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08 Sep 23. NP Aerospace Receives Volvo Defense Contract for Vehicle Armour Development.
Global armour manufacturer, NP Aerospace, has been awarded a new development contract by Volvo Defense for the design, manufacture, and supply of composite armoured cabs for militarised versions of their Volvo FMX Series trucks.
As part of the contract which was won via competitive bid in October 2022, NP Aerospace has developed a unique solution for fully armoured truck cabs which meets specific NATO STANAG 4569 and AEP-55 requirements for blast, ballistic and artillery shell splinter protection. STANAG Level 2 (KE & FSP) as a minimum with standard armour, with an option to upgrade to STANAG Level 3 (KE & FSP) with applique armour packs.
Peter Hardisty, NP Aerospace Managing Director & Senior Vice President, comments: “The ability to offer STANAG Level 3 protection on a single front axle truck is a sector leading innovation. We believe this delivers modularity and flexibility which will benefit end customer requirements; whilst offering space to cater for CBRN3 ventilation systems, radio equipment, and WRM4 systems. We are pleased to be working with Volvo Defense as survivability partner. It is a significant step for both companies as we extend our capabilities into armoured truck cab programmes.”
Roger Brorsson, Volvo Defense Product Director, said: “We selected NP Aerospace due to their vehicle armour design and manufacturing capability gained across numerous complex vehicle programmes working with large defence organisations. We are excited to be able to showcase our first armoured truck cab prototype at DSEI – the result of hard work and dedication of both teams over the last ten months to meet an aggressive timescale.”
Truck cabs will be fully integrated by NP Aerospace in its armour manufacturing and engineering headquarters in Coventry, UK, before being delivered to Volvo Defense in Gothenburg, Sweden, for final integration. NP Aerospace will conduct ballistic testing of the solution later this calendar year, before commencing with prototype developments for Volvo Defense to trial during 2024.
NP Aerospace will be fully supporting Volvo Defense in their worldwide sales opportunities for the Armoured Volvo FMX truck family.
About NP Aerospace
NP Aerospace, headquartered in the UK and Canada, is a global leader in manufacturing composites, life saving personal protection and bomb disposal suits, vehicle armour and integration, through life support and spares. With a track record of integrating and supporting over 2,000 military vehicles, NP Aerospace also excels in body armour programs, having supplied millions of combat helmets and body armour plates to NATO allies. Established in 1926, NP Aerospace has served the defence industry for over 40 years, with a team of 250+ professionals across its global facilities. For more information, visit www.npaerospace.com.
07 Sep 23. UK scopes transition plan for directed energy weapons. The UK Ministry of Defence (MoD) is embarking on a three-year ‘Transition Phase’ programme designed to support the development and delivery of directed energy weapon (DEW) systems tothe UK armed forces over the next five to 10 years.
In a briefing note promulgated on 1 September industry has been asked to help shape the UK DEW procurement strategy by providing early input to guide planning and policy. At this stage, the MoD is leaning towards a framework arrangement that would allow it to leverage expertise from a wide range of suppliers across all tiers of the supply chain.
Being led by the Directed Energy Weapons team within the MoD’s Defence Equipment and Support (DE&S) organisation, the new DEW road map is intended to result in the fielding of laser DEW (LDEW) and radio frequency DEW (RFDEW) systems for air-defence and counter-unmanned aircraft system (C-UAS) applications. The work will build on prior DEW maturation and learning, including lessons learned from three capability demonstrator projects expected to start user experimentation in 2024.
07 Sep 23. Alkantpan hosts successful Denel capability demo. Proof Denel can still make the grade came at Armscor’s Alkantpan test range last month with pride of place going to a VLAP (velocity enhanced artillery projectile) shot which reached a remarkable 61.29 km distance.
The artillery shoot was part of a three-day capability demonstration at the remote Northern Cape site in mid-August to showcase the State-owned Denel is “back in business”.
The 60 km+ shot was made from a Denel Land Systems T5-52 155 mm, 52-calibre self-propelled howitzer on the final day of the demo, with the first and second days covering shoot and scoot, maximum rate of fire and stability and accuracy demonstrations.
Three VLAP rounds were fired on day three, an exercise made “interesting” by prevailing winds, at times reaching 130 km/h speeds in the upper meteorological line. The first shot achieved 60.4 km and the second 60.9km. The ballistic test for the final shot of the day showed a 61.29 kilometre range. This proved once and for all, Denel said, the superiority of the system combination between its T5-52 and the Rheinmetall Denel Munition (RDM) ammunition suite from the Assegai family.
Denel collaborated with RDM, which supplied its suite of artillery ammunition. An RDM test in November 2019 at Alkantpan using Assegai 155 mm VLAP ammunition reached a record 76 km with a 52-calibre barrel, and 53 km with a 39-calibre barrel. These ranges were achieved with Denel G5 and G6 howitzers.
