Page 4 - NAVAL FORCES 01/2018
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Editorial

                            Call of Duty







              On 10 January, as he was hosting a press conference with Norwegian   the greater good – even unpredictable neighbours. It is about working
             Prime Minister Erna Solberg, President Trump stated: “In November   together in Search And Rescue (SAR) missions, as illustrated in the
             we started delivering the first F-52s and F-35 fighter jets [to Norway].   article on coastguards’ Arctic SAR capabilities or the brief excerpt,
             We have a total of 52 and they’ve delivered a number of them already     included  in  the Argentine  Navy  article,  on  international  capabilities
             a little ahead of schedule.” Very quickly, laughter was resounding the   lent to the search of the Argentine ill-fated submarine.
             world over as the press revealed that F-52s are, in fact, fictional jets   Last but not least, as stressed in the article on cooperative engage-
             that first made their appearance in Activision’s Call of Duty:  Advanced   ment, “cooperation” also refers to collaboration between air, land and
             Warfare video game; the 52 jets (the President was at least right about   naval assets, at the heart of which lies the crucial act of sharing data in
             the number!) that are being delivered to Norway are, actually,  Lockheed   order to have accurate and near real-time theatre situational awareness.
             Martin’s (in)famous F-35s.                           Communication between different assets relies on a wide variety of
              If it was not so tragic to think that the Commander in Chief of the US   technologies, including HF radio technologies, and on the quality of
             armed forces was confused between a video game fighter jet and one   the sensors mounted on platforms, such as Sikorsky’s Cyclone multi-
             of the country’s major air capability programmes, it would be  hilarious.   mission helicopter. It also relies on the accurate treatment, interpre-
             This  is  without  mentioning  the  fact  that  since  the  first   Norwegian   tation  and  distribution  of  large  quantities  of  data  gathered  by  those
             F-35s have started flying with the Norwegian Air Force, media reports   platforms.
               revealed in November that the jets’ Mission Data Files, which ensure   On this topic, I was enlightened not only by the article on merging
             the  jets’  situational  awareness,  are  sending  confidential  information   geospatial  intelligence  published  in  this  issue,  but  also  by  an  event
             about Norwegian pilots’ behaviour back to Lockheed Martin’s Texas   I attended recently in Austin, Texas, on Embedded Technologies. As
             facility. Trump failed to mention this, but then again he might have   I sat there wrapping my brain around concepts such as VPX and VME,
             been too busy virtually flying F-52s to notice.      or terms such as “boards”, “chassis” and “switches”, I realised that
              However, despite being at the centre of extended criticism, the F-35   when it comes to data sharing for situational awareness, “every little
             programme stands for something bigger than US politics. It stands for   helps.” This includes, for instance, the C4ISR/EW Modular Open Suite
             cooperation between nations in an increasingly uncertain world, with   of Standards (CMOSS), defined by the US Army Material Command,
             14  countries  participating  in  the  programme  and  Norway   partly   which will ensure commonality across multiple platforms by enabling
             relying on its US ally to bolster its defence in relation to its unpre-  the sharing of hardware and software components.
             dictable   Russian  neighbour.  It  also  exemplifies  the  importance  of   So while it might be disheartening to see the Commander in Chief
             data  gathering and data sharing (for better or worse) to build accurate   of  the  US  Army  referring  to  fictional  F-52s  sold  to  allies,  it  is
             and near real-time situational awareness. Both of these key elements     encouraging to note that no level of expertise is too big (capabilities)
               feature prominently in this first issue of NAVAL FORCES for 2018.  or too small (circuit boards, switches, etc.) to ensure that cooperation
              Indeed,  while  the  article  on  the  state  of  the  People’s  Liberation   and data  sharing run smoothly among different platforms and across
             Army  Navy  debates  to  what  extent  should  Pacific  regional  powers   countries. It is heartening to see that while said Commander has in
             worry  about  what  appears  to  be  an  extensive  modernisation  of  its   fact never served his country (other than perhaps in a video game), the
               capabilities,  the  letter  from  Singapore  highlights  that  China,  none -  US armed forces and their allies are answering their call of duty and
             theless, regularly takes part in regional maritime exercises.  Participating   cooperating.
             countries might take advantage of these exercises to make a show of
             force;  but,  they  are  also  strengthening  cooperation,  our  contributor
               argues. To the West, in Europe, the interview of Admiral James  Foggo
             III,  Commander  of  US  Naval  Forces  Europe  and  US  Naval  Forces
               Africa,  highlights  that  the  growing  concern  in  relation  to  Russia’s
             military assertiveness in the region is driving increasing cooperation
             amongst NATO countries.
              But cooperation is not just about uniting against a potential common   Dr Alix Valenti
             threat; it is also about joining forces with everyone in the region for   Editor-in-Chief

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