News Highlights – 1 Feb 11

  • F-35 Tug of War (1)Defence Minister Peter MacKay says F-35 aerial refueling problem not a problem“…. the F-35 will have refuelling capability and capacity. Lockheed Martin, the manufacturer of the plane, has confirmed that the F-35 can handle different types of refuelling systems, including the one currently used by our forces ….”
  • F-35 Tug of War (2): “…. Maj.-Gen. Tom Lawson, assistant chief of the air staff, told CBC News in Mississauga, Ont., that he wants to “de-lie” many myths floating around about the F-35s. “It’s important to us that Canadians have the facts,” Lawson said. “Landing on airports up in the North is absolutely no problem at all.” The Ottawa Citizen report also said DND officials were looking at having the F-35 manufacturer, Lockheed Martin, install a “drag” parachute on the aircraft to slow them down when they land on short runways ….”
  • CF Media Update from Afghanistan (1): Troops handing out shoes, warm clothes to Afghan kids. “Could you imagine living in a house with no electricity, no sewage an no heating systems? For some of us, this isn’t so difficult as some people in Quebec experienced these conditions only a few decades ago. Now imagine that the walls of your house are of dried mud and the floor is nothing but sand. In winter, you’re lucky because the days are comfortable, with temperatures hovering between 10 and 15 degrees Celsius above freezing. when the sun goes down, the country’s desert climate makes itself felt. In fact, temperatures can dip to as low as minus 10 degrees Celsius at night. While this might not compare to a Canadian winter, it’s challenging for the Afghan people, who have few resources at their disposal ….”
  • CF Media Update from Afghanistan (2)What the troops are up to in Zangabad“The guys of A Company — TAZ — were well aware that it wasn’t going to be a piece of cake. They first set foot in their future platoon house in early December, making it a night move for greater security. Under normal conditions, a soldier on foot patrol carries 40 to 75 pounds on his back — water, ammunition, personal protective equipment. On this particular night, the guys loaded up with all the ammo, food, equipment and personal possessions they could carry. When they arrived, the ground was completely covered with 20 cm of dust as fine as flour, nasty stuff that goes by the over-poetic name of “moon dust.” The place also offered plenty of evidence of past use as a stable. Heaps of damp straw mixed with animal droppings lay all over the place. For the first few nights, the guys had to sleep on the ground, making do despite the unpleasantness of the situation ….”
  • CF Media Update from Afghanistan (3)More Afghan cops ready to hit the streets. “After six weeks of police and tactics training, 198 freshly minted Afghan policemen face the challenge of their new career. On 6 January 2011, the Regional Training Center Kandahar (RTC‑K) hosted the graduation ceremony for new members of the Afghan Uniformed Police (AUP), the primary civil law enforcement agency in Afghanistan and a component of the Afghan National Police (ANP). During the six-week AUP Basic Patrol Course, candidates learned fundamental skills ranging from handcuffing and defensive tactics to identifying improvised explosive devices and reacting to an ambush ….”
  • Taliban Propaganda Watch: Australian casualties alleged in Uruzgan, and +20 allegedly killed in Taliban attacks across Kandahar.
  • Search-and-rescue services in Newfoundland and Labrador will go under the microscope beginning Monday at public hearings by a federal committee. A parliamentary standing committee on national defence is holding the hearings in Gander, in central Newfoundland, part of a study into the Canadian military’s search-and-rescue services. Officials from the airport in Gander, where military search-and-rescue crews are based, and the town are scheduled to go before the committee on the first day of the hearings ….”