SAS, having done some sim instructing my self, in the SH-2 and the SH-60, I cannot go back and give you all of the debriefing sheets from all of the events I ran, but I do recall more than a few "surprise" dual engine failures, or TRLOS (simulated in the 60 sim by losing the whole tail section aft of the IGB) that now and again got the "red screen of death" to appear in unannounced autorotation, and partial autorotation, scenarios. A surprise need to auto is a game of "behind the aircraft, how fast can you catch up" if there ever was one.
Newer sims are often more "like" the aircraft, but of course there are always "simisms" that you have to account for.
"Think what you want about the Osprey in operations it is fit for....but remember it was sold as being the answer to every mission conceivable which it plainly is not and never was."
Respectfully, no, you are making an incorrect assessment there. V-22 was not intended to undertake the heavy lift mission. I cannot understand where you get the idea that it was sold to meet heavy lift mission requirements.
CH-53E (CH-53K in a few years), are the Heavy Lifters, all juggling and shell games in re the CH-53D considered.
EDIT: A few years back, I had to become passing familiar with "operational maneuver from the sea" as a doctrinal template. The phasing of bringing assets ashore to the fight needed heavy lift for certain critical tasks and medium lift for most other tasks. Phrogs, at the time, were the medium lift workhorse. What V-22 does for medium lift is pretty good.
I don't know if that buzzword has any currency, since the past ten years have seen more of other sorts of operations, but the basics probably still apply, and are related to your "OTH" template.
I have never said it was to replace "heavy lift" aircraft or do the heavy lift mission. I have said repeatedly that it was billed as the replacement for the 46 and 53D citing official USMC statements that confirmed that. You are quite mistaken when you suggest I ever said otherwise.
The heavy transport task for OTH was to be done by the LCAC and CH-53E/K. The LCAC is seen as being too vulnerable to make beach assaults which is why the EFV and Osprey were seen as the "Assault Vehicles".
As the Osprey can carry only the Growler Vehicle and French Mortar system (Two Growlers each pulling a trailer or mortar) internally and only an unarmored Humvee externally...it certainly cannot meet the heavy lift tasking and was never supposed to do so.
A for instance....it was once going to be a minesweeper....but very quickly that tasking was dropped.
I have read as much as I can about the Osprey's difficult birthing....and if one reads widely it becomes patently obvious the Marines and other Osprey proponents way over hyped the machine and its abilities. They have had to walk back many of their statements.
They were so involved in defending the Osprey at one point intentional false reporting of progress and reliability came to light and resulted in serious repercussions for those found to be culpable.
Rather than continuing to argue about history....lets focus upon current events.
The Navy/Marine Corps are spending Billions of Taxpayer Dollars on OTH based equipment needs....one program was terminated after even its supporters admitted it was a total failure. Now we are left with a growing fleet of aircraft at great cost, a growing number of OTH Amphib ships that are being modified to new standards to accommodate those aircraft, while at the same time removing the multi-role capability they were initially designed to have. The USMC have fabricated at great expense and compromise of safety standards....a specialized vehicle that will fit inside the Osprey, and yet we still have no OTH capability to effectively accomplish that mission as called for by the Marine Senior Leadership.
Pardon me if I sound like I am unimpressed by the situation! All those Billions could have and should have been spent obtaining improved combat capability for the Marine Corps and not plain ol' squandered chasing a pipe dream.
The Marines are used to being at the bottom of the spending barrel....and from what I have seen in the EFV and Osprey programs they certainly suffer from not having the experience of spending money in the past as they sure have pissed away a huge chunk of money for no significant gain in their ability to field unified units of any size all the while chasing the elusive OTH Strategy imposed upon them by the Navy's decision to insist upon keeping Ships further at sea than in the past during Amphibious Assaults.
We have to remember all this spending was to provide the Marines with the ability to do large scale amphibious assaults.....and it has been an utter failure.
SGA2012: USMC receives first Block C-configured MV-22 Osprey
15 February 2012 - 6:41 by Beth Stevenson in Singapore
Bell and Boeing used the Singapore Airshow to announce that the first Block C configurated MV-22 Osprey has been delivered to the USMC complete with a new weather radar, as well as improved EW systems and advances in situational awareness.
The upgraded radar stemmed from the fact that 90% of the aircraft's flight hours are conducted as an aeroplane, and therefore the platform has to fly at high altitudes and in turn requires a radar that is suitable for this.
