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Last week, the French Ministry of Defense announced that the Task Force (TF) Takuba in Mali has achieved initial operating capability (IOC) since July 15. TF Takuba is led by France and is to become a multinational force.

According to information from Paris, the Takuba task force serves as a "new example of strong cooperation between European countries". It will become the fifth tactical desert group (Groupement Tactique Désert (GTD)) in the regional counter-terrorism operation Barkhane. The GTDs also include components from the Logistics and Special Operation Forces (SOF) Air Groups.

France and Estonia are currently providing the forces. Vehicles are initially made available by the French contingent in Gao. Czech and Swedish soldiers are expected to join in the coming months. France plans to increase its contribution before the end of the year. On July 16, the Italian parliament also decided to involve up to 200 soldiers, 20 vehicles and eight aircraft in the mission. The Italian forces are to train, advise and accompany local special forces and provide them with further support, in particular helicopters and personnel for medical evacuation. On the mission, the contingent is to work closely with Mali and the G5 Sahel partners.

On March 27, 2020, the governments of Belgium, Denmark, Germany, Estonia, France, Mali, Niger, the Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Sweden, the Czech Republic and the United Kingdom adopted a political statement advocating the creation of a task Debate Force. In addition to the countries mentioned, Belgium, Denmark, the Netherlands and Portugal also pledged troops. Nothing has been heard from Germany since the declaration in March. In the region with MINUSMA, EUTM Mali, EUCAP Sahel Mali and EUCAP Sahel Niger are active further missions of the United Nations and the European Union.


England builds new command

A new British Royal Marines command unit is being built as part of the Future Commando Force. The Royal Navy (RN) now announced this. The new Vanguard Strike Company will consist of 150 Royal Marines and commandos from the British Army.

Maj. Gen. Matt Holmes, commander of the Royal Marines, envisages several highly-ready and networked sub-units that will be deployed or held around the world. They are said to have a range of highly developed capabilities and to be held as a forward contingent at the core of the Royal Navy's Littoral Response Groups. The commands will operate in small, diverse and globally deployable teams tailored to the mission. Her missions include combat operations, command operations and humanitarian aid.

The company is expected to be operational and fully equipped by mid-2021. Exercises are currently underway to familiarize personnel with the material and tactics. The new equipment includes a lighter, more tear-resistant, quick-drying and more breathable uniform from the manufacturer Crye Precision, unmanned mast 13 boats and an Android Tactical Assault Kit (ATAK) tablet system for situational awareness on the battlefield. The Maritime Autonomy Surface Testbed (MAST) -13 boat is 13 meters long and is designed to scout, locate and combat mines and other hazards, or protect ports and ships. It can be operated remotely or can operate autonomously. Manufacturer is L3Harris.

ATAK is an app for (hardened) Android smartphones or tablets that records the spatial infrastructure and the military situation awareness. The system enables precise target acquisition, the clarification of the surrounding land formation, situational awareness, navigation and data exchange. This Android app is part of the larger TAK product family. ATAK has a plug-in architecture that allows developers to add new features. It was developed by the U.S. Air Force's Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL).


Israel also with a new command unit

The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) began in January 2020 to set up a new “multi-dimensional unit” (multi-domain unit). The decision to deploy the unit is part of a broader conceptual change to the IDF to address future challenges, the Ministry of Defense statement said.

The new unit includes elements of infantry with special capabilities - forces of the Special Operation Forces (SOF), which are most comparable to the specialized forces of the German Army with Extended Basic Skills (SpezlKrH EGB) - as well as parts of armored forces, C4I, intelligence and Reconnaissance units and the Air Force. This enables the unit to react completely independently and quickly to threat scenarios. As a concrete example, the soldiers of the 35th Paratroopers Brigade, Commando Shaldag and Unit 669 belong to the new multidimensional unit. It is to be used primarily for educational purposes and as a fast, fully digitized unit at the forefront. Thanks to digitization, it should also be able to integrate the full potential of the F-35 fighter aircraft. Israel also wants to take account of the fact that the battlefield is becoming increasingly complex.

On July 12th the 7thth Wing of the Israeli Air Force now officially deployed. It is supposed to make the special forces even more powerful through the contraction in one unit, also thanks to an improved air superiority. One part is the “Forward Landing Unit”, which specializes in building ad hoc runways. In addition to the F-35, aircraft are also available as C-130HI, C-130J, CH-53, Blackhawks and drones. A new school is also to be set up that specifically meets the needs of this unit.

André Forkert