The Close Combat Symposium (CCS) 23 programme at the Defence Academy of the United Kingdom and the Range Day at Cranfield Ordnance Test and Evaluation Centre (COTEC) on Salisbury Plain at Warminster was held from July 4 – 6th. With 27 exhibitors, twice that of last year, CCS continues to attract exhibitors (there is a waiting list) and visitors alike, given the quality of the Papers and the unique Range Day, where Exhibitors can show their products live and in a military environment.
This year there were 11 Firing Lanes, up from 6 last year.
Exhibitors included Beechwood, FNUK, Nammo, BAE Systems, MCL, Ultra, Oxley, KME, Qioptiq, SmartShooter, SigSauer, Anduril, Level Peaks, Edgar Brothers, Thermoteknix, Rheinmetall, Viking Arms, Accuracy International, Raytheon ELCAN, GMK, Heckler & Koch, Glenair, Cervus, DCA Training,
Close Combat Symposium Programme
The event was held over three days:
Army HQ Briefings on DCC/GM issues, included:
- AH GM Intro
- Army HQ dialogue on High Level Characteristics / SOR / procurement / programme
- Projects GRAYBURN & HUNTER update
- Battlegroup Level Effectors
- Soldier as a Platform’ – Soldier Works, including electronic architecture and DSA
Industry Presentations included:
- Jerome Bronckart, FN Herstal, Problem Solving at a Distance: FN Elity™ and FN VictoR®
- Stuart Lyle, Dstl, Urban Phalanx: A Contender for the Future British Army Infantry
- Dermot Rooney & Chris Tebb, Wapentakes, Making The Magic Bullet: How Two Blokes in a Shed Tried to Increase The Effectiveness of Small Arms Suppressive Fire.
- David Buckley, BAE Land Systems / Radway Green, Small Arms Munition Developments
- Andy Cooper, Nammo AS, Technology Developments / R&D Programmes
- Nick Copsey, Level Peaks, Military ‘Off the Shelf’ Solutions
- Paul Billings, Anduril, Software Systems for C-UAS
- Mark Emerton, Frazer Nash, From ‘Dull, Dirty, Dangerous’ to ‘Rapid, Ready, Reconfigurable’; a new paradigm for BG organic RAS
- Chris Foers, MBDA, Close Combat Use of Beyond Line of Sight Weapons
- Capt William Shepherd USN (Retd), Stevens Institute Hoboken NJ USA, Going “Out of the Box” – “Geeks” Developing Unusual Prototypes for Small Military Units
Range Day at Cranfield Ordnance Test Evaluation Centre (COTEC) on Salisbury Plain.
- James White, Shield Sights Ltd, Individual Small Arms Sighting Systems
- Christoph Beplate-Haarstrich, Rheinmetall, Squad Support Weapon
- Gary Leach, Maxard Systems, FLYKMK2 & STEED
- Ray Yu, Thales Group, The Application of Integrated Weapon Operation for the Forward Projection of Scalable Collaborative Lethality
- Chris Reimer, Raytheon ELCAN, Optical Revolution in the Connected Battlespace
- Zara Gibson, Thales IAS, Remote Uncrewed Weapon Systems
- Karin Stegmark, SAAB, Signature Management
- Dan O’Shea, Small Arms Journal, Small Arms 2023
- Dr Aimee Helliker, Cranfield University, PhD Presentations
- Graham Birchall, Beth-EI Industries (UK) Ltd, Will the British Army Adopt the EU Interpretation of Health and Safety Standards for AFV’s, or Not?
- Maj Steven Harris, Defence Munitions Kineton, EOD Disruptors and non-Newtonian Fluid Use as Part of Active Protection Systems.
- David Brook, Defence Safety Authority (DSA), The Introduction of Certification for Defence OME and What it Means to the Wider Community.
