Fire Hazard: Norwegian Shipping Company First to Ban Electric Cars on Ferries

The Norwegian shipping company, Havila Kystruten, has banned electric, hybrid, and hydrogen cars from its ferries. After a risk analysis, it was concluded that the risk to the safety of the shipping fleet was too significant. If a vehicle catches fire, the fire can no longer be extinguished.

The risks for ships from the transport of Electric cars (EV) have been discussed since the “Felicity Ace” sank off the Azores, Portugal, last February. E-vehicles on board had caught fire. The fire could not be extinguished. Finally, the colossal ship sank with thousands of electric cars, including Porsche and Bentley “green” vehicles.

Capt. Rahul Khanna, global head of marine consulting at Allianz (AGCS), a marine insurance specialist, explains that the problem with EVs is that lithium-ion batteries in the cars can actually propagate the fire, igniting more vigorously as compared to conventional cars. A single-vehicle fire could prove catastrophic.

E-cars are a danger for ship passengers

According to a report by the TradeWinds shipping news service, Havila’s Chief executive Bent Martini said the risk analysis showed that the fire in an electric car required a particularly complex rescue operation. The crew on board could not afford this. Passengers would also be at risk. This is different for vehicles with combustion engines. A possible fire is usually easy to fight by the ship’s crew.

After the sinking of the “Felicity Ace,” Greenpeace also warned against e-cars on ships: “In general, electronic components and especially electric vehicles pose a risk for every transport.”


Torture-Resistance course weakens Army.

By Damien de Pyle

The current Federal court case around the Conduct After Capture (CAC) course is just the latest in a long line of complaints about how the Army is shooting itself in the foot by hurting its own capabilities.

The course is meant to train soldiers to resist interrogation and exploitation techniques that may be used by an enemy force in the unlikely scenario that an Australian soldier is captured. Yet, soldiers who have spoken out about the course have consistently said that the way this course is being run is making things worse rather than better.

SAS hero Stuart Bonner who went through the training said that he thought, ‘There may be serious health ramifications from some of the techniques they used against us.’

Other SAS soldiers like Evan Donaldson claim that the course sexually assaulted him leaving him with PTSD and blood running down his leg for the rest of the course.

The sexual perversions happening on this course go well beyond sexual assaults with Craig Dunlop from the Herald Sun reporting that the course uses sex toys, homosexual porn, dog collars, and forced participants to desecrate Bibles with some of these items.

Why are these sexual acts being committed without any evidence that foreign governments or terrorist organisations even use these techniques themselves?

It’s no wonder that the Royal Commission into Defence and Veteran Suicide has found that participants in this course are 38 times more likely to commit suicide than the general population and 15 times more likely than the veteran population. The course is leaving soldiers with PTSD and other mental health injuries which lead to expensive replacements.

Figures from 2004 found that one SAS soldier costs the taxpayer $2 million in training and irreplaceable experience. Obviously, those numbers will be higher 19 years later, and a course which leaves soldiers harming themselves and being medically discharged will be costing the taxpayer potentially hundreds of millions of dollars in retraining, medical costs, invalid pensions, and DVA claims. This an expense that can be easily avoided by changing how the course is run.

The Royal Commission also found there had been no studies into how effective the course was at training soldiers for resisting interrogation and exploitation techniques.

Common sense tells us that it’s pretty difficult to learn anything when you’ve been sleep deprived for three days and suffering from symptoms akin to acute psychosis. It’s also not too difficult to think that torturing, sexually assaulting, and forcing soldiers into sexually perverted scenarios might actually help enemy forces to turn our soldiers against the country that did this to them.

A simple question we can ask ourselves is, ‘Does this training give the enemy more to work with, or less when interrogating our soldiers?’

Trauma is definitely a weak point that can be exploited by an enemy force, so why is our Army purposefully trying to traumatise its own soldiers?

