C4IRSNET reports a new cooperative research agreement between the US, Canada, Denmark, Finland, Norway, Sweden and New Zealand.
“In November, the Pentagon signed a new memorandum of understanding for the International Cooperative Engagement Program for Polar Research effort. The ICE-PPR involves a group of seven nations that formalized efforts to cooperate on basic research projects and solve the “biggest challenges of safely operating in the extreme polar environment,” John Woods, deputy director of the International Engagement Office with the Office of Naval Research Global, told C4ISRNET.”
Coast Guard Cutter Kimball returns home from expeditionary patrol in the Pacific
Editors’ Note: Click on images to download a high-resolution version.
HONOLULU — The crew of the Coast Guard Cutter Kimball (WMSL 756) returned to Honolulu Friday after completing an expeditionary patrol supporting Operation Blue Pacific, Op Rai Balang, and Op Aloha Shield in the Pacific.
During the 82 day patrol the cutter’s crew worked closely with partners and allied nations on numerous missions ranging from search and rescue to the prevention of illegal, unreported, and unregulated fishing (IUU) while promoting stability and security throughout the region.
“I’m tremendously proud of my crew’s exceptional performance, especially considering how their dedication and teamwork allowed them to overcome the many challenges associated with operating by ourselves for long periods of time in remote locations and the difficulties created by the global pandemic,” said Capt. Holly Harrison, the Kimball’s commanding officer. “They adapted and overcame every obstacle and challenge put in their way with ease, exactly what you’d expect from our phenomenal Coast Guardsmen and women.”
One of the main goals of the 20,000 nautical-mile patrol was to assist the United States’ partners in the region with combating IUU.
Throughout the deployment the cutter’s crew worked closely with the Pacific Islands Forum Fisheries Agency (FFA) during Op Rai Balang, a coordinated effort between partners in the region to combat IUU, while also enforcing Western and Central Fisheries Commission regulations on the high seas to protect the region’s fish stocks.
Fish stocks are a vital renewable resource for many nations in the Pacific. Because of the migratory nature of fish, efforts towards their conservation requires teamwork between the partner nations.
The multi-million-dollar IUU fishing industry represents a direct threat to the partners efforts to ensure these resources remain sustainable for years to come and throughout the patrol the crew of the Kimball worked with the governments of the Solomon Islands, Federated States of Micronesia, and Papau New Guinea to strengthen domain awareness and resource security within the nation’s economic exclusive zones.
During the patrol the crew queried 21 foreign fishing vessels, and boarded six generating vital information reports for the partners in their efforts to combat IUU.
“The National Security Cutters bring a capacity and capability into the Coast Guard which are truly game changing when it comes to curbing IUU in the Pacific,” said Rear Adm. Matthew Sibley, commander, Coast Guard 14th District. “Patrols such as the Kimball’s display these cutters ability to cover large swaths of the Pacific and support our partners in joint conservation efforts while contributing to the overall stability of the region.”
The Kimball is one of the Coast Guard’s newer 420-foot Legend-class National Security Cutter and boasts a wide array of modern capabilities helping the crew to complete their varied missions.
Throughout the patrol the crew utilized the cutter’s ability to deploy Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) to collect observation reports on vessels of interest which were shared with Maritime Security Advisors and the FFA Regional Fisheries Surveillance Center.
The UAS was also utilized during both day and night searches for a missing mariner southwest of Guam displaying the versatility of the new technology and its potential in multiple types of missions.
Another key goal of the patrol was to increase interoperability between the Coast Guard and our partners in the region.
The Kimball’s crew participated in a number of exercises with partners in the region including training with a Royal Australian Navy Sea Dragon aircraft (Boeing P-8 Maritime Patrol Aircraft–Chuck) crew during the FFA Op Rai Balang, joint interdiction training with the Japan Coast Guard Ship Akitsushima, and an exercise with the USS Tulsa (LCS-16).
“Over the past 82-days, Kimball’s crew conducted joint operations with the Japanese Coast Guard, Royal Australian Navy, Pacific Islands Forum Fisheries Agency, and U.S. Navy.” said Harrison. “In each operation, we were thoroughly impressed with our partners’ professionalism, skill, and commitment to Oceania and regional security.”
MSN and Washington Examiner report on a new agreement between the US and Taiwanese Coast Guard. Despite the flashy headline the Coast Guard is not going to protect Taiwan from invasion by the PRC. It is really a lot more like the network of working arrangements we have with other countries, but China, of course, objected.
(With the help of Non-Governmental Organizations, we seem to be working toward an internationally shared system for tracking fishing activity and hopefully detecting Illegal, Unregulated, Unreported fishing that would benefit nations like Palau, one of the 15 nations that still recognize Taiwan.)
The Chinese have sought to isolate Taiwan in every way possible way so any kind of contact sets them off.