The remaining V-22s that are to be produced out of the USMC's requirement for 360 platforms will now be built to Block C standards, and officials confirmed that some retrofits on legacy systems will occur.
'The V-22 Block C design upgrade includes a new weather radar system that improves navigation in poor weather conditions, and a redesigned environmental conditioning system to enhance aircrew and troop comfort,' a statement from Bell-Boeing read.
Expanded capacity and effectiveness built into the electronic warfare system-including additional chaff/flare dispensers- increases the Osprey's ability to defeat air-to-air threats.'
'Countries generally don't have a requirement for tilt-rotor because they don't know what it is,' Mike Montgomery, V-22 deputy director of new business at NAVAIR told the briefing.
However, Richard Linhart VP of business development at Bell said of the advantages of the platform: 'We have to break that paradigm. With the V-22 [the operators] are finding new and different ways of operating that they didn't think was possible.'
Bell-Boeing is focusing its efforts on exporting the V-22. However, only the MV-22 variant has been approved, as the CV-22 has special operations enhancements that have not been authorised.
'People want to know about it; it's different,' Linhart explained, saying that although the aircraft was not on display at the airshow, feedback from when it was displayed at Dubai air show last year was very positive.
Tommy Dunehew, VP of Business Development for mobility at Boeing confirmed that five potential customers in Asia-Pacific region are interested in the platform, and he said that it would be a suitable system for this area. The officials also said that Bell-Boeing was still in ongoing discussions with Indian and Israeli forces with regards to acquisition of the Osprey.
The team is also holding out for the US Navy to make a decision on whether or not the V-22 will be chosen for the 50 platform requirement for the Aerial Resupply Logistics of the Sea Base programme, and Linhart said 'we are still hopeful that the navy will come on board.
'We have not been as successful in demonstrating this as we would have liked,' Montgomery concluded with regards to export potential, however officials said that this is something that the team is working on, and said that the platform is of high value, demonstrated by USMC confidence in it.
Think what you want about the Osprey in operations it is fit for....but remember it was sold as being the answer to every mission conceivable which it plainly is not and never was.
I have never said it was to replace "heavy lift" aircraft or do the heavy lift mission. I have said repeatedly that it was billed as the replacement for the 46 and 53D citing official USMC statements that confirmed that. You are quite mistaken when you suggest I ever said otherwise.
Poor word choice perhaps, SAS? I don't think you are justified in being defensive regarding Lonewolf's reply....based upon your precise posting.
Sans.....The statement I have said the Osprey was to replace Heavy Lift aircraft is patently false. I have never said it...go back through the thread here and find exactly one time if you can.
Trying to suggest the quoted statement you posted does that is also false.
Let's begin with the definition of the adjective "conceivable" shall we....and add to your grasp of the English language and grammar.
World English Dictionary conceivable (kənˈsiːvəb ə l)
— adj capable of being understood, believed, or imagined; possible
Any reasonable astute individual, knowing the lifting ability of the Osprey, would instantly realize it could not be construed to be a "Heavy" lifter. Thus, it would logically rule out any suggestion it could be "conceived" to be capable of such a mission.
Care to try again?
If you want to challenge the points being made....do so. At least be accurate in your use of language please.
If you or others are going to put words in my mouth...at least do so with some resemblance to the truth. Post a quote showing I said that as purported.
There appears to be a disparity in our mutual grasp of the English language.
"Every conceivable mission", in normal accepted English parlance, would include any mission capable of being conceived. In fact, the phrase is typically intended to convey the idea of being all-encompassing limited by nothing more than human imagination...not, as you describe, being limited to what an astute observer would consider to be rational or possible.
Whether or not the "heavy lift" mission for a V22 is considered a technically viable possibility by you or any astute individual is irrelevant; it is still a "conceivable mission" and hence the reason for both Lonewolf's and my interpretation of your post as being self-contradictory.
SAS, I understand your frustration with the hype. I don't think there's an experienced military aviator who hasn't looked at the difference between the press clippings for a new system, and the acutal performance on the hardware they fly, and some of the shortcomings (I seem to remember a few: F-18 tail cracks, F-14 engine stalls in high performance maneuvers? T-45 that initially could not meet shipboard requirements due to spool up and nose wheel and ... and ... and ... SH-60 blade de-ice, early years, and a whole lot more). We all ruefully acknowledge that what we fly is built under "minimum bid" and get on with it.
