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17 May 23. MBDA UK Announces Digital Battlespace Facility; Pushes Forward Narrower Range of Missiles. On 10 May, MBDA UK managing director, Chris Allam, introduced the company’s new Digital Battlespace Facility (DBF) located at Stevenage.
The DBF is a multi-domain battlelab that will be used by company technicians to develop new weapon requirements and designs, as well as being used by customers for evaluating weapons systems and training in the air, land and maritime environments. It will be used to bring together models, simulations and equipment and people throughout the weapons systems lifecycle.
Allam then spoke of the benefits that are expected from the delayed UK France summit earlier this year, with a number of joint programmes including Storm Shadow/SCALP, Meteor, Sea Venom/ANL, and Aster50/50.
Missile production refocused
The company has been able to reduce the types of missiles produced from 22 to only five. These include Block 6 ASRAAM, the effectiveness of which was illustrated by the recent shooting down of a small hostile drone with a missile fired from an RAF Typhoon. The RAF have fired a total of 15 ASRAAMs to date.
The upgraded Brimstone 3 is in production and the air-launched variant is being requalified. A vehicle launched variant is being developed for the British Army’s Boxer Mechanised Infantry Vehicle (MIV) and the company is confident that it will be used on other vehicles including the Supacat High Mobility Transporter.
CAMM and CAMM ER are becoming best-sellers with Poland having placed the largest ever contract for the missiles. In total, MBDA will provide missiles and missile launchers valued at £1.9 billion to support Poland’s modernisation and manufacture of 22 PILICA+ air defence batteries, making it the largest European short-range air defence acquisition programme in NATO.
Designed by PGZ, PILICA+ will combine MBDA’s CAMM short-range radar-guided missiles with Polish-made auto cannon and very-short range infrared guided missiles into a triple-layer system commanded by a Polish command and control system and guided by Polish radars.
MBDA is also involved in sharing pioneering technology to develop Mala Narew, Poland’s future Ground-Based Air Defence (GBAD) system, as well a Poland’s new Mieczik frigate and its Ottokar-Broza tank destroyer programme. MBDA is in discussion with PGZ for production in Poland.
MBDA recently test fired a new medium-range missile defence system using the CAMM-ER missile. The Medium Advanced Air Defence System (MAADS) is destined for induction into the Italian Air Force, replacing the SPADA short-range air defence system. In a trial, the system detected, identified, and evaluated a target drone simulating an enemy missile before launching the CAMM-ER for interception. The MAADS consists of a Detection Centre module, launcher, and the CAMM-ER, which has a range of 40 kilometres (26 miles).
Recent MBDA-related highlights include the South Korean KF-21 integration of METEOR beyond visual range air-to-air missile and its first ejection trials.
There is growing interest in MBDA’s SPEAR which is undergoing qualification while development of CAMM ER is underway. These are among the advanced air-launched weapons expected to be used by Tempest FCAS and the European SCAF projects as well as the GCAP. For the latter programme, MBDA will form teams with Italy and Japan and aim for fast integration of it weapons.
Future projects include the development of MBDA’s Dragon Fire laser direct energy weapons with Qinetiq, and a stealthy subsonic successor to Storm Shadow to be revealed in 2025.
MBDA UK employs 4,900 in the UK at its facilities at Stevenage, Bolton, Bristol, Bedford and Henlow and its total 2022 sales was £1.2bn. (Source: Armada)
23 May 23. Danish Army Selects Skyranger 30 for Planned Mobile Air Defense. Rheinmetall Skyranger turreted air defense system has been selected by the Danish military as a key element of its planned ground air defense system.
The Danish Ministry of Defence Acquisition and Logistics Organisation (FMI) recently announced the selection based on on a market analysis considering the Danish Army, broader NATO operational requirements, and consideration of lessons of the Ukraine conflict related to air defense.
FMI Head Lt. Gen. Kim Jesper Jørgensen stated “With the choice of the Skyranger we are acquiring the most modern air defense for the Army. At the same time, other countries, including Germany, want to acquire the Skyranger, so we will be able to cooperate with other countries on training, ammunition, spare parts and continuous updates of the system.”
The final configuration of the air defense system will include a radar, communication, and as yet to be identified missile system.
The Danish defense firm Terma will integrate the elements into the air defense system which will be mounted on the Piranha V 8×8 armored carrier. Skyranger 30, which the Danes have selected, is derived from the field-proven Skyranger 35.
Skyranger 30 employs a 30 mm auto-cannon that enables the 2.5-ton turret to fit on light armored vehicles like the Piranha 5.
The KCA auto-cannon gun from Rheinmetall Air Defense (formerly Oerlikon) fires a 30 mm AHEAD timed-airburst munition that contains 160 tungsten pellets. It is effective against fixed- and rotary-wing aircraft, Group I and II unmanned aerial systems (UAS), loitering munitions, and cruise missiles thanks to its 1200 rpm rate of fire and 3km range.
The FIM-92 Stinger and Mistral, as well as other missiles, are both capable of integration with the Skyranger turret for anti-air defense.
The Rheinmetall offering utilizes a S-band AESA Multi-Mission Radar (AMMR) from Rheinmetall Italia providing 360° coverage. Their model also has Rheinmetall’s FIRST (Fast InfraRed Search and Track) providing passive thermal/IR panoramic target detection.
