funding request would sharply increase military and homeland security spending while cutting the budgets of dozens of federal agencies and programs — including the State, Justice and Transportation departments.

In the wake of Trump’s so-called “skinny” budget, which will likely go through numerous amendments and changes before being voted upon by Congress, the Pentagon released a broad wish list on Thursday, which, the New York Times noted, signals what the Defense Department “would do with its proposed $54 billion windfall, filling its shopping cart with desires including Apache helicopters for the Army, anti-submarine planes for the Navy, fighter jets and more training for selected personnel.” The budget proposal calls for $639 billion in defense spending, up $52 billion from last year’s budget request. It also seeks another $2 billion for national security programs in other agencies, like safety oversight of nuclear weaponry by the Energy Department.

According to Politico’s Morning Defense, “The Trump White House is touting a boost in military spending as a major element of what it calls a ‘hard-power’ budget proposal as it seeks to win over hawkish Republicans who are pushing for an even bigger increase in investments in the military. However, GOP defense hawks have criticized the administration’s claim that its proposed defense expansion is “one of the largest in history,” noting the Trump plan is only a 3 percent increase above the Obama administration’s projection for next year, POLITICO reported.

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Brazil Budget Battle.

Trump isn’t the only leader in the Americas planning to boost defense spending while cutting spending elsewhere in the budget.


Brazilian special operations troops.

Brazilian President Michel Temer is increasing the country’s military budget by 36 percent, local media reported Monday (March 13). The defense hike comes just months after Temer pushed the approval of a controversial constitutional amendment to freeze public spending for the next two decades, according to the Venezuela-based news site, teleSUR.

Citing a report by Brazilian newspaper, Folha de Sao Paulo, teleSUR said data compiled by  Brazil’s Senate indicated military spending for this year is set to hit nearly $3.1 billion. The changes come after Brazil’s military budget was slashed under former President Dilma Rousseff’s government. In 2015, the finance minister at the time, Joaquim Levy, drastically reduced investment in the defense sector. From the US$ 3.8 billion expected to be spent in the area, it only allocated $2.1 billion, according to Senate data.

Temer’s move to increase military spending also comes after the approval of a constitutional amendment to freeze public spending for two decades. The reform ties any increase to social assistance programs to the previous year’s inflation rate, rather than GDP. This will effectively limit what all future governments can spend on health, education and social welfare for at least 20 years, according to teleSUR.

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Industry News:

Australian Drone Program

California-based unmanned aircraft maker General Atomics has launched its Team Reaper Australia group to meet the Australian military’s search for a new drone, according to C4ISRNET.

Turkey Defense Procurement

A Turkish government report on defense procurement for the next five years urges the input of domestic industry to become a global player.

The 124-page Strategic Plan for 2017-2021 was prepared by Turkey’s defense procurement agency, the Undersecretariat for Defence Industries. Turkish Defence Minister Fikri Isik defines the plan’s goal as making the Turkish industry “a global player with technological superiority,” Defense News reports.

March 16, 2017 at 11:41 pm Leave a comment

UNMANNED AIRCRAFT: Aerial Photography Using UAS Soars Outside U.S.

Small Drones, Big Jobs.

A Coptercam unmanned mini helicopter operates with a a video camera. (Photo courtesy Coptercam via Facebook)

A Coptercam unmanned mini helicopter operates with a a video camera.
(Photo courtesy Coptercam via Facebook)

While the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration slowly opens up parts of the national airspace to unmanned aircraft for commercial use,  unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) elsewhere in the world are providing unique aerial views of migrating wildlife, bridges needing structual inspection and sprawling sporting events.

UAS operated by news organizations were used to capture images of the massive pro-democracy crowds demonstrating in Hong Kong last year. They are also used by industry to supervise remote logging and mining operations in Canada and monitor banana plantations in Costa Rica.

Your 4GWAR editor has a story in the March issue of AUVSI’s Unmanned Systems magazine. You can see it by clicking here. Some of the small UAS mentioned in the article were demonstrated at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida last year at the Unmanned Systems 2014 conference sponsored by AUVSI, the robotics industry trade group. This year’s AUVSI expo is in Atlanta in May.

In Australia, Coptercam, one of the first companies Down Under to provide aerial video and still photography using a UAS, flies its custom-built unmanned mini helicopters to take video and still photos for architects, real estate agents, advertising agencies as well as television and documentary film crews.

Starting in the Western Australian city of Perth in 2011, the company has expanded operations to Sydney on Australia’s East Coast, as well as Melbourne and Adelaide. Coptercam operates a small fleet of eight-rotor octocopters with a maximum takeoff weight of 26.4 pounds (12 kilograms).  A three axis camera gimbal system can carry cameras like the Sony NEX-7, Canon 5D Mark III and Blackmagic Design’s cinema and production cameras.