UK Generic Soldier Architecture: the present and the future
The UK Army has stated that the future soldier will be fully transformed, embracing and exploiting the digital age over the next few years. TommyWorks is a newly formed team establishing itself as the Integrated Soldier System platform authority, conducting systems integration of equipment and capability integration across the Defence Lines of Developments. TommyWorks now has the responsibility of developing, integrating and fielding the Integrated Soldier System and longer term the 24hour Integrated Digital Soldier. Ultimately the aim is to improve and expedite the integration of new technologies onto soldiers for the express purpose of improving their effectiveness. A critical enabler to TommyWorks and the MoD realising the Future Force is through embracing an Open Architecture approach, specifically the UK’s mandated Generic Soldier Architecture (GSA). GSA was developed in 2012 to ensure open, modular and scalable soldier equipment is procured and integrated with minimum configuration and re-work. The underpinning principles to the GSA approach being:
Modular in design
Treating the soldier as a system with a modular construct, designed in a way that modules have precisely defined and public owned interfaces.
Providing the ability to scale up and scale down integrated equipment and functionality, notably for integrated power and data network infrastructure.
Free from restrictions of use and based on Open Standards
Being vendor agnostic and having the ability for a third party to integrate new components or functions into an existing system, realised through the use of existing, open and enduring standards.
Over the last two years with strong collaboration from Industry experts, the UK has been developing the GSA approach and has updated and published Defence Standard 23-012 ‘Generic Soldier Architecture’. Several areas of GSA have been developed, however the most fundamental changes have been in connectors, Human Factors Integration (HFI) and the scope and boundary of the architecture.
GSA now defines a soldier’s data connector as the NATO 4695 (Nett Warrior PAN pin assignment) and the power connector as the STANAG 4695 connector. The previous scope of the architecture received criticism over its boundary and its logical view of the Dismounted Soldier. GSA is focused on the personal soldier domain for an Integrated Soldier System, with the architecture specifying ‘intra’ soldier requirements. The Integrated Soldier System has three main sub-systems, the Torso, Helmet and Weapon, all of which have the power, data and physical interfaces defined with open standards. With there being a lack of centralised guidance on the processes for Human Factors Integration for soldier-worn equipment, GSA now contains this guidance to equipment designers and is available on the Land Open Systems Portal. Over the last few months a GSA site has been added to the portal and is being used as the place for collaboration and a repository for soldier-based research related to GSA.
With the change of pace in technologies and equipment for soldiers, it has been widely accepted that GSA must continue to evolve to meet the needs of the future soldier. The integration challenges with the soldier have been well recognised and documented, with many nations encountering similar integration issues. Over the next few years the UK will be focusing on developing GSA and the Defence Standard in the following areas:
Soldier Data Network
Arguably the most challenging area for the UK to address is the soldier’s personal data network. A critical layer in the network stack is the middleware, the unsung hero in an integrated soldier’s software architecture. Whilst GSA has stated its intention for middleware, ongoing studies and implementations continue to be the focus before an open middleware standard can be selected from four down selected options (DDS, Lean Services Architecture, MQTT and ZeroMQ). The aim is to complete this work in 2021 and select one of the above middlewares for GSA. The digital soldier not only needs GSA to define a middleware, over the next year the soldiers network stack will be standardised, with each different layer being defined with an open standard/protocol. USB 2 is specified in the latest Defence Standard, however recognising that over the next few years when connector technologies mature and become widely available the UK will transition from USB 2 to USB 3.2/4.
Wired and Wireless
Wireless technology is seen as the future by many, with the dreaded cable management strengthening the wireless argument as more equipment gets integrated on the soldier. Whilst GSA still mandates wired solutions, it is accepted there is now a need for wireless technologies to be more fully understood and for the architecture to be flexible and enable both a wired and wireless soldier solution. With there still being concerns around security and safety of soldier wireless technologies, these will be areas of focus.
Dismounted soldiers still require the ability to seamlessly integrate into military vehicles, especially the next generation of digital vehicles. Understanding the interface touch points to ensure power and data interoperability between the soldiers and vehicles remains a challenge but one that is firmly within our sights. With the emergence of Robotics & Autonomous Systems (RAS) in the land environment, specifically unmanned ground vehicles and nano unmanned air systems, further work is needed to understand the information exchange requirements with soldiers and how the soldier’s architecture should support this. Over the next few years as RAS experimentation continues to mature, ensuring the soldier is at the forefront of decision making must be a priority.