The Danish decision has them joining Germany which plans to acquire Skyranger 30 on the GTK Boxer and Hungary which executed a 2021 MoU to develop a Lynx mounted Skyranger with Mistral missiles. (Source: Armada)
25 May 23. Greek SAS Technology’s SARISA Drone successfully fires Thales 70mm rocket.
The SARISA drone developed by Greek company SAS Technology has executed the world’s first firing of Thales 70mm rocket on a UCAV platform, ushering in new possibilities for uncrewed combat air vehicles in operations.
On Thursday, April 25th, the SARISA drone, an uncrewed combat air vehicle (UCAV) developed by Greek SAS Technology, successfully launched a Thales 70mm rocket during a trial conducted at the firing range of the Hellenic Ministry of Defence’s General Directorate for Defence Investments and Armaments (GDDIA).
This milestone marks the world’s inaugural utilisation of a 70mm rocket on this platform, expanding its military capabilities to include close air support operations.
Collaborating closely with Thales Belgium, engineering teams from both companies worked under the supervision of the local GDDIA and with support from Hellenic Defense Systems company (HDS) to conduct this firing.
By leveraging the guided and unguided capabilities of the Thales 70mm rocket, the SARISA drone can emulate the functions of attack helicopters and fighter jets at a fraction of the cost and with reduced risk.
The synergistic integration of the SARISA drone’s flexibility and the precision of the Laser Guided Rocket, achieved through the collaboration between SAS Technology and Thales, has produced a practical, adaptable, and transportable weapon system that provides advantages for ground troops.
By incorporating Thales’ FZ275 LGR laser-guided rocket, ground forces can rely on this system’s support to neutralise specific targets, such as light armoured vehicles, radar stations, aircraft on the ground, and buildings, while maintaining a stand-off distance.
The drone’s autonomy is seamlessly combined with the rocket’s firing range of over 7 kilometres, ensuring operational capabilities.
The firing trial represents an initial step in the UCAV SARISA program with Thales’ 2.75″/70mm rockets. Further tests, encompassing guided and unguided missiles in diverse firing scenarios, will be conducted to showcase this solution’s full potential and versatility.
Last month, Thales also fired their missiles from a JACKAL drone in another unmanned air combat milestone. The JACKAL drone system is capable of various combat missions over land, sea, and air and completed a first trial firing of a Thales Lightweight Multirole Missile (LMM).
Thales’ FZ275LGR, already qualified for deployment on various airborne and land-based platforms, benefits end-users. This economical solution excels in defeating light-armoured and low-cost targets.
The rocket can be fired in both lock-on-after-launch and lock-on-before-launch modes, providing communication capabilities with the gunner, improving efficiency, expanding the weapon’s firing domain, and ensuring heightened safety.
Thales recorded a 9.4% increase in sales in Q1 of FY23. The France-based defence and security company registered sales of €4.026bn in the first quarter (Q1) of the fiscal year (FY) 2023.
25 May 23. Iran says it has successfully test-launched ballistic missile. Iran successfully test-launched a ballistic missile with a potential 2,000-km range on Thursday, state media said, two days after the chief of Israel’s armed forces raised the prospect of “action” against Tehran over its nuclear programme.
Iran, which has one of the biggest missile programmes in the Middle East, says its weapons are capable of reaching the bases of arch-foes Israel and the United States in the region.
Despite U.S. and European opposition, the Islamic Republic has said it will further develop its “defensive” missile programme.
“Our message to Iran’s enemies is that we will defend the country and its achievements. Our message to our friends is that we want to help regional stability,” Iranian Defence Minister Mohammadreza Ashtiani said.
State TV broadcast a few seconds of footage of what it said was the launch of an upgraded version of Iran’s Khoramshahr 4 ballistic missile with a range of 2,000 km (1,243 miles) and able to carry a 1,500-kg (3,300-pound) warhead.
The state news agency IRNA said the liquid-fuel missile had been named the “Kheibar”, a reference to a Jewish castle overrun by Muslim warriors in the early days of Islam.
“The domestically build Kheibar missile’s outstanding features include quick preparation and launch time, which makes it a tactical weapon in addition to a strategic one,” it said.
Israel, which the Islamic Republic does not recognise, sees Iran as an existential threat. Iran says its ballistic missiles are an important deterrent and retaliatory force against the United States, Israel and other potential regional adversaries.
An Israeli military spokesperson said the military does not comment on such matters.
On Tuesday, the top Israeli general mooted possible military action against Iran as efforts by six world powers to revive Tehran’s 2015 nuclear deal have stalled since last September, amid growing Western fears about Tehran’s accelerating nuclear advances.
The deal, which Washington ditched in 2018, imposed curbs on Iran’s nuclear activities that extended the time Tehran would need to produce enough fissile material for a nuclear bomb, if it chose to do so. Iran denies seeking nuclear weapons. (Source: Reuters)
24 May 23. How will new Mk41 Vertical Launch missile systems change the Royal Navy’s capabilities?
Britain’s newest warships are set to strike enemies harder and deeper thanks to the new Mk41 Vertical Launch missile systems.
