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Scout goes to US company, General Dynamics [22/03/10]

The MoD has today confirmes that British arms manufacturer BAE Systems has lost out to the American company General Dynamics in the race to secure the $6billion contract for the next generation of light tank for the British Army.

The initial order will be for around 600 of the so-called Specialist Vehicles with oders for more likely at a later stage.

Although the contract is going to an American company the MoD has gone to great lengths to claim that the vehicles will be assembled in the UK. Yeah, well we've heard that before. General Dynamics will doubtless start repatriating jobs when the going gets tough back home.

This deal is another example of Britain losing expertise, particularly R&D, to foreign companies; once these skills and the manufacturing base are lost, they will never return. Every sell-out to a foreign country digs away at our ability to act independently. We've seen how hostile the current US administration is to the UK when Hilary Clinton joined forces with Argentina saying that the sovereignty of the Falkland Islands is negotiable. With the extra control the US will now have over the Army's tank fleet, they may make negotiation the only option.

I wonder how much the lobbyists and their labour party stooges get for securing a $6billion contract. I image that would have been a very expensive cab.

MoD: New contract for more armoured fighting vehicles
BBC: General Dynamics beats BAE to win UK tank-making deal

The Mail: Government accused of 'cover-up' over 'cash for access' scandal after No 10 refuses to launch investigation

LPPV catfight (2): Ocelot or Supacat? [10/03/10]

It was at last year's DSE International Exhibition (see Aquilavictrix LPPV: Orcelot v SupaCat) that the mittens came off in the contest between Force Protection's Ocelot and Supacat's SPV400 to win the contract for the Light Protected Patrol Vehicle (LPPV) that will replace the Army's much criticised Snatch Land Rover. The two contenders have been undergoing engineering and operational trials at test facilities at Millbrook and Aldershot and a decision on the winner is expected by August with a military in-service date the following year. Funds will be provided through the Urgent Operational Requirements process.

Back in Spetember 2009 the MoD was saying that they were initially looking to place orders for 400 vehicles. Needless to say, Gordon Brown has now halved that. Continuing his 12 year jihad against the Armed Forces, the prime minister has taken another swipe of his axe to the Army's funding and announced that now only 200 would be ordered.

Funnily enough and with true labour spin, he tried to make his announcement sound as if he was promising 200 extra vehicles rather than what he was really doing which was to provide 200 fewer! The hypocrisy and duplicity of this man is unbelievable!

Brown's announcement comes in the wake of the barrage of criticism that he and his fellow ministers received at the inquiry into the deaths of the four soldiers killed when their poorly protected Snatch Land Rover was hit by an IED. This decision of Brown's to actually halve the number of Snatch vehicles being replaced, is therefore particularly callous and sinister coming as it does at this time.

DefenseNews: 2 Vehicles Vie for U.K. Army LPPV Award

Minister admits scale of cuts in training exercises [05/03/10]

A few days ago Liam Fox MP, Shadow Secretary of State for Defence, tabled a written question asking the government how many training exercises originally planned for 2010 have already been cancelled.

In reply Armed Forces Minister, Bill Rammell, admitted that 55 exercises had so far been cut. However, he also said that: "Success in Afghanistan is our main effort, and will remain our principal commitment for as long as it takes. Our approach at this time must be - and is - Afghanistan first. All exercises that better prepare our forces for operations in Afghanistan will continue but those exercises that are considered not to directly support our effort have been examined critically and, where appropriate, cancelled."

The training exercises cut were:

Jordan Express African Thorn First Rock
Malaysian Express Oman Express Guibert
Steppe Eagle Bald Eagle Horizon
Cossack Steppe Chartered Flight Kleiber
French Connection Citadel Gaulish
Tricolour Crown Eagle Longboat Warrior
Asterix Destier/Aurige Larksong Foxtrot
Winged Star Devils Hat Marble Tor
Glow Worm/Rattlesnake Devils Horizon Medoc
Gobi Dust First Eagle Modulex
Pathfinder Work Sheet Anatolian Eagle 10
Pony Express Roman Eagle Green flag West 10-9
Ponte Vecchio/Tower Bridge Turtle Truss Torpedo Focus 10-3
Readiness Challenge Lion Sun 1 Pitch Black
Silver Eagle Lion Sun 2 Bold Avenger 10
Steam Drive Lion Star 1 Blue Flag
Top Kitten Lion Star 2 Rimpac 10
Tunuk Warrior Iron Ram/Ferro Ariete  
Wet Gap Bass Rock  

I don't know how many training exercises are undertaken each year but 55 sounds like a lot. Snatching short-term savings by cutting the training budget is bound to have long-term implications for the future effectiveness of the Armed Forces especially as they should be prepared for combat in a variety of warzones.