The long-term future vision for GSA is clear, enable the transformation of the soldier into the 24hr Integrated Digital Soldier through the implementation of open architecture. This vision has the key focus on weight reduction for the soldier as an overarching key principle to the architecting decision process. There are no illusions against the challenge that faces the MoD to realise this vision. It remains heavily dependent on maintaining a good working relationship with industry, maturing our knowledge through scientific research and real-life experimentation.
British Army experiments with Dstl study on urban combat
The British Army’s Experimentation and Trials Group (ETG) have been testing improving future urban operations using a new experimental force concept.
Soldiers from 2nd Battalion The Yorkshire Regiment on Operation CONVERGENCE 22
The study called Urban Phalanx, involves a number of concepts for achieving small unit dominance in future urban combat for dismounted light forces. The specific focus was on ways to improve urban combat effectiveness through changes in structures and lethality. These areas were developed in collaboration with Army and Royal Marines urban combat experts, as well as the US Marine Corps’ Warfighting Laboratory, and they performed very well during Dstl-led testing and simulation. The results then fed into British Army decision making.
The Army’s new experimentation battalion, 2nd Battalion The Yorkshire Regiment, have now been restructured around this concept and were deployed as the Next Generation Combat Team (NGCT) on both Project CONVERGENCE 22 and Exercise CERBERUS 22 to further develop it. The next step in this evolution is deployment onto Exercise WESSEX STORM 1/23 to test a new company Order of Battle (ORBAT) and increased lethality at the company level.
Dstl’s urban operations research lead and designer of the Urban Phalanx, Stuart Lyle, said: “Due to the complexity of urban terrain, urban combat quickly devolves into multiple, dislocated small unit battles fought at very close quarters, sometimes even between parts of the same building. The short engagement ranges and urban clutter also reduce the ability to employ supporting firepower assets, like mortars and artillery. This puts much greater emphasis on the performance of junior leaders and individual soldiers in deciding the outcome of an urban operation than in more rural combat. The complexity of the terrain and the proximity of the enemy also places a greater burden on junior commanders to act as information sources for higher commanders, adding greater demands on these individuals. Therefore, the key aims of the Phalanx Platoon concept are to reduce cognitive load on junior commanders while enhancing their ability to defeat threats with their own assets. The NGCT that ETG are experimenting with is based around 2 Phalanx Platoons and a Manoeuvre Support Group. The Phalanx Platoon is built of 3 sections of 10 personnel, an anti-armour/anti-structure capability, a platoon systems operator, a platoon commander and a platoon sergeant.”
The new section consists of 2 4-person fire teams and an independent command element comprising section commander and a section systems operator. This command element was shown to increase the situational awareness of the section, through the employment of drones and intelligence kit, while reducing the cognitive burden on the section commander.
The systems operator is also removed from the fire teams to focus on controlling the small uncrewed air systems (UAS) and updating the Dismounted Situational Awareness (DSA) system, providing greater situational awareness to both the section commander and platoon headquarters.
Each Phalanx Platoon has a shoulder-launched rocket team, armed with a Carl-Gustaf weapon system. This enables a rapid, multi-shot capability that can utilise different warheads dependent on the mission and does not require a specialist user to operate in the same way that Javelin does. By having this capability independent of the sections, it allows a more effective employment of these capabilities while reducing the load on the sections in both weight and cognitive burden.
The Manoeuvre Support Group consists of assets that would traditionally be found in a support company, increasing the lethality options immediately available to a company commander. The entire company will be mounted in light mobility vehicles, to offer enhanced mobility but not a platform to fight from. The Manoeuvre Support Group also has 3 Javelin detachments to provide specialist anti-tank capability at the company level, with a greater range than that offered by the Carl-Gustaf Sensor Decider Effector (SDE) Teams and Indirect Fires. The Manoeuvre Support Group has 2 SDE Teams consisting of a Patrol Commander, Systems Operator/Mortar Fire Controller and a driver who also provides security. The company is assigned 2 81mm mortar barrels as integral indirect fires assets. The SDE Teams will operate in the same way as a Fire Planning Cell at Battlegroup HQ level but is focussed on the assets integral to the company. The company also benefits from a MEP WOLFRAM, a Coyote vehicle fitted with a modular Brimstone missile launcher, to enable precision long range fires, as well as simulated Loitering Munitions, at Platoon and Company level.
