Following Malvern based defence specialist, 3SDL’s, successful completion of a short notice requirement for ISTAR support to British Army Foundation Training (FT) in Kenya during FY12/13, the MoD has now awarded a full one year contract for FY13/14.
From June 2013, 3SDL will provide comprehensive ISTAR support to BATUK in Kenya during the ASKARI THUNDER/STORM series of Exercises, as well as WESSEX STORM in the UK. 3SDL will provide the full range of live ISTAR emulation (from DH3, through H450 to MQ-9 Reaper and Close Air Support (CAS) aircraft) using the proven combination of MX15HDi sensor, DA42 Multi-Purpose Platforms (MPPs) provided by long term partner Diamond Executive Aviation (DEA), Joint Air Land Organisation (JALO) accredited CAS qualified crews, ROVER compatible datalinks with Remote Viewing Terminals (RVTs) and highly experienced Ground Liaison Officers.
As British Army operations in Afghanistan are preparing to draw down, British Army training for future Contingency Operations is ramping up, and the ideal location to conduct this Foundation Training is in the remote training areas and live ranges available to BATUK. One of the UK’s high-readiness Brigades, 16 Air Assault Brigade, is preparing to be sent to Kenya in the next year for Exercise ASKARI THUNDER where they will be fully supported by 3SDL. 16 Air Assault Brigade received similar ISTAR training from 3SDL in West Freugh as part of Exercise JOINT WARRIOR 13-1 last month under a similar contract, using identical equipment.
The provision of the latest ISTAR technology to the British Army in such remote parts of Kenya as Nanyuki and Archer’s Post was a major challenge. However, 3SDL and DEA have proven that the right equipment and people can overcome such challenges, and are now looking forward to providing live Full Motion Video (FMV), CAS emulation, ISR, Joint Battlespace Management (JBM), Air Land Integration (ALI) training to BATUK’s training audience for the next 12 months. 3SDL Ground Liaison Officers (GLOs) will be embedded in BATUK Exercise Control and the deployed Battlegroup/Brigade Headquarters as they exercise on the live ranges. They will ensure that the ISTAR needs of the target audience are met fully at all times, and that DA42 MPPs are deconflicted from the live firing at Archer’s Post Range!
The first of DEA's 3 DA42 MPPs, fitted with a 3SDL MX15HDi sensor, datalink and UHF comms package started the 9,000 nautical mile round trip to Nairobi on Sat 25th May and, after a brief stopover in Austria, is now well en-route. After the epic 5 day transit, it will operate from Wilson Airfield in Nairobi, where it can be tasked 24/7 during the exercises, normally flying a single 6 hour ISTAR mission every day or night. Each BATUK scenario will require a combination of ISTAR and CAS, with the crews occasionally coming out of scenario to provide further CAS serials when requested by the training audience. The profile can be altered at any time to provide a surge capacity, with multiple 3SDL/DEA crews ensuring that the ISTAR training needs are always met. Meanwhile, on the ground, the GLO will coordinate the on-task times and provide RVTs to BATUK Exercise Control, the Battlegroup/Brigade HQs and the troops out on the ground to show the live FMV picture. The FMV feed is also recorded by 3SDL and provided to the training audience for analysis and debriefing.
3SDL and DEA have proven that low-cost ISTAR emulation can be provided successfully at range with the right equipment, people and company ethos, and are looking forward to another year operating in Kenya in support of the British Army – ‘JAMBO KENYA!’
Date: May 29, 2013