[not sorry to see "French Connection", "Tricolour" and "Asterix" go, but great shame about "Roman Eagle"]

Army training at the touch of a screen [03/03/10]

LINE Communications, a leading supplier of Technology Based Training, has announced the imminent release of three major mobile learning solutions for the British Army.

The MoD has commissioned LINE to develop three highly innovative learning solutions to be delivered on mobile devices. Two of the projects will be delivered using Apple iTouch. The first covers training on vehicle service schedules and the second delivers restricted content quickly and securely to the target audience. The third project delivers complex procedural training using touchscreen tablets. All of the projects are due for release in early April 2010.

LINE prides itself on working "pragmatically to deliver the MoD’s modernisation and training transformation agenda across Defence to genuinely improve operational capability".

Let's hope LINE's touchscreen solution is significantly better than my new LG-POP which fails to respond however gently or firmly, casually or positively, I touch the screen.

BAe's Terrier unleashed [21/02/10]

Production has started at BAe Systems' plant in Newcastle on the prototype Terrier engineer vehicle. 60 Terriers were ordered for the Army last March in a £300million contract which also secured 650 British jobs.

The Terriers will fulfil a variety of roles for the Army: obstacle and mine clearance, digging-in equipment and troops, route opening and maintenance, and general engineer tasks.

Lessons learnt from production of the Titan, Trojan and Panther, particularly with regards to blast protection, have been built into the design of this latest dog of war.

Reliability has been another key in-built feature of the Terrier. Earlier trials have convinced the MoD that the Terrier will meet the exacting reliability levels prescribed for the vehicle which are over and above those of Armoured Fighting Vehicles currently in service with the Army.

BAe Systems: TERRIER Engineer vehicle passes two key milestones

Python: the full monty - and the Taliban's gone for a burton [18/02/10]

The Army has brought in its latest weapon to counter the Taliban's IEDs. Used yesterday for the first time in Afghanistan, the explosives on the 230-metre long snake-like rocket-propelled device will clear a large area thought to contain mines and improvised explosive devices. Mounted on the back of a Trojan armoured engineer tank, the Python replaces the ageing Giant Viper, which dates back to the Fifties, and has the ability to clear a much longer 'safe lane' than its predecessor.

Staff Sergeant Mark Eastley, from 30 Armoured Engineer Squadron, said: “It takes your breath away. You see the flash, hear the bang and then feel the shock wave.” Or as Lieutenant Colonel Matt Bazeley, commanding officer of 28 Engineer Regiment, put it: "We are clearing this belt of death so that civilians and their families can begin to live without fear of being blown to pieces by a cowardly and dishonourable enemy that is happy to kill indiscriminately."

Python reminds me of those ingenious devices which inventors came up with during WW2 to combat German mines. I think it was in an episode of World at War that we saw film of giant rocket-powered cartwheels careering over beaches and tanks with revolving chains protruding from their fronts flaying the ground ahead for mines. The Germans themselves came up with their own minesweeping machines: the WunderWaffe 4, which rolled out of one of Krupp's factories in 1944, was a 130t vehicle, articulated in the centre, suspended on 12ft diameter steel wheels and designed to clear a wide path through a minefield.

As they say "necessity is the mother of invention" and, as the Taliban get ever more sophisticated in their use of the insidious IED, so too does NATO develop new technologies to counter them. IEDs have accounted for about 80% of British casualties in Afghanistan.

Forewarned about Operation Moshtarak, the Taliban had planted thousands of IEDs and booby traps ahead of advancing Allied soldiers. Python will help to clear these and make the area safe for British soldiers and for the local Afghan people alike.

The Times: 'Python' is British Army's winning weapon against Afghan roadside bombs
The Mail: Operation Moshtarak: British Army unleashes latest weapon in battle with 'dishonourable enemy'

MoD to end secret research programmes [15/02/10]

This is a busy time of the year for companies wishing to get their hands on lucrative defence research funding.