Lessons learnt on Ex WESSEX STORM 1/23 will be taken forward and further refined on the ETG Live Firing Exercise (LIVEX), as well as the next Project CONVERGENCE event.
Project WAVELL – Upgrade, Update, Upkeep was the message from the British Army
Project WAVELL will determine from first principles – grounded in adversary and real-world considerations – how the British Army offers most significant value to Defence and its allies against the challenges we will likely face over the next decade.
WAVELL will produce a revised foundational concept, which will explore how the Army of 2035 can make the most telling contribution in deterring adversary aggression and, when necessary, warfighting; fostering stability; ‘sub-threshold competition’ and protecting the homeland – in short, how we fight and how we operate.
This ‘theory of victory’ for UK land power will be fit for the age of autonomous machines, artificial intelligence, ubiquitous digital connectivity and abundant information; one that is capable of meeting the challenges presented by competing states both above and below the threshold of conflict, and by ever more sophisticated violent extremists.
WAVELL will define how the Army best helps the nation win in competition and conflict, operating at the heart of an integrated, joint, coalition and multi-domain effort. The resulting foundational concept will drive the design of the Future Force (i.e. the Army of the 2030s). As importantly, it will also inform the implementation of Future Soldier, and its subsequent iterative optimisation during the remainder of the 2020s.
The aim of Project WAVELL is to deliver an Integrated Soldier System for the British Army before 2030, based on the TommyWorks project and Project Convergence 2022, to manage and digitise the British soldier. A Soldier Platform Authority was formed in 2023 with a 10 year funding programme.
The Futures Team has taken note of ‘lessons learnt’ from Ukrainian and already has a budget of £148m for UAS systems with £35m slated for sUAS systems.
A Rapid Acquisition Team has been formed which foresees a cliff edge scenario of 2030 to complete the Project Wavell requirements and eventual fielding later in the Century. The Team will accept 80% of the required capability to allow rapid fielding of systems which includes a Foxhound C2 system, small, medium and large UAVs, static camouflage, a Soldier Electronic Architecture, a Mission Systems Integration Project, Human Capability, a new Vertus Tactical Ballistic Plate to replace Osprey by 2025 with a DEFSTAN update. A new soldier radio will be procured in 2024. Network options are also being evaluated with The Royal Marines already fielding a system based on the Persistent System radio with Viasat’s TrellisWare software linked to an L3 Harris Falcon MMR radio with a Cloud capability, as have the Special Forces. Power management is a key area for evaluation with a solution a few years out. The aim is to create an Integrated Network to take over from the original LE TacCIS Programme. The Royal Marines told BATTLESPACE that their Viking replacement vehicles will be fitted with Falcon not Bowman radios.
Project Grayburn update
The British Army Futures Team gave an update to Project Grayburn, the SA80 rifle replacement at Close Combat Symposium (CCS)last week. Grayburn is a £4-600m Programme which includes Training, new day/night sights.
The new rifle design will include:
Variable Upper Receiver Group URG Based on role
Common Lower Receiver Group
Variable Surveillance and Target Acquisition (STA) system (sight), based on role
Common 556 ammunition procured from BAE Systems at Radway Green.
Dismounted Close Combat User (c30,500)
Dismounted Close Combat User – short (c13,500)
Generalist User (c103,00)
Personal Defence Weapon (c10,000)
ISE is targeted for 2029/30. IoC for2030/31 and FoC for 2035/36. An Initial Look Request from DE&S is imminent with an Industry Day next year. Trials will then take place.
Other systems to be procured related to Grayburn include HMNVS, the SILLS sniper pack, TCOS and ABILLS NVG systems, ballistic calculators and the MIRTL Target locator, GPMG night sights at £25k per soldier giving a total of £750m.