Denel said the August test-firing confirmed it is “still at the forefront of global technological advancement in the field of artillery and that it has recapacitated itself to be able to meet customer expectations in pursuit of world-class product offerings.” It said the 155 mm T5-52 artillery system is a flagship product, designed to be mobile, with increased firepower and a low operating cost.
Other Denel products shown at Alkantpan were its Seeker 400 unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV), Altimate 105 mm self-propelled howitzer, mounted on Denel Vehicle Systems RG41 8×8 armoured platform; 105mm light experimental ordnance (LEO/WEBBY); as well as the Denel Mechatronics Missile Stabilised Turret (MST) mounted on an RG32M mine hardened armoured patrol vehicle.
The Seeker 400 showed its capability by way of demonstration flights on the first two days, first completing a surveillance mission over the target and confirming grids once firing was underway. The UAV also provided the correction function for fall of shot through a live feed from the target area.
The Seeker 400 operates at a direct line-of-sight (LOS) range of up to 250 km with more than 10 hours time on target (TOT), a speed of 150 km/h and up to 16 hours endurance with a multiple sensor payload capability up to 100 kg.
Denel said one of the main objectives of the 15-17 August demonstration was to re-establish and grow the relationship with end users, the local defence industry and international partners, with the intention of getting closer to niche markets.
Invitations sent to ten countries were accepted by eight, whose representatives at the test range were joined by Deputy Public Enterprises Minister Obed Bapela. Local participants included representatives from the Department of Defence (DoD), the Directorate Conventional Arms Control (DCAC), Armscor, the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research, the SA Army, Defence Intelligence as well as local defence industry companies.
Bapela said the demonstration showed that Denel is back to business and has the full support from the Government, its shareholder the Department of Public Enterprises, the Board and Management and will continue to work towards making itself a sustainable and profitable company.
In summary Denel noted the demonstration “received positive reviews from those present”.
“The event is a statement from Denel to the global market confirming its place as a global supplier of world-class aerospace, military and defence equipment. This capability demo confirmed to clients Denel is redefining its future,” Denel concluded. (Source: https://www.defenceweb.co.za/)
06 Sep 23. Minuteman III Test Launch Showcases Readiness of U.S. Nuclear Force’s Safe, Effective DeterrentA joint team of Air Force Global Strike Command Airmen and 30th Space Launch Delta Guardians launched an unarmed Minuteman III intercontinental ballistic missile equipped with three test re-entry vehicles Sept. 6 at 1:26 a.m. Pacific Time from Vandenberg Space Force Base, California.
This test launch is part of routine and periodic activities intended to demonstrate that the United States’ nuclear deterrent is safe, secure, reliable and effective to deter twenty-first century threats and reassure our allies. Such tests have occurred over 300 times before, and this test is not the result of current world events.
“The men and women of Air Force Global Strike Command comprise two-thirds of our nation’s nuclear triad, and they stand constant vigil to ensure our national defense,” said Gen. Thomas A. Bussiere, commander, Air Force Global Strike Command. “Test launches validate our deterrence capabilities to the American public and to our allies. The missile community is comprised of our country’s finest Airmen, and I have no doubt in their ability to support our most important mission across the Department of Defense.”
The ICBM’s reentry vehicle traveled approximately 4,200 miles to the Kwajalein Atoll in the Marshall Islands. These test launches verify the accuracy and reliability of the ICBM weapon system, providing valuable data to ensure a continued safe, secure and effective nuclear deterrent.
“The U.S. nuclear enterprise is the cornerstone of security for the freedom of the American people and our allies around the world,” said Col. Chris Cruise, 377th Test and Evaluation Group Commander. “This test launch sends a visible message of deterrence on behalf of our joint forces and global partners, and I couldn’t be prouder of the professionalism of the Airmen and Guardians who comprise this mission.”
The test launch is a culmination of months of preparation that involve multiple government partners. The Airmen and Guardians who perform this vital mission are some of the most skillfully trained and educated the Air and Space Forces have to offer.
Airmen from across 20th Air Forces were selected for the task force to support the test launch, and the 90th Missile Wing from F.E. Warren Air Force Base, Wyoming, provided maintenance support. The missile bases within Air Fore Global Strike Command have crew members standing alert 24 hours a day, year-round, overseeing the nation’s ICBM alert forces.
The ICBM community, including the Department of Defense, the Department of Energy, and U.S. Strategic Command, uses data collected from test launches for continuing force development evaluation. The ICBM test launch program demonstrates the operational capability of the Minuteman III and ensures the United States’ ability to maintain a strong, credible nuclear deterrent as a key element of U.S. national security and the security of U.S. allies and partners.
Air Force Global Strike Command is a major command with headquarters at Barksdale Air Force Base, Louisiana, in the Shreveport-Bossier City community. The command overseas the nation’s three intercontinental ballistic missile wings, the Air Force’s entire bomber force, to include B-52, B-1 and B-2 wings, the Long Range Strike Bomber program, Air Force Nuclear Command, Control and Communications systems, and operational and maintenance support to organizations within the nuclear enterprise. Approximately 33,700 professionals are assigned to two Numbered Air Forces, nine wings, two geographically-separated squadrons and one detachment in the continental United States and deployed to locations around the globe.
