A Cold War relic returns
From the vast expanses of the Pacific to the icy reaches of the Arctic, the Russian bear is back and playing its Cold War game of aerial cat and mouse with U.S., British and Canadian fighter aircraft.NATO officials have noted a growing number of long-range missions by Russian Tupolev-95 bombers - the lumbering, turboprop aircraft known by the NATO code name "Bear" - including a flight over the U.S. Navy base on the Pacific island of Guam this week and a probe of British airspace over the North Sea last month.
In the Canadian Arctic and off the ice-bound northern coast of Alaska, meanwhile, Russian bombers never really stopped flying up to the edge of Canadian and U.S. airspace to test the radar and fighter responses of NORAD - the North American Air Defence system jointly run by the Canadian and U.S. air forces.
After the collapse of the Soviet Union, those flights dwindled to once or twice a year as the Russian armed forces were starved of funding, trained aircrew and mechanics and new equipment. But with the Russian military getting an infusion of resources and an apparent mandate to revive Russian power and prestige, NORAD pilots and ground controllers are bracing for more visits from the powerful four-engine bombers, which can carry nuclear weapons and air-launched cruise missiles.While the resumption of the long-range flights up to - and occasionally into - NATO airspace is causing concern in allied circles, Russian generals are boasting openly about the latest flexing of their country's growing military muscle.
A Bear bomber flew over a U.S. military base on the Pacific island of Guam *this week and "exchanged smiles" with U.S. pilots who had scrambled to track it, said Major-General Pavel Androsov, head of long-range aviation in the Russian air force. (Cont..)
*Guam is the site of the TOPOFF exercise
College Students Help With Combat Training Program
Fort Bliss is set to unveil the Future Combat Systems, a multibillion-dollar weapons program, in mid-September. Fort Bliss will be the first installation to have this type of training available to soldiers.
The two buildings that will house the FCS have undergone renovation at a cost of about $6.5 million, said Mike McCarthy, with the Future Force Integration Division.
In order to get the system running, FFID has subcontracted 24 students from Western Technical College. The group is installing more than 550 network drops in the buildings. It has been stringing more than 120,000 feet of wire for almost a month.
"It definitely helps us later put it on our resumes. It's a big project. What we've learned in school we're putting to use here," said Frank Silva, one of the students participating in the partnership.
Silva and the others will receive college credit for their work through an internship, and they're getting paid.
"For the government, it brings the operating cost down. This also lets these young folks participate in something that's good for the nation because we're going to train the next generation of soldiers using this type of facility," said McCarthy.
The Army already uses virtual-type training with simulators that look a lot like video games. However, soldiers said FCS will be unlike anything they've used before.
"These Future Combat Systems (future combat system) vehicles have not been built. So, these are going to be computer-generated, mock simulators that will allow us to practice what our jobs will be in like in the future," said Maj. Patrick Chavez, who will manage the new facility.
The FCS will allow soldiers to be in settings that they have yet to experience, such as irregular urban warfare. (cont..)
Agencies practice for terror attack
Mock accident victim Michael Frank takes a smoke break while waiting to be rescued by firefighters during a disaster training exercise at the fairgrounds in Great Falls on Thursday. Representatives from local military, fire, medical and law enforcement took part in the exercise
ChoicePoint(R) Helps Department of Homeland Security Validate First Responder Credentials
ALPHARETTA, Ga., Aug. 9 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- ChoicePoint , through its iMapData service, played a key role in a recent multi- jurisdictional demonstration to test processes and operations at Emergency Operations Centers nationwide in the event of a terrorist attack or an "all hazards" event. The day-long effort, named Summer Breeze, was conducted at several locations around the U.S. by the Department of Homeland Security Office of National Capital Region Coordination and the Department of Defense Pentagon Force Protection Agency.
ChoicePoint's iMapData delivered critical infrastructure data, interactive mapping tools and powerful reporting capabilities to provide DHS and other senior government officials with real-time situational awareness throughout the demonstration. Participants were able to quickly access critical information and to generate intuitive maps and reports to enhance decision making and information sharing (cont..)
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