I have heard many people argue that we need to have a tough Army, and doing these things will toughen up these soldiers. I certainly agree with these people that we need to have a tough Army, especially when you see all of the political correctness that has been forced onto the Army with this growing left-wing agenda.

However, the main weaknesses in the Army are cultural weaknesses that target the warrior spirit in soldiers, and remove the collective identities that have formed a huge part of the Army’s history. We can see this with the removal of ‘death symbols’ from platoon and company logos which in some cases have a rich history stemming from the Vietnam War or even earlier. This directive even got rid of Spartan symbology because it promotes ‘extreme militarism’ which was just a baffling decision.

Soldiers look up to these historic warriors because of their great virtues which should also be encouraged in our Army. Yet, even among these great warriors, the idea of purposefully injuring your own soldiers to toughen them up is non-existent. Hardship is what built the strong warriors of old, not injury. The Army does contain hardship, and this is important for the development of strong and resilient soldiers. We should always seek to encourage this hardship.

Trauma is not produced from hardship, it’s produced from injury. The Conduct After Capture course does have elements of hardship, which is good and should be maintained in a future version of this course. The problem is that many of the techniques on this course create injuries, not hardship. Forcing soldiers to do sexually perverted acts is not hardship, it’s moral injury. Sexually assaulting soldiers is not hardship, it’s sexual injury. Even torture is a traumatic hardship that purposefully causes injury.

A course that purposefully produces injuries is a course that needs to change. We would be appalled if we heard that the Army had a course that just shot soldiers in the shoulder to toughen them up, because we know that purposefully causing an injury is just plain stupid. Likewise, this torture-resistance course has been criticised by elite soldiers for over a decade for purposefully causing injuries.

This is the basis for the ReformCAC campaign which seeks to make changes to this course to stop the injuries that are happening to Australian soldiers. We want a course that produces resilient soldiers prepared for the rigours of captivity, not soldiers with mental injuries which end up costing the taxpayer hundreds of millions of dollars. Our goal is to reform the course to support Defence’s capabilities, while also keeping our soldiers strong to fight the next day.

We also want the government to provide greater support for soldiers who have gone through this training and have become injured as a result. This includes DVA accepting all mental health claims from the course participants. It also includes the federal Parliament making an official apology so that these veterans can have closure over a significantly traumatic part of their service to our country.

I’m happy that many veterans have already indicated support for our campaign. I want to call on politicians and the public to now do the same, because for the sake of our country’s Army, we need to change this course.



School of Infantry marks 50th year.

With bayonets fixed, drums beating and band playing, the School of Infantry marked its 50th year in Singleton with a freedom-of-entry parade on March 17.

Photo: Army officers and soldiers from the School of Infantry conduct their freedom-of-entry parade through the streets of Singleton, NSW. Story and photo by Sergeant Matthew Bickerton.

Singleton’s population turned out in droves to witness and cheer on more than 300 soldiers as they paraded through the town centre.

On the way, local Indigenous elder Uncle Warren conducted a smoking ceremony, which the soldiers passed through, cleansing them and warding off evil spirits.

School of Infantry Commanding Officer Lieutenant Colonel Richard Thapthimthong led the parade before being stopped by the senior district police officer and two police on horseback.

Photo: Mayor of Singleton Councillor Sue Moore hands the Commanding Officer of the School of Infantry Lieutenant Colonel Richard Thapthimthong the Freedom of Entry scroll in Singleton, New South Wales. Photo by Sergeant Matthew Bickerton.

The first freedom of entry in Singleton was held in 1966, seven years before the School of Infantry was moved there. This year’s parade was the sixth to be held since then.

Tens of thousands of infantry soldiers have leopard-crawled, pack-marched, defended and assaulted through the school’s training in its 50-year history.

Lieutenant Colonel Thapthimthong said the school was the hub of the infantry wheel, with every soldier and officer having called Singleton home at some time during their basic training.

“Over the past 50 years, Australia has seen a multitude of conflicts, domestic operations and international deployments,” Lieutenant Colonel Thapthimthong said.