More information can be found here.https://www.afgsc.af.mil/About/Fact-Sheets/Article/454593/air-force-global-strike-command-air-forces-strategic-air/.
The LG-35A Sentinel will replace the Minuteman III ICBM with an initial capability of 2029. Until full capability is achieved in the mid-2030s, the Air Force is committed to ensuring Minuteman III remains a viable deterrent. (Source: https://www.defense-aerospace.com/DoD)
07 Sep 23. MBDA and PGZ Join Forces on CAMM-MR Development. MBDA and PGZ have signed an agreement to co-operate on developing a new CAMM medium-range low-cost interceptor at MSPO 2023 in Kielce. The CAMM-MR missile is being designed to meet the needs of advanced ground and naval air defence at medium ranges.
The letter of intent between PGZ and MBDA follows on from the UK and Polish governments agreeing to progress development of a future common missile based on the Common Anti-air Modular Missile (CAMM) family as part of the UK–Poland 2030 strategic partnership.
The new CAMM-MR missile concept has been created under a contract from the Polish Ministry of National Defence, with the new missile intended to complement CAMM & CAMM-ER within the integrated air and missile defence (IAMD) capabilities of the MIECZNIK and PILICA+/NAREW/WISLA programmes.
Eric Béranger, CEO of MBDA, said: “This joint working on a new missile is a historic step for our companies and for the development of European solutions for the Defense of Europe. MBDA was created to champion the cross border development of missile systems in Europe and so we’re very proud to be working in concert with PGZ and Poland on this exciting new project.”
Sebastian Chwałek, President of the Management Board of PGZ S.A. said: “This particular LOI is intended to pave the road map of future activities that both PGZ and MBDA should undertake to engage in design, development and production of CAMM-MR. We also call this initiative as Future Common Missile to convey our aspiration it will serve both the Polish and British Armed Forces as common munition with dual source of production. This is a new chapter for PGZ and we are very motivated to engage especially in design and development with assets that we have at hand or being implemented right now e.g. HWIL Laboratory, as a solid and strategic partner of MBDA.”
Polish involvement in the future development of the CAMM family follows on from the successful UK-Italian co-operation that created CAMM-ER.
MBDA is currently working with PGZ to enhance Poland’s missile capabilities, including through the PILICA+, NAREW, MIECZNIK and OTTOKAR BRZOZA programmes backed by transfer of knowledge and technology from MBDA to Poland’s defence industry. This joint working is providing decisive military capabilities to Poland, driving significant value for money and boosting the Polish economy and high-skilled jobs.
MBDA is a unique multi-national European group, a world-leader in the field of complex weapon systems, playing a key role in keeping nations safe. Created in the spirit of international co-operation, MBDA and its more than 14,000 employees work together to support the national sovereignty of France, Germany, Italy, Spain and the UK, and other allied countries worldwide. As an accelerator for innovation, MBDA is the only European group capable of designing and manufacturing complex weapons to meet the full range of current and future operational requirements of the three armed forces (land, sea and air). MBDA is owned by Airbus (37.5%), BAE Systems (37.5%) and Leonardo (25%). (Source: https://www.defense-aerospace.com/)
07 Sep 23. MOD to Recommend to Slovakia’s Air Defence Capability to the Government. The Slovak Defence Ministry has completed the bid evaluation process for very short-range and medium-range air defence (VSHORAD & MRAD) systems. Following up on the conclusions of the evaluation, a team of MOD experts have prepared the proposed best solutions to Slovakia’s Air Defence Capability, taking account of all relevant criteria such as technical capabilities, total procurement price, integrated logistical support services, service life costs, schedule of delivery, and training of operators.
Following the evaluation results from the MOD experts, the MOD recommends that one (1) mobile medium-range surface-to-air missile (MRSAM-M) system be procured from the State of Israel through a Government-to-Government (G2G) agreement under Stage 1 of the Slovak Air Defence Capability Programme. The best offer from Israel was followed by the offers from Germany and France.
The MOD also recommends that the very short-range man-portable/crew-served air defence (MANPAD/CREWPAD) systems be procured from Poland via a G2G agreement. The best offer from Poland was followed by the offers from Sweden, France and South Korea.
Today, the MOD has referred the proposal to the Ministry of Finance’s Value for Money Office for consideration. Subsequently, the document along with the recommended solution will be submitted to the SVK government for a final approval decision.
If talks with the selected states are unsuccessful, the MOD will lead negotiations with the countries next on the list, according to the final bidders’ ranking.
As State Secretary of the SVK MOD Marian Majer reminds us, securing Slovakia’s Integrated Air and Missile Defence (IAMD) has been among the shortages in our country’s defence capabilities in the long run. “It holds true that thanks to our allies, we have the opportunity to address this need to our satisfaction, even in view of the value that we can get for the resources available. The proposed solution reflects the specific needs of our Armed Forces and our country,” State Secretary Marian Majer said.