Last week the Centre for Defence Enterprise at Harwell showcased several projects which have already received government funding. Incorporating a range of technologies, these projects aim to ensure that UK forces "will have the battle-winning edge in current and future conflicts".

They include

  • textiles that could be made into uniforms and used to power weapons, radios and charge batteries;
  • unmanned surveillance systems that could stay airborne for upto 3 months;
  • a portable solar-powered battery to increase power at FOBs;
  • turret-based camera to provide wide-angled surveillance images;
  • 3D persistent surveillance systems;
  • I'm getting lost here so visit:-
    NDS: The Appliance of Science to Benefit Frontline Troops

Next month the MoD will be hosting its annual Defence Research conference and exhibition at the ICC in Birmingham. The main partner in this enterprise is our old friend QinetiQ - they seem to have an influence over much of MoD spending these days.

The message behind Defence Research 2010 is that the MoD will for the first time be opening up its entire £400million annual research budget to private industry and universities. So, no more secret military research programmes.

Defence Research 2010 website
MoD: Defence Suppliers Research Information Portal

government's £1billion response to helicopter criticism [06/10/09]

Improvements to Britain's military helicopter fleets are being announced thick and fast in the wake of the harsh criticism doled out to ministers over the summer.

Just over a week ago Defence Minister Quentin Davies said that RAF Chinook helicopters operating in Afghanistan will receive a £408m upgrade to deliver more powerful engines and more advanced, digitised cockpits.

A couple of days later the MoD reported a £300m upgrade to the RAF's Puma fleet which should see improved performance and enable operations in the toughest conditions (Afghanistan perhaps).

The very next day came the announcement that additional Merlin helicopters will be in Afghanistan before the end of the year - "increasing the number of UK helicopters by 25 per cent".

And today the MoD has today announced an Integrated Operation Support (IOS) contract worth £439million aimed at improving the technical, engineering and logistic support available to Apache attack helicopters operating in Afghanistan.

The Apache Project Team Leader in Defence Equipment and Support (DE&S), Air Commodore Doug Whittaker said: ”This contract will improve the quality of support provided to the front line as well as making savings over the helicopter’s lifetime. Given the success of Apache on operations, this contract is most timely and welcome.”

Shephard: Army Apaches get a £439m Boost
MoD: Merlins prepare to get hot and high in Afghanistan
MoD: MOD announces £300m to boost Puma power
MoD: RAF Chinooks to be upgraded for Afghanistan

Warthog breaks cover [06/10/09]

Singapore Technologies Kinetics have just unveiled the Warthog, a variant of their Bronco All-Terrain Vehicle modified for the British Army. The MoD ordered 100+ of these armoured vehicles in a £150million deal signed last December under the Urgent Operational Requirement programme.

The modifications required by the UK included a protected gun-mount, extra

armour, specialist electronic counter-measure equipment and communications tools.

Minister for Defence Equipment and Support, Quentin Davies, said: "Warthog will be true to its name as a beast of a vehicle that can manoeuvre across difficult terrain, power-up steep gradients and even cling to slopes. Warthog will provide improved protection to our troops in Afghanistan's Green Zone, where water and a fragile infrastructure make it difficult for other vehicles to operate. It will be able to move through deep water while carrying troops at the heart of our operations."

ST Kinetics have assured the MoD that the Warthof will be delivered to the British Army on schedule later in the year. Twelve UK Armed Forces trainers have already begun operation and maintenance training in Singapore to allow them to start bringing the vehicles into service shortly after delivery.

Brigadier Ian Simpson, DE&S Head of Combat Wheels Group at the MoD said: "The Warthog has proven itself to be a very capable vehicle in tests and trials. I am impressed by the high standards of engineering applied to this vehicle and the quality of the support package; providing our deployed forces with the higher levels of protection and mobility".

Warthogs will be replacing the Vikings currently in service in Afghanistan. Let's hope that they live up to their tough name and do indeed provide our troops with the extra protection they need.

ST Kinetics: ST Kinetics Unveils First Made-In-Singapore Vehicle For British Army
MoD: The Warthog is on its way

Ainsworth still defends use of Vectors [05/10/09]

During his "morale-boosting" visit to British Forces in Helmand, Defence Secretary Bob Ainsworth had again to defend the continued use of Vector Light Protected Patrol vehicles in Afghanistan.

