US NAVAL FIREPOWER

The U.S. Navy today is the strongest navy in the world. This is partly due to the fact that other nations simply can’t afford the colossal military spending required to field a navy that can compare. As a result, in addition to its record number of aircraft carriers, the U.S. Navy features equipment that one could only find in science fiction movies. Let’s take a closer look at what kind of armament the U.S. installs on its ships. In this video, you’ll learn what kind of missiles U.S. ships are armed with. We’ll tell you about the most modern forms of long-range weapons, such as universal ship installations, innovative railguns, and powerful lasers; weapons that may soon change the face of warfare dramatically!

CAN YOU HELP LOCATE THE NOK

Yesterday I was contacted by Blue Waldren ex-1RAR, he has been given a whole heap of important and valuable memorabilia that was discovered in the clean-up of an old home. Blue Waldren is trying to locate the family so he can return these items.

He is looking for the family of:

213673 Richard William (Snow) Wright

DOB: 9 April 1943 – Died: February 1991 – Aged: 47 Years

Snow served in C COY 1RAR -June 1965 – June 1966 and 3RAR -February 1971 – May 1971

He retired as WO2

If you know the whereabouts of his family please contact me at [email protected]

Ray

 

 

VALE: Colin Garson – RAA

Peter Gore has advised us of the death on 1 May 2022 of RAAA(Q) Life Subscriber and loyal supporter Colin (Col) Garson. He was a regular attendee at their lunches, only ceasing when he was no longer physically able to manage. Col had been in Residential Aged Care for some time and was admitted to Prince Charles Hospital (Chermside), where he died a short time later.

Col’s history included National Service in the 50s and 60s, with RAA postings to both 11 Fd Regt and 5 Fd Regt.  He was 89 years young.

Funeral details will be advised when available.

RIP Col Garson – a true gentleman.

Peter Bruce

Obituary Resource Officer

Ben Roberts-Smith defamation trial

SAS soldier tells Ben Roberts-Smith defamation trial Afghan killed in Darwan was an insurgent spotter

Ben Doherty
An SAS soldier has backed Ben Roberts-Smith’s version of an Afghan man’s death during an SAS mission in Darwan in 2012, telling the federal court that a man shot dead during the operation was an insurgent spotter who was a threat to Australian troops and legitimately killed.

Roberts-Smith and his former comrade, Person 11, are accused by three newspapers as part of their defence of Roberts-Smith’s defamation claim against them of a “joint criminal enterprise” in the murder of an Afghan farmer named Ali Jan, who the newspapers allege was handcuffed before being kicked off a cliff by Roberts-Smith and then shot dead by either or both of Roberts-Smith and Person 11.

Person 11, called as a witness by Roberts-Smith, gave extensive evidence to the court on the mission to Darwan on 11 September 2012. He said the man killed at the end of that mission was an insurgent spotter found hiding in a cornfield who the Australian soldiers discovered and “engaged” when they walked out of a dry creek bed into the cornfield.

“Shortly after coming out of the dry creek bed I identified an individual in amongst the corn,” Person 11 told the court. “My assessment was this individual was moving in a very suspicious manner.

Related: SAS soldiers told commander that Ben Roberts-Smith not ‘fit and proper person’ to receive Victoria Cross, defamation trial hears

“I saw this person carrying a radio, which led me to make the assessment that this was a spotter: this person would report on our dispositions and movements … I assessed this person posed a direct threat to the extraction of our forces so I engaged.”

Person 11’s version of events largely aligns with that of Roberts-Smith. But the two soldiers’ versions of events are not identical. Person 11 said the man shot in the cornfield was “15 metres away”.

Roberts-Smith, when he gave evidence last year, told the court, he climbed the embankment to confront the man, “facing him, he was two metres away”.

The alleged murder of Ali Jan is the most notorious allegation of a sprawling and complex defamation case, which has spent nearly a year before the federal court. The newspapers allege as part of their defence the murder was a “joint criminal enterprise” between Roberts-Smith and his subordinate, Person 11.

Roberts-Smith is suing the Age, the Sydney Morning Herald and the Canberra Times for defamation over a series of ­reports he alleges are defamatory and portray him as committing war crimes, including murder.

The newspapers are pleading a defence of truth. Roberts-Smith denies any wrongdoing.

Australian SAS patrols raided the village of Darwan, in Afghanistan’s southern Uruzgan province, on 11 September 2012, seeking a rogue Afghan soldier called Hekmatullah, who had killed three Australian soldiers three weeks earlier. Hekmatullah was not in Darwan.

At the end of the mission, the newspapers allege that a farmer called Ali Jan – visiting Darwan to buy flour – was taken into custody and handcuffed by the Australian soldiers.

After Ali Jan laughed while being interrogated, Roberts-Smith is alleged to have marched him outside to the edge of a small cliff where he forced Ali Jan to kneel and then “kicked him hard in the midriff, causing him to fall back over the cliff and land in the dry creek bed below”.

“The impact of the fall to the dry creek below was so significant that it knocked Ali Jan’s teeth out of his mouth,” the newspapers’ defence states.

