24 Feb 23. Aerojet Rocketdyne’s Advanced Scramjet Engine Powers Hypersonic Vehicle Flight in Partnership with DARPA, AFRL, LM. In partnership with the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL) and Lockheed Martin team, an advanced Aerojet Rocketdyne scramjet engine powered the recent flight (announced Jan. 30) of the Hypersonic Air-breathing Weapon Concept (HAWC). This is the second successful flight test for this team.
Launched from a B-52, the test flight exceeded Mach 5 while traveling more than 300 nautical miles at altitudes exceeding 60,000 feet, accomplishing all primary test objectives. The goal of the DARPA HAWC program is to develop and demonstrate critical technologies to enable an effective and affordable air-launched hypersonic cruise missile system. This test flight increased the amount of scramjet powered vehicle performance data to help bring this vision to fruition.
“Aerojet Rocketdyne is proud to be a key part of the team demonstrating maturity in advanced hypersonic flight,” said Eileen P. Drake, Aerojet Rocketdyne CEO and president. “With a second successful flight test now complete, we are, along with our partners, one step closer to making affordable hypersonic flight a reliable capability in support of national defense.”
Aerojet Rocketdyne has continued to improve the aerothermal performance, affordability, scalability and rapid manufacturability of scramjet engines to meet emerging needs for hypersonic missile and aircraft applications.
Along with innovative scramjets, Aerojet Rocketdyne manufactures a wide range of products to support hypersonics, including solid rocket motor boosters, warheads and missile defense technologies.
(Source: ASD Network)
22 Feb 23. Black Sky tests long-range missile. The Australian rocket company Black Sky Aerospace (BSA) has successfully launched a prototype of a long-range missile known as TM229 Cyclone, the company announced at IDEX 2023, being held in Abu Dhabi from 20 to 24 February.
According to BSA, the Cyclone has a length of 3.7m and a diameter of 0.229m. It is a training missile and was fired remotely in Queensland from a custom weapon pod, which was mounted on the back of an ex-army truck. BSA CEO Blake Nikolic said that the missile test was the next step in a development that had taken just six months to go from idea to this latest launch.
“BSA is developing, refining, and perfecting its capabilities to respond to the government announcements on Guided Weapons and Explosive Ordnance (GWEO), so there are local options available to produce these vital defence capabilities,” Nikolic said. (Source: Janes)
23 Feb 23. EOS displays mock-up of 14.5mm chain gun. The United Arab Emirates (UAE)-based subsidiary of Electro Optic Systems (EOS) displayed a mock-up of an electrically operated 14.5mm machine gun (MG) at IDEX 2023, being held in Abu Dhabi from 20 to 24 February.
Speaking to Janes, Waad Abujarad and Fatmah Alkaabi, mechanical design engineers at EOS Advanced Technologies, said that a prototype of the system is scheduled to begin testing in 2023.
Designed for integration on aerial, land, or maritime platforms, the EOS 14.5 mm MG has a 1.35 m-long barrel and is chambered for the 14.5×114 mm cartridge. This means that it is compatible with the same ammunition as the KPV family of MGs that is operated by a number of militaries across the world. (Source: Janes)
23 Feb 23. British Army to receive interim artillery solution within 12 months. The interim medium-range indirect fires programme is intended to fill a gap being created with the gradual departure of the AS90 from service, ahead of an MFP solution later this decade.
The UK Ministry of Defence (MoD) is seeking to deliver an interim medium-range land fires capability to the British Army within the next 12 months in an apparent attempt to bridge a looming capability gap, one created by the provision of the in-service 155mm AS90 self-propelled gun to Ukraine, that won’t be fully resolved until the introduction of a new artillery platform under the Mobile Fires Platform (MFP) programme.
Although the AS90 was planned to be retired towards the end of the decade, the need to provide Ukraine with viable artillery systems in its war against Russia saw the provision of a range of military equipment by the UK to Kyiv, including 24 of its remaining 80-90 AS90 platforms, a handful of M270 multiple launch rocket systems, and 14 Challenger 2 main battle tanks, among other items.
