SLP 3333 – STANAG reading test

Reading comprehension test – level 3


Task One

You are going to read two texts. For questions 1 to 6 choose the answer (A, B or C), which fits best according to the texts.

 Text One

 Two More Fire Scouts for the U.S. Navy

 Northrop Grumman has sold two MQ-8B Fire Scout UAVs (Unmanned Aerial Vehicles) to the U.S. Navy, raising the service’s total orders for the rotary-wing UAV to nine. According to the manufacturer, the additional aircraft will assist the Navy in broadening the Fire Scout usage in naval operations. This work is scheduled to include evaluation flights and cargo test work.

Based on the Schweitzer 333 light civil helicopter, the Fire Scout is expected to find a home aboard the Navy’s new Littoral Combat Ship now in development. The aircraft is expected to reach operational capability in 2008. The MQ-8B Fire Scout variant made its initial flight in December and the most significant change to it has been the four blade rotor modification. This UAV is also characterized by greater endurance and can carry a larger cargo than the first-generation RQ-8A model.

Proposed missions for the MQ-8B Fire Scouts include the collection of real time video imagery and other forms of intelligence gathering, communications relay, precision targeting, and foremost, accurate battle damage assessment. Fire Scouts are being assembled at the Unmanned Systems Center in Moss Point, Miss. “The first successful flight testing was conducted in the same place, later however, they have proceeded at Webster Field, part of the Patuxent River Naval Air Station in Maryland. Systems work is underway in San Diego, Calf,” Northrop Grumman said.

1. The new equipment is needed to …

A.     widen the range of UAVs’ operations
B.     improve the UAVs’ loading capacity
C.     increase the UAVs’ air strike ability

2.      The MQ-8B will …

A.     help to upgrade the Schweitzer 333
B.     be soon replaced by the RQ-8A model
C.     operate from the Littoral Combat Ship

3.      MQ-8B further flight tests have been continued …

A.     in Moss Point
B.     at Webster Field
C.     in San Diego

 Text Two

 Afghan-Bound Harriers to Get Targeting Pods

 British Royal Air Force GR9 Harrier close-air-support aircraft destined for deployment to Afghanistan are to be fitted with new targeting pods following commanders’ urgent requests for a better way to strike Taliban fighters attacking NATO forces in the south. A data link on the pods will also transmit a bird’s eye view of the situation to troops on the ground.

An invitation to tender has been issued by the British Defence Procurement Agency (DPA) to Lockheed Martin and Israeli company Rafael for an Urgent Operational Requirement (UOR). The tender is for a small number of pods to replace an older British system. The first Harrier GR9s, updated versions of GR7, entered service in October and are poised to deploy to the NATO airbase at Kandahar. The British recently awarded an uncontested UOR to Rafael and its U.K. partner Ultra Electronics to fit their Litening pod to Tornado strike aircraft. The DPA defends its decision to run a competition this time, saying it was “normal defence policy” to do so.

“For the Tornado UOR, we chose the lowest risk option that offered the best value for money in the shortest possible timescale. Moreover, the integration of the Litening III on Tornado was well advanced and this stood in its favor in addition to other value-for-money considerations. In the case of the Harrier, an open competition is more feasible as such integration work has not taken place yet.”

4.      The military leaders need the new pods mainly to …

A.     detect the positions of the Taliban
B.     improve the effectiveness of attacks
C.     send images from air to the land forces

5.      The Defence Procurement Agency …

A.     decided to ask for offers for new pods for the Harriers
B.     chose the manufacturer to fit the Harriers with the pods
C.     accepted Rafael’s offer to produce the Harrier new pods

6.      An open competition has been chosen for the Harrier GR9s because of …

A.     a relatively short timescale
B.     lack of integration process
C.     a limited amount of money

Task Two

You are going to read an interview with Brig. Gen. Ahmad Sarhan Al-Faqeeh, the Commander of Royal Jordanian Special Operations (RJSO). Choose from questions A to H the one which you think fits best each paragraph 7 to 13. There is an extra question which you do not need to use.

