The week according to Shephard: Week 29

British build-up

It was a busy week for UK defence – Michael Fallon, the UK’s Secretary of State for Defence, spoke to reporter Beth Maundrill at the steel cutting ceremony in Glasgow for the Royal Navy’s Type 26 frigates. According to Fallon, HMS Glasgow’s manufacturing in the UK is demonstrative of the country’s ‘global intent’. Watch the full interview here.


Moving south, fast jets and military helicopters gathered at the weekend for the Royal International Air Tattoo (RIAT) at RAF Fairford. The crowds were not disappointed as they enjoyed displays by the Airbus A400M Atlas, the RAF’s Chinook, the US Air Force’s B-52 Stratofortress and U-2 ISR aircraft. To see the impressive displays, watch the full video here.

Meanwhile, MTSN editor Trevor Nash covered the UK’s Air Support to Defence Operational Training (ASDOT) requirement, which has ratcheted up with Cobham Special Missions signing a teaming agreement with Draken International to pursue this high-profile UK MoD programme.

Draken has now left the Babcock-led team and remaining team members are now reassessing the situation.


Across the Channel, LWI editor Grant Turnbull reported on the new ‘fifth generation’ missile system making its way towards the French Army later this year.

Special forces

In Latin America forces initiated the annual Fuerzas Comando competition in Paraguay. The competition is aimed to improve doctrine, concepts of operation and tactics across the joint operating environment. Read more.

Staying with special forces, our correspondent Andrew White draws our attention to events in the Arctic Circle and high north as he reports on Russian activities in the region and NATO’s response. Read about how NATO is seeking to develop its cold weather capabilities after over a decade of operations in the Middle East here.



Exercising muscle

Meanwhile, after last week’s visit to Hong Kong by China’s aircraft carrier, the Liaoning, the Chinese Navy is currently en route to the Baltic Sea where it will engage in military drills with the Russian Navy.

China has continued its naval expansion with the mass-production of new classes of fighting vessels, increased presence in the South China Sea and this week the opening of its first overseas military base in Djibouti, strategically located on the Gulf of Aden.


PLAN’s Jinan in Hong Kong

In Australia, the USMC’s 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU) took part in  Exercise Talisman Saber 2017 where new technologies and equipment were trailed in a large-scale military exercise.

On the blog, a father-son team marked Canada’s 150 years by circumnavigating the world in a Bell 429. The trip is demonstrating the advances in SATCOM technology as the duo share images and videos of their journey in flight as technology companies overcome the disruption caused by rotor blades.


Father and son duo Bob and Steven Dengler in front of the Bell 429 helicopter they’ll be piloting during their journey as the world’s first Canadian helicopter flight team around the world.

Hot off the press: this week Defence Helicopter has gone to press. Editor Helen Haxell takes a look at the CH-53K and V-22 military programmes as well as training helicopters in this edition. Other features include HMDS and crew safety.



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