According to the UK Defence in Numbers document released by the MoD on 22 February, 64 artillery guns have been given to Ukraine, likely the L118 105mm light gun drawn from the British Army. It is known that vehicles traditionally attached to artillery regiment such as the Pinzgauer have also been donated.
Speaking to the UK defence committee on 21 February, Lt Gen Robert Andrew Magowan, Deputy Chief of the Defence Staff at the MoD, told members that there were efforts to “speed up” the main MFP programme, that was looking at a timeline towards the end of the 2020s.
“Therefore, we are working with partners to deliver an interim capability within 12 months. So, a fully capable, medium indirect fires is the target we are setting ourselves to meet the gap between what we have done with AS90 and what is going to appear towards the end of the decade,” Magowan said.
The UK Secretary of State for Defence Ben Wallace first announced the intention to deliver an interim medium-range land fires capability in January when outlining the landmark provision of Challenger 2 and AS90 to Ukraine, although no timeframe was given.
What options are available?
Quite what such an interim capability would consist of was not disclosed, but some existing UK test and trials programmes could provide some indication as to what type of platform and gun system could be utilised.
One solution could see the L118 105mm, manufactured by BAE Systems and in service with the British Army, fitted to an HMT 6×6 utility vehicle produced by UK company Supacat. Showcased at the DVD 2022 event last year, the solution is similar to a US system also being developed, visible at AUSA in 2022 (pictured), which saw a 105mm artillery system fitted to a striped-down AM General HMMVW.
An alternative could see the creation of additional indirect/direct fires capability through Project Wolfram, which is being undertaken by the MoD and industry stakeholders, to explore the potential to mount the Brimstone missile onto a flatbed truck, providing a strike range of about 20km.
Both of the above projects offer the advantage of kinetic delivery systems and mobile platforms that are in service with the British Army, meaning reducing workup and training time would be required. (Source: army-technology.com)
21 Feb 23. ICOMM Signs the ‘Transfer of Technology’ Agreement with UAE Govt Entity Small Arms Major, CARACAL of EDGE Group for Defence Articles, first-ever from UAE to Indian Private Company.
- ICOMM (Group Company of MEIL) signs Licensing Agreement with UAE-based EDGE entity CARACAL for localised production of CARACAL firearms
- The agreement marks the first-ever ‘Transfer of Technology’ for defence articles from the UAE to India
In India’s defence manufacturing growth story, ICOMM, a group company of Megha Engineering & Infrastructures Ltd (MEIL), has taken centre stage. Today, ICOMM signed a partnership and licensing agreement with UAE-based EDGE entity CARACAL for the first-ever Transfer of Technology (ToT) in defence articles. As per the agreement, ICOMM will locally manufacture CARACAL’s complete line of small arms for the Indian market under the ‘Make in India’ and Aatmanirbhar Bharat initiatives.
The signing took place at the ongoing IDEX 2023 in Abu Dhabi, UAE, one of the largest tri-service defence exhibitions in the world.
ICOMM will manufacture the full range of CARACAL small arms, including the versatile CARACAL EF pistol, modern CMP 9 submachine gun, CAR 814, CAR 816 and CAR 817 tactical rifles, CAR 817 DMR tactical sniper rifle, CSR 50 anti-material sniper rifle, CSR 338 and CSR 308 bolt action sniper rifles and the CSA 338 semi-automatic sniper rifle.
Sumanth P, Managing Director of ICOMM, said, “India’s Defence industry is on a strong path to develop its sovereign manufacturing capabilities. This agreement exemplifies the commitment shown by CARACAL to aid India’s ambitions towards making the defence sector self-sufficient.”
The Indian Government seriously took up the indigenisation of Defence manufacturing, allowing the private sector to manufacture weapons, breaking the age-old view to ensure nodisruptions in the supply chain. Sumanth added, “Our entry into small arms production is a proud moment for us.”
