April 4, 2020

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First LRIP Hawkei Vehicles Delivered to Australian Motorised Infantry Battalion

The 1st Battalion Royal Australian Regiment released an image on its Facebook page on 24 March showing five recently delivered Hawkei vehicles (photos : Australian Army)

An Australian Army motorised infantry battalion has taken delivery of several Hawkei Protected Mobility Vehicles - Light from what is believed to be the first low-rate initial production (LRIP) batch of the 4×4 vehicles.

The 1st Battalion Royal Australian Regiment (RAR) based in Townsville, Queensland, disclosed on its website that it had formally taken delivery on 24 March of at least five Hawkeis to complement its current motorised capability of Bushmaster Protected Military Vehicles - Medium.

Under an AUD1.3 billion (USD975 million) contract signed in October 2015 Thales Australia was to supply 1,100 of the seven-tonne vehicles - along with 1,058 companion trainers - to replace the majority of the army's blast-protected Land Rover fleet in command, liaison, utility, and reconnaissance roles.

The Hawkei project has been delayed because of reliability and design issues. In July 2019 Thales bought bankrupt Hawkei engine manufacturer Steyr Motors after the Austrian company went into receivership in February 2019, putting at risk the supply of engines to the Hawkei programme.

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Vietnam's New-Found Submarine Power

Vietnam’s Navy is now equipped with six powerful Kilo-class submarines, the last one arriving in January from Russia.

In December 2009, Vietnam inked a deal worth $2 billion with Russia to buy six Kilo-class diesel-electric submarines to strengthen its maritime forces. The contract, one of the largest in the history of Russian exports of naval equipment, also includes training programs for Vietnamese crew in Russia.

The country established a modern submarine fleet in 2013, after the first submarine named HQ-182 Hanoi was delivered.

Kilo-class submarines are among the most popular in the world. Algeria, China, India, Iran, Poland and Romania are among the countries that are using or have ordered them.

The making of Vietnam’s Kilo-class submarines

Vietnam’s Kilo-class submarines were built at Admiralty Verfi, one of Russia’s oldest shipyards in Saint Petersburg, where more than 2,300 ships including armored and patrol vessels, and more than 300 submarines including nuclear submarines, have been built over its 313 years in operation.

Construction of the first submarine in the pack started in August 2010 and took two years to complete. The submarine has performed more than 100 successful trial journeys with 53 officers and crew members on board who trained for months in Russia.

The rest were built and launched over the next four years. They were named after Vietnam’s largest cities and important port locations Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City, Hai Phong, Da Nang, Khanh Hoa and Ba Ria-Vung Tau.

Kilo-class 101

Kilo class submarines feature advanced stealth technology, extended combat range and ability to strike land, surface and underwater targets. The ships displace 3,100 tons, reach speeds of 20 knots, can dive to 300 meters with a range of 9,600 kilometers, and carry crews of 52 people over 45 days.

The submarines feature 533-milimeter torpedo tubes and are armed with torpedoes, mines and Kalibr 3M-54 (NATO SS-N-27 Sizzler) cruise missiles, mainly intended for anti-shipping and anti-submarine missions in relatively shallow waters.

The Vietnamese fleet is an improved version of the Kilo class submarines, which can operate in shallow waters and can sail near the seabed more effectively than other submarines. With low noise emissions and visibility, the class has been labeled “black holes” by the U.S. Navy due to their quiet operations.

KF-X will be Equipped with Indigenous Air-Launched Supersonic Anti-Ship Missile

In the course of the test, missiles broke through the hull of large landing ship tanks.  Because it is faster than subsonic anti-ship missiles, it produces considerable power with pure kinetic energy alone. For this reason, China, a neighboring country, has developed and transformed various types of supersonic anti-ship missiles that can be launched from the ground, sea, and underwater and air.

Japan is also known to have developed an ASM-3 supersonic  anti-ship missiles equipped and operated by F-2 fighters. In January 2018, it was reported that development was completed in Japan, but instead of going into mass production, it is promoting improvement to extend the range. In this regard, military expert Moon Seung-beom, an issuer of monthly Defense Times Korea, said, "This movement in Japan is interpreted as being highly aware of China's aircraft carrier."