ISE is targeted for 2029/30. IoC for2030/31 and FoC for 2035/36. An Initial Look Request from DE&S is imminent with an Industry Day next year. Trials will then take place.
The Speaker said that the current NVG and night vison upgrade Programme did not include the US IVAS system which was deemed unaffordable. ITDU is keeping a watching eye on the Programme which is undergoing significant evaluation and upgrades to include 24/7 day/night capability
Israeli company SMARTSHOOTER exhibited at CCS. SMARTSHOOTER develops state-of-the-art Fire Control Systems for small arms that significantly increase weapon accuracy and lethality when engaging static and moving targets, on the ground and in the air, day and night.
With proven “One Shot – One Hit” precision, our SMASH product line empowers defense and security forces by maximizing rifle effectiveness against enemy targets while minimizing friendly casualties and collateral damage.
Based on Artificial Intelligence, Computer Vision and Machine Learning technologies, SMASH is also designed to interconnect with other operational resources to form a micro-tactical network that delivers real-time situational awareness.
SMASH Family of fire control systems uses AI, computer vision, and advanced algorithms to ensure precise hit capabilities, enhance forces’ situational awareness and lethality and reduce collateral damage. Fielded and operationally deployed by friendly forces worldwide, including the IDF, the US special forces, the Indian Navy, and forces in east Asia, the SMASH Family of Fire Control Systems enables the platoon to be smart, precise, and connected.
SMARTSHOOTER told BATTLESPACE that the system has been sold to a number of countries including the UK and Europe, Africa and the Middle East.
Thermoteknix shares latest advancement in night-time defence
Thermoteknix showcased its latest advancement in night-time defence at CCS, a system that brings together augmented reality (AR), thermal imaging and ATAK (Android Team Awareness Kit) capabilities. Thermoteknix’ Augmented Reality Tactical Interface Module (ARTIM) is able to display AR in thermal mode (or without thermal), while also displaying Blue Force Tracking and target information from ATAK or another central command system. Thermoteknix released a prototype of ARTIM in 2021. ARTIM delivers heads-up situational awareness to the equipped user during outdoor on-the-move operations. ARTIM mounts to the back of the helmet to track where the user is located and where they are looking, receiving/publishing networked PLI (Position Location Information) data, and rendering an augmented reality overlay to the user. Data is displayed by the Thermoteknix ClipIR XD – a thermal imaging clip-on device mounting on an NVG, providing not only augmented reality data but also thermal imaging fusion. The system delivers heads-up navigation and tracking of friendlies, using GPS and digital terrain elevation data (DTED) to deliver accurate visualisation of geo-spatial information. ARTIM integrates with most digitalised soldier systems and secure communication networks to offer real-time data sharing and instant situational awareness for collaboration across teams and agencies.
Thermoteknix is working with military forces and civilian law enforcement agencies around the world to integrated ARTIM and ClipIR XD Thermal Clip-on Systems into their night-time resources to enhance situational awareness and threat detection capabilities at low light or no light situations. The ClipIR XD Thermal Clip-on System converts existing monocular or binocular night vision devices by fusing thermal imaging and night vision technologies to provide superior tactical advantages compared to standard night vision or thermal imaging alone. The UK MoD has already procured over £3m worth of thermal and AR capabilities from Thermoteknix for the British Army. Thermoteknix designs and manufactures specialist defence and security solutions, including thermal imagers, night vision, fused night vision and target location systems, used by military and civil security forces around the world.
The Range Day
FNH UK is offering a family of weapons, all with a common Receiver, which the company is offering for Op Grayburn, the SA-80 replacement contract. The Editor has fired the whole Range. The weapons on display included, the SCAR Sub Compact (SC) carbine, the FN EVOLYS™ 7.62 Ultralight Machine Gun, and the FN SCAR®-H MK2 Assault Rifle (7.62X51MM NATO CAL)
Glynn Bottomley, outgoing CEO of FNHUK told BATTLESPACE that they are offering a number of weapons for Grayburn and the LMG replacement. They also said they are undertaking a contract to refurbish the MoD’s .50 calibre machine guns. FN is well placed to win Grayburn as it can provide a total ‘Made and Supported in UK’ package from their Erith, Kent facility.