The Vectors, brought in to replace the discredited Snatch Land Rovers, have been condemned by commanders on the ground as providing inadequate blast protection and being unreliable, a view supported by the National Audit Office back in London ("Support to High Intensity Operations", May 2009).

Although Ainsworth's predecessor had agreed to their withdrawal, it was in a Vector that Britain's latest casualty, Senior Aircraftsman Marcin Wojtak of the RAF Regiment, was tragically killed last Thursday.

In defence of their continued use, Bob Ainsworth maintains that the Vector is one of a number of vehicle types which commanders can call on to meet the needs of a particular operational situation. Unfortunately, lack of confidence in the Vector is forcing commanders to call on Snatch once again, though admittedly in their upgraded Vixen variant.

The UK has recently allocated £1.3billion for improved armoured vehicles - I suppose being the MoD you can expect a 10% wastage.

Again unsurprisingly the UK also spends by far the least on equipment for her soldiers in Afghanistan than our major allies.........

equipment spend per soldier
Canada   £507,500
US   £463,000
UK   £289,000

Military World: Troops raise new concerns over safety of armoured patrol vehicles
MoD: Protected Patrol Vehicles - Vector

FIST: new hi-tech sights will help give quite a punch [16/09/09]

The MoD has placed an order with Thales UK for £150million worth of hi-tech weapon sights and optics which it believes will "improve soldier lethality".

Falling within the Future Integrated Soldier Technology (FIST) programme, the new gadgetry availble to British troops will include:

  • new sights (fire-control systems) for underslung 40mm grenade launchers - a laser rangefinder which will work out the correct elevation angle automatically;
  • thermal night-vision sights for rifles, marksman's weapons and light machineguns;
  • lightweight Day Sights for the SA80 providing improved field of view and a clearer picture;
  • new thermal scopes with open Close Quarter Battle Sights mounted on top of them;
  • new "Target Locating System" binoculars containing laser rangefinders and digital compasses, allowing commanders to mark things they see accurately on a map; and
  • ruggedised digital cameras and simple periscopes for peering over walls and round corners.

Deliveries of the new kit will begin at the end of 2010 and the first equipment will be given to troops for training, prior to being deployed to Afghanistan, in early 2011.

MoD: New targeting technology for troops in Afghanistan

FRES SV: CV90 v ASCOD [15/09/09]

The battle to win the contract to supply the UK's Future Rapid Effects System Specialist Vehicle hotted up when BAE Systems rolled out its contender at the DSE International Exhibition 2009.

With its CV90-35 Mk III Infantry Fighting Vehicle, BAE hopes to win the mega contract which could see orders being placed for up to 1,300 armoured scout vehicles. The CV90-35 is already in production for the Dutch Army and orders are expected soon from Poland and Norway.

Up against it is General Dynamics' Austrian-Spanish Cooperative Development (ASCOD) Tracked Armoured Fighting Vehicle which is already in service with the Spanish Army where it's called the Pizzaro and with the Austrian Army where it is know as the Ulan.

Defense News: CV90 sets sights on FRES requirement

LPPV: Ocelot v Supacat [15/09/09]

The DSE International Exhibition also witnessed the start of a catfight between Force Protection's Ocelot and Supacat's SPV400 to win the contract for the Light Protected Patrol Vehicle (LPPV) which will replace the Army's much criticised Snatch Land Rovers.

With the number of British soldiers killed or wounded by IEDs increasing, the Army is keen to replace its vulnerable Land Rovers with patrol vehicles which are versatile but which also possess a mine protection capability similiar to that provided with the heavier Mastiffs and Ridgbacks.

The initial requirement for 400 vehicles coming into service in 2012 but this figure is likely to increase significantly as the Army replaces its entire fleet of Land Rovers.

Defense News: UK patrol vehicle need sparks new designs

Ridgbacks: no strangers to Gloucestershire [10/08/09]

After an week in which four British soldiers have been killed by IEDs, it is now reported that, not only are badly needed heavily armoured Ridgbacks held up in Dubai, there's also a field full of them parked up in Gloucestershire!

A total of 157 Ridgback armoured vehicles have been ordered from the US but only 20 have so far reached the frontline. The rest, along with a whole managerie of Panthers, Huskies, Coyotes, Bulldogs and Mastiffs, are waiting shipment at the MoD's Defence Storage and Distribution Agency's (DSDA) vehicle store in Ashchurch, in the badlands of deepest Gloucestershire.