Chief pilot and co-founder Hai Tran says he first strapped a Sony handycam to the bottom of his radio controlled helicopter for fun in 1999 “but it didn’t work very well.” He kept at it, however, and in 2011 he obtained an Unmanned Air Vehicle Controller Certificate and started Coptercam.

Click here to see a video shot by Coptercam of a 2014 pro surfing competition at Bell’s Beach, Australia. (Editor’s advice: if you’re wearing headphones, you might want to turn the volume down before viewing).

While Australia permits commercial operators to fly UAS, the requirements are pretty rigorous. Like many commercial operators in the States, Tran complains that hobbyists and amateurs flying radio-controlled unmanned aircraft, face fewer restrictions on where and when they can fly their UAS.

April 6, 2015 at 12:01 am Leave a comment

FRIDAY FOTO (Saturday, August 23, 2014

Editor’s Note: We’re back from some time off in the Rockies, so here’s the Friday Foto — a little later than usual.

Optical (Tactical) Illusion.

U.S. Marine Corps photo by Corporal Scott Reel

U.S. Marine Corps photo by Corporal Scott Reel

The headline of this Marine Corps photo should be “That’s why they call it camouflage.” Marines with Bravo Company, 1st Battalion, 5th Marine Regiment, Marine Rotational Force-Darwin report by radio under camouflage netting that makes an interesting — and confusing — shadow pattern. These two Marines are radioing in a mock mass casualty report during a rehearsal of a live-fire artillery exercise at Bradshaw Field Training Area in Australia’s Northern Territory.

It’s all part of Exercise Koolendong 2014. In addition to mass casualty medical response in a remote area, combat air control and air-ground coordination, and combat engineer explosives training, the 16-day bi-lateral exercise focused on establishing a U.S. Marines-Australian Defence Forces combined headquarters element, and directing ground, aviation and logistics capabilities in austere conditions.

To see more photos of this part of the exercise click here.

Since 2012, U.S. and Australian forces have been working closely on training and operational exercises in the hot, remote scrubland at the northern tip of Australia,. The planned rotation of up to 2,500 Marines for six months every year in Darwin starting in 2016, is part of the U.S. strategic “pivot” to Asia after more than a decade of war in Iraq and Afghanistan.

August 23, 2014 at 9:19 pm Leave a comment

4GWAR Blog News: 2012 in review

The stats helper monkeys prepared a 2012 annual report for the 4GWAR blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

About 55,000 tourists visit Liechtenstein every year. This blog was viewed about 210,000 times in 2012. If it were Liechtenstein, it would take about 4 years for that many people to see it. Your blog had more visits than a (very) small country in Europe!

Last year 4GWAR was thrilled to receive more than 134,000 visits. This year’s visits totaled 209,970.

Most of those views came from the United States (84,926). In descending order, the top 10 foreign viewing countries were. 1. Britain (8,645); 2. Canada (7,008); 3. India (4,568); 4. Germany (4,082); 5. Australia (3,292); 6. France (3,271); 7. Brazil (2,288); 8. Poland (2,192); 9. Russia (1,984); 10. Pakistan, (1,795).

Indonesia was close behind at 1,769 views. The African country with the biggest viewership was South Africa with 840. Three of the five most viewed 4GWAR posts were about Africa.

Thanks to all who visited 4GWAR in 2012, we hope to see more of you in 2013!

January 2, 2013 at 11:24 pm Leave a comment

ASIA-PACIFIC: First Contingent of U.S. Marines Lands in Australia

Destination: Darwin

U.S. Marines have begun arriving in Australia in the first six-month rotation as part of a cooperation agreement between the two countries. But the pact has raised concerns with China and at least one other country in the region.

About 200 members of Fox Company, 2nd Battalion, 3rd Marine Regiment arrived Tuesday (April 3) in the northern city of Darwin. They are the first contingent of 2,500 Marines expected to be deployed in Australia by 2017. It’s all part of an agreement signed by President Barack Obama and Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard when Obama was Down Under in November, the New York Times reported.  At that time, Beijing criticized the move as a figment of “Cold War mentality” that would destabilize the region.

U.S. Marines on parade with the 5th Battalion (Mechanised) Royal Australian Regiment during welcome ceremony at Robertson Barracks, Darwin. (Australian Defence Force photo by CPL Christopher Dickson)

The Marines will be there largely to train with the Australian Defence Force – particularly in amphibious warfare operations, which the Marines see as one of their primary skills – and a primary reason for continued funding in hard budgetary times. The Third Marines are based in Hawaii.

The agreement between the U.S. and Australia also calls for greater access to Royal Australian Air Force bases for U.S. aircraft and eventually more visits by U.S. Navy vessels to the western Australian naval base outside Perth. The Marines, who will be stationed at Robertson Barracks outside Darwin, will also be better positioned to respond to natural disasters in Southeast Asia and provide humanitarian assistance, U.S. officials told the Voice of America. There will be no U.S. base in Australia, officials said.