Unlike neighboring countries such as China, Japan, and Taiwan, Korea has not yet used supersonic anti-ship missiles. However, it was reported that development was in progress with the goal of actual deployment this year through media reports last year. Although no detailed information on the supersonic anti-ship missile being developed as a confidential business, that is, as a confidential business, has not been released, developments have been reviewed since 2007 and are expected to operate on land, sea and underwater.

It is also a matter of how our military will introduce supersonic anti-ship missile. Prior studies have not yet been conducted, but our main importers of weapons, the United States and Europe, do not have supersonic anti-ship missiles. For this reason, plans to improve the supersonic anti-ship missiles currently being developed in Korea are considered promising.

In the case of supersonic anti-ship missile, it is planned to be installed and operated on a fighter plane. In the case of F-35A, F-15K, and KF-16 fighter jets operated by the Air Force, the U.S. government and fighter manufacturer's permission are required when integrating domestically developed weapons into U.S. fighters. And a huge budget for test evaluation. For this reason, domestic defense industry officials consider that it is highly likely to be mounted on the KF-X, a Korean fighter, considering the future business period. Particularly, in the case of KF-X, there are no restrictions on the installation of domestic armament since it is progressed by domestic development.

RTA Trains with Starstreak Missile

The Army recently have fired Starstreak anti-aircraft missile weapon, and successfully destroyed the target.

STARSTREAK is an anti-aircraft missile, guided by laser. The weight of the missile is 15 kg, the missile launcher 14.70 kg. The effective range of 5 km, the maximum firing range of 7 km, the nearest firing range of 500 meters.

The maximum speed of more than 3.5 Mach. In addition to high-speed anti-aircraft can also resist aircraft with speeds below 100 m/s such as helicopters.

Strastreak missile system active in the Army since 2015.

Indian Air Force transporting medical supplies to affected areas and foreign countries including Maldives

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Milspec Selected by Kongsberg for NASAMS Components

Albury based Milspec Manufacturing has been selected by Kongsberg Defence Australia to supply mechanical fixtures for components for Kongsberg sub-systems to be used on Australia’s National Advanced Surface to Air Missile System (NASAMS) Ground Based Air Defence Systems (GBADS) being delivered under Project LAND 19 Phase 7B.

According to Kongsberg, Milspec will supply mechanical fixtures for the NASAMS Fire Distribution Centres along with classroom trainers.

Kongsberg, whose parent is based in Norway, will partner with Raytheon Australia to deliver NASAMS to the Australian Army to provide a Beyond Visual Range (BVR) GBADS capability against airborne threats such as aircraft, unmanned aerial vehicles and cruise missiles under LAND 19 Phase 7B. It is centred around a static or mobile launcher unit that fires radar-guided AIM-120 AMRAAM missiles.

Australia confirmed First Pass approval for the NASAMs in July 2017, with confirmation of the acquisition made in March 2019. It is planned for Australian systems to be mounted on Hawkei Protected Mobility Vehicles and integrated with CEA Technologies CEATAC Active Electronically Scanned Array (AESA) radar for fire control and CEAOPS for long range surveillance.

With this deal, Milspec joins other Australian companies including Daronmont Technologies, Eylex and REDARC as Kongsberg’s local partners and will now become part of the prime’s global supply chain.

Kongsberg Defence Australia General Manager John Fry said Kongsberg Defence Australia is proud to support regional Australian businesses and play an integral role in developing a sovereign Australian industry capability for the NASAMS program.

“Milspec is a terrific example of a successful Australian business that Kongsberg is proud to partner with to deliver some key components for NASAMS sub systems. Kongsberg is committed to working with Australian suppliers to ensure the best quality product for the program,” Mr Fry said.

Kongsberg Defence Australia will assemble and conduct sub-system level integration of the Fire Distribution Centre and NASAMS Classroom Trainers in Adelaide using predominantly Australian supplied components. Kongsberg Defence Australia will also conduct final assembly of the Canister Launchers, and support Kongsberg and the Prime Contractor Raytheon Australia in integration activities.

Myanmar to Receive First Batch of SY-400

Myanmar to receive first batch of SY-400 short-range precision attack ballistic missile from China.

Myanmar is going to receive the very first batch of SY-400M in very soon after a series of tough negotiations for years. Myanmar will also get some kinds of technology transfer for SY-400 along with some amount of loan to cover as the result of prolonged discussions.

The SY-400 system in standard configuration has eight containers with solid fuel missiles. Missiles are factory-fitted into these containers and can be stored for years and do not require additional maintenance. Missiles are launched vertically and have a range of about 400 km. The SY-400 can use different types of warheads.