“Every one of them involved infantry soldiers, and every one of those soldiers got their baseline training here at Singleton.

“The job has not changed. So, in 2023, we continue to prepare soldiers and officers in world-class infantry skills.”


RAAF and RAN benefit from joint Exercise Tasman Shield.

Photo: A Royal Australian Air Force F-35A Lightning II aircraft conducts a flypast over HMAS Sydney during Exercise Tasman Shield. Photo by Able Seaman Joshua Bishenden.

By Mike Hughes

The two services conducted simulated air-maritime integrated missions as part of Exercise Tasman Shield, from March 17 to April 3.

Aircraft from RAAF Bases Edinburgh, Amberley and Williamtown worked closely with the Royal Australian Navy’s HMA Ships Hobart and Sydney to enhance and promote interoperability.

RAAF’s contribution included the F-35A Lightning II, F/A-18F Super Hornet, EA-18G Growler, E-7A Wedgetail, P-8A Poseidon, KC-30A Multi-Role Tanker Transport, Hawk 127 Lead-in Fighter and No. 3 Control and Reporting Unit.

Air Commodore Peter Robinson, Commander Air Combat Group and Officer Conducting the Exercise said Tasman Shield was an important opportunity for RAAF and Navy to enhance their joint effectiveness.

“Exercise Tasman Shield 23 provided both complex and realistic scenarios in order to challenge and develop an understanding of air-maritime integration,” Air Commodore Robinson said.

“The involvement of the Royal Australian Navy’s HMA Ships Hobart and Sydney was critical for developing and validating air-maritime integrated tactics, techniques and procedures.

“The complexity of the flying was an excellent opportunity for our people to further develop their skills in providing air power as part of the joint force – critical to our air-force mission.”

Commodore Flotillas Commodore Paul O’Grady said the exercise was a valuable opportunity to practise and refine Navy-Air Force integration.

“Our ability to work together as a joint force, both in the air and on the waves, is critical to our ability to fight and win at sea,” Commodore O’Grady said.

“HMA Ships Sydney and Hobart delivered significant air-warfare capabilities to the exercise, including forward deployed command and control effects for airborne assets.

“Tasman Shield has progressed our ability to provide a counter-air capability at sea, as well as expanding our understanding of how to best use our integrated navy and air-force assets to jointly control the battlespace.”



From Korea to Afghanistan.

Special Forces Legend Billy Waugh’s Amazing Career Spanned Five Decades

Photo: Billy Waugh, the U.S. Army Green Berets legend who also served as a CIA operative, passed away on April 4, 2023, at the age of 93. (U.S. Army photos via 1st Special Forces Command’s Twitter feed) | By Drew F. Lawrence

To say William “Billy” Waugh was a legend in the Special Forces community is more than an understatement. He was very nearly mythological.

The unparalleled godfather of the Green Berets, and CIA septuagenarian at the spearhead of early operations in Afghanistan, passed away Tuesday. He was 93.

Waugh was on any short list of famed operators who deployed to the Korean, Vietnam and Afghanistan wars, serving in dozens of countries in his more than 50-year career with Special Forces and the Central Intelligence Agency.

In Vietnam, he was almost fatally wounded, later receiving a Silver Star. Despite the wounds, he returned to the war after recovering at Walter Reed. In the ’70s, he was the first soldier to conduct a high-altitude, low-opening jump — known as a HALO jump, now a staple in the special operations repertoire.

When he finished his military career at the rank of sergeant major, Waugh had earned the Silver Star, four Bronze Stars, eight Purple Hearts, more than a dozen Army Air Medals, and a bevvy of other awards, according to 1st Special Forces Command, which announced his passing this week.

“From Korea to Afghanistan and every conflict in between, I have fought whomever my country ordered me to fight,” Waugh wrote in his autobiography, “Hunting the Jackal.” “For 50 years in 64 countries, I have sought and destroyed my country’s enemies — whether they be called communists or terrorists — wherever they hide.”