Two Afghan witnesses and one Australian soldier have also given evidence they saw Roberts-Smith, or a “big soldier” matching his description, kick the man off the cliff. One Australian soldier, Person 4, told the court: “I saw the individual smash his face on a rock, and I saw the teeth explode out of his face.”

According to the newspapers’ defence, Ali Jan did not die in the fall, but was then dragged into a cornfield and shot dead. The newspapers allege: “After Ali Jan had fallen the full height of the cliff down to the dry creek bed he was moved by two soldiers … to the other side of the creek bed where there was vegetation. After he had been moved … Ali Jan was shot multiple times in the presence of [Roberts-Smith] and Person 11.”

It is alleged Ali Jan was shot by either or both of Roberts-Smith and Person 11 – “a joint criminal enterprise” according to the newspapers’ defence before court. The newspapers also allege that both soldiers knew his death was unlawful, and tried to cover it up by placing a radio on his body to establish a post-facto justification for killing him as a “spotter”.

Person 4 also told the court Roberts-Smith instructed him and Person 11 to drag the man across a dry creek bed towards the adjacent cropfields.

Person 4 said Roberts-Smith and Person 11 had a conversation before “a number of shots rang out”. He testified he saw Person 11 with his rifle raised in a firing position after he heard the shots.

Roberts-Smith has consistently denied this account, telling the court there were no “fighting aged males” found at the farthest compounds of the village.

Roberts-Smith said the Australian troops were moving towards a helicopter landing site to be extracted from the village when they encountered a spotter – a forward scout who reports soldiers’ movements back to insurgents – discovered hiding in a cornfield by Person 11, who immediately opened fire upon the insurgent.

Roberts-Smith said he climbed the embankment to assist Person 11 in the skirmish and also fired at the man, who was about two metres away.

Roberts-Smith told the court: “As I got there, he [Person 11] was engaging and I started to engage an individual that … was either going down or was down, and I fired three to five rounds …, from my recollection, into the individual as well and saw dust and strike on the ground around him, suggesting that either my bullets were hitting him or very close to him.

“Person 11 had identified that that person was a spotter and, on searching the individual, we found an ICOM radio.”

Person 11’s account in court Tuesday backed Roberts-Smith’s account, saying as he was firing at the insurgent “there was fire from another weapon coming from my rear right, that I later understood was coming from Mr Roberts-Smith”.

He told the court insurgent attacks were common at “insertion and extraction” from operations, and that moving towards extraction points was a period of “vulnerability” for troops.

Person 11 remains in the witness box, giving evidence-in-chief before Justice Anthony Besanko.


Putin claims the West was preparing to invade

Russian President Vladimir Putin says Russia’s intervention in Ukraine had been necessary because the West was “preparing for the invasion of our land, including Crimea”.

On Monday he evoked the memory of Soviet heroism in World War II to urge his army towards victory in Ukraine but he’s acknowledged the cost in Russian lives as he pledged to help the families of fallen soldiers.

Addressing massed ranks of service personnel on Red Square on the 77th anniversary of victory over Nazi Germany, Putin condemned what he called external threats to weaken and split Russia.

Putin repeated familiar arguments that he had used to justify Russia’s invasion – that NATO was creating threats right next to its borders.

He directly addressed soldiers fighting in the Donbas region of eastern Ukraine, which Russia has pledged to “liberate” from Kyiv’s control.

“You are fighting for the Motherland, for its future, so that no one forgets the lessons of World War II. So that there is no place in the world for executioners, punishers and Nazis,” he said.

His speech included a minute of silence. “The death of each one of our soldiers and officers is our shared grief and an irreparable loss for their friends and relatives,” said Putin, promising that the state would look after their children and families.

But his 11-minute speech, on day 75 of the invasion, was largely notable for what he did not say.

He did not mention Ukraine by name, gave no assessment of progress in the war and offered no indication of how long it might continue. There was no mention of the bloody battle for Mariupol, where Ukrainian defenders holed up in the ruins of the Azovstal steel works are still defying Russia’s assault.

Putin has repeatedly likened the war – which he casts as a battle against dangerous “Nazi”-inspired nationalists in Ukraine – to the challenge the Soviet Union faced when Adolf Hitler invaded in 1941.

Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelenskiy has said it is Russia that is staging a “bloody re-enactment of Nazism” in Ukraine.

Choppers on Order

Prime Minister Scott Morrison has detailed the government’s plans to deliver 12 additional MH-60R Romeo maritime helicopters and 29 AH-64E Apache Armed Reconnaissance helicopters, with deliveries expected from 2025.

The contract for the Romeos, which are scheduled to replace the Royal Australian Navy’s fleet of Taipans, is valued at over $2.5 billion, with an additional $360 million earmarked for base upgrades at HMAS Albatross for the fleet.

Along with the 12 MH-60R Romeos, also known as the Seahawk, it is expected that Defence will also acquire an additional unit to substitute the helicopter that was lost in 2021.

The Commonwealth has also confirmed that it has finalised plans to acquire 29 AH-64E Apaches, to replace the Australian Army’s fleet of Tigers, at a cost of over $5.5 billion.