The B-2, of which there are lest than three dozen, costs over a billion per copy. (nucking futs, sez I.) It was the perfect aircraft for 1983. Didn't IOC till almost a decade later, yes? Should we have scrapped that?
The Bone had troubles with turkey buzzards. It's still flying, and does good work. Should it have never been?
The F-18A had some trouble with fuel legs in a fighter grid when it first came out. Did we scrap that aircarft? Should the Hornet have been scrapped, and an all F-14/A-6 Airwing been made, per Lehman's inane vision?
So the V-22 is expensive.
We agree that the cost is a salient shortcoming, but that cost growth happened over a period of years, the program was stalled or cancelled what, four different times?
But it's operational, and it works.
It seems to me that you are voicing a complaint that doesn't fit the year we are talking in. Every opportunity to scrap that program, as Comanche was scrapped, was presented, and yet it survived. (Remember, C-46 line re-opening decision, negative, happened early to mid 90's. There was never gonna be a new Phrog).
The operator who has posted here likes the bird, and he's an old Phrog pilot.
Maybe, SAS, your frustration is that none of us can go back in time and undo a variety of mistakes or errors. We can't.
As to other vehicles that the Marines need for the mission, I learned one thing a while back: you never get all the equipment you wish you had.
Eisenhower warned us....history is proving him right.
The now cancelled EFV....an armored amphibious tractor that was to scoot across the water at 25MPH....at a unit cost of just over 22 Million USD ...and a program cost of 10, 000 Million USD....encountered some "burps" according to a Marine Officer involved in the program.
Some expensive burping!
What could the Marines have bought they really needed with that wasted money?
The replacement cost of an M-1 Abrams Tank is billed as being 4.3 Million USD as a comparison.
Current issue AAV's the EFV was to replace cost 2.3-2.5 Million USD. Roughly one tenth of the EFV price.
The USS America, the new LHA(R) that has been modified to support the V-22 (the size of the 22 was the reason for the change) at a cost of 2,300 Million USD does not even have a well deck anymore as it's predecessor did.
Again...more expense...less capability....does this seem a pattern here?
To back up a bit. Autos are practiced in the sim. They're initially practiced as a set piece in initial fams, i.e. "here it comes." Later, a sim instructor will whip them out as part of a scenario. At least initially, most students will "crash." By the end, they're typically doing okay.
I personally think that the new LHAs should have well decks. Not because of anything regarding the Osprey, but mostly because we don't always get to fight on sunny days. I'm willing to takeoff near 0/0, but landing is another story. Plus, for serious movements, eventually you'll need trucks and such that even 53s can't carry.
That said, I don't think the EFV cancellation negates all of the OTH concept. Many contingencies that the USMC trains for are conducted purely by air, and the Osprey extends the battlespace way farther than it was before. We've been off the coast of NC and were doing hits in FL. I use that exercise example (which is real, BTW) to illustrate the concept. We've done similar long-range ops in V-22s in real contingencies already.
Again, why are we arguing? Is anything going to change? No? Then stop. We have this capability now. Lets put our heads together and figure out how to use the pluses, minimize the minuses, and kill some GD jihadis.
Now I am in full agreement with Osprey Driver....but wish the Pentagon Crew would have arrived at that position without wasting so much money and had used that money buying equipment that could be used to good benefit today.
Having the Well Deck and that basic capability (they are called Amphibious Assault Ships) would make the LHA(R) a true multi-purpose vessel rather than a cheap CV without Catapults or angled deck.
As the Marines have a tradition and history of doing more with less....and in the expectation of massive budget cuts for all of DOD....the loss of capability in the America Class Aviation support ships might come back to haunt the Navy/USMC. I hope not.
The 21st Century article I linked discusses the Marine's view of Amphibious Assault and supports what OD said.
I'm a slightly conspiracy-minded person...when it comes to budgets, anyway. I think the lack of a well deck is there simply to drive the requirement for LPDs that have a well deck. "We've got to complete the San Antonio class--how else can we get all this other gear ashore?"