FN SCAR®-H MK2 Assault Rifle (7.62X51MM NATO CAL). The FN SCAR®-H Mk2 STD assault rifle is chambered in 7.62x51mm NATO calibre and is available with barrels of various lengths (13” or 16”) . These barrels are interchangeable in less than 5 minutes. FN SCAR®-SC. The SCAR Sub Compact (SC) on display was fitted with the Aimpoint T2 with spacer (32mm). The SCAR H was fitted with the Zeiss 3x30i with FN reticle. As a complement to the renowned FN SCAR® assault rifles, grenade launcher and precision rifles, FN Herstal proposes the FN SCAR®-SC Subcompact Carbine in 5.56x45mm NATO or 7.62x35mm/.300 BLK calibre. Regardless of the calibre, the FN SCAR®-SC is extremely compact and comes standard with a standard telescopic buttstock allowing a 3-position length adjustment. A wide choice of additional buttstock configurations are available to best suit to user morphology and mission at hand.
FN EVOLYS™ Machine Gun Range. The strapline on the FN web site says that the FN EVOLYS™ fires like a machine gun and handles like a rifle, FN is offering this for the LMM Minimi Replacement. That description was spot on. The FN EVOLYS™ has an added extra of an anti-recoil absorption pad at the end of the buttstock which by its very description absorbs all the recoil and allows the shooter to keep the machine gun on target for better accuracy. This was the first time that the Editor had fired a machine gun from the standing position. The results were excellent with the lightness and modular design showing through on the handling of the weapon and ability to keep rounds on target during bursts of fire. The FN EVOLYS™ has been developed in two calibres, 5.56x45mm NATO and 7.62x51mm NATO.
The Editor fired the FN EVOLYS™ 7.62 Ultralight Machine Gun with the Aimpoint MPS3 2OA sight and hit the target every time with both eyes open! The FN EVOLYS™ Ultralight Machine Gun combines the firing capabilities of a belt-fed machine gun with ergonomics and balance similar to an assault rifle, and complements the existing FN machine gun portfolio. The FN EVOLYS™ has been developed in two calibres, 5.56x45mm NATO and 7.62x51mm NATO. The FN EVOLYS™ 7.62, with a weight of approx. 6.2 kilos, is much lighter than current reference machine guns. The sight on the Evolys 7.62mm was the new Elcan Specter DR1.5-6x (7.62).
The Editor fired an SA80 rifle fitted with the ELCAN’s Specter Digital Fire Control Sight, or DFCS, puts this power and control into a man-portable sight for assault rifles and machine guns that functions even in a canted, or tilted, position. Using customized software and a combat-proven ballistic computer chip, the sight calculates a corrected aim-point taking ballistics, distance, humidity, temperature and atmospheric pressure into account. These calculations can be done for multiple calibers of ammunition, including less common rounds used by militaries around the world. The DFCS is easy to use giving excellent target acquisition capabilities which keeps the gun level on target; the sight also has zoom capabilities.
The DFCS sight combines an 8x direct view zoom optic, ballistic compensated disturbed reticle and boresighted laser range finder into a single rugged, user-friendly package extending the range of engagement and ability to range targets out more than 1,000 meters.
Excelitas Qioptiq Showed Night Vision, Thermal and Fused Sighting, Surveillance and Target Location Solutions. Excelitas Technologies® Corp., a leading industrial technology manufacturer focused on delivering innovative, market-driven photonic solutions, highlight its broad offering of components, modules and system solutions for night vision, thermal and fused sighting, surveillance and target location applications requiring the highest quality and reliability.
Featured products for dismounted operators included:
- DRAGON C12-XR Uncooled Thermal Weapon Sight: The DRAGON C12-XR is a high-performance multi-role system that delivers extended range performance in a compact, lightweight and rugged package. This uncooled thermal weapon sight is well suited to longer-range sharpshooter and machine gun support weapons, particularly platforms with restricted rail space.