CARACAL’s complete line of small arms will be produced in ICOMM’s world-class design, development and manufacturing centre in Hyderabad. ICOMM is one of the largest companies manufacturing missiles & sub-systems, communications & EW systems, radars, electro-optics, composites, loitering munitions, shelters, drone & counter-drone systems.
Hamad Al Ameri, CEO of CARACAL, said, “This strategically important signing with ICOMM for collaboration in the Indian market is a key objective for CARACAL. As India continues to realise its sovereign defence ambitions, we look forward to partnering with ICOMM, whose capabilities in providing end-to-end solutions across multiple sectors, including engineering and defence, compliments CARACAL’s portfolio of advanced small arms.”
ICOMM is a group company of Megha Engineering & Infrastructures Ltd (MEIL), one of the largest infrastructure companies in India, with Annual Sales of over USD 4.0 Bn. It has over 40,000 employees working on various projects spread across 18 offices across the Globe. ICOMM Tele Limited, having state-of-the-art facilities spread across a 110-acre facility with over 1,050,000 Sq.ft of built-up area, was established in 1989. It is a leader in product designing, engineering, and manufacturing in the Defence & Aerospace, Power, Roads, Oil & Gas and Telecom sectors. The company started designing and manufacturing RF components, Antennas and Masts in 1989. Over the last 25 years, it has grown into an entity that develops and manufactures products for the Indian Defence Industry. In its two-decade-long journey, the company has delivered Missiles and Sub-Systems, Communications & EW, Composites, Drone & Counter-Drone Systems, Radar Systems, Electro-Optics, Shelters and Command Control Centre, UAVs and Antennas to the Indian Armed Forces, defence and other sectors.
For more information, visit https://icommtele.com
Megha Engineering and Infrastructures Ltd. (MEIL), established in 1989, is one of the fastest-growing India-based infra companies. In its three-decade-long journey, MEIL has been a part of the construction of numerous large civil structures, pump houses, large water treatment plants, dams, reservoirs, power generation units, tunnels, refineries and the laying of oil & gas pipelines and power transmission lines across the world. All these projects play an important role in improving the common man’s quality of life for many years into the foreseeable future. Globally the company has its footprint in over 20 countries.
For more information, visit https://meil.in
Established in 2007, CARACAL is a regional and international leader in high-performance small arms. The company designs, engineers, innovates and manufactures mission-proven firearms for law enforcement, security and military forces, with a production legacy spanning over 15 years. CARACAL’s product portfolio includes pistols, submachine guns, assault rifles and sniper rifles across a range of calibres. CARACAL’s experience reflects in the quality, performance and dependability of its growing range of weapons, incorporating the latest technological advances developed to meet the evolving and challenging nature of warfare as well as the diverse mission requirements of customers in the UAE and abroad. CARACAL is part of the Missiles & Weapons cluster of EDGE Group, an advanced technology group that ranks among the top 25 military suppliers in the world.
For more information, visit https://caracal.ae
Launched in November 2019, the UAE’s EDGE is one of the world’s leading advanced technology groups, established to develop agile, bold and disruptive solutions for defence and beyond and to catalyse change and transformation. It is dedicated to bringing breakthrough innovations, products, and services to market faster and more efficiently, positioning the UAE as a leading global hub for future industries, and creating clear paths within the sector for the next generation of highly-skilled talent to thrive. With a focus on the adoption of 4IR technologies, EDGE is driving the development of sovereign capabilities for global export and for the preservation of national security, working with front-line operators and international partners and adopting advanced technologies such as autonomous capabilities, cyber-physical systems, advanced propulsion systems, robotics and smart materials. EDGE converges R&D, emerging technologies, digital transformation, and commercial market innovations with military capabilities to develop disruptive solutions tailored to the specific requirements of its customers. Headquartered in Abu Dhabi, the capital of the UAE, EDGE consolidates more than 20 entities into four core clusters: Platforms & Systems, Missiles & Weapons, Electronic Warfare & Cyber Technologies, and Trading & Mission Support. For more information, visit edgegroup.ae (Source: PR Newswire)
22 Feb 23. Russia, Ukraine showcase loitering munitions at IDEX arms fair. In a rare setting, for the first time since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in February 2022, both Russian and Ukrainian companies are exhibiting their weapons in close proximity to each other at the IDEX and NAVDEX exhibitions.