The Mk41 Vertical Launch cells are set to be fitted on Type 26 and Type 31 frigates – with both being built in Scotland to increase the number of ships in the Royal Navy over the next 10 years.
The First Sea Lord, Admiral Sir Tony Radakin, said the systems will “deliver lethal, long-range offensive fires” and “enable potential use of a large variety of current and future anti-air, anti-surface ballistic missile defence and strike missiles”.
But how does that improve on the Royal Navy’s capabilities?
Nick Childs, a naval forces and maritime security expert at the International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS) said it allows the Navy to improve “its lethality, its offensive missile capabilities – which it’s been criticised in the past for not having enough of”.
“The introduction of the Mk41 missile system will allow them to carry more missiles and to carry a greater number of missiles of different varieties which will improve their firepower.
“That’ll allow them to defend themselves and, if necessary, pose problems to the enemy in ways that they couldn’t in the past.
“But more generally, it will mean that fitting these launchers to this class of frigates… means that there will be more of that capability distributed around the fleet.
He added this will give more options to commanders, but said it does ask the question of whether the Navy has the “capability to fill those launchers with enough missiles of the right type?”
“For example, the new Anglo-French cruise and anti-ship weapon, which has considerable range and can potentially attack both ships and land targets in the future,
“It can also potentially be the launcher for Tomahawk land attack missiles and potentially even an anti-ship version of the Tomahawk in the future if the Navy decides it wants to buy that and if the Navy has the money to buy that.
“I think that’s one of the key issues around this decision is this will add capability to the ships that it will be fitted to, but it’s not a cheap option so that raises questions about what the trade-offs might be.
“That might include how many ships the Navy is able to afford overall in the future.” (Source: forces.net)
24 May 23. Environmental Analysis Clears Sentinel Missile Infrastructure Construction for Takeoff. The construction phase of Sentinel, the Air Force’s multi-bn-dollar missile modernization effort, was cleared for takeoff May 19 as Robert Moriarty, Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Air Force for Installations, signed the project’s environmental record of decision.
“This decision is the linchpin that gives us the authority to proceed with numerous construction activities supporting the Sentinel program,” said Ken Rogers, chief of Sentinel Infrastructure Division, Air Force Nuclear Weapons Center. “This is a very important milestone the Sentinel National Environmental Policy Act team was able to deliver on time, which allows the Sentinel program to move to the next step.”
The record of decision, or “ROD,” details the findings of the Air Force’s analysis of environmental, natural resource and cultural considerations in the construction of the Sentinel intercontinental ballistic missile project. The document identifies the selected course of action and basis for the decision and provides information on how the Air Force intends to avoid, minimize or mitigate environmental impacts throughout the life of the project, to the maximum extent possible.
The Air Force Civil Engineer Center’s NEPA team partnered with the AFNWC to conduct the environmental impact analysis that led to the decision. AFCEC is a primary subordinate unit of the Air Force Installation and Mission Support Center.
The Sentinel project will replace the 50-year-old Minuteman III ICBM program. The effort to modernize the land-based leg of the nation’s nuclear triad touches multiple states, covers thousands of miles and impacts communities in Wyoming, Montana, North Dakota, Colorado, Utah and Arizona.
“The Sentinel project is a complex, dynamic, vast enterprise that will bring global stability to the United States for years to come,” said Gen. Thomas Bussiere, commander of Air Force Global Strike Command. “We are grateful for the mission partners who have shepherded this phase of the process to completion and who are continuing work to ensure the success of the largest Department of Defense modernization program launched in the last 50 years.”
Air Force teams began gathering data in support of three key pieces of the Sentinel environmental analysis in 2019. The cultural resource programmatic agreement, the natural resource biological opinion, and the environmental impact statement all had to be completed prior to the Secretary’s decision.
Nine public hearings and dozens of consultations with tribes, federal agencies and other stakeholders informed each of the elements analyzed and ensured the Air Force had visibility on the public’s environmental concerns related to the Sentinel.
The EIS project managers, Russell Bartholomew, AFNWC, and Stephanie Newcomer, AFCEC, guided what many consider the largest-scoped environmental impact analysis in the history of NEPA.
Community engagements encouraged the teamwork needed to make this part of the process successful, Newcomer said.
“This project shows the Air Force is sensitive to balancing mission requirements and environmental impacts,” Newcomer said. “We wanted the public to see that we are going to minimize our environmental impact as much as we can while supporting our national security.”
Citing examples of cultural resource experts living out of suitcases to complete more than 50 face-to-face tribal consultations that turned stakeholders into mission partners, Bartholomew said the Sentinel NEPA team’s commitment to the environment was evident throughout the four-plus years leading up to the signing.
“By starting stakeholder engagements early, the team created many opportunities where we were able to truly understand stakeholder concerns and, through further discussion and identification of mitigating actions, the team moved the conversation to a point where our mission partners were on board,” Rogers said.
“Never in my career have I seen an EIS for a proposed action of this magnitude go as smoothly. It is truly remarkable what this team has been able to accomplish,” said Col. Chris Stoppel, chief of Nuclear Enterprise Division, AFCEC.