While Waugh is known for his daring feats and fabled accolades, he was also a lifelong supporter of the military communities that formed him. In turn, he formed them under the shadow of his likeness, never losing his Texas heart, keen wit and indomitable spirit.

Getting a Taste of Combat

At the end of World War II, Waugh, who was born in Texas, ran off to join the Marines at the age of 15, hitchhiking 650 miles across the New Mexico desert. He made it as far as Las Cruces before getting picked up by police for failing to have any identification or “any f—ing money,” as he would later recount in an interview with RECOILtv.

“So, I hitchhiked across New Mexico and got dumped out in the desert and it began there,” he said. Momentarily hampered, Waugh returned to his hometown of Bastrop, Texas, for a belt-whipping from his mother and eventually a high school diploma.

In August 1948, six months after he turned 18, Waugh joined the Army as a paratrooper, going on to jump out of “a heck of a lot of aircraft.”

“I didn’t like the Army at all until I got a taste of combat in Korea,” he wrote. Waugh rose through the ranks quickly during the Korean War. A spirited and determined man had finally found his place in life — and it was on the battlefield.

“For the first time in my life, I felt completely at home,” he wrote.

In 1952, Waugh attempted to complete Officer Candidate School, but the operator powers that be knew he was needed in the enlisted corps. After contracting malaria in the final weeks of the course, he was placed in the hospital and told he had to revert back to an earlier week.

Instead, he kept his rank of sergeant first class and was assigned as a platoon sergeant in Germany. It was there that he began to hear whispers of the Special Forces — the Green Berets, the infamous and deadly snake-eaters, who came into existence as an organization in the early 1950s.

“I began politicking for a transfer to SF, and I made a trip to Bad Tolz, [Germany] to see for myself,” he wrote. “Once I learned what these fine men — the fittest and most committed group I had ever seen — were to become, I knew it was the only place for me.”

‘Perforated with Gunshot Wounds’

On June 18, 1965, Waugh was nearly dead in a rice paddy. He was the team sergeant for A Team, 5th Special Forces Group, and had been in and out of Vietnam for the last four years.

He and three other Green Berets, including then-Capt. Paris Davis, who just last month was awarded the Medal of Honor for his actions that June, was leading a company of inexperienced South Vietnamese soldiers on a raid near the east coast of the country along the South China Sea.

There, after midnight, Waugh, A Team and 86 Vietnamese “mercenaries,” as he called them, killed upward of 100 enemies in a stronghold. His actions there earned him the Silver Star.

But after the raid, the South Vietnamese became unorganized, and soon hundreds of enemy fighters counterattacked and pinned the group to a knoll overlooking rice paddies where Waugh was lying near death.

Waugh had taken Vietnamese bullets to his ankle, knees and forehead, wounds that would contribute to his eight Purple Hearts. He was not afraid to die, per se, but rather worried he might never do the thing he loved again.

“I drifted in and out of consciousness, my body perforated with gunshot wounds, leeches feasting on every open wound, with one thought jabbing at my semilucid brain,” he wrote. “Damn, my military career is finished. I’ll never see combat again.”

That, of course, never came to pass — the operator powers that be again had other plans for Waugh when Davis pulled his near-lifeless body out of the faeces-laden paddy and put him on a helicopter.

Davis did not leave a single member of his team behind that day and would go on to earn the Medal of Honor in March after decades of supporters fighting for its upgrade from a Silver Star.

When Davis was home in 1969, explaining to the public the perils he and his team faced that day, Waugh was recovered and back in Vietnam with the highly classified Military Assistance Command-Vietnam Studies and Observations Group, or MACV-SOG, where he trained Vietnamese fighters in unconventional warfare.

It was with this team that Waugh conducted the first HALO jump into communist North Vietnamese Army-occupied territory as a sergeant major, according to his book and 1st Special Forces Command, one that was done without any of the high-tech night vision devices or altimeters seen in Special Forces today.