Secrecy surrounding the armour on the new vehicles has been suggested as one reason why their deployment is held up; their "UK eyes only" classification means they have to wait for scarce transport from the RAF.

The MoD argues that it's a question of phasing: "It is imperative that if the mission is to be sustainable, we need to have a fleet in theatre and in the UK for training, maintenance and upgrades."

Whatever the reason, the soldiers on the frontline urgently need the added protection provided by these latest armoured vehicles.

So, MoD, get those doggies (and Ridgbacks) rollin' !

News of the World: ..trucks for our Boys...parked up by the M5
The Mail: 1,000 Army vehicles standing idle in a Gloucestershire warehouse
MoD: From car park to the frontline
The Independent: New armoured trucks 'for use in autumn'
The Times: Ridgback armour secrecy deprives British troops of vehicles

RAF's Eurofighter order slashed - Army's gain? [31/07/09]

The government's decision to slash the final order for Urofighters/Typhoons may hopefully be good news for the guys on the frontline in Afghanistan.

The UK had originally agreed to buy 88 aircraft in the third and final tranche of the overall Urofighter order but that order has now been slashed to only 40 fighters. In total the RAF will now only be getting 160 Typhoons out of the 232 it had originally been promised.

It was only two months ago that Gordon Brown seemed to confirm that the UK was going ahead with the final order as planned: "I am pleased that we are moving forward with this important programme with our partner nations. This will strengthen Britain's defence capability, and will create new jobs in advanced manufacturing that Britain needs to emerge stronger and fitter from this global downturn." Still, we've come to expect U-turns from the government these days.

The Urofighter programme began in the mid-80s and originally aimed to provide an aircraft to dogfight Soviet jets over mainland Europe. Things have obviously moved on since the Cold War days and many strategists believe that the Urofighter is no longer appropriate for the type of conflict that Britain has to face these days.

Maybe the MoD could be persuaded to divert some of the RAF's leftover funds to provide practical support to British troops in Afghanistan.

The Times: Britain's fighter jet fleet of Eurofighter Typhoons cut by a third

Assault without battery: the self-powered soldier [27/07/09]

Engineers at Leeds University are developing a way to capture the kinetic energy produced when soldiers march, convert it into electrical energy and use it to power their equipment (radios, night vision goggles, torches,etc).

The devices or 'energy harvesters', would use high tech ceramics and crystals as piezoelectric transducers in order to convert mechanical stress into an electric charge.

Instead of the need for heavy batteries, new technology would plug directly into the soldier's clothing and gear thereby knock up to 10kg off what a soldier has to carry. Eliminating the need for batteries would also reduce resupply requirements.

In a company-sized patrol on a 48 hour operation the average battery weight per man is 3.76kg with a maximum of 10.5kg. With the total carried weight ranging from 33kg to 55kg, batteries account for 10% of in the average weight and 30% in the worse case (CDE Seminar Defence Research 2009).

The Leeds project links in with the MoD's Defence Research Programme 'Reducing the Burden on the Dismounted Soldier' which is aimed at finding new ways to reduce the weight that the modern soldier has to carry - body armour, communications and IT kit, lunch and other essential equipment.

In the States researchers have been looking at other ways of reducing the soldier's need to lug around batteries by generating and storing their own power. One solution is 'nanostructured fibre'. These fibres, woven into military uniforms, would act as rechargeable batteries or 'photovoltaics'.

Leeds University: Soldiers turn a march into a charge
Technology Review: Weaving Batteries into Clothes
MoD Defence Codex: Call for weighty ideas to lighten soldier’s load

Australian robot competition [14/07/09]

The Australian government has announced a $1.6million competition to come up with the next generation of military robots.

The robots will be designed to carry out surveillance missions in urban combat zones thereby replacing soldiers in what are very dangerous situations. Although the robots will initially be unarmed, the Australian government intends that they will ultimately have the capability to neutralize enemy forces - i.e. "Exterminate them!"

The shortlisted entrants will demonstrate their prototype machines at the Land Warfare Conference in Brisbane in November next year.

TechRadar: Australian Govt launches killer robot competition

Equipment for pre-deployment training: should be there by 2010 [26/06/09]

In response to a recent parliamentary question from Shadow Defence Sec. Liam Fox MP about equipment available during pre-deployment training, Bill Rammell MP, Armed Forces Minister of State. gave the following reply.