With the Sentinel ROD officially signed and in place, officials will now move forward with permitting and construction on the installation command center and the material handling complex at F.E. Warren Air Force Base in Wyoming later this year. Project activities at Malmstrom Air Force Base, Montana, are expected to begin in 2026 and at Minot Air Force Base, North Dakota, in 2029.
“So many people and organizations with unique ideas came together and made this happen,” Newcomer said. “We all came to the table and made this work for our country. It has been very humbling to be part of this process.” (Source: https://www.defense-aerospace.com/: US Air Force Global Strike Command)
24 May 23. Escribano M&E Consolidates Its Leading Position with the Sale of More Than 500 Guardian 30 Stations to the Emirates Army. Escribano Mechanical & Engineering, a leading Spanish company in innovation and technology for the Defence and Security sectors, closed the sale of 516 units of the Guardian 30 remote station to the United Arab Emirates (UAE) Army at the beginning of this year. This sale, following the sale of more than 800 small-calibre 12.7mm and 14.5mm stations in 2019, positions the company as an industrial leader in the Arab country.
During the recent IDEX exhibition in Abu Dhabi, the Spanish company signed an agreement with the International Golden Group (IGG) to set up a joint venture for the local production of its 30 mm Guardian stations, which will be used to modernise the wheeled and tracked vehicles of the Emirates Army.
This new contract is part of the Emirati Army’s modernisation programmes to equip its vehicles with small and medium calibre stations, replacing the current manual stations with more advanced remote stations, whose requirements will be expanded in successive phases.
In an initial three-year phase, the contract covers the delivery of 516 Guardian 30 remote stations, each equipped with a 30mm cannon and a 7.62mm coaxial gun, as well as two electro-optical systems for targeting and advanced observation. The contract provides for their local manufacture, supporting the Emirati industrial base.
The company, which recently consolidated its leading position in the defence sector in Spain with the acquisition of a 3% stake in Indra, currently has an order book of over €1bn for defence systems in more than 20 countries worldwide. The company, which has maintained an annual growth rate of more than 35% over the last ten years, has grown from 80 to 700 employees, with an estimated turnover of €140m in 2023.
The company’s success and growth are based on the vertical integration of its manufacturing and engineering capabilities, which allows it to have full control over its systems, designed and manufactured entirely in its facilities in Alcalá de Henares. It also relies on its commitment and investment in R&D&I to develop cutting-edge technologies, such as the guidance and navigation of intelligent munitions or the incorporation of visible and infrared vision technologies in its innovative solutions for Defence and Security. (Source: https://www.defense-aerospace.com/ Escribano Mechanical & Engineering)
24 May 23. Sweden acquires amphibious artillery systems. The Swedish Defence Material Administration believes the sea-mobile artillery systems will enable the armed forces to fire, quickly mobilise and regroup.
The Swedish Defence Material Administration (FMV) has procured eight sea-mobile artillery platforms with stabilising grenade launchers from Swedeship Marine AB. Upon delivery, the Swedish Armed Forces will bring together indirect fire with good precision during operations at sea.
The contract includes training systems and spare parts. Delivery of training systems takes place in 2026-2027 and delivery of artillery platforms is planned for 2027-2028.
The sea-mobile component will enable quick regrouping to another location and provide new fire support in a combat situation.
With hand-held grenade launchers, a regrouping of a couple of kilometres can take several hours to complete. The new artillery platforms will be able to move and be ready to fire in a few minutes. That means a much-needed advantage on the battlefield.
“In Sweden’s unique archipelago environment with many islands and obscured visibility, this capability provides a strong addition to combating the enemy,” says Lennart Klingenstierna, project manager at FMV. The procurement comes as part of the FMV’s Amphibious Battalion 2030 plan. This involves procuring decisive resources for a service operating in an area between sea and land. The FMV is acquiring specific equipment that will increase the battalion’s capabilities in command, sensor and action. (Source: army-technology.com)
24 May 23. Dutch Purchase of Ammunition for MQ-9 Reaper. Defense is purchasing ammunition to arm the unmanned reconnaissance aircraft MQ-9 Reaper. The need for this was already made known in the 2022 Defense Memorandum. It is now being followed up, State Secretary Christophe van der Maat wrote to the House of Representatives today.
When the Ministry of Defense started the MQ-9 Reaper project in 2011, there was no need to arm the aircraft. However, the threat picture has changed considerably since then. The aircraft must now be able to protect the safety of its own troops. In addition, Defense wants to maintain the initiative in the deployment of the MQ-9.
Arming the aircraft ensures that the speed and flexibility of a deployment is increased. Data from the MQ-9 does not need to be transferred to other weapon systems. This ensures a shorter response time and thus reduced operational risk. The aim is to have the first ammunition ready for initial deployment by 2025. It can be fully deployed in 2028.
Procurement goes through the US government, through so-called Foreign Military Sales (FMS). The Netherlands is in line with France, which is also an FMS partner and works with the same configuration. The project is worth between € 100 and 250 million.
Not an autonomous weapon
Technically, weapons deployment from an MQ-9 is no different than that from a manned attack platform. It is not a fully autonomous weapon. In all cases, qualified personnel decide on deployment. The crew operates from a ground station.