Australia has been a close U.S. ally since World War II. Australia sent troops to the Korean and Vietnam wars and Australia has been one of the largest non-NATO contributors of military personnel in Afghanistan. Last year, for the fourth time, the U.S. and Australian militaries conducted a biennial training exercise, Talisman Sabre in northern Australia and adjoining waters. Fourteen thousand U.S. and 9,000 Australian troops participated in the exercise last July.

Amphibious Assault Vehicles with 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit, on Freshwater Beach during a mock amphibious assault rehearsal for Exercise Talisman Sabre 2011 with Australian Defence Forces. (U.S. Marine Corps photo)

Under the November agreement, the U.S. troops will be rotated in an out of Australia but not permanently based there. The deployment is part of the Obama administration’s strategy shift focusing on the Asia Pacific region after more than 10 years of war in Iraq and Afghanistan. The U.S. has also reached an agreement with the island nation of Singapore to base two of the Navy’s new Littoral Combat Ships (LCS) there. Singapore has been a key player in the efforts to halt piracy in the area near the Malacca Strait, a major maritime choke point through which much of the world’s oil is shipped. Australia is also negotiating with Washington about allowing U.S. unmanned aircraft to fly surveillance missions out of the Cocos Islands, an Australian territory in the Indian Ocean about 1,700 miles/2,750 kilometers from Perth.

The Philippines is also in negotiations with the U.S. to allow a large U.S. troop presence in the former American colony, which evicted U.S. forces from a large air base and naval station there in the 1990s. Filipino law bars U.S. troops from fighting on Philippines oil although there are U.S. military advisers providing medical, veterinary and educational assistance as well as instruction in counter insurgency tactics. But like many of its neighbors, the Philippines has had territorial – and sometimes physical – confrontations with the China, which claims sovereignty over all of the South China Sea.

Australia from CIA World Factbook

In addition to alarming China, the Marine deployment and the other military moves in Asia raised concerns in Indonesia, according the Australian Boadcasting Corp.

April 5, 2012 at 9:08 pm 2 comments

FRIDAY FOTO Extra: Amphibious Warfare

Hitting the Beach

(U.S. Marine Corps photo)

Amphibious Assault Vehicles of the 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit land at Freshwater Beach during a mock amphibious assault as part of Talisman Sabre 2011 a joint U.S.-Australian military exercise along the northern and eastern coasts of Australia. As Australian Brigadier Gen. Bob Brown notes in this Australian Defence Forces video, “the Marines are the masters of this.”

Amphibious warfare has been a specialty of the U.S. Marine Corps since its creation in 1775 (You can view a creaky 1950s-style Marine Corps film on amphibious operations here) . But 10 years of war in the deserts and cities of Iraq and the mountains and valleys of Afghanistan have some critics wondering what role amphibious operations will play in the future.

That and other topics related to forcible entry from the sea will be discussed at a two-day Amphibious Operations Summit in Washington next week. Attendees at the conference, sponsored by the Institute for Defense and Government Advancement (IDGA), will hear from amphibious experts from the Navy, Marine Corps, Australia and France. Gen. John Amos, commandant of the U.S. Marine Corps, will be a keynote speaker.

One topic to be discussed is where do the Marines go for amphibious combat transportation after the Expeditionary Fighting Vehicle (EFV) program — designed to replace the 1970s era AAVs — was cancelled earlier this year.

To see a Military Channel video of an amphibious assault exercise with AAVs and other landing craft, click here on YouTube.

July 22, 2011 at 6:29 pm 1 comment

FRIDAY FOTO (July 22, 2011)

Fire Power

(Marine Corps photo by Sgt. Pete Thibodeau)

U.S. Marines with the 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit’s battalion landing team fire M252 81 mm mortar rounds during a live fire training operation at the Talisman Sabre 2011 joint exercise with Australian forces on Townshend Island, Australia.

Talisman Sabre, which runs through July 29 on and around the northern and eastern coasts of Australia, is a 12-day bilateral exercise to train Australian and U.S. forces in planning and conducting combined operations. More than 14,000 U.S. Army, Air Force, Navy and Marine Corps personnel are participating along with the Australian Defence Force in the exercise to enhance readiness and interoperability in military operations ranging from conventional conflict to peacekeeping and humanitarian assistance efforts.

Click on the photo to enlarge the image for a closeup look at the the procedures and equipment of these Marines from the 2nd Battalion, 7th Marine Regiment.

To see a photo slideshow of this live fire exercise, click here. The Stars and Stripes newspaper has a nice slideshow with photos of amphibious, airborne, naval and training operations during the fourth iteration of this biennial exercise.

July 22, 2011 at 11:04 am Leave a comment

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