“I am saddened to learn of the passing of Billy Waugh, a friend and a great American soldier,” Davis told on Wednesday.

“Billy served our country with distinction, honour and dedication to serving selflessly on behalf of all American citizens,” he said. “I remember him as one of the best soldiers I have ever served with in combat. May God bless him and keep him forever.”

Davis signed the message as “an admirer and teammate.”

At Home in the War on Terror

Waugh retired in 1972 and returned to Texas for a brief stint with the U.S. Postal Service. “After nearly twenty years in SF, much of it in combat, sorting mail doesn’t scratch the same itch,” he wrote. “Not even close.”

Five years later, Waugh wrote he received a mysterious phone call from an old Special Forces friend. “Billy, are you ready to travel?” the voice asked over the receiver.

And travel Billy did. For the next three decades, he worked as a CIA operative in dozens of countries, starting first in Libya spying on the Soviet-aligned government. There, he honed his skill with a 35mm camera, a craft that would serve him well in his career with the agency.

Between the ’70s and ’80s, Waugh took on more heavy-duty assignments with the CIA, anywhere from the Marshall Islands to Sudan.

In 2001, when most retired soldiers and spooks would be enjoying their golden years, Waugh was celebrating his 72nd birthday in Afghanistan. He was still with the CIA, this time hunting Osama bin Laden in the caves and high plains of Tora Bora.

He was a rare feature of war, a man who stood at the forefront of America’s two most infamous insurgent conflicts — a fact and position that was certainly not lost on him.

“Two weeks earlier, when the United States Air Force C-17 Globemaster III headed for Afghanistan lifted off with me aboard, our country was officially embarking on its War on Terror,” he wrote. “I, however, had been at war against terror for quite some time. To me, Operation Enduring Freedom was a natural extension of the work I’d been conducting for close to fifty years.”

But Waugh was also a fixture in the Special Forces community up until his death this week. Current and former Special Forces members took to social media to share their stories of meeting Billy Waugh.

1st Special Forces Command wrote on social media: “Our condolences go out to Billy’s family, friends, and loved ones. He will be missed. We will always honour and remember him.”

The Army’s John F. Kennedy Special Warfare Center and School said, “He was a pioneer and an American hero who will be missed by many.”

Joseph Teti, a co-star of the Discovery Channel’s show “Dual Survival” and a former operator, including nearly a decade of service with the Green Berets, said he met Waugh twice while they were both in the CIA.

“I actually saw Billy one time prior,” Teti told on Thursday, recounting one of his first years at the agency. “I knew who he was and I was — quite frankly — just too intimidated to even go up to the guy.”

Teti would meet Waugh again, this time in early-2000s Afghanistan at a hotel bar. Waugh invited him to have a drink.

“He was just cordial, very nice,” Teti said. “When he talks, you just shut up and listen; he was one of those guys that were just such a wealth of knowledge.”

Another MACV-SOG alumnus, Jesse Campbell, was with Waugh at the time. Teti told them he admired a picture of them that was hanging on the wall of the bar. It was from their Vietnam days. Waugh asked the bartender to take it down, and he and Campbell both signed it.

The top of the image read, “Joe, kill all the bad guys.”

“He handed it to me. You could have knocked me over with a feather duster. … He didn’t know me from a can of paint,” Teti said, adding that talking to Waugh “was almost like you were talking to a family member.”

Teti rattled his accolades, a condition that many in the community have when it comes to the legend of Billy Waugh. Teti said that Waugh was as “tough as woodpecker lips” and harder than “Superman’s kneecaps” to do what he did for as long as he did it for.

“It’s staggering,” he said. “It’s a testament to how good of an operator he was — to physically survive what he was doing in such austere and dangerous high-threat environments.”