Dismounted Close Combat (DCC) equipment.
Availability ranges from above 90% for small arms to below 50% for complex items such as night vision equipment and Osprey body armour. The situation continues to improve; 75% of the funded requirement is expected to be met by December 2009 and 100% by mid-2010.

Urgent Operational Requirement (UOR) procured vehicles
The availability of these new types of vehicles is improving from the current figure of just below 50%. As the pace of delivery increases this year, at least 80% of the funded training fleet for Mastiff, Ridgback and Jackal are expected to be available by November and 100% is expected to be available by mid-2010.

Existing vehicles modified to Theatre Entry Standard (TES)
Vehicles such as Panther, Viking, CVR(T) and Warrior come from the existing fleet of vehicles; there is no shortage for training and crews and users are largely already qualified and practised in their use. There are some shortages in the number of vehicles specifically modified to TES; availability ranges from below 50% (CVR(T)) to nearly 60% (Panther).

It's all very well for the Minister of State to say that all the appropriate equipment should be available in 12 months time, but hasn'e deployment been going on for the last six years?

New armour on show at Defence Vehicle Dynamics [26/06/09]

To South Wales Police "Tarian" is the name of its anti-drug Regional Task Force, to the defence industry it's the name of a new textile-based armour system that will give additional lightweight protection against RPGs for such vehicles as Mastiff and Ridgback.

Developed in conjunction with the MoD by the UK subsidiary of US company Amsafe Inc at its factory in Dorset, Tarian is capable of defeating the same threats as existing bar or slat armour, but at significantly reduced weight which allows improvements to the vehicle's protection elsewhere.

The new armour was on show at this year's DE&S's Defence Vehicle Dynamics arms fair at Millbrook in Bedfordshire. Also on public show for the first time were the Army's new dogs of war: Wolfhound, Husky and Coyote Tactical Support Vehicles (TSV). 400 of these are currently in production and should be available to training units later this year. The new TSV fleet will be used to accompany front line patrols and carry essential combat supplies such as water and ammunition.

MoD: Revolutionary armour unveiled at Defence equipment event

New Osprey Assault body armour and Mark 7 helmet [24/06/09]

10,000 sets of updated body armour and helmets will soon be are on their way to Afghanistan.

Responding to feedback received from troops on the ground, the current Osprey body armour and Mark 6A helmet have been redesigned to meet the requirements of today's soldier engaged

in combat operations.

The redesigned Osprey Assault body armour, whilst offering the same level of protection as that currently in use, has thinner plates and a closer, more "ergonomic" fit which will make it more stable and more comfortable to wear especially over a long period of time.

The new Mark 7 helmet has been designed to accommodate the sights of new weapons systems and night vision equipment.

BBC: Demonstration of new body armour

Robo Snake [20/06/09]

Swiss Army Knife: the fourth generation [20/06/09]

For only the fourth time in 117 years a new version of the prestigious Swiss Army Knife has been released.

Seven firms competed for the rights to market the all-in-one survival kit but Victorinox won with "The Soldier". The new knife features a one-hand serrated locking blade, Phillips screwdriver, can opener, small screwdriver, bottle opener, large locking screwdriver, wire stripper, reamer, key ring, and wood saw - oh, and a thingy to get boy scouts out of horses' hooves.

Victorinox: Victorinox will also make the new Soldier's Knife for the Swiss Army

Ofsted inspection: no problem for UK military training [19/06/09]

Over a 15 month period between January 2008 and March 2009 Ofsted looked into the quality of welfare and duty of care provided to the UK's recruits and trainees during their military training. The inspection - you know, the sort of thing that sends members of the NUT into a tizzy or blind panic - found the overall effectiveness of the welfare and duty of care provision for recruits and trainees to be satisfactory.
"Inspectors found a strong commitment from the majority of training personnel to provide recruits and trainees with a fair and challenging programme, while also taking due account of individual circumstances that might affect the health, well-being or progress of the individual. Most recruits reported that they felt safe and well-supported, and in the majority of establishments inspected, the welfare and duty of care arrangements were good and integral to the training process."

The military did come in for some criticism, particularly that the pace of improvement could be accelerated, and singles out the Army as needing to do more: "The Army has made improvements across the board, but is making uncertain progress in particular aspects, such as selfassessment, which is the cornerstone of improvement and development.... establishments [should] develop their proficiency in the use of self-assessment as a route towards real and lasting quality improvement. This all sounds a bit New-Labour-speak to me, so no problem there then as this mumbo-jumbo will soon be scraped into the dustbin of history.

