US sending Ukraine new $1 billion arms package amid grinding Donbas fight

A Donetsk People’s Republic militia’s multiple rocket launcher fires from its position not far from Panteleimonivka, in territory under the government of the Donetsk People’s Republic, eastern Ukraine, Saturday, May 28, 2022. Day after day, Russia is pounding the Donbas region of Ukraine with relentless artillery and air raids, making slow but steady progress to seize the industrial heartland of its neighbour. With the conflict now in its fourth month, it’s a high-stakes campaign that could dictate the course of the entire war. (Alexei Alexandrov/AP)

By Joe Gould

WASHINGTON ― The U.S. will send Ukraine another $1 billion in weapons to fight Russia, including Harpoon anti-ship launchers for the first time, and more ammunition for high-tech, medium-range rocket launchers, the Biden administration announced Wednesday.

The U.S. aid will include two Harpoon launchers and an unspecified number of Guided Multiple Launch Rocket System, or GMLRS, rockets for previously committed M142 High Mobility Artillery Rocket Systems, or HIMARS, U.S. Defence Secretary Lloyd Austin announced in Brussels. Also included are 18 M777 howitzers, 36,000 rounds of 155mm ammunition and thousands of secure radios.

Amid calls from Washington and Kyiv for more and faster shipments of weapons for Ukrainian forces, Austin and Gen. Mark Milley, the chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff, acknowledged Russia’s military superiority and defended U.S. and allied efforts to even the odds. With Ukrainian forces facing a tough fight for Eastern Ukraine, the U.S. has been sending arms meant to take out positions from which Russian forces launch brutal artillery barrages.

“When you’re in the fight, you can never get enough, and you can never get it quick enough,” Austin said at a press conference with Milley. “But having said all that, we’re going to work hard to make sure we’re doing everything humanly possible ― we’re going to continue to move heaven and earth to get them the capability that they need.”

The new U.S. aid uses a combination of $350 million in presidential authority to draw equipment from U.S. military stocks and $650 million in the separate Ukraine Security Assistance Initiative. Defence officials say the Pentagon plans to use USAI to buy truck-mounted Harpoon launchers, which the U.S. doesn’t operate, but the missiles themselves would come from allies and partners. Denmark previously committed to providing Harpoons to Ukraine.

“The bravery, resilience, and determination of the Ukrainian people continues to inspire the world. And the United States, together with our allies and partners, will not waver in our commitment to the Ukrainian people as they fight for their freedom,” Biden said.

 

RAN vessels gear up for Indo-Pacific deployments

By: Defence Connect

Five ships are set to depart for regional presence deployments across the Indo-Pacific.

HMA ships Canberra, Waramunga, Supply, Sydney, and Perth are due to set sail for deployments in the Indo-Pacific over the next three weeks.

Lead LHD ship HMAS Canberra, Anzac Class frigate HMAS Waramunga, and auxiliary oiler replenishment (AOR) vessel HMAS Supply are expected to participate in Exercise Rim of the Pacific 2022 (RIMPAC 22), in and around the Hawaiian Islands.

Exercise RIMPAC 22 is scheduled to take place from 29 June to 4 August, involving approximately 25,000 personnel from 26 nations.

Two Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) P-8A Poseidon aircraft, mine warfare and clearance diving capabilities, and a joint landing force are also expected to take part.

Meanwhile Hobart Class destroyer HMAS Sydney and Anzac Class frigate HMAS Perth – also supported by HMAS Supply – will be tasked with working alongside regional partners during Exercises Pacific Vanguard and Pacific Dragon.

Commander Australian Fleet, Rear Admiral Mark Hammond noted the importance of deploying ADF assets in the region to bolster interoperability with partners and preserve stability.

“Working with our regional partners is critical for remaining an agile and ready force,” RADM Hammond said.

“We appreciate the opportunity to work with like-minded partners to test our interoperability and responsiveness.”

These latest deployments come amid HMAS Parramatta’s two-month engagement in the region.

HMAS Parramatta is conducting Navy-to-Navy activities alongside key international partners.

This followed HMAS Arunta’s deployment in the Indo-Pacific earlier this year.

The Japanese Maritime Self-Defence Force (JMSDF) also recently confirmed its participation in Indo-Pacific Deployment 2022 – scheduled to take place from 13 June to 28 October.

The exercise is designed to preserve a “free and open Indo-Pacific” while strengthening interoperability between regional partners.