Russia, whose arms industry is a key target of Western sanctions, had a larger presence than anticipated at the 2023 edition, not even listed as an official exhibiting country on the conference website. The companies’ footprint here shows how Russian firms and government officials seek to intensify ties with countries outside of Europe, where the regime of President Vladimir Putin stands isolated over its brutal assault of Ukraine.
Located in a separate pavilion, the Russian presence featured over 7 different manufacturers, each showcasing a wide range of military products. Among these was the Zala KYB loitering munition, in its export variant, manufactured by the Zala Group, a subdivision of the Kalashnikov Group that was exhibiting it for the first time at the show.
Moscow’s forces have used missiles and loitering munitions, dubbed “kamikaze” drones, against Ukrainian civilian infrastructure, adding to a raft of tactics that Western leader have labeled war crimes.
Samuel Bendett, research analyst at the U.S.-based Center for Naval Analyses, points out that Russian forces have used the KYB more sparingly than the more prominent Lancet drone. “Of the two loitering munitions, it is the Lancet that has practically dominated Russian headlines and is discussed in large numbers as a key Russian capability — not the KYB,” he said.
Bendett explains that early on in the war, footage of the KYB in action often showed the system falling in residential areas without detonating, or missing targets.
When asked on the reasons why this model was chosen over the Lancet system for showcasing, a representative of Kalashnikov Group would only tell Defense News that it was in part due to the fact that the Lancet variants are much larger in size, thus more difficult to ship over for a short duration.
The CEO of Russias’s Rosoboronexport, Alexander Mikheev, declared in a press release that the company “is [currently] implementing many projects in the field of military-technical cooperation in the region, working actively on proposals for the most relevant forms of partnership for Middle Eastern states.” He emphasized that these will primarily be related to transfer of technologies, joint developments and the use of offset programs.
Meanwhile, Ukrainian drone maker Ukrspecsystems showcased its RAM-II loitering munition, which is based on the Leleka-100 drone in use with the Ukrainian Armed Forces. The system is specifically designed to destroy tanks as well as air defense systems and was first unveiled in 2021. It has seen battlefield action throughout the last year in Ukraine, in one instance captured on video being used against a target alleged to be a Russian Osa Sam system. Several of these drones have been bought in Ukraine through civilian crowdfunding.
The central role loitering munitions have played in Ukraine have greatly increased their visibility and proliferation from Western users, with several European nations announcing their decision to purchase some or to field their own. (Source: Defense News)
21 Feb 23. Reader Comment re MFP AS90 as interim solution (See: BATTLESPACE Update Vol.8 20 February 2023)’Re MFP, both platforms fall short of the aspired goal but I don’t know whether, for a change, people will be pragmatic and look for the growth path. The hurdles include: the Brits don’t yet have a modular charge system in-service which is essential for the rates of fire they aspire to achieve. Getting that through the Ordnance clearance process is not a 10 minute job. Similarly, the L15 round will need modifying/upgrading to accommodate the increased velocity and length of barrel – a problem known about since AS90 ERO in the mid 90’s. Again, not a 10 minute job, particularly when war stocks will need modifying and re-lifeing. They may, potentially need a new shell – as above. To achieve the rates of fire envisaged, they will need auto fuse setting which neither BOXER RCH or K9A2 don’t currently have and a fire control system that can deliver the data to an automated system. From a platform perspective there is the question of gun position access and platform agility – into/out of action times – is this wheels or tracks?’