Split-ARG ops are an essential part of MEU missions, IMO. No well deck on the big deck means this is a huge degrader for the ARG to maintain presence for extended duration. The Kearsarge ARG in '98 provided port/starboard TRAP and humanitarian assistance coverage for the Kosovo bombing campaign, as an example. Can't do that unless both halves of the ARG have both air and surface capability.
The US Marine Corps has retired the CH-53D Sea Stallion after 40 years of service in a 'sunset ceremony' held on 10 February at Pearl Harbor in Hawaii. The aircraft continue to operate with the HMH-363 squadron currently supporting marines working in Helmand Province as part of Operation Enduring Freedom. When the unit returns, one of the helicopters will be flown from Marine Corps Air Station Kaneohe Bay to its final destination at the Pacific Aviation Museum, where it will be displayed. Some 124 CH-53Ds were built in total. The aircraft have operated with the USMC in a range of conflicts from Vietnam and Iraq and finally in Afghanistan. However the hot and high climate in Helmand has tested the type to its limits, restricting summer operations to the cool of night, with the MV-22 Osprey and the three-engined CH-53E Super Stallion taking the bulk of operations.
'Now that the Sea Stallion has retired, the Marine Corps has begun the transition to CH-53E Super Stallions, which will soon be joined by the V-22 Osprey tilt-rotor aircraft and H-1 Huey and Cobra helicopters in Hawaii,' said Col Robert Pridgen, programme manager for the H-53 Heavy Lift Helicopters Program Office.
'This transition will ensure our fleet is equipped with an aviation capability that is flexible and ready today to complete missions as assigned.'
U.S. eyes V-22 aircraft sales to Israel, Canada, UAE Sun, Feb 26 2012 By Andrea Shalal-Esa EGLIN AIR FORCE BASE, Florida (Reuters) - The U.S. government is eyeing Israel, Canada and the United Arab Emirates as possible initial foreign buyers of the V-22 Osprey, a tilt-rotor aircraft built by Boeing Co (BA.N: Quote, Profile, Research) and Bell Helicopter, a top U.S. Marine Corps official told Reuters. Lieutenant General Terry Robling, deputy Marine Corps commandant for aviation, said U.S. officials were continuing to drive down the cost of the aircraft and hoped to sell it to allies overseas to keep the production line running past 2018. U.S. officials plan to show off the aircraft, which flies like an airplane but tilts its rotors to take off and land like helicopter, at the Farnborough Air Show outside London in July. It also made appearances at the Dubai and Singapore air shows in recent months, Robling told Reuters aboard a military aircraft after a Marine Corps event at Eglin Air Force Base in Florida. Bell Helicopter, a unit of Textron Inc (TXT.N: Quote, Profile, Research), and Boeing issued a news release in December after the Dubai air show, saying the aircraft had received "significant interest" from potential customers, but it did not identify them. Boeing and Bell have been trying to generate foreign interest for years, but potential buyers were holding back to see how the plane did in combat, and because of the relatively high price of buying and operating the plane -- both of which are now coming down. Washington is increasingly looking to foreign military sales to keep the cost of weapons systems from rising as the Pentagon cuts its own orders to strip $487 billion from its planned defence budgets over the next decade. Robling said Israel, Canada and the UAE had expressed interest in the aircraft, but had not received formal pricing and technical information for the Osprey. The Marines will ask lawmakers to approve a five-year procurement plan for 91 aircraft that will run through fiscal 2017 -- 24 less than initially planned for the period. But the service still plans to buy those aircraft and has not changed its overall requirement, Robling said, although he acknowledged that postponing production resulted in more uncertainty given the current difficult budget environment. Marine Corps Commandant James Amos this month told U.S. lawmakers that the Osprey, which can cruise at 290 miles an hour -- twice the rate of military helicopters -- has performed "exceedingly well" since being put into operation. He said it gives U.S. and coalition forces a "manoeuvre advantage and operational reach unmatched by any other tactical aircraft." OSPREY HAS FLOWN MORE THAN 130,000 HOURS The plane got off to a rocky start, with 30 Marines killed during its development, but it has amassed more than 130,000 flight hours since being fielded by the U.S. military in 2007. More than 160 V-22s are now flown by 10 Marine Corps and two U.S. Air Force Special Operations Command squadrons. Amos told lawmakers the MV-22B has made multiple combat deployments to Iraq, four deployments at sea, and it is currently on its fifth deployment to Afghanistan. The Pentagon's chief weapons tester Michael Gilmore in December recommended that the Navy, which oversees Marines Corps acquisition, continue development and testing to improve the aircraft's overall reliability. Gilmore said the plane generally met reliability and maintainability requirements, but its average mission capable rate was 53 percent from June 2007 to May 2010, well below the required rate of 82 percent. Robling said the plane's operating cost was declining from rates as high as $12,000 per flight hour to an all-time low of $8,300 achieved last month. He attributed the decline to a variety of factors, including more reliable parts and different flying protocols that cut down on maintenance needs. Robling said the current average cost-per-flight hour for the V-22, including fuel, parts and labour, was around $10,000, but he was pressing maintainers to drive that number down.