Indonesia Re-thinks USD900 Million Submarine Contract with South Korea

Indonesia is re-considering its options with regards to the contract for a second batch of three Type 209/1400 submarines. Defence policy makers are keen to explore other alternatives amid expectations of reduced defence expenditure allocation in the coming years (photo : Irawan)

Indonesia's defence planners have convened a meeting to discuss the country's KRW1.162 trillion (USD900 million) order for a second batch of three diesel-electric submarines (SSKs) with South Korea and are considering several options for the programme, including contract termination.

Two separate sources from the defence ministry and the Indonesian Navy's (Tentara Nasional Indonesia - Angkatan Laut: TNI-AL) headquarters in Cilangkap have confirmed to Jane's that among matters being discussed at the moment include legal and financial implications of walking away from the contract that was announced in April 2019.

Indonesia signed a contract with Daewoo Shipbuilding & Marine Engineering (DSME) for the second tranche of three Type 209/1400 diesel-electric submarines in April 2019. The vessels will be similar to the first batch of three boats that was signed in December 2011.

The 2019 contract was signed with funding arranged by the Export-Import Bank of Korea and is scheduled to complete by 2026. Under this contract, one vessel will be built in Surabaya as part of a technology transfer programme. This arrangement is similar to one that was undertaken in the earlier contract.

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The Pentagon has placed an order worth $4.7 billion with Lockheed Martin for 78 F-35 fighters.

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Mossad officer describes covert global battle to obtain ventilators at all costs


Intelligence agencies are hunting for gas masks, virus test kits, medicine, protective gear and, most importantly, ventilators

Spy agencies around the world, which normally dealing with national security, terrorism and international crime, have shifted during the coronavirus pandemic to using their expertise to lay their hands on medical equipment that has become invaluable, a senior Mossad officer has said.

In an exposé broadcast Tuesday by Channel 12’s “Uvda” investigative news program, the head of the technology department in Israel’s Mossad intelligence service said countries have been locked in a fierce, covert battle to take control of a limited supply of ventilators at all costs.

Mossad, which has been tasked with securing medical equipment from abroad from unspecified countries amid worldwide shortages, has helped obtain 25,000 N95 respiratory masks, 20,000 virus test kits, 10 million surgical masks, and 700 overalls for ambulance workers who usually carry out the initial testing for the virus.

Israeli security services and government ministries had also acquired 27 ventilators and at least another 160 ventilators would be brought to Israel by Wednesday, the Mossad has said, without giving details on where the equipment was coming from.

It was the third such shipment by the Mossad over the past few weeks aimed at addressing shortages in Israel.

“I have overseen many operations in my life, and I’ve never dealt with such a complex operation,” said the Mossad officer, identified only by the Hebrew initial “Het.”

He said that the government has tasked the Mossad with obtaining more than 130,000 objects needed to fight the outbreak of the respiratory virus, including gas masks, virus test kits, medicine, protective gear and, most importantly, ventilators, which have become one of the most sought-after commodities in the world.

“The world is selling [ventilators] through cracks. We need to find the cracks,” said Het. “We are world champions in operations, and we know how to manage complex operations.

“We are utilizing our special connections to win the race and perhaps do what the whole world is doing — lay our hands on stocks ordered by others,” he said.

Het said his office was receiving over 2,000 leads every day, some false and some real, and some where other countries beat Israel to the punch.

“We had a country in Europe where our trucks arrived at the factory’s doors but another European country was ahead of us and loaded it up,” he described. “We also had a situation where we had equipment we purchased on a plane but it had to be unloaded because the plane didn’t get permission [to take off] due to the embargo.

“The whole world is looking after itself. Prices have risen four- and five-fold and the world has closed down.”

However, Het said he was confident his organization would meet the set goal of acquiring 7,000 ventilators.

“Uvda” cited senior officials as saying that by the coming weekend, Israel would manage to acquire another 1.5 million N95 protective masks necessary for medical staff, 700,000 surgical masks, 2 million protective overalls and protective glasses, 50,000 coronavirus medicines and, most importantly, 180 ventilators.

The report also said Israel had recently obtained essential information needed for local manufacturing of ventilators, via a complex operation.

Het said Israel’s goal was not to be dependent on anyone else, and Yaniv Rotem, head of the research and development department in the Defense Ministry, said the goal was to produce hundreds of ventilators a week.