Army readies for record-setting logistics exercise in Pacific

Photo: Australian Army soldiers serving with the 2nd Batallion, The Royal Australian Regiment, approach Langham Beach, Queensland, Australia, July 16, during Exercise Talisman Saber 2019. (Sgt. 1st Class Whitney C. Houston/U.S. Army)

By Jen Judson

The U.S. Army is preparing to put its logistics tail to the test in the Indo-Pacific, considered the most challenging operational theatre in the world by service officials.

This summer, the service will hold a large-scale exercise in Australia dubbed Talisman Sabre. As part of the two-week training event that starts in late July, the Army will deliver massive amounts of equipment across challenging terrain and large distances, Brig. Gen. Jered Helwig, the Army’s 8th Theater Sustainment Command commander, told Defense News last week.

“The scale is an order of magnitude higher than anything that has ever been done before,” he said during an interview at the Association of the U.S. Army’s Global Force Symposium here. “It’s been a huge undertaking. Just for one example, Australia’s got very strict agricultural requirements, and we have quadrupled the amount of equipment that we’re bringing … one of the contested things is ensuring that we can [keep] the leopard snail from getting into Australia.”

That has meant months of cleaning equipment in Oahu, Hawaii, to prevent the tiny hitchhikers from waging the slowest of invasions, according to Helwig.

Logistics and sustainment are central to carving out a key role for the Army in the Pacific as the U.S. seeks to deter China and prepares to protect allies and partners.

Top military officials have said the region will require the Army to adapt its approach to logistics, and the service is standing up a team focused on enabling the deployment of troops and large amounts of equipment even in constantly contested environments.

But Helwig said the most valuable way to bolster logistics in a contested environment is to exercise it.

“We have to rehearse sustainment at scale and treat logistics as a warfighting function as we rehearse it as part of our campaigning,” he said.

Talisman Sabre, an exercise between Australia and the U.S. that occurs every other year, will prioritize the logistics tail with a smaller emphasis on other operations, he added. Joining the U.S. and Australian armies are South Korea, Indonesia and Japan.

Helwig’s command will set up its main post in Brisbane, Australia, which it has not done outside of Hawaii before, Helwig said. Additionally, the post will consist of a joint, coalition command. “We’ll have a beautiful mix of Australian, Army and joint forces contributions; it won’t look like our standard [Tactical Operations Center],” he added.

The I Corps’ Expeditionary Sustainment Command will be set up in Townsville on the northeast coast and the 25th Division Sustainment Brigade will be in Darwin. The distance between Brisbane and Darwin is roughly the same as the distance between Fort Stewart, Georgia, and Fort Carson, Colorado — about 1,617 miles.

The exercise will also include a joint logistics over-the-shore exercise where the Army will take 17 M1 Abrams tanks off of its Army Prepositioned Stock Afloat ship and onto watercraft as well as 400 pieces of rolling stock, which has never been exercised at this size in the theatre. The watercraft will land on an undeveloped beach and the tanks will roll off “Saving Private Ryan-style,” Helwig said.

US Army seeks new watercraft to beef up Indo-Pacific capability
The Army’s Maneuver Support Vessel (Light) was launched for the first time as the service looks to ramp up its watercraft capability in the Pacific.

By Jen Judson

The Army will construct its Trident Pier, a 1,200-foot pier that requires about 100 soldiers to assemble, to help off-load equipment.

Once on the beach in Australia, the 25th Infantry Division will drive the tanks and equipment 100 miles to Townsville.

During the exercise, the Army will also face interdiction of the common operating picture, Helwig said, to test the vulnerability of the logistics system.

Building up

Much of Talisman Sabre’s focus areas stem from lessons learned in a smaller annual exercise in the Philippines last year. The Army downloaded equipment from the APS Afloat, rehearsed configurations and drove a short distance and back, Helwig said.

Helwig said the service will increase the complexity of the annual exercise in the Philippines this year as well. While it took place over four locations last year, it now will include nine.

The Army is also building a Theater Distribution Center in the Philippines in the area where it downloaded equipment in last year’s exercise. The centre will serve as a hub for equipment and supplies there so it can be used for every exercise that takes place in the region.