17 Feb 23. Lockheed Martin Awarded $1.1bn Initial Contract to Provide Nation’s First Sea-Based Hypersonic Strike Capability. Lockheed Martin (NYSE: LMT) is partnering with the U.S. Navy to integrate hypersonic strike capability onto surface ships. The U.S. Navy awarded Lockheed Martin a contract worth more than $2 bn, if all options are exercised, to integrate the Conventional Prompt Strike (CPS) weapon system onto ZUMWALT-class guided missile destroyers (DDGs). CPS is a hypersonic boost-glide weapon system that enables long range missile flight at speeds greater than Mach 5, with high survivability against enemy defenses.
“Lockheed Martin continues to advance hypersonic strike capability for the United States through this new contract,” said Steve Layne, vice president of Hypersonic Strike Weapon Systems at Lockheed Martin. “Early design work is already underway. Our team looks forward to supporting the warfighter by providing more options to further protect America at sea.”
Under this contract, prime contractor Lockheed Martin will provide launcher systems, weapon control, All Up Rounds (AURs), which are the integrated missile components, and platform integration support for this naval platform. The company, along with industry partners including subcontractors Northrop Grumman and General Dynamics Mission Systems, is on track to provide the CPS surface-launched, sea-based hypersonic strike capability to sailors by the mid-2020s. The contract also provides for additional AURs plus canisters for the U.S. Army’s Long Range Hypersonic Weapon (LRHW) testing, training and tactical employment.
A Shared Missile
CPS shares a common AUR with the Army LRHW and can be launched from multiple platforms including surface ships, submarines, and land-based mobile launchers.
Lockheed Martin is the prime systems integrator for the CPS and LRHW weapon systems. The company leads a team of industry, government, and academic partners to make critical progress in design and development to meet this urgent warfighter need in both land and sea domains.
A National Imperative
Hypersonic vehicles or hypersonic missiles can travel faster than five times the speed of sound and are highly maneuverable. The combination of the CPS capability, and the stealth and mobility of the ZUMWALT-class destroyer, will provide the nation’s first sea-based hypersonic strike capability.
Fielding CPS on the ZUMWALT-class destroyer will be a necessary and important step toward equipping the warfighter with a capability that embodies Lockheed Martin’s 21st Century Security vision in support of our customers.
Lockheed Martin is leveraging its corporate history of system integration on naval platforms and our more than 60 years of hypersonic strike experience to accelerate development on an unprecedented timeline.
17 Feb 23. Indonesian Navy’s sixth KCR-60M FAC conducts live firing test.
The test demonstrated the capability of the vessel’s main gun against surface targets.
Indonesian state-owned shipbuilder PT PAL announced that the newest Kapal Cepat Rudal 60 metre (KCR-60M) fast attack craft (FAC) has successfully conducted a live fire test.
The firing was held in the North Sea of Surabaya in the presence of the Indonesian Ministry of Defense Feasibility Team, Indonesian Navy Headquarters and Task Force elements.
To be named Panah-626, the vessel’s main weapon demonstrated its capability to destroy surface targets.
The sixth KCR-60M FAC’s main weapon is a 57mm Mk3 Bofors cannon produced by BAE Systems at its facilities in Karlskoga, Sweden.
The naval gun system is designed to tackle surface, air, and land threats.
During the series of live fire weapon tests, the Combat Management System (CMS) and C-Fire Control System software fitted onto the gun showcased potential to fire surface targets.
The series also included destroying uncrewed aircraft during aerial target shooting tests.
It also demonstrates PAL’s ability to integrate weapon systems on the KCR 60M type ship.
PT PAL Indonesia COO Iqbal Fikri said: “PAL’s proven design & capability related to KCR has been tested so that on this occasion we prove it is not only capable of building fast ships in construction or platforms, but the ability to integrate weapons as a whole which is a proven experience from PAL.
“We ensure that PT PAL’s products will be of high quality and will make it easier for the Indonesian Navy to carry out its operational functions in safeguarding Indonesia’s maritime sovereignty.”
The KCR Panah-626 vessel recently demonstrated the performance of its units as part of the Sea Acceptance Test (SAT).
The Indonesian Navy is acquiring a total of six KCR-60M FACs, also called as Sampari-class. Four of the vessels are currently in active service. (Source: naval-technology.com)