The MQ-9 can be deployed in mission areas where other Defense weapon systems are not (or cannot be) always present. The unmanned system is currently being tested on Curaçao. It helps there, for example, to support civil authorities or for investigation and supervision.
(Unofficial translation by Defense-Aerospace.com) (Source: https://www.defense-aerospace.com/ Netherlands Ministry of Defence)
23 May 23. Not solely content with its brand new counter-drone ‘proximity’ airburst round, the Army is set to fund the development of another do-it-all munition for use with the 30mm chain guns it’s slowly proliferating across its fleet of ground vehicles.
The service has requested $18.93m in fiscal year 2024 for the new 30x113mm XM1223 Multi-Mode Proximity Airburst (MMPA) round designed to counter threats from incoming drones and ground troops behind cover, according to budget documents.
Designed to combat both aerial and ground-based threats in a single mission package, the MMPA will eventually replace both the 30×113mm XM1211 High Explosive Proximity (HEP) and XM1198 High Explosive Dual Purpose rounds currently fielded to U.S. troops to deal with the rise of adversary drones downrange
“The programmable fuze modes in the munition include proximity airburst to defeat personnel in the open and small Unmanned Aerial System (UAS) targets, proximity delay to defeat personnel in defilade, gated proximity airburst for cluttered environments, mechanical point detonate to defeat light materiel targets, and self destruct to minimize collateral damage,” according to budget documents.
Like other 30x113mm rounds, the MMPA will see use with the M230LF Bushmaster chain gun that the U.S. military has adopted as the XM914 weapon system for ground combat vehicles from the Stryker Infantry Fighting Vehicle to the Joint Light Tactical Vehicle.
The MMPA will be part of the service’s future Maneuver Short Range Air Defense (M-SHORAD) Increment 3 weapons system which, mounted on a Stryker Infantry Fighting Vehicle, will also feature the notional Next-Generation Short-Range Interceptor the Army wants as a replacement for the tried-and-true FIM-92 Stinger surface-to-air-missile.
The M-SHORAD Increment 1 consists of a Stryker Infantry Fighting Vehicle outfitted with Stinger and AGM-114 Hellfire missiles, as well as an M230LF chain gun, as our colleagues at The War Zone previously noted, while Increment 2 consists of a Stryker outfitted with a directed energy weapon.
Modernizing air defenses with a new M-SHORAD system has remained a priority for the Army since the Russian annexation of Crimea in 2014 amid a resurgence of Cold War-style tactics in Europe, as Task & Purpose previously reported, with the system’s new arsenal designed with the rising tide of cheap, weaponizable drones across battlefields from Syria to Ukraine in mind.
Indeed, Army munitions researchers have been working on the MMPA concept for the last several years, according to an August 2021 article in the service’s Army AL&T magazine in which officials laid out their vision for a one-size-fits-all medium-caliber ammo solution for mounted troops.
“Imagine a Stryker vehicle commander taking fire from enemy troops in a protected position, while also in the direct line of fire of an enemy vehicle and with an enemy drone approaching quickly,” the Army wrote. “He calls a fire mission to the gunner, who sets the weapon system to each of the different targets with the press of a button. He selects the MMPA proximity airburst mode, the weapon launches, and the munition bursts within the proximity of the incoming air targets. Seconds later, it bursts above the hidden personnel targets and in point detonation with the vehicle threat. With minimal ammunition, the commander and crew are able to defeat three distinct threats.”
It’s unclear which defense contractor might end up manufacturing the MMPA. The XM1211 and XM1198 rounds currently fielded to U.S. troops are manufactured by Northrop Grumman, per Janes. (Source: Defense News Early Bird/https://taskandpurpose.com/)
23 May 23. International Talks on the Integration of CAMM Missiles with IBCS. The integration of the CAMM “family” missiles and the iLauncher with the IBCS air defense management system was the main topic of the trilateral Polish-British-American talks that took place on May 18-19, 2023 in Warsaw. The meeting was organized by the Armament Agency and the Polish Armaments Group.
“The creation of a multi-layer air and missile defense managed holistically by the IBCS system is one of the priority aspects of building the air defense system of the Republic of Poland. The two most important systems: Wisła and Narew, under the umbrella of IBCS, are to ensure the ability to combat the targets of the modern battlefield and interoperability within NATO,” said the deputy head of the Armament Agency, Col. Dr. Eng. Michal Marciniak.
Representatives of governments and the defense industry from Poland, the United Kingdom and the United States discussed the necessary actions to be taken in the near future to effectively integrate IBCS with elements obtained as part of Narew, Mała Narew or Pilica+. The most important activities were the exchange of necessary information and data on the capabilities of the integrated elements, adaptation of both hardware and software to the standards of cooperation with IBCS and ensuring operational security. Combat shootings using various elements of multi-layer air defense are to confirm the completion of this process.
The Polish Armed Forces are undergoing a thorough modernization of air defense, where post-Soviet systems are being replaced with modern, proven solutions and future solutions. Medium-range security is to be ensured by Patriot launchers with PAC-3MSE missiles, some of which have already been delivered. Short range is the domain of iLauncher launchers and CAMM family missiles, which are also already in service with the Polish Army. The lowest layer is the domain of the Pilica program, which will soon increase its capabilities to counteract threats from the air and as Pilica+ equipped with min. the CAMM missiles will support the other layers.
