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Archive for the ‘International’ Category

Royal Air Force JTACs Integrate with US Counterparts

Monday, August 14th, 2017

MOODY AIR FORCE BASE, Ga. – Members of England’s Royal Air Force recently spent time immersed with the 93rd Air Ground Operations Wing at Moody Air Force Base, Georgia.


An A-10C Thunderbolt II conducts a show of force maneuver during training, July 26, 2017, at Grand Bay Bombing and Gunnery Range, Ga. The range features a moving target system, which is on a 1,000 foot long track that is remotely controlled by the control tower and can move back and forth to assist in training. (U.S. Air Force photo/Andrea Jenkins)

The NATO allies visiting were Joint Terminal Attack Controllers tasked with building stronger ties with the 93rd AGOW in hopes of future integration opportunities.

“All the missions overseas aren’t integrating just the U.S. Armed Forces, but also our NATO forces,” said Master Sgt. Francisco Corona, the 93rd AGOW NCO in-charge of weapons and tactics. “So all the NATO forces are trying to train with us. I’d rather integrate in (training) where we can make mistakes and learn from them instead of making mistakes in a deployed location.”

Since 2001, U.S. and foreign JTACs have been in high demand as liaisons between Army ground commanders and Air Force assets.


U.S. Air Force and Royal Air Force joint terminal attack controllers communicate with 23rd Fighter Group A-10C Thunderbolt IIs during a close air support training exercise, July 26, 2017, in Lakeland, Ga. Two Royal Air Force members recently spent time with the 93rd Air Ground Operations Wing to compare and contrast how each entity conducts business and to plan future coalition training events. (U.S. Air Force photo/Airman 1st Class Daniel Snider)

“As air-to-ground experts, we advise, assist and control for the ground commander to meet his intent, whether its kinetic effects, like bombs on targets, or getting smarter at cyberspace,” said Corona.

Both groups of JTACs said they’re no stranger to operating in coalition settings while deployed.

“While I was a JTAC in Afghanistan, the vast majority of our aircraft were U.S. aircraft,” said Squadron Leader Neil Beeston, the officer commanding Air Land Integration Cell. “It was great working with the U.S. Armed Forces, especially with the A-10s; it’s a fantastic aircraft. The troops on the ground know that when you’ve got a pair of them above you, you’re in pretty safe hands.”

While the JTACs and U.S. aircraft are skilled professionals, sometimes communication barriers exists between countries. Beeston’s colleague stressed the importance of hashing out common issues.

“The whole worldwide JTAC community has the same struggles,” said Flight Sergeant Simon Ballard, the chief instructor from the ALIC. “Since we’re going to be working together, we need to practice together before we go do that in the real world.”

Not having the allied JTAC community in sync and on par with each other could potentially lead to less-than-optimal situations, which in turn risks lives.

“We don’t want to learn how to work together in a war area of operations,” said Corona. “We’re flexible though, whether it’s [English] JTACs or whatever joint force JTACs, we make things happen and we’ll make it work.”


MSgt Francisco Corona, the 93rd Air Ground Operations Wing NCO in charge of weapons and tactics, communicates with a fellow Joint Terminal Attack Controller during a close air support training exercise, July 26, 2017, in Lakeland, Ga. Two Royal Air Force members recently spent time immersing with the 93rd Air Ground Operations Wing to compare and contrast how each entity conducts business and plan future coalition training events. (U.S. Air Force photo/Airman 1st Class Daniel Snider)

After the gathering, troops returned to their leadership with proposals and plans to further integrate training scenarios, whether it be academic courses or mixing into each country’s exercises to further synchronization.

“The bonus for them is they’d be integrating with different Army divisions because the 93rd AGOW is spread over at least six Army divisions,” said Corona. “They’d get that opportunity, where there’s not many divisions they work with over in [England].”

While Corona is confident in U.S. JTACs, he said it’s all about continuing to get better, to maintain leading from the front.

“We’re figuring out how we go to the next level to continue to be the best JTACs in the world,” said Corona. “We’re going forward with a proficiency mindset, of ‘how do we get better,’ because at the end of the day, the better trained individuals are going to be the winners.”

By Airman 1st Class Daniel Snider, 23rd Wing Public Affairs

This Is Real

Saturday, August 5th, 2017

It is located outside of the Harlow Police Station in Essex. The photo wasn't taken by a concerned party, aghast by the shear existence of such a device, but rather was posted to Facebook by the Essex Police, who are quite proud.

