Arabian Gulf (July 22, 2004) – Capt. Anthony Kurta, Commander, Destroyer Squadron Two Four (COMDESRON 24), observes the boarding procedures demonstrated by the British Royal Marines aboard HMS Somerset (F 82).
U.S. Navy Photograph by PH2 (NAO/SW) Michael Sandberg
Fleet Combat Camera, Atlantic
British-trained members of the Iraqi Navy have conducted their first patrol of Iraqi territorial waters surrounding the Al Basrah Oil Terminal (ABOT) in their new Swift patrol boat.The Royal Navy has been training the Iraqi Navy in Umm Qasr as part of a coalition training team since 2004. Most recently they have been supporting the Iraqi Navy by delivering Swift patrol boat training and mentoring the future Iraqi Navy training staff.In advance of the first operational patrol the crew had to complete a final sea assessment conducted by a joint Iraqi and coalition team. They passed with flying colours and proceeded on patrol immediately.The importance of the patrol to the Iraqi Navy was emphasised by it occurring on Iraqi National Army Day – 7 January 2011.Lieutenant Abdul, the captain of patrol boat 301, said: “It was a significant day, especially since the patrol was part of the Iraqi National Army Day.”Captain Gary Sutton, Commanding Officer Iraqi Training and Advisory Mission – Navy [ITAM-N] (Umm Qasr), said: “Today the Iraqi Navy has made a huge step forward with the first Swiftships patrol of ABOT. I am proud of their accomplishment, but I would also like to acknowledge the achievements of the highly professional training and advisory coalition team in ITAM-N whose training of the Iraqi Navy made this possible.”This new class of modern patrol boat marks a significant step forward in the operational capability of the Iraqi Navy.Built by Swiftships in the USA, these high-speed, 35-metre vessels are armed with the 30mm British MSI gun and are ideal for their role of defending the vitally important Iraqi offshore oil infrastructure.The Iraqi Navy of 2,500 personnel, 11 patrol boats and 35 fast attack craft will be joined over the next 12 months by a further 14 Swift patrol boats.
In case you didn’t catch this on our Facebook page, here’s a second chance to get a free PDF copy of this fascinating story.
Training of the Iraqi Navy by the Royal Navy is expected to resume as soon as possible following consideration by the Iraqi Council of Representatives it was announced today.The Iraqi Government had requested that after the UK concluded combat operations in Iraq on 30 April 2009 continued military assistance, particularly in officer training, naval training and maritime support, would continue to be provided.Training of the Iraqi Navy was paused in June, since when the agreement between the two Governments concerning naval training and maritime support to Iraqi forces has been considered by the Iraqi Council of Representatives.The agreement will now enter into force once both parties have completed their parliamentary procedures and exchanged diplomatic notes.
Royal Navy personnel training members of the Iraqi Navy to carry out correct boarding procedures.
[Pictures: LA(Phot) Chris Winter, Crown Copyright/MOD 2008]
UK Naval Transition Team training the Iraqi Navy to carry out correct boarding procedures in the Northern Gulf. 16/03/08
Another interesting story from Wired’s “Danger Room” blog:
Special Forces Getting High-Tech Soldier Suits for Iraq Mission
By Shelley DuboisJust a few years ago, the Army was so down on the Land Warrior high-tech soldier get-up that it officially canceled the project. Now, Land Warrior is back from the dead — and considered so valuable that even the Army’s commando elite want the wearable electronics suites.According to InsideDefense.com, an Army Special Forces battalion will start training with an upgraded version of Land Warrior in 2010, before it deploys to Iraq later in the year.It’s a big change for the Land Warrior program, more than 15 years and a half a billion dollars in the making. The electronics packages were supposed to be the military technology of the future. But at a bulky sixteen pounds, many soldiers were reluctant to wear them — and the Army axed the program. The remnants of the Land Warrior project were offloaded on the “Manchu” soldiers of the 4/9 infantry battalion in Iraq, who stripped down the package and sharpened its features. It worked so well, an entire Army brigade was equipped with the ensembles, and just shipped off to Afghanistan. Then the Pentagon approved a request by a special forces commander at Ft. Bragg, N.C. to get the improved Land Warrior, called the Ground Soldier Ensemble, tested and ready to outfit a brigade in Iraq by 2010.Like the Land Warrior, the GSE is a camo suit equipped with a digital radio, a GPS beacon, a wearable computer, and a screen which soldiers can see through an eyepiece attached to their helmets. The eyepiece shows digital maps of the terrain with the location of other soldiers on a video game-like interface. But the new GSE should be slim, thanks to battery and microprocessor technology. They’ll also have “digital chem lights,” arguably the suits’ most useful feature, which soldiers in the 4/9 division added when they re-jiggered the old test suits.Chem lights come up on the digital screen as green lights. They let buildings, escape routes, and potential enemy locations be marked in green on every soldier’s monocle. In an urban environment like Iraq, the lights also mark houses that have been checked and cleared, to prevent soldiers from kicking down the same civilian doors twice.The new ensembles are designed to give more information to what will be a smaller force in 2012 as the U.S. troops prepare to leave Iraq. Soon, the Army is going to have to condense tons of tactical information among only a few special forces officers, according to Col. Wil Riggins, the Soldier Warrior program manager. Hopefully, the Land Warrior will have reincarnated effectively enough to help.