“Building Poland’s security is not only equipping the Armed Forces with modern systems, but also including the Polish defense industry in this process. Polska Grupa Zbrojeniowa has a significant share in all armaments programs related to air defense,” said Marek Borejko, director of the PGZ Air and Missile Defense Projects Office.
The PGZ companies showed their readiness to cooperate and responsibility for the security of Poland during the works on the Mała Narew, where in a very short time it was possible to acquire, integrate and deliver to the armed forces the first fire unit equipped with Polish-British equipment and armament. In the future, the transfer of technology and knowledge, which is planned as part of the Narew project, is to further increase these competences and provide a completely new quality and capabilities that the Polish industry has never had before.
It was the second meeting aimed at integrating IBCS with Polish air and missile defense systems, and the first one after signing the framework agreements for the Narew and Pilica+ systems and the executive agreement for the Mała Narew. (Source: https://www.defense-aerospace.com/PGZ)
22 May 23. Estonia and Latvia procure Iris-T SLM air defence system.
The two countries will jointly acquire the Iris-T SML ground-based air defence system after its interoperability demonstration in a recent Nato exercise. Estonia and Latvia have entered negotiations with the German equipment manufacturer, Diehel Defence, to procure the Iris-T surface-to-air, medium-range launched (SML) air defence system.
The Iris-T missile has served as a standard missile for nearly twenty years. Austria was the first export customer at end of 2005. The German programme sought to replace the AIM-9 Sidewinder in use by some Nato members.
The missile has mostly been used as an air-to-air guided missile. South Africa adapted them to its Gripen fighters in 2008 and Saudi Arabia to its Tornados and Typhoons in 2009.
The original equipment manufacturer, Diehel Defence, first tested its short-range surface-to-air (SLS) variant for the first time in 2014. The company fielded the SLM in 2022. In October 2022, Diehel announced it delivered the Iris-T SLM to Ukraine.
The system provides 360 degree protection against aircraft, helicopters, cruise missiles, and guided weapons.
It enables simultaneous engagement of multiple targets. It operates at short to medium-ranges (distances of 40km) within extremely brief reaction times (reaching Mach 3).
the system can integrate multi-function radar systems and it suits both mobile and stationary deployment.
Diehel Defence particpated in Nato’s Joint Project Optic Windmill (JPOW). The exercise integrated air power and missile defence in the Netherlands between 22-29 March 2023. Diehl Defence’s Iris-T SLM system took part in the exercise as a “future system” under the command of the German Air Force.
Nato demonstrated the interoperability of Iris-T SLM, testing its connectivity, time synchronisation and air situation exchange in the network. The achievement of this milestone in the programme’s history will help expedite its procurement by the Bundeswehr.
This demonstration reinvigorates the Baltic nations that signed a letter of intent for the joint procurement of the system in June 2022, at the Nato Summit in Madrid.
The Estonian Ministry of Defence expects the system to arrive in 2024.
“For selecting the winning bidder, we looked at evaluation criteria such as the technical capacity of the system, the total cost of the system, the life cycle cost for the coming 30 years, the delivery time and the involvement of the local industry,” said the head of the communications and radar category at RKIK, Priit Soosaar.
The final cost of the investment will be determined during contract negotiations. The capability includes the medium-range air defence system, but also the infrastructure, personnel, training, equipment and other related costs. (Source: army-technology.com)
19 May 23. Details of EU HYDEF programme emerge as concept study phase begins. The Spanish-led consortium tasked with developing the European Hypersonic Defence (EU HYDEF) interceptor concept released further details of the programme at the FEINDEF 2023 exhibition in Madrid, held from 17 to 19 May.
An initial 36-month concept study and technologies maturation phase started this week, designed to define a concept for “a European interceptor to achieve the highest manoeuvrability and capability to respond to high-velocity threats”, according to European Defence Fund (EDF) documents.
“The project will result in the concept, risk mitigation, and demonstration of a cost-effective endo-atmospheric interceptor able to operate in different air levels encompassing new aerodynamic and actuator systems for high manoeuvrability, highly agile guidance concepts, and advanced sensor/seeker systems,” the documents added.
The initial study phase, led by the Spanish Missile Systems (SMS) consortium featuring Escribano Mechanical & Engineering, GMV, and Sener Aeroespacial, also includes the participation of industry partners from Belgium, the Czech Republic, Germany, Norway, Poland, and Sweden.
22 May 23. HACM undergoing subsystem ground testing, beginning fabrication.
Raytheon’s Hypersonic Attack Cruise Missile (HACM), an air-launched, air-breathing hypersonic vehicle, is undergoing subsystem component testing and beginning component fabrication, company programme director Nate Szyba told Janes .
In September 2022 Raytheon and Northrop Grumman were awarded a USD985 million contract to build and test the HACM by 2027, with the latter providing the propulsion system and the former the vehicle.
“We’re starting to get into some of the ground test activities that we have planned,” said Szyba in a 15 May interview. “We are making really good progress, getting some of the hardware fabrication started and executing some pretty substantial ground test events across the whole programme.”