Director General of the MOD Modernisation Department and National Armaments Director Michal Homza said: “Based on our lessons learned from the ongoing conflict, Slovakia and many other allied states must urgently address the need to develop their Integrated Air and Missile Defence (IAMD) capabilities. Therefore, this situation places additional demands on existing production capacities, which results in higher prices and longer delivery periods. For these reasons, it is inevitable for Slovakia to make this decision as soon as possible.”
According to the winning bids, the overall procurement costs for the two types of AD systems, initially estimated at €196,450,677 (including VAT), stand at €193,985,880 (including VAT).
The VSHORAD & MRAD systems are set to be delivered into service with the Slovak Armed Forces from 2024 to 2027. The final approval decision on the best solution now rests with the SVK Government.
(Source: https://www.defense-aerospace.com/ Slovak Republic Ministry of Defence)
07 Sep 23. Royal Netherlands Air Force (RNLAF) Expands Use of Elbit Systems’ DIRCM to VIP Aircraft. Elbit Systems Ltd. has delivered a self-protection suite to the Royal Netherlands Air Force’s (RNLAF) Gulfstream G-650ER VIP Aircraft. The delivery was carried out within a year of signing and after comprehensive flight acceptance tests.
The flight acceptance tests included the examination of the system over a number of flights, all of which were successful and to the full satisfaction of the customer.
The aircraft was equipped with an advanced protective suite that includes Elbit Systems’ Direct Infra-Red Counter Measures (DIRCM) and Infra-Red-based Passive Airborne Warning System (IR MWS), a configuration with an EASA supplemental type certificate (STC).
This project joins many across the world, including NATO’s MRTT A330 refueling fleet project-of which the Netherlands is a member- that has a similar protection system installed.
Ziv Ashkenazi, VP Business Development and Marketing, Airborne Systems at Elbit Systems: “This plane joins a large fleet of aircraft around the world that are equipped with our advanced and proven self-protection suite. The quality and reliability of our systems have been proven once again in the acceptance trials as well as in the quick completion of the project for our important Dutch customer.”
Netherlands Material IT Command Project Leader: “Based on our experiences with the MMF MRTT-fleet, we were convinced that this self-protection system would fulfill our requirements. We are very satisfied with the support, flexibility and performance provided to our G650ER project.”
06 Sep 23. MSPO 2023: Fabryka Broni unveils new 9 mm pistol. Fabryka Broni (FB) ‘Łucznik’ Radom unveiled its new MPS pistol at the MSPO defence exhibition held from September 5 to 8 in Kielce, Poland.
The MPS has a polymer-framed, striker-fired design, and is chambered for the 9×19 cartridge. Similar to the Sig Sauer P320, the core of the pistol consists of the fire-control module, which can be swapped to different polymer frames depending on user requirements. The launch model features a 102 mm long barrel and a 15-round magazine capacity. The slide is cut for a red dot sight, with FB offering five different plates for various micro red dot models. A choice of three different grip panels is also available. The company offers the pistol with a threaded barrel and heightened suppressor-compatible sights. An FB Radom representative told Janes that an initial batch of 200 pistols would be produced in 2023. New sized frames and potentially new calibres would be examined in the future. Currently offered in double-action only, the company is looking at developing a single-action model of the pistol as well. (Source: Janes)
06 Sep 23. Australia’s EOS upgrades combat vehicles with firepower systems. Canberra-based Electro Optic Systems (EOS) has upgraded the Australian Army’s combat vehicles with its remote and autonomous firepower systems.
EOS showcased the vehicles at the Army Robotics Expo (ARX) 2023 held in late August in Perth.
The vehicles upgraded comprised the M113AS4 armoured logistics vehicle (ALV), Hawkei protected mobility vehicle (PMV), Supacat 6×6 high mobility transporter (HMT) Extenda Mk 2, and Warfighter unmanned ground vehicle (UGV).
The company upgraded the M113 and the Hawkei by installing an EOS R400 remote weapon system (RWS) with a 12.7 mm M2 machine gun.
An EOS spokesperson told Janes that the company is working with the Australian Army’s Robotic and Autonomous Systems Implementation and Coordination Office (RICO) on the M113 and the Hawkei as part of their robotic and autonomous systems (RAS) strategy.
As part of the RAS strategy, the RICO aims to leverage emerging technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI), autonomy, and robotics to gain an operational advantage. (Source: Janes)
06 Sep 23. Singapore goes public on upgraded F-16s’ Python 5 missile capabilities. An RSAF F-16 on display at Paya Lebar Air Base in September 2023. (Janes/Ridzwan Rahmat)
The Republic of Singapore Air Force (RSAF) has publicly confirmed that its upgraded Lockheed Martin F-16 C/D/D+ fighter aircraft are now armed with the Python 5 air-to-air missile.
This confirmation can be seen on an information board at a stand that has been set up at Paya Lebar Air Base to showcase the aircraft.