7. _____        We all know that Special Operations units must be able to reach areas of operations very quickly with enough firepower to fulfill the sought task. So, increasing the qualitative edge of Special Operations troops as well as maintaining a good level of effective mobility and firepower for RJSO battalions have been my main efforts.

8. _____        The last batch we received were the South African Ratel 20 armored fighting vehicles. We have also received disposable Russian-made rocket propelled grenades, the RPG-26, plus U.S.-built night-vision goggles for the troops. And that’s it for the time being.

9. _____        The deal was canceled recently after the manufacturing company went under and was no longer capable of meeting the contract’s conditions. Now, we are looking for a good self-propelled 120mm mortar gun suitable for special operations missions.

10. _____    As the commander of RJSO, I highly value their importance. Nothing helps more to exchange experiences with other regional and international forces. We have trained with U.S. as well as European forces plus Arab forces. They were all successful and productive events.

11. _____    Yes. They have been a primary function of RJSO over the past decade. We have troops serving with the U.N in Eritrea, Haiti and Montenegro; and we will be deploying troops soon to the Ivory Coast. Serving under U.N. auspices provides Jordan with the opportunity to help enforce peace and stability worldwide.

12. _____    The growing threat of global terrorism will only increase the importance of special operations forces. The terrorist threat requires the constant presence of highly mobile and well-trained reaction forces to keep the threat subdued. The challenges also require close collaboration and intelligence sharing between the nations in the fight against global terrorism.

13. _____    Luckily, for the time being Jordan has friendly relations with all its neighbors and therefore its armed forces, including RJSO, are for national defense and for maintaining regional peace and stability. But there is always fear that the unstable situation in some of Jordan’s neighboring states will make maintaining internal security more difficult.

A.     What security challenges face RJSO (Royal Jordanian Special Operations) forces in the future?
B.     How do you see the future role of special operations in the world’s armies?
C.     Does RJSO have any troops on peacekeeping missions at the moment?
D.     Will Jordan’s Special Operations Forces continue training for other nations’ troops?
E.     What are your goals as RJSO commander?
F.      Are you expecting delivery of any vehicles or weapons soon?
G.    What about the MOBAT howitzer guns ordered a couple of years ago?
H.    Has RJSO been involved in recent joint exercises with foreign forces?

Task Three

You are going to read a newspaper article. For questions 14 to 20, choose the answer (A, B, C or D), which fits best according to the text.

 We Might ‘Win,’ But Still Lose

 Everyone seems certain that George W. Bush’s new plan for Iraq is bound to fail. But I am not so sure. At a military level, the strategy could well produce some successes. American forces have won every battle they have fought in Iraq. Having more troops and a new mission to secure whole neighbourhoods is a good idea – better late than never. But the crucial question is, will military progress lead to political progress? That logic, at the heart of the president’s new strategy, strikes me as highly doubtful.

Administration officials have pointed to last week’s fighting against Sunni insurgents in Baghdad as a textbook example of the new strategy. Iraqi forces took the lead, American troops backed them up and the government did not put up any obstacles. The battle looked like a successful test of unified American-Iraqi effort. But did it? A member of an American advisory team, who took part in the fighting, reports that no more than twenty-four hours after the battle on January 6, the brigade’s Sunni commander, Gen. Razzak Hamza, was relieved of his command. The phone call to fire him came directly from the office of Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki, a Shiite. Lt. Col. Steven Duke, commander of a U.S. advisory team working with the Iraqis, describes Hamza as “a true patriot who would go after the bad guys on either side.” Hamza was replaced by a Shiite.

Joint operations against Shiite militias are far less likely, and not only because of political interference from the top. Groups like Moqtada al-Sadr’s Mahdi Army don’t generally start fights with the Americans or attack Iraqi forces. Their goals are different, quieter. Another U.S. advisor, Maj. Mark Brady, confirms reports that the Mahdi Army has been continuing to take over Sunni neighbourhoods, terrorizing and forcing people out of their homes. “They’re slowly moving across the river,” he said, from predominantly Shiite eastern Baghdad into the predominantly Sunni west with a view to controlling the whole city. If the 20,000 additional American troops being sent to the Iraqi capital focus primarily on Sunni insurgents, there is a chance the Shiite militias might get bolder.