“The first dozens of ventilators will be manufactured this week, and it will increase over time,” said Het. “That won’t be the bottleneck.”

He said that unlike three or four days ago, he was now confident that Israel would weather the crisis much better than Italy, Spain and the United States, and that there will be no shortage of equipment.

As of Wednesday morning there were 5,591 diagnosed cases of COVID-19 in Israel. Twenty-one people have died of the disease and 97 are in serious condition, including 76 who are hooked up to ventilators, according to Health Ministry figures.

According to a report prepared last week for the Knesset’s Special Committee on Dealing With the Coronavirus, there were at most 1,437 ventilators in the country still available to treat patients. The Health Ministry disputed that figure, saying there were 2,864 available ventilators.

Last week the Mossad brought 400,000 coronavirus test kits to Israel from an undisclosed foreign location, the Prime Minister’s Office said at the time. The shipment came a week after the agency had obtained 100,000 testing kits.

The PMO, which is responsible for the Mossad, said the intelligence service had imported the chemical reagents needed to perform approximately 400,000 tests. The swabs needed to carry out the task are being sourced both internally and from a number of foreign countries.

The PMO refused to comment further on the matter, specifically on the country or countries that sold it the testing components, leading many to assume that it was a country that does not have strong or formal ties with Israel.

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Pitch Black 2020 planning still ongoing JASDF F-2s expected to make exercise debut

Australia is still planning to hold exercise Pitch Black at RAAF Darwin in July, Australian Defence reports.

Japan wants its next fighter to carry more missiles than F-35

Japan’s defense minister Taro Kono told reporters on Mar. 27 that his ministry will decide on the development of the successor to the F-2 fighter by end of this year.

Upgraded C-HGB and new booster for next hypersonic test

The U.S. military intends to test an upgrade common hypersonic glide body (C-HGB) paired with a new booster for future hypersonic tests.

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Bell 360, Raider X selected for FARA

The Future Attack Reconnaissance Aircraft (FARA) program office has downselected the Lockheed Martin Raider X and Bell 360 Invictus for the next prototype stage.

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India Orders >16,000 Israeli Negev Light Machineguns

In the latest in a slew of infantry firearms purchases for the Indian Army, the Indian MoD today signed a $118 million deal with Israel Weapon Industries (IWI) for 16,479 NEGEV NG7 7.62mm light machineguns (LMG). The order is a little less than half of a total requirement for 40,000 LMGs. Today’s order is the single largest order for LMGs, and adds to smaller numbers of Negev 7.62x45mm LMGs already in service. The NG7 was introduced in 2012.

While it isn’t clear just yet, some of the Negevs could potentially be manufactured in Madhya Pradesh, India by a joint venture of the Adani Group and Israel’s IWI, though the MoD contract awarded today is to IWI alone.

In a statement today, the Indian MoD said, “The Indian Armed Forces’ long-standing requirement of a modern state-of-the-art Light Machine Gun (LMG) has finally fructified. The Acquisition Wing of Ministry of Defence has signed the capital acquisition contract with Israel Weapons Industries for procurement of 16,479 LMGs at a cost of Rs 880 crore with the approval of Raksha Mantri Shri Rajnath Singh. “

Today’s LMG contract comes a year after the Indian government contracted for over 72,000 SIG716 assault rifles (first pictures from deliveries here) from U.S. firm Sig Sauer Inc., and ahead of an expected contract for over 90,000 CAR816 battle carbines from UAE firm Caracal, and 650,000 AK-203 assault rifles from an Indo-Russian Make in India joint venture. The two latter contracts are expected to be signed this year. The LMG deal today is part of a concerted drive since 2016 to end piecemeal procurements of firearms, and give infantry units the basic weaponry they need. The LMG requirement has meandered for years. Deliveries of the new Negevs are expected from the end of this year.

Damen Completes Combat Systems Installation and Trials on KRI Gusti Ngurah Rai (332)

Damen Shipyards Group and its partner PT PAL recently completed installation and testing of combat systems to the second of the Indonesian Ministry of Defence’s SIGMA 10514 Perusak Kawal Rudal (PKR) guided missile frigates, the KRI Gusti Ngurah Rai (332).