The base is accessible to the public from 9 to 10 September as part of an ‘open house’ event to mark the service’s 55th anniversary. Janes was granted advanced access as part of a media event.
Prior to this event, confirmation regarding the Python 5 and its deployment status on the RSAF’s fleet of upgraded F-16s was provided to select media outlets on a non-attributable basis.
The Python 5 is an Israeli fourth-generation air-to-air missile with surface-to-air applications.
It features an improved maximum range of 20 km when compared with its predecessor, the Python 4, which can strike targets at distances of up to 15 km. (Source: Janes)
06 Sep 23. Indonesian defence ministry, navy at impasse over ‘Red White’ frigate’s combat systems. The Indonesian Ministry of Defense (MoD) and the Indonesian Navy have reached an impasse over the ‘Red White’ frigate programme’s combat systems.
At the centre of the impasse is the defence ministry’s insistence that the frigates be equipped with a Turkish combat management system (CMS) instead of a Thales-supplied one as originally planned, separate industry sources have confirmed to Janes.
The MoD signed a contract for two Iver Huitfeldt-class-derived frigates with state-owned shipbuilder PT PAL in April 2020. However, the contract only became effective in May 2021 after funding was secured.
Upon the contract becoming effectual, UK defence group Babcock disclosed in September 2021 that it signed a licence agreement to provide PT PAL with its Arrowhead 140 design for the two ships.
This design is in turn derived from the Royal Danish Navy’s three-ship Iver Huitfeldt class, which were commissioned between January and November 2011. The Indonesian frigates will each displace about 5,996 tonnes at full load and have an overall length of 140 m. (Source: Janes)
07 Sep 23. Knights Armament KS-1 Selected for UK Special Operations Brigade (ASOB). British troops will soon be more lethal on the battlefield, as a new £90m contract delivers modern, high precision rifles, the Knights Armament KS-1.
The new advanced rifle.
- New rifle provides UK troops with an improved lethal capability on the battlefield.
- Rifle more discreet through sight and hearing signature reduction.
- Up to 10,000 weapons could be procured over the next 10 years.
British troops will soon be more lethal on the battlefield, as a new £90m contract delivers modern, high precision rifles.
The Alternative Individual Weapon (AIW) system – known as the L403A1 and procured by Defence Equipment & Support (DE&S) under Project HUNTER – is made up of a new assault rifle fitted with a muzzle signature reduction system and an improved optical sighting system.
The AIW is a modern rifle using the latest in design technology and manufacturing methods, to produce an exceptionally reliable and accurate weapon. The magnified optic means the user is able to engage threats from greater distances; whilst the signature reduction system works to mask the AIW from detection from sight and hearing.
Supplementing the current in-service L85A3, the AIW system has been secured under a £90m contract with Macclesfield-based company Edgar Brothers, supporting the Prime Minister’s priority to grow the economy by helping sustain approximately 50 jobs at the family-owned company.
Minister for Defence Procurement, James Cartlidge said: “This is another example of how we are committed to investing in the most advanced battlefield equipment to back our troops on the battlefield. This advanced rifle’s ability to help soldiers maintain the stealth edge not only protects them but delivers war-fighting advantage over our adversaries.”
An initial £15m order of 1,620 AIW systems has been placed, with options to procure up to 10,000 systems – totalling £90m – under the contract over the next decade. The systems will initially be fielded to the Army Special Operations Brigade (ASOB) who operate in complex, high threat environments.
DE&S Dismounted Close Combat Portfolio Leader, Colonel Paul Cummings, said: “Project Hunter has been a fabulous example of close collaboration with the user community and strong engagement with industry to deliver game-changing capability at pace. This is another example of the enormous commitment of the men and women in DCC to deliver battle-winning capability into the hands of the user and I’m enormously proud of what they have achieved. We look forward to continuing to work closely with Edgar Brothers as we move into the production phase.”
The L403A1 is a high performing modern development of the ArmaLite Rifle (AR), which pushes the boundaries of modern performance. As an AR system, it shares much in common with the rifle systems used by many of the UK’s allies. Given their specialist role, and the critical task of working with and alongside many of the UK’s allies, the platform will enable ASOB to share skills and drills in an efficient manner.
Lt Col Gareth Davies, SO1 SoldierWorks, Military Capability Delivery, Army Headquarters, said: “Project HUNTER has successfully delivered a new weapon option for UK Defence. At the current time this is being procured for the Army Special Operations Brigade (ASOB). It offers a marked increase in lethality, and the system includes one of most capable day sights currently available. Importantly the weapon system will be further enhanced by our newest generation of night optics, with which the ASOB are already equipped.”
As a key component of the ASOB, the Ranger Regiment will receive the AIW later this year. Made up of four battalions, the Rangers deployed to over 60 countries in their first 12 months of operation, following their formation as part Future Soldier under the Defence Command Paper 2021.