"We've shown ... that we can get it down lower. So we just continue to work on it," he said. "At some point we'll sustain probably somewhere around $8,500 at today's cost." He said Boeing and Bell Helicopter had also been working to reduce the cost of producing the planes. The companies recently submitted a letter with a "not-to-exceed" price for the new multiyear agreement, which achieves the 10-percent cost savings required for congressional approval, Robling said. Now, the government will start tough negotiations with the contractors to iron the details, Robling said, adding the process could take six to eight months. Boeing has said it expects to sign the new multiyear agreement by the end of 2012. He said the Marines could have saved $6 million to $8 million more per airplane if they had been able to keep the 24 aircraft in the five-year plan, but the Pentagon needed the savings to achieve its cost-cutting goals for fiscal 2013.
I am puzzled at Canada as a potential market for V-22. Reason? Cost. Data point: C-148 helicopter program cost, progress, and criticism that will make any expensive weapons program extremely difficult to sell politically.
(Or, the government could nationalize all oil sands production and afford a whole bunch of stuff ... )
Bold Alligator 2012 confirms capabilities of 2nd MAW aviation
2/15/2012 By Lance Cpl. Scott L. Tomaszycki , Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point MARINE CORPS AIR STATION CHERRY POINT, N.C. (Feb. 15, 2012) — U.S. Navy amphibious ships can carry the personnel and air power needed to conduct military operations in a myriad of locations throughout the world. During Exercise Bold Alligator 2012, every aspect of Marine aviation was used in the full range of air operations to showcase the advantages of seabasing. Bold Alligator, which took place Jan. 30 through Feb. 12 afloat and ashore in and around Virginia and North Carolina, was the first Marine Expeditionary Brigade level amphibious exercise of its size in the past ten years. It granted valuable experience to pilots and aircrews as they reacquainted themselves with the shipboard working environment.
Col. Scott S. Jensen, commanding officer of the aviation combat element for the 2nd Marine Expeditionary Brigade during the exercise, likened the exercise to softball practice. The members of a good softball team already know the mechanics of a double-play whether they practice or not. When the team is getting ready for a tournament, however, they perfect their techniques. Marine aviators know the mechanics of working on a ship but need things like Bold Alligator to get ready for the big tournament.
The ‘tournament’ of Bold Alligator was Feb. 6, when Marines of Regimental Landing Team 2 stormed Onslow Beach, N.C. While RLT-2 Marines secured their frontline positions, and the aviation arm consisting of an array of aviation assets practiced operations supporting the landing.
“Prior to the Marines landing on shore, we’ll spend time clearing the airspace in order to get air superiority,” said Capt. Johnathan P. Stouffer, an AV-8B Harrier pilot with Marine Attack Squadron 231. “Once we have that, we’ll conduct shaping operations to prepare the battlefield for the Marines. Based on intelligence we’ll strike where all the enemy positions are so they can’t harm our Marines while they’re landing on the beach. Once they get on the beach, we’ll transition to close air support and strike where they see the enemy.”
AH-1W Cobras also provided air support during the operation, conducting all air strikes inside authorized bombing ranges at Camp Lejeune. Marine F/A-18 Hornets supported the operation from Marine Corps Air Station Beaufort, which role-played as an expeditionary airfield. More Hornets operated from the USS Enterprise. MV-22 Ospreys inserted Marines and coalition troops to take critical objectives. Jensen said inserting troops by Osprey and helicopters provide important advantages in maneuver warfare.
“It’s all about mobility. Our assault helicopters, our MV-22’s and our CH-53’s are just as necessary to move our landing force ashore, to evacuate casualties and be able to connect the ships to the shore in conjunction with the landing craft,” Jensen explained. “The helicopters present rapid mobility; you don’t have to stay on roads. You can get there quick and take care of things that might need to be taken care of.”