The Army will also set up another distribution centre in Australia and will reconfigure the one it has already built in Japan, Helwig said.

While logistics will be front and centre at Talisman Sabre, the Army will also exercise logistics and sustainment all year through Operation Pathways, the U.S. Army Pacific Command’s series of annual exercises focused on building relationships with allies and partners.

“Sustainment really doesn’t get the full load against it in a single exercise,” Helwig said “It’s the combination, the weight, if you will, of multiple exercises that really gets us what we need to really see where the stressors are.”


Army forced to call on civilian firm to teach infantry combat skills

The Australian Army has been forced to call on civilian security and combat specialists to help teach its recruits. Here’s what it means.

By Charles Miranda

The Australian Army has been forced to hire a civilian security group to help teach its infantry combat shooting skills, overlooking its own elite Special Forces and military trainers.

For years the ADF has used units including the Special Air Service Regiment (SAS) and Commandos to develop innovative combat shooting skills to share with regular infantry troops in near-real training programs.

But it has now had to move to civilian-run programs with critical shortages in qualified staff to provide enhanced skills beyond basic training, causing some disquiet in the Special Operations Command (SOCOMD) ranks.

For its latest contract, the ADF has turned to Brisbane-headquartered Kinetic Fighting Pty Ltd (KEF Group) for a lucrative six-month $500,000 contract for specific “enhanced combat shooting” training for soldiers at the School of Infantry in Singleton, 200km north of Sydney.

The irony is ADF staff have to provide the basic outline for training to up to three KEF civilian trainers for them to conduct the course for troops.

The contract is believed to be the first of other outsourced deals for civilian forces currently being considered by Defence to bolster training ranks for other military skill sets for personnel including at RAAF Base Amberley, Brisbane’s Enoggera and Townsville.

Any agreed contracts would not include logistics such as transport, personnel administration or facilities all of which the ADF would provide.

Defence would not respond directly to questions about the civilian outsourcing including SOCOMD apparently having been overlooked, the cost and whether the contract was offered through tender as required for services over $10,000.


“The School of Infantry is planning to trial specialist industry partnerships for some aspects of training,” was all a Defence spokesman would say. “All Australian industry partnerships are delivered in accordance with the Commonwealth Procurement Rules.”

ADF sources said there was no doubt KEF was suitably qualified for the latest contract.

KEF founder was Paul Cale, a former Commando and Special Forces operator and team leader of Australia’s elite anti-terror Tactical Assault Group Tag-East (Commando) and Tag-West (SAS), who had created the courses the Infantry Corps are still teaching.

Many of his staff are ex-ADF and the group has had numerous previous contracts with the army, navy and the RAAF, training more than 1500 troops, as well as civilian police notably from Victoria Police, QLD Police and the South Australian Police Special Tasks and Rescue Operations.

KEF declined to comment citing contractual confidentiality.



Russia’s growing tank shortage.

The Russians Aren’t Just Running Out of Tanks—They’re Running Out of Tank Crews, too. And It’s Going to Get Worse.

By David Axe

Having lost at least 2,000 tanks in its 14-month wider war on Ukraine, and struggling to source the high-tech components its needs to build new tanks, Russia has been pulling out of long-term storage hundreds of 60-year-old T-62s and 70-year-old T-55s. Tanks that were obsolete decades ago.

A 41-ton T-62 with its 115-millimetre smoothbore gun, or a 40-ton T-55 with its 100-millimetre rifled gun, isn’t just easier for Russian industry to restore than a newer T-90 or T-72 is—after all, the T-62 or T-55 requires fewer ball bearings and electronic components. The older tank also is easier for its crew to operate.

That has training implications. “The crews prepare for them [the T-55s and T-62s] in a shorter timeframe,” Ukrainian commentator Oleksandr Kovalenko said.

