HNLMS Johan de Witt.
October 28, 2009 -- Fifteen maritime professionals from Ghana concluded three weeks of at-sea training with a graduation ceremony held on the flight deck of the Dutch Africa Partnership Station (APS) platform HNLMS Johan de Witt in Sekondi, Ghana.
The Ghanaian class is the first of three to graduate on this APS platform since the training commenced in Dakar, Senegal. Additional maritime professionals from Senegal and Sierra Leone will remain aboard Johan de Witt to receive additional training and are scheduled to graduate in early November.
"The training onboard has been very successful. The instructors were very helpful and my sailors and I have learned much," said Ghana Navy Chief Petty Officer 2nd Class Augustine Nathaniel Nai, a small boat engine repair graduate. "I will use what I have learned over the past three weeks to form classes in Ghana in order to teach my sailors and better our skills as a team."
Classroom interaction and hands-on skill building exercises made up the agenda for these maritime professionals. Topics covered included small boat maintenance, small boat operations, maritime law enforcement, computer software lessons and advanced first aid training.
"The exceptional performance of the Ghanaian naval students and their maritime partners from Senegal and Sierra Leone, in both classroom instruction and practical application, reflects greatly upon the students and the nations they represent. We are very proud of their accomplishments," said Captain Richard Wheatley, APS training officer. "It is another great stride for these individual countries in their overall objective for the region in improving maritime safety and security."
APS focuses on building cooperative partnerships with regional maritime services in order to achieve common international goals such as stability and security. APS brings an international team of maritime experts including elements from Belgium, the Netherlands, Portugal and the United States to offer assistance in addressing maritime safety and security challenges such as unlawful, unregulated and illegal fishing, piracy and illicit trafficking.
In addition to maritime safety and security engagements, the crew of Johan de Witt participated in a sporting event with the Ghana Navy soccer team and the Feyenoord Soccer Academy at the sports stadium in Tema and donated several items to the people of Ghana. The donated items included a fire truck, ambulance, wheel chairs, computers and clothing from various organizations and groups within the Netherlands.
The APS Johan de Witt deployment began in September and will run through November. Port visits will include stops in Cape Verde, Ghana, Liberia, Senegal and Sierra Leone.
Johan de Witt, a landing platform dock amphibious ship home ported in Den Helder, Netherlands, is the first non-US ship to execute an APS deployment. APS is an international effort aimed at improving maritime safety and security for the continent of Africa through training and other collaborative activities with African partner countries.
HNLMS Johan de Witt.
The Patriot launcher. (Photo: army-technology.com)
October 28, 2009 -- A Patriot missile battery has been deployed in recent days in the Central region by US forces taking part in the joint Juniper Cobra 10 exercise, which simulates missile fire on the Israeli home front.
Journalists were given access to the site overlooking a major city, and shown Israeli and American air defense crews who were working together to turn the missile battery into an active component of a multi-tiered air defense system.
"Since the Gulf War of 1991, not only have we made great strides, but our capabilities have also increased," said Col. Tony English, commander of the US 357th Army Air & Missile Defense Detachment, which is based in Germany.
English was answering a question about the ineffectiveness of the Patriot missiles deployed during the '91 war with Iraq.
He also commands a US garrison that is attached to the Forward-Based X-band Tactical radar in the Negev, which has a long-range missile detection system.
The missile battery deployed as part of Juniper Cobra contained Patriot Advanced Capability-2 (PAC-2) projectiles, which are designed to explode in the vicinity of an incoming missile. The US has also developed PAC-3 anti-ballistic missiles, which are programmed to intercept incoming projectiles by directly striking them.
"We are currently in the middle of the exercise," said Lt.-Col. Efi Shahak, commander of the Israel Air Force's 167 Center Air Defense unit. "The cooperation between us has been incredible."
Col. Shahar Shohat, commander of the 166 Center Air Defense unit, added that the US Patriot battery would be linked up to the IAF's chain of command during the exercise, and form part of an integrated multi-layered missile defense system capable of dealing with incoming missiles of various ranges.
The officers said the combined air defense program would offer the most advanced protection against ballistic missiles in the world.
THE JERUSALEM POST
Lockheed Martin’s Joint Air-To-Surface Standoff Missile Achieves Successful Reliability Flight Tests
October 26, 2009, Orlando, Florida -- The Lockheed Martin [NYSE: LMT] Joint Air-to-Surface Standoff Missile (JASSM) successfully completed Lot 7 Reliability Assessment Program flight tests with a record of 15 successes out of 16 flights, as officially scored by an independent test data scoring board.
The tests were conducted by the U.S. Air Force at White Sands Missile Range, NM, using B-52 and F-16 aircraft against a wide range of targets in various operational scenarios.
“It’s very satisfying to see the results of the Air Force/Lockheed Martin team’s intense and persevering efforts,” said Col. Stephen Demers, JASSM Program Manager and 308th Armament Systems Group Commander. “I couldn’t be more proud of our JASSM team or the impressive missile we’ve built for the Warfighter.”
“This successful flight test series verifies JASSM as a reliable weapon system, and underscores the Air Force’s and Lockheed Martin’s commitment to the program and to the aircrews who would use these missiles,” said Alan Jackson, JASSM program director at Lockheed Martin Missiles and Fire Control. “We are very confident in the missile and worked closely with our suppliers to drive quality into every phase of the missile’s manufacturing process. No other system provides the capability of JASSM.”
The tests pave the way for a signing of the Lot 8 production contract, allowing Lockheed Martin and the U.S. Air Force to provide JASSM’s critically important capabilities to Warfighters. JASSM was certified to Congress as essential to national security.
A 2,000-pound class weapon with a penetrator/blast fragmentation warhead, JASSM cruises autonomously in adverse weather, day or night, using a state-of-the-art infrared seeker in addition to the anti-jam GPS to find a specific aimpoint on the target. Its stealthy airframe makes it extremely difficult to defeat.