This rapid warfighting strategy was represented by a Marine reconnaissance raid into Fort Pickett, Va., to strike against a high value target behind enemy lines. The mission was made possible by the Osprey, because it has greater speed and range than conventional helicopters.
Aviation also practiced long range strikes against strategic targets away from the main battlefield. On two occasions, Marine aviation struck notional missile launch sites, using a package of EA-6B Prowlers for protection against anti-aircraft defenses, AV-8B Harriers and Hornets to engage enemy aircraft and strike the target, and KC-130Js to refuel the aircraft.
Amphibious aviation assets are for more than dropping bombs. According to Jensen, the squadrons have to be ready for any kind of aviation mission. Marine expeditionary units are a 911 force capable of anything, from helping refugees and casualty evacuations to dropping bombs on the enemy. A Marine Expeditionary Brigade, the size of the force used during Bold Alligator, has a more defined purpose when assembled but still maintains a wide range of capabilities.
“If you look back on the island hopping campaigns back in World War II, any time they cut short the artillery preparation of the battlefield casualties were always a lot higher,” said Stouffer. “If we skip out on Marine aviation, it’s going to take a lot more lives to accomplish the goal. Having us there is saving lives.”
Details have just emerged of a joint UK/US/Afghan operation that's seized and destroyed a large cache of Taliban IED-making equipment south of Bastion Airfield. Operation Backfoot involved 2 Squadron, RAF Regiment, warriors from Afghan Army’s 3rd Brigade and US Marines from 2 Marine Expeditionary Force. The force deployed by US Osprey aircraft, with its unique tilt-rotor capability, and as well as seizing the bomb making materials also gathered a wealth of intelligence despite coming under fire several times. The operation took place in the Dasht (or desert) south of Bastion Airfield - a sparse landscape of rolling fields and scrub dotted with compounds and is increasingly being used as a harbour area by Taliban forces who have come under pressure elsewhere by successful coalition operations. Its protection is the task of 2 Squadron, operating as part of 3 RAF Force Protection Wing. It is an area where insurgents have mingled with the local population - some of them Taliban sympathizers - and their presence has seen attempts to increase poppy production in the area to fund their summer campaign. Because of the sparse agricultural cover in the area during the winter, the insurgents have based themselves in compounds to fire on ISAF foot patrols from cover. The string of IEDs that has been sown across approaches to the area, together with their ‘stand-off and shoot’ tactics, was meant to block ISAF forces from approaching. Sqn Ldr Jules Weekes, who commanded the RAF troops, said: “There is a certain dynamic to Taliban activities in this area. They operate in small teams of five or six, travelling by motorbike as their preferred guerrilla tactic. Part of this operation is to find out how ‘he’ does business.” Several suspect compounds were targeted which saw the Ospreys land troops at two separate landing zones, either side of the wide Chah-e Anjir wadi. The dismounted troops - supported by a number of 2 Squadron Ridgeback and Jackal patrol vehicles and a specialist US Marine IED clearance team – did not go unchallenged. A number of small arms attacks were beaten off by the ground troops and heavier attacks were dealt with by Apache and Cobra gunships. One US Marine patrol, temporarily pinned down by heavy small-arms fire, was supported by a show of force from an F18 which was sufficient to deter the insurgents. As well as gaining vital intelligence the operation found a substantial IED cache in a compound, which contained a variety of bomb-making equipment, mines and several complete IEDs which were ready to be used against ISAF forces. Wing Commander Jason Sutton, the commander of 3 RAF Force Protection Wing, said: “The open approaches to this area mean that it is hard to gain the element of surprise. However, by using the Ospreys to approach rapidly from an unexpected direction, the operation managed to achieve it.
“The RAF Regiment’s role is to defend airbases and those who operate from them, but the old adage of attack being the best form of defence remains as true today as ever. Targeting the insurgents and their supply networks takes the initiative away from them so that we can dictate the terms of the fight. It disrupts the insurgents’ attempts to attack Bastion and its vital air operations, denies them freedom of movement and supports the Afghan National Security Forces as together we work to protect the population who live around the base.” PICTURE: Ministry of Defence - Dawn breaks as Operation Backfoot gets underway