The PKR frigates are constructed via a modular process operating simultaneously at Damen Schelde Naval Shipbuilding (DSNS) in the Netherlands and the PT PAL shipyard in Indonesia. In this manner, Damen is able to build high quality vessels anywhere in the world. This method also enables Damen to fulfil its commitment to the Indonesian Ministry of Defence to deliver an extensive knowledge and transfer of technology (ToT) programme.

A significant part of this transfer programme is the installation of combat systems along with provision of training to the crew in their usage and maintenance.

Hein van Ameijden, managing director of DSNS, said, “From the outset of this project DSNS and our partner Thales Netherlands have been fully committed to the development of the Indonesian defence industry and its supporting sectors. This commitment is demonstrated with a series of ToT and local content programmes starting in 2013 when project execution commenced.

“For example, DSNS has trained and educated more than 328 yard personnel, including welders, planners and engineers, during the project. Thales Netherlands has contributed by subcontracting local industry for software development, providing support, ultimately, for Indonesia to develop an indigenous combat management system.”

The combat systems installed and tested include the following:

-VL MICA for defence from airborne threats
-Exocet for defence from offensive targets at greater distance
-Torpedo system for protection against submarine threat
-35mm rapid-fire cannon to respond to threats from both air and sea
-Electronic detection system to divert enemy attacks with electromagnetic redirection
-Modification of the computer operated operational system in order to operate the above

The final phase prior to handover was successfully completed on February 21st with sea-going trials – the sea acceptance test (SAT). The purpose of this was to demonstrate that installations throughout the entire chain of weapons systems meet desired efficiency and accuracy.

“All our prior efforts paid off. Already at the start of the tests it was clear that installation had been carried out with great precision during construction and that preparatory alignment activities and agreements had been carefully followed. The second PKR vessel achieved similar results to the first one. This demonstrates that the complete concept implemented in the SIGMA PKR Class can be considered reliable and robust”, concluded Mr Van Ameijden.

India to start taking delivery of 4 more P-8Is from May

The Indian Navy had exercise its option for the four aircraft as part of its purchase for 8 P-8Is.

Delivery of the new aircraft is expected to be completed by 2022.

BRP Gabriela Silang Resumes Voyage to Philippines

The Philippine Coast Guard (PCG)’s 83.6-meter Offshore Patrol Vessel (OPV) BRP Gabriela Silang has resumed its voyage to Philippines. This is after a stop in Malta to provide ready assistance for Filipinos who want to be repatriated from the Middle East.

MaxDefense Philippines said it “received confirmation from several community members that the Philippine Coast Guard’s new offshore patrol vessel, the BRP Gabriela Silang (OPV-8301) has already passed through the Suez Canal and is en route to Colombo, Sri Lanka for a technical stop and goodwill visit.”

“It is expected that the ship would be home in 2 weeks time,” MaxDefense added.

BRP Gabriela Silang officially left France, where it was built, December 30, however, PCG said that it “docked at the Malta Freeport to conduct ferry missions to Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) in the Middle East who may need immediate extrication.”

PCG said that BRP Gabriela Silang is considered as the largest and most advanced aluminum hull OPV in the world to date, the BRP Gabriela Silang is designed to meet the demanding mandate of the PCG which highlights the responsibility to perform maritime search and rescue in service to the nation.

“The OPV can ferry approximately 500 people at one time and is more than capable to perform beyond its contractual specification of 20 knots of speed. It has a range of 8000 nautical miles at 15 knots and an endurance of up to five weeks of operation. It has an excellent sea keeping ability and maneuverability on top of the great comfort it offers for people onboard,” it noted.

Russia Rebuts Claims that Indonesia has Dropped Su-35 Fighter Procurement Plans

The Indonesian Air Force's (Tentara Nasional Indonesia-Angkatan Udara: TNI-AU's) planned procurement of Sukhoi Su-35 'Flanker-E' multirole combat aircraft from Russia is still "active", Dmitry Shugayev, the director of Russia's Federal Service for Military-Technical Cooperation (FSVTS), said on 16 March, denying media reports that Jakarta, under US pressure, has dropped a deal to buy 11 of the Russian-made fighters.

"There is no official cancellation of the [Indonesian] order [for the Su-35s]," Shugayev told the Russia 24 news channel. "We haven't received any papers regarding the issue and haven't been told about it."

Shugayev said Indonesia is still interested in acquiring the Su-35s, adding, "We hope that the contract will be implemented." No further details were provided.