Knight’s Armament Company (KAC) is a sole proprietorship, producing rifles (including the M110), suppressors, weapon accessories, and night vision scopes. Since the 1970’s, this veteran-owned small business performs the majority of R&D and production efforts within the boundaries of the KAC facility in order to provide the best control of product quality and required delivery schedules.
Among its more than 300 employees, KAC boasts an experienced engineering staff, well-equipped for research in all aspects of small arms and advanced electro-optic technology.The KAC facility is located on the site of a former Tomahawk missile factory.
The site features numerous test cells, ranges, and explosive storage areas which provide the opportunity for unique business opportunities.
A total of five firing ranges for small arms, from short function testing ranges to the 1,000 meter range, are used in the development and product qualification of small arms systems. Both indoor and outdoor ranges facilitate testing during rare cases of inclement weather.
KAC also maintains an anechoic test cell used in the study of acoustic signatures of weapon systems.
Barrel: 13.7″ (34.8cm) 1:7 Twist
Weight: 6.88 lbs (3.12kg)
Length: 32.2″ (81.8cm) to 34.2″ (86.9cm)
Armourer’s Bench said that the requirement called for a ‘Rifle System’ which comprises the weapon and a ‘Signature Reduction System’ [suppressor] and an ‘Optic System’. The rifle itself had to be ‘gas operated with a rotating, locking bolt’ and was to specifically have “a standard configuration, not bullpup, with the magwell in-front of the trigger housing.”
The UK launched Project Hunter to select a new Alternative Individual Weapon (AIW) to replace the SA80/L85 series of rifles and Colt Canada L119s in service with the Rangers and elements of the Royal Marines Commandos. After two years of competition the UK MoD has announced that Knight’s KS-1 has been selected as the L403A1, beating off reported competition from Heckler & Koch, SIG Sauer, Daniel Defense and Glock.
Other weapons believed to have been evaluated include the HK416A5, the SIG Sauer SPEAR-LT, the Daniel Defense M4 and Glock’s GR-115F. Other companies believed to have submitted rifles include Colt Canada, Lantac, Haenel and Steyr amongst others.
The new rifles will supplement the L85A2 and L85A3 which currently equip the majority of the UK armed forces. The rifles will be procured via UK-based company Edgar Brothers and the £90m ($110m) contract will see up to 10,000 new rifles delivered over the next decade. An initial £15 m order for 1,620 AIW systems has been placed with the British Army fielding them with the Army Special Operations Brigade, with the brigade expected to receive the first rifles by the end of 2023. The Royal Marines’ ‘strike companies’ and Surveillance and Reconnaissance Squadron will also be among the first to receive the L403A1. The ‘Alternative Individual Weapon’ essentially fulfils the same role every AR-pattern rifle in UK service has since the 1960s.
BATTLESPACE Comment: Although not specifically named this rifle is likely the Knights Armament KS-1 (see above) which the Editor fired at this year’s Close Combat Symposium (CCS). This choice indicates that the British Army will stay with the .556 calibre as made by BAE Systems at Radway Green and not go .665 as chosen by the US Army. Other contenders were Sig Sauer, FN, Steyr and LMT. One stipulation was UK support which Edgar Brothers will supply. FN in particular offered to manufacture the rifles in the UK.
06 Sep 23. Lockheed-RTX joint venture enters weapon system MoU in Poland. Lockheed Martin (LMT.N) said on Wednesday that the Javelin Joint Venture, its partnership with RTX (RTX.N), has signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) related to production of the Javelin anti-tank weapon system in Poland. The MoU, with Polska Grupa Zbrojeniowa, will explore the establishment of a final assembly facility and component production capabilities in Poland, the companies said. Though European demand for U.S. weaponry is soaring, shopping lists are focused on cheaper, less-sophisticated items such as shoulder-fired missiles, artillery, and drones, rather than big-ticket items like jets and tanks.
To date, the Lockheed-RTX joint venture has produced more than 50,000 Javelin missiles and more than 12,000 reusable Command Launch Units. (Source: Google/Reuters)
05 Sep 23. RAFAEL Showcasing TROPHY APS as System is Set to Spearhead Challenger 3’s Defence. RAFAEL, a global leader in advanced defence technologies, proudly announces its achievement in securing a £20 m contract from the UK Ministry of Defence (MOD) for the cutting-edge TROPHY Active Protection System (APS). This milestone marks a significant stride towards enhancing the defensive capabilities of the Challenger 3 Main Battle Tanks (MBTs) and highlights RAFAEL’s participation in DSEI 2023.
Through rigorous evaluation, the UK MOD recognised the TROPHY APS as an indispensable addition to safeguard the Challenger 3 MBTs and their esteemed crew members against modern battlefield threats. The TROPHY APS boasts a proven track record of success, having been operational and combat-proven in various scenarios worldwide.
RAFAEL, in collaboration with the United Kingdom’s Ministry of Defence, successfully completed the 2nd phase of integrating the TROPHY Active Protective System (APS) on the Challenger 3 (CR3). A series of live fire tests, conducted towards the end of 2022, demonstrated the system’s effectiveness as it intercepted well over 90% of threats targeting the CR3 representative tank fitted with TROPHY APS.