- EAGLE Binocular Night Vision Goggle: A rugged binocular night vision goggle, EAGLE provides users with enhanced night situational awareness and maneuverer capability in a lightweight package. Additional options include an external battery pack, helmet mount and filters for signature reduction, daylight training and retro-reflection reduction.
- PHOENIX-S Cooled Thermal, Long-Range Sniper Sight: Designed for the most demanding ground-based sniper operations, PHOENIX-S delivers battle winning capability by allowing early and rapid detection, recognition and identification of targets at extended ranges even in zero light conditions. It offers integration with a wide range of small arms weapon systems and optical day scopes achieved by the in line configuration. PHOENIX-S is a fully digital architecture, with a wide range of system set up and configuration options to the user accessible via a simple menu system.
- TALON Fused Weapon Sight – Image Intensifier / Thermal Imager: TALON is a dual-channel optically fused weapon sight product that provides the dismounted close-combat user with an enhanced, multi-waveband detect / recognize / identify capability. TALON is a fully qualified military weapon sight specifically designed for short- and medium-range surveillance and target engagement.
- DRAGON H12 Handheld Thermal Surveillance and Target Location System: An intermediate range multi-function surveillance and target location system, DRAGON H12 provides warfighters with the ability to detect, locate and communicate enemy locations and other targets of interest on the battlefield. DRAGON H12 is a high-performance sight for medium to long range applications that enables 24 hr. surveillance and target location capability within a lightweight and rugged platform.
- PHOENIX-S is designed for the most demanding ground-based sniper operations. PHOENIX-S delivers battle winning capability by allowing early and rapid detection, recognition and identification of targets at extended ranges even in zero light conditions. Integration with a wide range of small arms weapon systems and optical day scopes up to 25X magnification is achieved by the in line configuration of PHOENIX-S. PHOENIX-S is a fully digital architecture, offering a wide range of system set up and configuration options to the user accessible via a simple menu system.
*PHOENIX-S is designed for the most demanding ground-based sniper operations
*PHOENIX-S offers unrivalled optical performance for high sensitivity during day and night conditions, even in poor visibility
*PHOENIX-S provides the User with 24-hr extended range target surveillance, recognition and identification
*PHOENIX-S utilizes the latest in high resolution MWIR HOT technology to provide a 640 x 480 resolution image compatible with a wide range of sniper scopes.
Superior boresight retention is achieved through engineering design and manufacturing practices to deliver a high performance unit.
*PHOENIX-S is powered from AA Lithium batteries and features a hot swap facility to allow continuous operation.
*PHOENIX-S provides intuitive controls and a remote control for mission tailoring on different weapon systems.
The Editor fired the PHOENIX-S Thermal Imaging, Clip-On, Long-Range Sniper Sight, integrated with a day scope, mounted on the Accuracy International .50 calibre rifle fitted with a supressor. The combination was awesome, enabling the Editor to hit the long range targets with ease and accuracy. Given the .50 calibre punch the Editor expected a big kick but the butt is mounted to absorb any energy from the kick. The Editor fired two magazines with an 80% hit accuracy.
Qioptiq told the Editor that they are developing an AI-based target location system which will be connected to the sighting system to give multiple target locations and increase accuracy.
Edgar Brothers were showing a number of products including Sig Sauer and Pixels On Target.
The Editor fired the Sig Sauer XM-7 as chosen by the US Army with a Sig Sauer day sight. The rifle is very well balanced and easy to operate with a multi calibre interchangeable Receiver system to accommodate 556, 330 and the new US Army 6.8 round.
In January 2022, Winchester was awarded a contract to produce the ammunition. In April 2022, with the selection of the MCX Spear, SIG Sauer’s hybrid metal cartridge would become the new cartridge subsequently referred to as 6.8x51mm Common Cartridge by the U.S. Army.
One of the big debates at CCS was the differing properties between the NATO .556 round and the US 6.8 and who had made the right choice!