Similar base upgrades are expected for the Australian Army, with $500 million earmarked for upgrades to house the fleet.

Deliveries of the units are scheduled from 2025.

The investment is vital for guaranteeing Australian safety amid rising global uncertainty, the Prime Minister explained.

“Our world and our region are changing but we’re investing a record $270 billion in the defence and security of Australia over the decade to 2030,” Prime Minister Scott Morrison said.

“Australia and our region is now in the midst of the most consequential and challenging strategic realignment since the Second World War.

“But these investments don’t just support the Australian Defence Force, they support local jobs and skills right here.

“A safe and secure Australia also means a strong economy and a stronger future for defence industry jobs.”

Minister for Defence Peter Dutton continued, noting that both systems were proven and will help Australia overcome threats.

“We’re expanding the size and capability of our helicopters to meet the threats Australia faces,” Minister Dutton said.

“We’re following the 2020 Force Structure Plan that outlined the need to expand our naval operations in particular and the Romeo fits that role as a next generation submarine hunter and anti-surface warfare helicopter, and can also assist with search and rescue and transport like they have during recent bushfires and floods.

“The Apache is a proven and reliable attack helicopter which is already in use by the United States Government and United Kingdom, and has improved sensors, communications and networking systems, attack capabilities and survivability.”

The Prime Minister’s plan comes nearly a year after the US State Department approved the sale of 29 Apaches to the Australian government alongside spare parts, training and operational equipment.

The deal consisted of 29 AH-64E Apache Helicopters with a number of spare parts for ongoing maintenance and sustainment of the aircraft. Additional sale items include 64 T700-GE 701D engines, of which six will be held as spare by the ADF, 29 pilot night vision sensors and radar frequency interferometers, 16 fire control radars, 70 GPS units, 35 missile warning systems and 85 Hellfire missiles. The US State Department has confirmed that there will be numerous other training aids and operational tools included in the deal.

According to the US Defense Security Cooperation Agency, the sale of the Apache to the Australian government will support strengthened interoperability between the US and Australia.

ANTONOV 124 CARRIES BUSHMASTERS TO UKRAINE

by Adam Thorn 

 

An M777 howitzer bound for Ukraine is loaded onto an Antonov AN-124 cargo aircraft at RAAF Base Amberley on 5 May. (Defence)

 

A giant Antonov 124 on Thursday departed RAAF Base Amberley carrying M777 howitzers and Bushmasters bound for Ukraine.

The iconic four-engine plane, one of the world’s heaviest, was created by Antonov Design Bureau in Ukraine itself and has a giant wingspan of 73 metres.

The particular aircraft used was the 100-150 variant, a reinforced version of the original that is capable of transporting a payload of up to 150,000 kilograms.

It follows the federal government announcing it would gift Ukraine 20 Bushmaster Protected Mobility Vehicles – including 14 with Protected Weapon Systems and two ambulance variants – alongside six M777 howitzers with ammunition.

The latest delivery means Australia has so far committed to contributing AU$225 million worth of military equipment to help the war effort in Eastern Europe.

Head of military strategic commitments, Air Vice-Marshal Robert Chipman, praised Australia’s commitment to helping President Volodymyr Zelensky and the government of Ukraine.

“Added to this, is the remarkable work of those at the International Donor Coordination Centre in Germany who have ensured assistance from Australia and other nations is being delivered quickly to the Ukrainian Armed Forces,” he said.

It comes after the government previously used a RAAF C-17A Globemaster to deliver aid to Ukraine.

The previous supply included both lethal and non-lethal military equipment, ranging from missiles and ammunition to medical supplies.

Australia’s vote of confidence in Antonov the airline, meanwhile, comes after a similar AN-225 cargo plane was “destroyed” in a Russian attack on an airfield near Kyiv in February.

Dubbed “Mriya”, which means “The Dream” in Ukrainian, the jet was reportedly under repair and routine maintenance at the Antonov Company site in Gostomel Airport when it was destroyed.

“The biggest plane in the world ‘Mriya’ (The Dream) was destroyed by Russian occupants on an airfield near Kyiv,” Ukraine said in a statement via its official Twitter account, confirming its intentions to repair the damaged iconic jet.

“We will rebuild the plane. We will fulfil our dream of a strong, free, and democratic Ukraine.”

The AN-225 travelled to Australia for the first time in May 2016, when it touched down in Perth, carrying a 135-tonne generator for a resources company.

Anticipating massive public interest in the massive aircraft, Perth Airport even put up a dedicated viewing area for the public to see the six-engine behemoth.

Antonov later released a statement, reading, “Currently, until the AN-225 has been inspected by experts, we cannot report on the technical condition of the aircraft.”

According to the director of the airline, “the engines was dismantled for repairs and the plane wasn’t able to take off that day, although the appropriate commands were given”, the Ukrainian Defence Ministry said in a statement on Sunday.

“Currently, it is impossible to assess the plane’s condition and the possibility and cost of its restoring due the lack of access to the aircraft as the control over the airport is taken by the Russian occupiers.”

The defence ministry said it will cost over US$3 billion to restore the aircraft, and the project will take over five years.