So what will happen if Bush’s new plan “succeeds” militarily? Sunnis will become more insecure as their militias are dismantled. Shiite militias will lower their profile on the streets and remain settled securely within the Iraqi Army and police. That will surely make Sunnis less likely to support the new Iraq. Shiite political leaders, on the other hand, will be emboldened. They refused to make any compromises – on federalism, de-Baathification, oil revenues and jobs – in 2003 when the United States was dominant, in 2005 when the insurgency was raging, and in 2006 when they took over the government fully. Why would the Shiites do so as they gain the upper hand militarily?

U.S. administration officials claim that this time things are different. The Maliki government, and the Shiite leadership more generally, understand that they must crack down on militias and compromise with the Sunnis. Why? In the words of one senior U.S. official because Shiite political leadership understand they no longer have “unquestioning American support, especially from Capitol Hill.” This suggests that the administration has finally understood that Bush’s unrestricted policy for the Iraqi government has proved totally counterproductive. The one action that might be forcing the Iraqi leadership to make some compromises has been the threat that Congress would force a withdrawal of American support.

Over the past years, the dominant flaw in the Bush administration’s handling of Iraq is that it has driven the country’s several communities apart. Every seemingly neutral action – holding elections, firing Baathists from the bureaucracy, building up an Iraqi military and police force – has had sectarian consequences. The greatest danger of Bush’s new strategy, then, isn’t that it won’t work but that it will – and thereby push the country one step further along the road to all-out civil war. Only sustained pressure on the Maliki government – unlike anything Bush has been willing to do yet – has any chance of averting this outcome.

Otherwise, American interests and ideals will both be in jeopardy. Al Qaeda in Iraq – the one true national-security threat we face from that country – will gain Sunni support. In addition, as American officers like Duke and Brady have noted, our ideals will be tarnished. The U.S. Army will be witnessing the largest program of ethnic cleansing since Bosnia. Is that the model Bush wanted for the Middle East?

14.  In the writer’s opinion, Bush’s new strategy for Iraq …

A.     will become a military failure
B.     may be politically unsuccessful
C.     will lead to political progress
D.     may threaten security in the region

15.  The event after the Baghdad battle showed that …

A.     the Sunnis and the Shiites act together
B.     the Sunnis are distrusted by the U.S.
C.     the Iraqis are far from getting united
D.     the American new strategy really works

16.  The Shiite militias want to …

A.     oppose the United States’ forces
B.     influence the Iraqi government
C.     remove the Sunnis from Baghdad
D.     weaken the Iraqi military forces

17.  According to the author, Bush’s potential military success will …

A.     stop Iraqi government’s help for the Sunnis
B.     make Shiite leaders more uncompromising
C.     make the Shiites hostile towards America
D.     strengthen the forces of the Sunni militias

18.  The American administration now believes that …

A.     they should withdraw their support for the Sunnis
B.     the Iraqis should be allowed to act on their own
C.     Bush’s policy towards the Iraqis was too tough
D.     the Iraqi leaders fear the withdrawal of U.S. help

19.  If Bush’s strategy in Iraq works, …

A.     the Iraqi military will become strong again
B.     the pressure on Iraq’s leaders will be greater
C.     the divisions in Iraq will be even deeper
D.     a civil war will be prevented in this country

20.  According to the author, the main threat of Bush’s strategy to America is that …

A.     the States will be weakened militarily
B.     Al Qaeda will gain new followers
C.     human rights will be violated in Iraq
D.     U.S. interests in Asia will be undermined


Answer key

1)A    2)C    3)B    4)B    5)A    6)B    7)E    8)F    9)G    10)H    11)C    12)B    13)A    14)B    15)C     16)C     17)B     18)D    19)C    20)B