Pixels On Target showed its latest Voodoo sight with a built-in laser range finder mounted on the Sig Sauer machine gun with a Norma .338 system, unfortunately, the system was not available to fire. The Norma .338 usage on a machine gun is a new development being watched closely as the round can give similar perfomance to the heavvier .50 calibre mchine gun which is in use all over the world.
They also had on display the Nighthawk L400 rifle recently chosen for the UK Special Forces under Project Hunter.
Accuracy International (AI)
The Editor fired the latest of Accuracy’s sniper rifle range, the AXMC Multi-Calibre rifle. The multi calibre AXMC is supplied configured as a .338 Lap Mag which can be repurposed to .300 Win Mag or.308 Win in minutes simply by changing the barrel, bolt and magazine/insert.
The rifle was perfectly balanced with a butt absorbing system which enables the user to keep the second round on target without the kickback.
The Editor put a whole magazine down the range with a 90% accuracy.
AI were also exhibiting the AX308 Short Action Rifle.
Anduril is a defense technology company that builds creative cost-effective products to aid those serving on the front lines of national security. By listening to the national security community, Anduril is able to understand their most urgent problems and build sophisticated solutions. Anduril’s core technology includes artificial intelligence, autonomous systems, sensor fusion and their application at the front lines of operations.
Anduril Counter-UAS live demonstration
COTEC is one of few Ranges in Europe with the height and range capability to demonstrate UAVs and C-UAS Capabilities.
Anduril chose CCS 23 to show its superb and accurate C-UAS ‘drone-on-drone’ C-UAS system.
In 2019 Anduril launched the Interceptor drone as part of the Lattice AI cUAS (counter Unmanned Aerial System) solution to detect and interdict unmanned aircraft or autonomous drone systems. This system brings proven Anduril technology to the increasingly critical counter-done mission, providing an additional dimension of force protection for military personnel and installations or critical infrastructure. The system has been developed in response to growing security threats from asymmetric drone warfare as consumer drone technology becomes increasingly sophisticated and RF-based counter-drone technology becomes obsolete.
Once targets have been verified, Interceptor drones can be deployed by the Lattice AI system, or launched manually by a human operator. Following confirmation by the operator, the drones can intercept and take down fixed-wing and rotary systems during the day or at night in a wide range of environments.
Whether seamlessly integrated with Lattice AI or manually cued, a human operator can verify targets and launch Interceptor drones to kill rotary or fixed-wing threats autonomously in any environment, day or night.
“Unmanned aerial systems have long been notoriously difficult to defend against, they are widely available, inexpensive, and dangerous in the wrong hands,” said Paul Billings of Anduril. “Our counter-UAS solution applies automated target acquisition to give human operators the capability to quickly and effectively neutralize these growing aerial threats.”
“In response to this imminent security need, Anduril Industries has rapidly developed and deployed functional Interceptor prototypes, and we are continuing to improve the system with feedback from multiple end-users. Our product-driven approach allows us to deliver the solutions that our agencies and warfighters need, quickly and cost-effectively.” Paul Billings continued.
As widely available consumer drone technology becomes increasingly more sophisticated, traditional radio frequency-based cUAS approaches are already becoming obsolete. Meanwhile, the number of credible threats reported by government agencies has risen as military bases, forward-deployed units, critical infrastructure, and designated airspace are exposed to a growing asymmetric drone threat.
Anduril used the Anvil, also known as Interceptor, a quadcopter unmanned combat aerial vehicle designed to eliminate other drones, to intercept the attacking UAV . When launched, the Anvil autonomously locates another drone using computer vision.
Paul Billings gave an attack order to the Anvil to hover below its target. He then gave the attack order and the Anvil physically rammed the target drone to destroy it. The drone can reportedly reach speeds of up to 200 mph (320 km/h). The attack was a perfect interception and both UAVs fell to the ground.
Anduril is also developing versions to attack larger targets like helicopters or cruise missiles. The Anvil can be integrated into Anduril’s Lattice system.
All in all, a very informative and interesting Conference, Exhibition and range Day, with the British Army showing the way forward for the Infantryman of the Future.