This Weeks Top 10 Links

Interesting news and commentary from this week (or so)

ONE – Yodaville

The story of Yodaville, an urban targeting complex in the Nevada desert.

The UK just does not have the space for anything near this scale, Cope Hill Down looks rather meek in comparison but how does the UK get access to these large scale and realistic training areas?

We have seen a recent increase in usage of partner facilities, especially in France and of course there is always BATUS and BATUK in Canada and Kenya respectively but with the withdraw of forces from Germany is the Army going to face a critical shortage of ‘room to train’?


TWO – Abusing Service Personnel

Did anyone see this bit of opportunistic nonsense from the Labour Party

All well and good, but I surely some of the biggest abusers of service personnel are sitting on the leather benches where this was discussed?

Service personnel do not want to be treated like some strutting super class of people, just with the same dignity and respect as everyone else, the people they serve.

But then you read something like this

And you wonder what the f**k is wrong with this country


THREE – The Post Afghanistan Army

A good piece from Francis Tusa about how the drawdown from Afghanistan can be turned to the Army’s advantage.

As we know from the recent defence equipment plan, nothing that has been purchased as a UOR for use in Afghanistan has been considered in the budgetary assumptions for Future Force 2020 and Parliamentary answers repeatedly confirm that planning is ongoing and not a great deal has been decided in regards to what kit is coming home, what is being left for the Afghanistan government and what will be used to pay our way through the northern ‘little stans’ corridor.


FOUR – Naval Mine Warfare

Bring the Heat on naval mines, a good reminder of just how effective they can be.

The Royal Navy continues to maintain a serious and credible MCM capability, evidenced off Libya and currently in the Gulf but in the future world of ever constricting budgets, increasing costs and competing priorities, will this pre-eminence continue?


FIVE – 1982 Part 2

Bring the Heat, again, on fighting another 1982.

Be kind


SIX – Dutch Fire Support

This isn’t strictly a UK related story but interesting nonetheless

It describes how the Dutch have stood up a Fire Support Command that combines their Panzerhaubitze (PzH) 2000NL 155 mm armoured self propelled guns with six 120 mm mortars.

What struck me about the article was the section on manpower differences between this and previous artillery batteries, the new having just over half that of the previous artillery battery.

That is a serious cost saving but at what cost, is the word ‘Fire Support’  meaningful in this context.

The French Army also operate a similar structure with their 120mm mortars and Caesar 155mm self propelled guns.


SEVEN – Are Submarines Really That Special?

Sven on the continuing love fest for submarines

Some interesting and thoughtful comment there, the RN (I still think rightly) sees the Astute class SSN as a key capability but there is no doubt they are expensive so this is worth a read.


EIGHT – Video Codecs

Bandwidth constrained data connections are probably the main barrier to an even greater (if that is possible) use of real time video sharing

H.265 is a new video codec that is designed to deliver 4K HD down 20-30 Mbps connections by cutting in half the data rate for video. It also means that lower quality video can be carried by lower bandwidth links using the proposed H.265 High Efficiency Video Coding system.

Expect in military systems soon



NINE – Batteries

Whether you are an infantry soldier lugging BOWMAN, ECM and assorted other batteries in Afghanistan or the pilot of a Boeing 787 Dreamliner the technology of batteries is of some interest.

This article from provides a great background on the world of batteries.

As a couple of our commenters have noted, the technology used in the 787 is the same as that used in the F-35 Lightning II



TEN – Tempest

A few months ago I wrote a long post on counter IED/Mine technology through the decades, especially as applied to the British Armed Forces.

In that post I looked at the Supacat Tempest vehicle

Like all MoD vehicles that are past their sell by date they end up at Withams, the specialist vehicle disposal agent.

They even have a video, if you like metal





As you can see, this is a slight change in format from the usual simple listing of links.

If you see what Chris does over at Defence with a C you should see some similarity, he does a similar thing, throws up some links but offers a bit of comment to them as well.

Its a great format, so Chris, consider this a thanks

And blatant rip off :)

Go 49’ers (did they win by the way)





This Weeks Top 10 Links

by Think Defence time to read: 4 min