Dr. Ran Gozali, Executive Vice President, GM Land & Naval Division at Rafael Advanced Defence Systems, “we are encouraged by the latest tests, praising TROPHY’s effectiveness and RAFAEL’s proficiency in integrating the system on yet another platform. The collaboration with the UK MOD is set to continue, propelling further successes in the future, as the project heads towards its third and final phase of integration, instilling greater confidence in TROPHY’s ability to ensure fortified defence for the UK and its troops.”
06 Sep 23. Insitu Announces Kinetic Capability for the Integrator Uncrewed Aircraft System (UAS). Insitu, A Boeing Company, announced a munitions program for its Integrator UAS, which adds a highly sought-after strike capability to the platform’s unmatched payload portfolio and class-leading 24-hour flight endurance.
Insitu collaborated with multiple weapons developers and U.S. Government agencies to enable the Integrator to deliver miniature, precision munitions and guide them to their targets. During September 2021, the RQ-21 Blackjack variant of the Integrator successfully delivered various inert kinetic payloads for a U.S. Navy test program. Testing of additional munitions remains underway.
“Based on global events and the evolution of the modern battlefield, Insitu’s customers are demanding a kinetic strike capability,” said Vice President of Global Growth Abigail Denburg. “To meet this demand, we are actively partnering to test a variety of kinetic capabilities for the Integrator UAS, which will shorten the time from detection and identification to execution,” said Denburg.
Integrator’s unique modular design enables it to carry multiple payloads during the same mission. It is a NATO Class 1 Small UAS (DoD Group 3 UAS) that carries up to 25 percent of its maximum gross takeoff weight as payloads distributed among its nose, payload bay, two wing trays, and two wing-mounted hardpoints. The nose is typically equipped with one of several intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR) turrets while the payload bay typically carries a synthetic aperture radar, a wide-area motion imagery sensor, a wide area maritime surveillance sensor, a communications relay payload, or one of several signals intelligence/electronic warfare payloads, which can be easily swapped in the field using common hand tools. Each of the munitions were developed as modular, self-contained payload bays that include the weapon(s) and the stores management system.
“This modular capability builds on Integrator’s unique design and enables our end users to easily transition between kinetic and non-kinetic missions” added Denburg.
Insitu will showcase some of these capabilities at MSPO in Kielce, Poland from September 5-8 and at DSEI in London, England from September 12-15.
With three decades of experience, more than 3,500 uncrewed aircraft manufactured to date, and more than 1.4 m operational flight hours, Insitu continues to deliver the most advanced capabilities available to our global customer base in more than 35 countries and counting. Visit Insitu.com to learn more about the most capable, reliable, and combat-proven NATO Class 1 Small UAS on the planet. (Source: PR Newswire)
06 Sep 23. Polish Armed Forces Build Comprehensive Air and Missile Defence System. “We feel great satisfaction that the Polish Armed Forces are developing so dynamically – in the sense of equipping them with modern weapons. Among these agreements that were just now signed, particularly important are those concerning the construction of a multi-layered air and missile defence system. We started almost from a scratch.(…) I wish to express my gratitude for the very good cooperation with the United States and the United Kingdom,” said Minister of National Defense Mariusz Błaszczak while approving contracts for the purchase of equipment for the Polish Armed Forces.
The contracts include the procurement of elements of:
— 3 squadrons, i.e. 6 more batteries, of the PATRIOT/IBCS system as part of the execution of Phase II of the WISŁA programme;
— two more Naval Missile Units;
— the ZENIT-MP+ Automated Command Post for the PILICA+ air-defense system and
— a framework contract for FlyEye unmanned aerial vehicles.
“A moment ago, I approved a contract for the second phase of the Patriot system. (…) The second contract concerns the Narew system. (…) Our great achievement is also the fact that the Polish Military will be equipped with omnidirectional radars – a novelty. (…) We are already implementing the IBCS command system. The most modern system in the world, which gives us network-centricity. The Patriots will be plugged into one network together with the i-Launchers, together with the Narew system.
“In addition, artillery launchers will be attached to this network. The F-35 aircraft, which will be delivered to the Polish Armed Forces next year, will also operate in this network. (…) Today we have one Marine Missile Unit. We have just ordered two more. This is also a very good weapon. It is a weapon which effectively deters an aggressor,” said Minister M. Błaszczak.
Mariusz Blaszczak also summarised the to-date activities concerning the technical modernisation and construction of a comprehensive network-centric air and missile defence system, and thanked all those involved in the process.
“Great thanks are due to all those who have contributed to the establishment of these agreements. It cost us a lot of work and effort.(…) I believe that others can follow our example of how we consolidate these actions, how we combine everything that constitutes the security of our homeland into a network-centric system.(…) We are taking another step forward when it comes to strengthening the Polish Armed Forces. Modern weapons are being provided to the Polish Armed Forces.(…) I suppose that one of the magnets attracting young people to serve in the Polish Military is these modern weapons,” he concluded.