Meanwhile, China’s claim of sovereignty over most of the South China Sea has its routes in a claim made by the Nationalist Chinese government shortly after WWII, that Taiwan still supports. That puts them at odds with other nations including Japan.
The Coast Guard has long talked about the need for a Medium Altitude, Long Endurance (MALE) land based unmanned aircraft. I have assumed the most likely contender was the MQ-9B, but it looks like there may be another contender, an Optionally Manned aircraft developed by Burt Rutan‘s Scaled Composites. This is the Northrop Grumman Firebird.
“During the flight tests concluded in Florida, the Northrop team conducted a series of ‘manned maritime operational events’.
“These events comprised a four-sensor package that included two high-definition electro-optical/infra-red EO/IR sensors, a maritime configured multi-spectral sensor for small target detection, as well as an automatic identification system (AIS) receiver.”
I don’t think this maritime demonstration would have been for the Navy, since they are already committed to the jet powered MQ-4C Triton.
Apparently the Firebird is already in service with an unspecified Federal Agency. I would guess this is probably a DHS agency.
I was a bit surprised to see that the aircraft is powered by a typical general aviation aircraft engine, the Lycoming TO-540. That means it uses AvGas rather than the fuel typically used by Coast Guard turbine powered aircraft, but it also means that the fuel is available at virtually every airport and its maintenance is familiar to thousands of aircraft mechanics all over the world.
Below is a story from MyCG.Will the surface forces also get this upgrade?
Aviation upgrades night vision goggles
By Lt. Cmdr. Kyle Russell, MyCG Contributor
Coast Guard aviation is following the lead of the Department of Defense (DoD), and investing in more capable night vision goggles (NVG) for the fleet. These NVGs will increase the capabilities of our crews as they perform all night missions, especially the aviation use of force mission at HITRON, the rotary wing air intercept mission in Atlantic City, New Jersey, and shipboard deployments.
The AN/AVS-9 white phosphor night vision goggles (WP-NVG) are a recent upgrade to the current generation of the ANVIS-9 NVG platform Coast Guard aircrews currently use. WP-NVG improvements consist of an improved image intensifier tube and is fully interchangeable with the legacy image intensifier tubes in current USCG aviation NVGs. This new technology provides improved resolution and a substantially higher figure of merit (FOM) (line pairs per millimeter x signal-to noise ratio) than the current ANVIS-9 system.
The U.S. Army’s Aviation Research Lab (USAARL) and the U.S. Air Force Special Operations Command Flight Test Squadron conducted extensive testing on WP-NVGs based on demand from special operations aviation communities for improved night vision systems and the overwhelming justification stems from user surveys indicating increased resolution, comfort, and ability to identify objects.
Additional testing conducted by Coast Guard crews agreed with the DoD testers which ultimately led to the recapitalization of the fleet. The Aviation Logistics Center Engineering Services Division is currently managing the rollout efforts for the WP-NVGs and as of mid-March, 11 units have received new intensifier tubes, with a priority being given to rotary wing assets. The fleet transition is estimated to be complete in the fall of 2021.
“French Marine Nationale ships have achieved five seizures of illicit drugs in just six days, whilst participating in a counter-narcotics focused operation under the command of Combined Maritime Forces’ (CMF) Canadian-led Combined Task Force (CTF) 150.”
Drug interdiction in the 5th Fleet Area of Responsibility. PATFORSWA probably had something to do with this. Information about CTF 150 here.
The Asia Transparency Initiative looks at China’s recent changes to their laws regarding use of deadly force by their Coast Guard, comparing it to the US and other regional coast guards.
Really the issue is not the authorities themselves, but rather China’s views of what is theirs and what is illegal, which deviate sharply from those of the international community.
“Articles 20 and 21 are worrying not because they authorize unique powers for the CCG, but because they suggest a readiness to make use of those powers across all waters China claims within its jurisdiction. China makes a vast but purposely ambiguous claim to jurisdiction over almost the entire South and East China Seas. Based on those claims, Article 20 could easily be interpreted as authorizing the CCG to dismantle not only foreign outposts on the Spratlys, but even floating platforms and artificial islands in the reefs and open waters of its neighbors’ EEZs. And Article 21 could likewise authorize the CCG to expel Southeast Asian law enforcement, military, and other government vessels from their own EEZs. These authorities could be used to justify the use of force in the increasingly frequent standoffs between Chinese and Southeast Asian government vessels over oil and gas, fishing, and survey activity across the South China Sea.”
The analysis also suggests that use of force restrictions on the Philippine Coast Guard are unusually tight.
The Diplomatic Courier reports on incidence of apparent State support for illegal fishing activity. These actions which impact the sustainability of the fisheries resource, are reportedly perpetrated not only by China, but also by some of our friends.