UK sets sights on interim strategic sealift capability

by Richard Scott

MV Hartland Point is one of four strategic sealift ships currently operated by Foreland Shipping under the terms of a 25-year private finance initiative (PFI) arrangement. (Crown Copyright/UK Ministry of Defence)

The UK Ministry of Defence (MoD) has begun to explore options for a future strategic sealift capability to begin operation in 2025.

A request for information (RFI) to inform programme and commercial strategies for a planned interim capability, lasting a minimum of five years and to an updated user requirement, was released on 20 October. This interim capability would succeed the MoD's existing sealift contract, which expires at the end of January 2024.

Strategic sealift provides the MoD with a capability to deploy cargo overseas from the United Kingdom in support of both standing commitments and contingent operations. The UK's current roll-on roll-off strategic maritime capacity, vested in the four Flensburger RoRo 2700 sealift ships MV Anvil Point , MV Hartland Point , MV Hurst Point, and MV Eddystone

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Babcock selected for Australian high-frequency communications programme

by Jon Grevatt & Naqi Wasif

Babcock has been selected by Australia to provide next-generation high-frequency communications capability. The project includes enabling land platforms (such as this Australian Army M777) to operate in a SATCOM-denied environment. (Commonwealth of Australia)

Babcock has been selected by Canberra as the preferred tenderer to upgrade and sustain the Australian Defence Force's (ADF's) Enhanced Defence High Frequency Communications System (EDHFCS), the company announced on 7 December.

Babcock said it plans to undertake the work through its local subsidiary, Babcock Australasia, in co-operation with Lockheed Martin. The anticipated contract, which is under negotiation between Babcock and the Australian government, will run for 10 years, with four two-year extension options.

The company said its response to the EDHFCS requirement will deliver an “upgraded system [that] provides effective long-range communications capability for Australia's land, sea, and air assets”. Babcock added that the pending deal builds on its provision of similar high-frequency (HF) communications solutions for defence customers in the United Kingdom and New Zealand.

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Colombian Army establishes new brigade to help with humanitarian assistance operations

by Alejandro Sanchez

The Colombian military created a new brigade on 26 November tasked with humanitarian assistance/disaster relief operations in the face of worsening extreme weather events due to climate change. The new brigade (Brigada de Atención y Prevención de Desastres del Ejército Nacional: BRIAD) is composed of two battalions, consisting of 950 troops, with army Colonel Juan Fernando Carmona Cardona appointed as the brigade's first commander.

A Colombian Army colonel currently in the active reserve recently told Janes that, while the military has traditionally assisted with humanitarian assistance and disaster relief operations, “climate change has prompted the creation of the BRIAD with specific capabilities.” Similarly, during the 26 November ceremony to stand up the brigade, Colombian President Ivan Duque noted that BRIAD can be deployed when there are “floods, droughts, earthquakes, [and] mudslides”, and assist citizens affected by the climate crisis.

BRIAD will work along with a civilian agency, the National Unit for Disaster Risk Management (Unidad Nacional para la Gestión del Riesgo de Desastres), to determine how to best assist Colombians hit by environmental disasters.

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IDF sets up intelligence ‘back office' for ground units

by Yaakov Lappin

The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) have recently set up a new centre tasked with analysing and allocating real-time intelligence for front-line units, an Israeli officer stated on 17 November.

Major A (full name withheld), deputy intelligence officer for the 36th Armored Division, said the new centre is based in central Israel and described it as a “back office for the whole manoeuvring effort”.

The centre was activated in November during an exercise by the 36th Armored Division that simulated combat against the Lebanese group Hizbullah and emphasised precise targeting and avoiding collateral damage, according to Maj A.

“This is about intelligence that flows in real time and how we deal with challenging dynamic situations,” he said. “There have been advancements in intelligence and now everyone can collect intelligence on everything. There is more than enough for everyone. The main thing now is what questions we ask, are we asking the right questions to get the right answers?”

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The UK Ministry of Defence (MoD) has begun to explore options for a future strategic sealift capabil...

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