Indonesia, US conclude massive multinational military exercise with eye on China

by Ridzwan Rahmat

A US Army M119 105 mm howitzer being prepared for transportation by a UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter as an underslung load at exercise ‘Super Garuda Shield 2022'. (US Army)

The US and Indonesia have brought down the curtain on what has become Southeast Asia's largest multinational military exercise, part of which was held near disputed waters of the South China Sea.

The inaugural exercise, ‘Super Garuda Shield 2022', was hosted by the US Indo-Pacific Command (INDOPACOM) and the Indonesian National Armed Forces (TNI) at various locations across Indonesia from 1 to 14 August, including the Natuna Islands region.

Until 2022 ‘Garuda Shield' was an annual bilateral military exercise that has been conducted by the INDOPACOM and the TNI in Indonesia since 2007. The iteration for 2022 has been replaced with exercise Super Garuda Shield to reflect the enlarged scope and scale of the exercise, which involved more than 5,000 military personnel and various military assets from 13 countries including Australia, Canada, Japan, Singapore, and South Korea.

Citing memos from a government source, Janes


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US Navy begins converting former RAF E-3D into E-6B trainer

by Gareth Jennings

A former RAF E-3D being converted into a surrogate E-6B trainer for the US Navy at Lake Charles Airport in Louisiana. (NAVAIR)

The US Navy (USN) has begun conversion of a Boeing E-3D Sentry Airborne Early Warning and Control System (AEW&C) aircraft into a surrogate trainer for the service's E-6B Mercury long-endurance command, control, and communications (C3) fleet.

The Naval Air Systems Command (NAVAIR) announced the commencement of conversion work on 4 October, noting that the former UK Royal Air Force (RAF) E-3D will have a number of external features removed to better resemble the outer mould line of the E-6B.

“The process has begun to turn this E-3D into an E-6B in-flight trainer. The outer mould line will be modified to resemble an E-6, and the aerial refuelling probe and radar dome will be removed,” the command said.

Work is being performed at Lake Charles Airport in Louisiana (site of Northrop Grumman's Lake Charles Maintenance and Modification Center), where the aircraft has been stored since 2021. According to NAVAIR, once the maintenance and modification are complete, flight-testing is scheduled to start in early 2024.


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Carrier Ford departs on first official deployment

by Michael Fabey

Aircraft carrier USS Gerald R Ford departed Norfolk, Virginia, on 4 October for its first official deployment. (Janes/Michael Fabey)

The US aircraft carrier USS Gerald R Ford (CVN 78) departed Norfolk, Virginia, a bit after 1300 h local time on 4 October for its first official deployment.

The deployment was scheduled for 3 October, but had to be delayed because foul weather forced the halting and curtailment of port operations in Hampton Roads, US Navy (USN) officials said.

Ford will not be deployed as part of the USN's Global Force Management deployment like most of the other service ships in service. Instead, the carrier will be sent on a Retained Service deployment, Vice Admiral Daniel Dwyer, commander of United States 2nd Fleet and Joint Force Command, said on 26 September during a media briefing about USN plans for the carrier.

The ship's first Global Force Management deployment is slated to take place in 2023, Vice Adm Dwyer said.


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India's Light Combat Helicopter inducted into service

by Akhil Kadidal

Senior defence officials and officers inducted the HAL Light Combat Helicopter Prachanda into service on 3 October 2022. From left: Air Chief Marshal V R Chaudhari (chief of Air Staff), Air Marshal Vikram Singh (air officer commanding-in-chief of South Western Air Command), Defence Minister Rajnath Singh, and Chief of Defence Staff General Anil Chauhan. (Janes/Akhil Kadidal)

The Indian Air Force (IAF) has inducted the first production units of the Light Combat Helicopter (LCH) manufactured by Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) for the air force.

The attack helicopter was inducted into service with the official name of ‘Prachanda' by India's Defence Minister Rajnath Singh at Jodhpur Air Force Station on 3 October. The IAF said it has raised a new unit to operate the helicopters. This unit, known as No 143 Helicopter Unit (HU), was raised on 1 June 2022, according to the IAF.

The IAF added that the first LCH was handed over to the unit on 18 July 2022. The first LCH subsequently arrived at Jodhpur Air Force Station on 3 September.


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The US and Indonesia have brought down the curtain on what has become Southeast Asia's largest multi...

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