The T-55 and T-62 are from a generation of Soviet tanks before the introduction of automatic gun loaders, sophisticated fire controls and crew layouts that allow a gunner and commander independently to search for targets.

The upside is that a four-person crew could learn to operate its old tank quickly after just a few weeks of training. The downside, of course, is that the crew still is riding in an obsolete tank. A T-55 or T-62 is easier to use because it’s old, crude tech.

The old, crude tech that might not last long in combat—and which might end up getting new tankers killed faster.

Still, the Russians seem to appreciate the old tanks’ less demanding training requirement. After all, many of those 2,000 tanks they’ve lost in Ukraine took their crews with them when they blew up. It’s possible thousands of experienced Russian tankers have died in the wider war; replacing them might be as difficult as replacing their tanks is.

Kovalenko noted Russia’s growing shortage of good tank crews when he tracked a batch of a dozen restored T-72s, T-80s and T-90s reaching a Russian army motorized unit near Svatove in eastern Ukraine. “The most interesting thing is that there are no crews in the unit who can operate these tanks,” Kovalenko said.

Assigning new crews to old tanks might seem like a solution to this problem. In reality, it’s a short-term expedient—and a self-defeating one, at that.

It’s possible to upgrade the optics in a T-55 or T-62 by swapping out the 70-year-old TSh 2-22 gunner’s sight for a 1PN96MT-02 analogue sight that, while not as sophisticated as the state-of-the-art Sosna-U digital sight is, at least is new and reliable. It also is possible to boost an older tank’s protection by bolting reactive armour blocks onto the hull and turret.

But there’s very little Russian industry can do to improve a T-55 or T-62’s main gun, internal layout or turret-hull integration. And all are problematic.

“The T-62’s most significant weakness is its slow rate of fire,” the U.S. Army explained in a 1979 bulletin. Where the crew of a Ukrainian T-64, Leopard 2 or M-1 can fire 10 or even 12 rounds a minute, a T-55 or T-62 crew might manage three or four rounds a minute.

The reasons are myriad. “The ammunition is inconveniently stored for rapid loading,” according to the U.S. Army bulletin. “Under certain conditions, the gun must be elevated before the loader can place a new round in the breech. The automatic ejection system requires six seconds to complete a cycle.”

While the T-55 and T-62 suffer other limitations—slow turret-traverse mechanisms, for instance—the lethargic rate of fire is one constraint that’s bound to get a lot of Russian tankers killed in direct clashes with the Ukrainians.

During the pivotal battle around Chernihiv in north-central Ukraine in the spring of 2022, the Ukrainian 1st Tank Brigade hid its T-64s in the forests around the city. When Russian tanks rolled past, the T-64 crews opened fire.

“Better crew training combined with short-ranged engagements where their armament was competitive, and the faster autoloader on the T-64, allowed Ukrainian tank crews to achieve significant damage against surprised Russian units,” analysts Mykhaylo Zabrodskyi, Jack Watling, Oleksandr Danylyuk and Nick Reynolds explained in a study for the Royal United Services Institute in London.

As T-55s and T-62s replace T-72s in Russian formations, the Ukrainians’ gunnery advantage only will grow.

But comparing an old Russian tank to a newer Ukrainian tank really is missing the point. The Kremlin’s tank-crew crisis is a reminder that, in warfare, people matter more than machines do. Rushing new tankers through a short training course in order to squeeze them into old T-55s and T-62s and speed those tanks to the front line might create an impression of Russian strength. But it won’t win battles.

Because those crews—tank commanders, or TCs, especially—will lack experience. “It is … important that deciders in crews and platoons (TCs and platoon leaders) have the necessary experience to allow them to react to rapidly changing future battlefields,” Billy Burnside noted in a 1979 study for the U.S. Army.

In ‘solving’ their tank shortage by equipping crews with obsolete tanks, the Russians might end up creating an even deeper tank shortage—by getting a bunch of four-man T-55 and T-62 crews killed in lopsided fights with better-equipped, better-trained Ukrainian forces.