Australian officer plans COVID-19 mitigation during defeat Daesh operations: Australian Defence Force (ADF) and Coalition operations continue in the Middle East, despite the COVID-19 pandemic’s ramifications, because of measured planning. Maj. Edward Heslop, embedded with the US-led Headquarters Combined Joint Task Force – Operation Inherent Resolve (CJTF-OIR) led that planning effort. “I was originally deployed as the J75 future operations chief for training, posted to Task Force Iraq in Baghdad,” said Heslop. “I was pushed south to Headquarters CJTF-OIR at Camp Arifjan, Kuwait, to be a future operations planner to prepare a policy framework so the task force could continue operations in the COVID-19 environment.” Central to his plan was the reorientation of responses from reactionary orders to deliberate risk management. “The problem with reactionary orders is they make it hard to assess whether or not measures being put in place are effective, and can end up being inadvertently haphazard,” he said. Heslop had support from key staff who have taken the policy and processes on board. “It required significant consultation across the headquarters and subordinate forces to ensure it was accurate and accessible,” he said. Australian Maj. Gen. Susan Coyle, commander, Joint Task Force 633, said she was proud of the ADF and Coalition forces’ flexibility. “ADF personnel in the Middle East region have gained an enormous amount from working with our partners,” she said. “We remain focused on supporting operations, ensuring that COVID-19 does not get its own line of operation. Seeing how other nations approach and resolve simple and complex issues is invaluable and I praise the efforts of our ADF members as we support one another through COVID-19.”
Hawk airframe fit to fly for decades to come: A Hawk aircraft, the advanced jet trainer used to prepare Australian pilots for life in a fast jet cockpit, has completed the equivalent of 50,000 ‘flying’ hours as part of a major structural testing programme in a joint project involving BAE Systems and DST Group. The world first test program was conducted at DST Group’s Fishermans Bend facility in Victoria where for 14 years a Hawk air frame was subjected to the range of loads that it would experience in actual flight, simulating real life fleet usage based on projected operational requirements. The 33 Hawk aircraft operated by the Royal Australian Air Force have a clearance of 10,000 flying hours – 50,000 flying hours of structural testing is five times the current clearance of the most modern Hawks in air forces across the world and more than ten times the current flying hours on most of the Australian fleet. Based on current usage, the fatigue life remaining in the Hawk airframe would allow the aircraft to continue operations well into the late 2040s. BAE Systems Australia Director Aircraft Sustainment and Training Andrew Chapman said: “The Full Scale Fatigue Test is a hugely important achievement for the Australian Lead In Fighter program and was made possible by the collaboration of a small dedicated team across many thousands of kilometres. “The Hawk is the world’s most successful and proven military aircraft trainer, built on more than 35 years of fast jet training experience. “The 2019 completion of Hawk (LIFCAP) upgrade ensures the aircraft is freshly updated and available for service in the RAAF for many more years.”
2021 Australian defence sales catalogue submissions open: Australian defence industry businesses across the country are being encouraged to submit their applications for inclusion in the 2021 Australian Defence Sales Catalogue. Defence Industry Minister Melissa Price said Defence was opening the submission process for the Australian Defence Sales Catalogue early as part of the government’s strategy to assist Australian small business. “The catalogue showcases world-class Australian defence industry products and services, and is pivotal to the work of Australian Defence Attaches across the globe,” Price said. “It promotes quality Australian products and services to our foreign counterparts. I encourage small businesses which are involved with the defence sector to apply, as we are allowing more time for businesses to complete their applications. The Morrison government and Defence have been working hard to keep the wheels of defence industry turning throughout the COVID pandemic. The 2021 Australian Defence Sales Catalogue is aimed at boosting sales and business activity and is another way we are continuing our support for the sector.” The current edition of the catalogue includes leading-edge technologies, products and services from 170 Australian businesses, and this is expected to increase for the 2021 edition, as it has every year since inception. Submissions will remain open until 23:59 AEDT on Sunday 27 September, 2020. Information on eligibility criteria and the process for the 2021 edition of the catalogue can be found on the Australian Military Sales website. Information on eligibility for the catalogue can be found here.
US Marines complete quarantine: More than 1,000 US Marines have completed quarantine in the Northern Territory, with training now well underway as part of this year’s Marine Rotational Force – Darwin (MRF-D). Minister for Defence Linda Reynolds said the release of the last US Marines from quarantine marked a significant milestone for this year’s rotation. “The discharge of the final group of personnel from quarantine demonstrates the effectiveness of the testing and monitoring regime established with the Northern Territory government,” Reynolds said. “With one positive result captured at initial entry and no further infections, the successful management of the arrival of the US Marines reflects the efforts and planning by the Australian Defence Force (ADF), the Northern Territory Government and MRF-D. The regime of screening, quarantine and testing underscores the priority placed on protecting the local community from COVID-19.” MRF-D medical personnel will continue to monitor and oversee the health of the Marines for the duration of this year’s visit. US Marines have been undertaking a modified training programme at various Defence training facilities around the greater Darwin area, including Mount Bundey and Kangaroo Flats. This year’s programme will culminate with Exercise Koolendong, running from early to mid-September. This annual exercise will showcase US and Australian interoperability in a range of activities, from humanitarian assistance through to high-end warfighting activities, including large-scale live fire. Colonel David Banning, Commanding Officer, Marine Rotational Force-Darwin said MRF-D’s close coordination with Australian counterparts was key to the successful completion of the quarantine process. “As we progress in our training, we will demonstrate our crisis response capability and continue to improve interoperability through our long-standing exercise, Koolendong,” Banning said. “The strong relationship between MRF-D and the ADF enhances regional security.” The US Marine who tested positive to COVID-19 remains in isolation at the Royal Darwin Hospital pending confirmation of a negative test result.