“We’ll have several design reviews that lead up to our first series of flight-tests, and we’ve got our [preliminary design review] phase of the programme around the same time. I can’t say exactly when that’s going to be,” Szyba said. (Source: Janes)
22 May 23. Israel Arrow-3 missile defence sale to Germany likely in few months, contractor says. An agreement relating to Israel’s sale of its Arrow-3 missile defence system to Germany will likely be signed within a few months, the head of the project’s main contractor said on Monday.
“We are moving ahead nicely toward a contract for Arrow-3,” Boaz Levy, CEO of state-owned Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) told a Reichman University conference near Tel Aviv. “And if I can provide a small prediction, I think this contract will be signed within a few months,” said Levy.
Germany has ramped up its military spending following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
The Arrow-3 is designed to intercept ballistic missiles outside of the earth’s atmosphere. It is the top layer of Israel’s missile defence array, which extends from Iron Dome that intercepts short-range rockets to Arrow-3’s long-range missiles that destroy any non-conventional warheads at a safe altitude.
On whether other European countries were in the market to buy the system, Levy said that “one can expect Arrow-3 to reach more countries, too.”
The project has U.S. backing so the sale would require approval from Washington.
IAI is the project’s main contractor and Boeing is involved in producing the interceptors. (Source: Google/Reuters)
22 May 23. US GAO: Missile Defense Agency misses annual test targets.
A number of planned flight, ground, and cyber tests were not undertaken or failed to be completed during the FY2022 reporting period.
Areport conducted by the US Government Accountability Office (GAO) has found that annual targets for the delivery of testing for the US Department of Defense’s (DoD) Missile Defense Agency (MDA) ability to detect attacks and track, intercept, and destroy threats in flight was unmet in FY2022.
In the GAO report, published on 18 May, it was stated that the MDA had not completed its planned flight, ground, or cyber tests for its systems, which each year were part of goals set in terms of system delivery and testing of existing capabilities. The MDA is charged with the defence of the US, through a layered system of capabilities known as the Missile Defense System.
The GAO found that in 2022, the MDA continued to deliver interceptors and radar upgrades to operational commanders, including those that were expected to be delivered in prior years, but it did not meet its annual goals.
“As a result, the warfighter has less fielded capability than planned. One element—the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense system—met its 2022 delivery goals. MDA did not complete its fiscal year 2022 flight, ground, and cyber baseline test programme, consistent with prior years,” the GAPO report stated.
Examples of MDA’s fiscal year 2022 baselined test programme results included the completion of only six of nine planned flight tests and met objectives in only five of those six tests. Flight tests are conducted to test hardware and assess system performance.
Of ground tests in the reporting period, which use simulations to model capabilities and limitations in a wider variety than possible through flight tests, the MDA conducted three of nine planned, deleting or delaying the tests not conducted to future years.
Finally, regarding cyber testing, which determine capabilities and vulnerabilities, the GAO reported that the MDA two such tests in fiscal year 2022, around one year later than planned—but scaled back the scope of these tests and delayed five others to future years.
Growing market for missile defence
Since MDA was established in 2002, the DoD has spent over $194bn including $10.4bn in fiscal year 2022, according to the GAO, which stated that over this period, missile threats from foreign adversaries had “evolved”. (Source: airforce-technology.com)
16 May 23. Israel Weapon Industries (IWI) signs ToT (Transfer of Technology) agreement with FAME S.A.C for the assembly of its ARAD small arms in Peru. IWI – Israel Weapon Industries – a member of the SK Group (founded by Mr. Samy Katsav), and a global leader in the production of combat-proven small arms for military forces, police units, law enforcement agencies, and governmental entities around the world – has announced the signing of a ToT (Transfer of Technology and Knowledge) agreement with FAME, under which both companies will establish an assembly and production line in Peru for the ARAD family of assault rifles.
Under the terms of the agreement, IWI will provide FAME with technological knowledge regarding small arms assembly, advanced quality assurance and maintenance processes. In the future, the companies will also explore the possibility of expanding production to include additional weapons and relevant optical sights for the country’s defensive and security forces.
ARAD with Meprolight [© IWI]
“IWI is proud to have signed a cooperation agreement with FAME, which further strengthens its activities in Peru and in Latin America,” says Ronen Hamudot, Executive VP Marketing and Sales of the SK Group. “This is the first step in a cooperation that will generate employment opportunities in the country and is expected, over the next few years, to be expanded into the local production of IWI’s various small arms, as well as other SK Group solutions – like Meprolight’s day sights.”
“IWI is a world-leader company, with decades of proven experience in the development, production and marketing of small arms,” says Leoncio Noriega, Commercial Director of FAME. “This signing aligns us with a partner that has rich experience and technological knowledge that it will share with FAME, as part of the agreement, promoting the Military Industry of Peru. We are sure (convinced) that the cooperation between the companies will be fruitful and long-lasting.” (Source: www.joint-forces.com)
17 May 23. Milanion NTGS ALAKRAN Mobile Mortar System returns home ~ combat-proven, time-tested and future-proof. After traversing the globe on multiple field tests with various Infantry and Special Forces units, Milanion NTGS proudly announces the homecoming of ALAKRAN, the world’s lightest mobile mortar system. With a combat-proven track record that speaks volumes about its reliability and effectiveness in real-world scenarios, ALAKRAN returns to its birthplace, Spain. The system is being showcased at the International Defence and Security Exhibition, FEINDEF 2023 held at IFEMA in Madrid, from 17th-19th May 2023.