Bloomberg had quoted an unnamed official "familiar with the matter" on 12 March as saying that Jakarta had recently decided against moving ahead with the plan to procure the 11 fighter aircraft for about USD1.1 billion.

The official was also quoted as saying that, as recently as February, Washington had also pressured Indonesia into walking away from talks with China to procure several naval patrol vessels for about USD200 million, adding that the moves "illustrate how the US is having some success - at times by using financial and economic levers - in deterring countries from dealing with Russia and China, which the [Donald] Trump administration has identified as the biggest threats to US national security".

Jane's reported in November 2019 that Indonesia's procurement of the Su-35s had stalled due to several factors, including the Indonesian presidential election held in April of that year, funding and countertrade issues, and concerns in Jakarta about US legislation - notably the Countering America's Adversaries Through Sanctions Act (CAATSA) - under which Washington seeks to penalise defence customers of Russia.

Indonesia to Upgrade Exocet Missile System on KRI Usman-Harun

The TNI-AL plans upgrade the Exocet MM40 anti-ship the missiles on its KRI Usman-Harun  multirole light frigate to the Block 3 variant (photo : NavalNews)

The Indonesian Navy (Tentara Nasional Indonesia – Angkatan Laut: TNI-AL) plans to upgrade the Exocet MM40 Block 2 anti-ship missiles on its KRI Usman-Harun (pennant number 359) multirole corvette/light frigate once the vessel’s mission systems are modernised.

Speaking to Jane’s on 18 March on condition of anonymity, two industry sources said the MBDA missiles will be upgraded to the longer-range Block 3 variant, adding that the vessel will also be equipped with MBDA’s VL (vertical launch) MICA short-range surface-to-air missiles. According to Jane’s Fighting Ships, Usman-Harun is already capable of firing the VL MICA but has yet to be armed with the weapon.

The revelation comes after Thales and PT Len Industri signed a contract on 10 March to modernise the mission systems on the warship, which entered service in August 2014 after being purchased from Brunei.

In a statement issued that same day Thales said that the upgrade work on the 95 m-long Bung Tomo-class frigate, which was formerly known as Bendahara Sakam, will include the installation of the TACTICOS combat management system, the SMART-S Mk2 air-and-surface surveillance radar, the STIR EO Mk2 radar and electro-optical fire-control system, and the Vigile Mk2 tactical multi-purpose R-ESM (radar - electronic support measures) system.

The upgrade work on Usman-Harun's mission systems is expected to be completed by the end of 2023 and will considerably extend the service life of the frigate, the company said at the time, pointing out that these new systems have already been installed on the TNI-AL’s Raden Eddy Martadinata (SIGMA 10514)-class frigates, thus “enabling consistency in operations for the navy”.

Modernisation of the two other corvettes of the class – KRI Bung Tomo (357) and KRI John Lie (358) – are expected to be funded once the USD60 million modernisation work on Usman Harun is completed, said the industry sources.

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Flight lead of Operation Neptune’s Spear revealed how he evaded missile lock from rogue Pakistan Air Force F-16 three times

It was just 30 seconds into the mission to kill Osama bin Laden in May 2011 when special operations Chinook pilot Chief Warrant Officer 5 Douglas Englen heard the call of “Black Hawk down” come over his radio.

Black Hawk 2′s pilot alerted Englen — the pilot in charge of the air operation that night — that Black Hawk-1 had just crashed inside the 9/11 mastermind’s Abbottabad compound.

Englen, the air component planner for Operation Neptune’s Spear, was pissed off.

His crew in Chinook-1 and another crew in Chinook-2 had been setting up a refuel site for the two Black Hawks, about 30 miles to the north. But his Chinook immediately went straight to the objective area, to pick up the ground force and the aircrew. Meanwhile, the other Chinook stayed at the refueling site.

“We just went into contingency mode,” said Englen, talking about the raid, and his life, for the first time in an exclusive interview with Military Times. “Didn’t know the severity — if it was crashed with casualties? If it crashed in civilian area? All we do is minimize our time and get there as quick as possible," Englen said.

Englen had studied the area around bin Laden’s compound for months. He knew exactly where everything was; he didn’t need a map. When he flew over Abbottabad, it felt as familiar as flying over his hometown of Clarksville, Tennessee.

He could see where the police lights were, where the commotion was happening. Blue police lights don’t show up in night vision goggles, so Englen looked under his goggles to see those blue lights.

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