Operational Use Of Russian K2 Exoskeleton

Wednesday, August 2nd, 2017

Over the past few weeks we've shown you the Mawashi UPRISE Tactical Exoskeleton as well as a model under development by the US Army, called the Warrior Web physical augmentation suit. Both are unpowered with the commercially developed Mawashi product much closer to operationalization. We suggested during our coverage of the Army program that our troops may well face foes equipped with unpowered Exoskeletons long before the Army version was ready for use. As we now have evidence of Russian Sappers using the K-2 unpowered Exoskeleton during mine clearing operations in Syria, the probably Of that prediction just went up.


Weight 2 kg, the K-2 will support up to 50 kg, and like the UPRISE, the load is transferred down the spine, into the lower extremities and to the ground through a plate in the footwear.

Here are some demonstration videos.

Mawashi – UPRISE Tactical Exoskeleton

Monday, July 24th, 2017

While the UPRISE™ Tactical Exoskeleton has popped up in various future soldier system program demonstrations, it was officially unveiled to the market at an offsite during SOFIC. I got a good look at it not long after, while attending CANSEC in Ottawa., Canada, in late May.

There are a whole slew of companies developing wearable robotics, or as they are more popularly known, exoskeletons. Mawashi says that Exoskeletons are a disruptive technology because they are impacting multiple industries simultaneously. Some of the systems have been created specifically for defense use. Of these, the vast majority are powered, which is crucial to the ability to lift heavy weights, such as a Power Loader taking the place of a forklift. However, that reliance on power can also be a weakness, for some applications. For example, no one wants to run out of power, midway through a mission. What makes Canadian firm Mawashi’s solution different is that it is human powered. Designed to reduce skeletal muscular injuries, UPRISE™ is an acronym for Ultralight Passive Ruggedized Integrated Soldier Exoskeleton.

Starting load carriage studies in 2005, Mawashi’s engineers investigated how the human body bears weight, in particular they looked at the severely overweight (300-700 lbs), especially Sumo wrestlers, who remain active despite their girth. Interestingly, the name Mawashi comes from the loincloth worn by the Sumo.

What Alain Bujold, President and Chief Technology Officer of Mawashi, and his team found, is that the body can bear an amazing amount of its own weight because of how it is distributed. They surmised that a load is a load; a pound, a pound, whether it’s fat or Mission Equipment.

UPRISE™ mimics the human form, with a flexible spine and sliding belt which combine to offer a great deal of freedom of movement. The exoskeleton is padded and fit is fine tuned via Boa dial at several locations on the legs.

The Harness also integrates with body armor as well as other loads such as packs. Additionally, they’ve demonstrated that gear normally worn on the War Belt, such as holsters, can be attached to the exoskeleton. No matter what is attached to the system, the entire weight of the exoskeleton is borne by a plate which is inserted like an insole into the wearer’s footwear. In fact, UPRISE™ transfers 50-80% of the wearer’s load right to the ground. Mawashi intends it for use on three to seven day missions.

Development continues. So far, the work has concentrated on the major load bearing structures of back and lower extremities, Mawashi plans to increase coverage. While UPRISE™ won’t make you run faster, and won’t give you super human strength, it will make you less fatigued, and it will help protect your lower joints.

They recently produced this video entitled, “WE ARE MAWASHI: The Rise of The Exoskeleton” which showcases the technology.


WE ARE MAWASHI: The Rise of the Exoskeleton from Mawashi Science & Technology on Vimeo.

www.mawashi.net

Fuerzas Comando Update

Sunday, July 23rd, 2017

Team USA and Colombia are tied for first place in the CT Competition. There are 3 events left (Team week PT event, Obstacle curse and the ruck march).

Thanks Brendan for the update!

Fuerzas Comando 2017 – Day 3 Standings

Thursday, July 20th, 2017

Fuerzas Comando is a skills competition between around 700 military and police Special Operations personnel from 20 countries in the Western Hemisphere. This year’s exercise is being hosted by Paraguay July 18-27.

CSOR Wears Aku Pilgrims

Friday, July 14th, 2017

I like Aku Pilgrim boots and apparently so does the Canadian Special Operations Regiment (CSOR). In this DND photo of their recent Change of Command parade at Garrison Petawawa, we see new commander Lt-Col Andrew Vivian, outgoing commander Lt-Col Steven Hunter, and officiating officer Maj Gen Mike Rouleau, commander of Canadian Special Operations Forces Command (CANSOFCOM).

ODIN Systems – Forward Patrol CQB Grip for the GPMG

Wednesday, July 12th, 2017

ODIN Ssystems has introduced this grip for the GPMG which they say allows you to engage targets from the patrol position out to 300m.

IMG_2871

It’s made from a “solid weapon grade alloy”, manufactured in the UK. Patent pending.

IMG_2870

www.odin-systems.co.uk