Currently in-service across several conflict zones and known for its extreme mobility, accuracy, and firepower, ALAKRAN has withstood the test of time and undergone continuous incremental refinements and upgrades based on user feedback and lessons learnt from previous operations. As a result, it has evolved into a more mature, robust, and capable weapon system, ensuring unparalleled trust and confidence on the battlefield.
“We are excited to showcase the ALAKRAN mobile mortar system at FEINDEF 2023,” said Julio Estrella, CEO of Milanion NTGS. “It’s coming home to Spain, where it was designed and manufactured, and where it will be showcased for the domestic and European markets. ALAKRAN exemplifies the highest standards of quality and precision. Each unit is crafted with meticulous attention to detail, combining cutting-edge technology with unrivalled engineering expertise.”
Milanion NTGS has forged strong worldwide collaborations for extensive field tests that, coupled with customer feedback, have contributed to the system’s continuous improvement. The valuable insights gained have elevated ALAKRAN’s performance and solidified its relevance in contemporary military operations. These partnerships represent a testament to Milanion NTGS’ commitment to cooperative innovation and ALAKRAN’s ability to seamlessly integrate with existing defence frameworks.
ALAKRAN embodies the future of mortar technology with advanced features, including adaptability to emerging threats, seamless integration with network-centric operations, and ease of customisation, making it an indispensable asset for rapid fire support on the battlefield. Milanion NTGS’ forward-thinking and dedication to reliability and safety has positioned the ALAKRAN system as a catalyst for the future of defence technology, transforming traditional mortar systems into agile and responsive platforms. (Source: www.joint-forces.com)
19 May 23. Aselsan’s Gökdeniz CIWS integrated into first Istanbul-class frigate after completing FAT. The first Aselsan Gökdeniz naval close-in weapon system (CIWS) destined for the Turkish Navy has been integrated into the lead Istanbul (TF-100)-class frigate following the completion of its factory acceptance test (FAT), the company has announced.
First-of-class İstanbul is under construction at the Istanbul Shipyard Command and is planned to be commissioned in the last quarter of 2023.
The FAT milestone follows the successful completion of shipborne firing tests in May 2022.
Gökdeniz is a 35 mm dual-barrel naval CIWS designed by Aselsan to provide the Turkish Navy an effective air-defence capability against anti-ship missiles, asymmetric naval and aerial threats, and rotary-wing aircraft.
First unveiled at the International Defence Industry Fair 2019 (IDEF 2019) in Istanbul, it is derived from the Korkut tracked SP anti-aircraft land system.
Gökdeniz features an enclosed, remote-controlled, stabilised gun turret with two 35 mm automatic guns – each capable of firing 550 rounds per minute – fed by an automatic linkless feed system, a 3D X-band tracking radar, and one fire-control radar with electro-optical sensors.
19 May 23. MBDA gears up for possible Spanish air defense deal.
Spain will likely begin a competition this month for the procurement of air defense missile systems with the aim of signing a contract by late July, according to María Durán, who leads the Spain-based arm of MBDA.
“We expect a tender to be announced by the end of May and the signature of a contract by late July for the procurement of air defense missile systems. We are ready to provide more than 600 Mistral 3 to the Spanish air, naval and land forces,” Durán told Defense News at the exhibition.
She added that deliveries could begin as early as 2025 and span out to 2032. It’s unclear how the systems would be divided among the military services.
MBDA showcased three different models of missiles at the FEINDEF defense conference in Madrid, running May 17-19: the Meteor, the Brimstone and the Mistral 3. The latter is in service with French forces.
Spain is reportedly allocating €330 million (U.S. $358 million) for the launch of a program to buy anti-aircraft missiles.
The Spanish Army did not return a request for comment from Defense News by press time.
For MBDA, this is a long time coming. Durán said discussions around the country wanting to acquire the Mistral 3 have taken place since at least 2015, but efforts were put aside due to a lack of money.
However, the situation is different than eight years ago, with the Spanish government pledging considerable defense investments to meet the goal of spending at least 2% of gross domestic product on defense by 2029. NATO, of which Spain is a signatory, encourages its members to spend that amount annually.
The Mistral 3 short-range surface-to-air missile is equipped with an infrared imaging seeker and advanced image-processing abilities, allowing it to engage low-thermal signature targets such as drones and turbojet-powered missiles. In March, the company’s chief executive said MBDA is accelerating the production of the Mistral 3 from 20 to 30 per month as a result of the European-wide pressure to supply more weapons.
European countries are on a shopping spree as they look to both continue arming Ukraine, which is under invasion by Russia, and fill gaps in their inventories left over by donations to Kyiv.
Mistral missiles have been in production for more than three decades and are operated by dozens of militaries in different configurations around the world. The latest variant has demonstrated the ability to intercept a moving target at ranges of 8 kilometers (5 miles). (Source: Defense News)
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