Ofsted: The quality of welfare and duty of care for recruits and trainees in the Armed Forces

UK/US military are talking to each other- MultiNational Experiment 3.0 [17/06/09]

The "special relationship" is still hanging on in there - at least as far as networking is concerning.
Recent "Army Brigade Combat Team Modernisation netwrok interoperability testing" carried out by the UK and US armies is has shown that the two nations' Armed Forces can communicate effectively with each other and exchange intelligence data and messages between their respective

computer systems (the UK's ISTAR?).

The miligeeks are saying that they were able to translate all the MoD's messages "pretty seamlessly" and that the experiment overall was a great success. In operational terms, that the two command networks can talk to each other will mean that a target, identified by either the US or UK forces, can be electronically passed on to whichever combat force can best deal with it.

Let's hope that nothing gets lost in translation.

Defence Talk: Army, UK forces successful in future network interoperability testing

Scout goes to US company, General Dynamics
LPPV catfight (2): Ocelot or Supacat?
Minister admits scale of cuts in training exercises
Army training at the touch of a screen
BAe's Terrier unleashed
Python: the full monty - and the Taliban's gone for a burton
MoD to end secret research programmes
government's £1billion response to helicopter criticism
Warthog breaks cover
Ainsworth still defends use of Vectors
FIST: new hi-tech sights will help give quite a punch
LPPV: Ocelot v Supacat
Ridgbacks: no strangers to Gloucestershire
RAF's Eurofighter order slashed - Army's gain?
Assault without battery: the self-powered soldier
Australian robot competition
Equipment for pre-deployment training: should be there by 2010
New armour on show at Defence Vehicle Dynamics
New Osprey Assault body armour and Mark 7 helmet
Robo Snake
Swiss Army Knife: the fourth generation
Ofsted inspection: no problem for UK military training
UK/US military are talking to each other- MultiNational Experiment 3.0
Now there's a shortage of helicopter pilots
XM25: Now that's smart
Mastiff spares war: British Army loses out to US
Camp Barry Buddon scrapped: Army training to be privatised?
Blackhawk!: ITS just what the doctor ordered
Vulnerable Vectors withdrawn from operations
Panthers stalk the Taliban
European military integration? No tanks.
Paratroopers grounded
New thermal imaging lets snipers see in the dark
Stanford Training Area: MoD builds Darwishan in England's green and pleasant land
FRES "Fiasco"
Future Lynx renamed "Wildcat"
MoD orders 200 of Supacat's super dogs
Armoured vehicles in service with the British Army
You're hired! MoD takes on 170 apprentices
Chris Gray inquest raises concerns over body armour
Defence Training Review for the chop?
Starstreak II: missile defence for the next decade
T-Hawk: the latest addition to a soldier's backpack
Double praise for British kit
New Apaches used for spare parts
Helicopters to get improved protection (HOFIN)
Armoured Train
Off-road racing - Army style (CVR - Light Dragoons)
Concrete cloth for that added protection
MoD develops ultra-hard, supa-cheap armour (Super Bainite)
RMP to get Caspian 3D training package
Major threat to the Defence Training Review (Trillium, St Athan Academy)
Ripsaw: 60MPH with a gun and no driver
Warthog: pig of a deal for BAE (STK Bronco)
New Arrowheads for Apaches 
Viking fleet to be strengthened
Watchkeeper's maiden flight (UAV, ISTAR)
Armani for the Army (PECOC kit)
MoD's £6billion helicopter programme
Virtual Battlespace - serious gaming/serious use (JCOVE)
Apache shortage restricts operations
Hearing aid will save lives (EARS)
Dogs of war unleashed (Mastiffs, Wolfhounds, Huskys and Coyotes)

New helicopters delayed?

Quad ATV: the Afghan workhorse
I-Balling the enemy (Dreampact's I-Ball)
Boffins queue for Innovation Day in Glasgow 
The Wii to go (Project Valour)
A whiff of grapeshot (Vitual Smells)  
JCBs ordered by Army (HMEE) 
New Model Army (kit)   
The Nov 5th solution to troop transport (rocket transport)     
Future doubtful for FRES    
Chronic under-investment' leads SAS commander to resign    
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