This is expected to involve joint cooperation across a range of military exercises.

The JMSDF’s contribution includes:

  • Izumo Class Light aircraft carrier JS Izumo;
  • Takanami Class destroyer JS Takanami;
  • Murasame Class destroyer JS Kirisame;
  • Sōryū Class submarine;
  • Kawasaki P-1 patrol aircraft;
  • UP-3D Orion anti-submarine and maritime surveillance aircraft; and
  • Shinmaywa US-2 amphibious aircraft.

Japan’s contingent is expected to total just under 1,000 personnel.

Funeral details J.J.Sherington

VALE: 1459892 WO 2 J.J.SHERINGTON OAM RAAOC

Last unit served 104 Fd Wksp RPS.

Past President of the RAAOC Association (Qld Div)

Funeral service 2 PM Monday 20th June

Lakeview Chapel Albany Creek Memorial Gardens

400 Albany Creek Road Bridgeman Downs, Brisbane

Israel orders hundreds of new combat vehicles for special forces

By Seth J. Frantzman

The Israeli government has ordered hundreds of new Negeva combat vehicles for the military’s special forces. (Israel’s Defence Ministry)

Israel will purchase hundreds of combat vehicles from Israel Aerospace Industries for the country’s special forces in a deal worth more than 100 million new shekel (U.S. $28 million), the Defence Ministry said in a recent statement.

The Directorate of Production and Procurement is purchasing IAI’s Negeva vehicles, referred to by the company as Z-MAG and ZD. The vehicles will range in size, from 1.5 tons to 2.5 tons.

The manufacturing is being done in cooperation with Ido Cohen and The Armored Group, the ministry said in its announcement.

Yoav Tourgeman, IAI vice president and the CEO of its subsidiary Elta Systems, said the division producing these vehicles and other ground applications was established three years ago. He said the Negeva’s development follows the company’s successful work on Israel’s future armored fighting vehicle program, Carmel. IAI was selected by the Defence Ministry as the prime contractor for the program last year.

The head of IAI, Boaz Levy, said Carmel will “equip the IDF with the most advanced tactical ground vehicles in the world, which are highly reliable and have exceptional capabilities.” He added that “IAI’s wide range of capabilities in the fields of intelligence, AI [artificial intelligence], remote sensing and communications are integrated in these land vehicles and will provide significant added value to the operational capabilities in the field of combat mobility.”

“Soldiers are looking for the ability to drive in hard terrain with [a] reliable and simple-to-operate vehicle,” Tourgeman said in an interview. The IDF, he said, put the Negeva through “hard tests,” and the new vehicle didn’t lose its abilities.

“They remained operational [in the] conditions for [which they were] tested, the ability to cross land and water in a way that no other vehicle can do. And the ability to take a payload equal to the weight of the vehicle itself,” he said.

That means the 1.5-ton vehicle can take up to 1.5 tons of payload, and the 2.5- and 3.5-ton variations of the vehicle can take 2.5 and 3.5 tons in payload, respectively.

The IDF uses other vehicles, such as Humvees, and Israel’s Defense Ministry anticipates the IDF’s Nahal Brigade will soon receive its first eight-wheel drive Eitan armoured fighting vehicles. Israel is also acquiring new unmanned ground vehicles. The Negeva, which will go to IDF special forces, is not a replacement for the Humvee.

The Negeva can take on new technology, including autonomous capabilities, to serve different operational needs, Tourgeman said. The ministry noted in its statement that the vehicle can be used to deliver supplies and evacuate wounded people.

The deputy director general and head of the Directorate of Production and Procurement, Avi Dadon, called the Negeva purchase a “significant procurement deal for strengthening the IDF Special Units’ force build-up.”

“This agreement will enhance the export potential for these unique tools and technologies,” Dadon added.

 

Skin in the Game – 7RAR’s Deployment to Taji, Iraq

What are Australian forces doing in Iraq? This film addresses the question through oral history interviews conducted with 7RAR members before, during and after their deployment to Iraq during Operation Okra, in 2016. Individuals are seen to anticipate their deployment, give insight into their experience while ‘in country’, and offer reflections upon their return. Featured interviewees are: Michael and Linda Keefe; David McCammon; Christopher Gilmore, Simon Lancaster and Nathan Cooper. Footage and photos by Memorial curators Danielle Cassar, Stephanie Boyle, and Defence photographer, Jake Badior. Interviews conducted by Stephanie Boyle.