(Source: https://www.defense-aerospace.com/: Polish Ministry of Defense;)
01 Sep 23. Advanced Sarmat ICBM Systems Go on Combat Alert in Russia — Roscosmos Head. Advanced Sarmat intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) systems have assumed combat duty in Russia, Roscosmos Chief Yury Borisov said on Friday.
“The Sarmat strategic system has assumed combat alert posture,” the Roscosmos head said at an open lesson of the educational marathon organized by Russia’s Knowledge Society.
Russian President Vladimir Putin announced on February 23 that top-notch Sarmat systems with new heavy ICBMs would go on combat duty in Russia already this year.
However, Roscosmos’ presentation demonstrated at the event suggests that Sarmat ICBM systems are set to go on combat alert next year.
The RS-28 Sarmat is a Russian state-of-the art silo-based missile system armed with a heavy liquid-propellant orbital intercontinental ballistic missile capable of carrying nuclear charges. The missile has been developed at the Makeyev State Rocket Center (the town of Miass in the Chelyabinsk Region) to replace the R-36M2 Voyevoda ICBM operational in the Russian Strategic Missile Force since 1988.
Based on experts’ estimates, the RS-28 Sarmat is capable of delivering a MIRVed warhead weighing up to 10 tons to any location worldwide both over the North and South Poles. (Source: https://www.defense-aerospace.com/TASS)
01 Sep 23. USAF, RTX Complete First Flight Test of AIM-120C-8.
The U.S. Air Force and Raytheon, an RTX (NYSE: RTX) business, successfully completed the first flight test of the AIM-120C-8 – the latest international variant of AMRAAM® developed under the Form, Fit, Function (F3R) refresh. The AIM-120C-8 was fired from an F-15C Eagle and downed the aerial target, meeting all primary objectives for the flight test.
“AMRAAM is a combat-proven missile trusted by more than 40 international partners for both air-to-air and surface-to-air missions,” said Paul Ferraro, president of Air Power at Raytheon, an RTX business. “With the advancements from F3R, which updates both the missile’s hardware and allows for future Agile software upgrades, we are maximizing the capabilities of this munition for allies around the world.”
Under the F3R program, engineers used model-based systems engineering initiatives and other digital technologies to upgrade multiple circuit cards and advanced processors in the guidance section of the missile and to re-host legacy software in the AIM-120D-3 and AIM-120C-8 AMRAAMs.
This AIM-120C-8 flight test follows the completion of flight testing of the AIM-120D-3. Flight testing on the AIM-120D-3 was completed in just 11 months after the initial flight test and concluded with showcasing the success of the missile in a highly contested environment.
Recently, the U.S. Air Force awarded Raytheon a $1.15bn AMRAAM contract to produce AIM-120D-3 and C-8 missiles for 19 countries. (Source: ASD Network)
04 Sep 23. BEL & IAI Sign MoU to Tap Opportunities in Short Range Air Defence Systems Domain. Navratna Defence PSU Bharat Electronics Limited (BEL) and Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI), Israel’s leading aerospace and defence company, have inked an MoU for co-operation in addressing India’s requirements in the domain of Short Range Air Defence Systems.
The MoU was signed by Mr K V Suresh Kumar, Director (Marketing), BEL, and Mr Avi Elisha, VP and General Manager, Missile Systems Division, IAI, in the presence of Mr Bhanu Prakash Srivastava, CMD, BEL, in Bengaluru yesterday.
The partnership marks yet another significant step towards cementing the synergy between the two companies which have a long history of association. BEL and IAI are engaged in several joint development / production / product support programmes for the Indian Defence forces.
The MoU aims at leveraging IAI and BEL’s capabilities, and is in sync with the ‘Atmanirbhar Bharat’ and ‘Make in India’ policies of the Government of India.
Mr Bhanu Prakash Srivastava, CMD, BEL, said: “BEL considers IAI, Israel, as a key strategic partner. This MoU is envisaged to boost the co-operation between the two companies in the field of Short Range Air Defence Systems. It will empower the Indian industry to make significant contributions towards equipping our forces with state-of-the-art Short Range Air Defence Systems.”
Mr Boaz Levy, IAI’s President and CEO, said: “BEL and IAI have a successful partnership in the field of Air Defence in India. Together, we are providing the Indian Armed Forces with high-end Air Defence capabilities that meet their high-end operational requirements on one hand and ‘Make in India’ requirements on the other. Hence, it is only natural that we expand this cooperation to the Short Range Air Defence domain.” (Source: https://www.defense-aerospace.com/ Israel Aerospace Industries)
01 Sep 23. Lockheed Martin’s Extended-Range Rocket Excels in Long Range Flight• ER GMLRS demonstrates range and reliability in successful system qualification test. Lockheed Martin (NYSE: LMT) successfully demonstrated its next-generation Extended-Range GMLRS (ER GMLRS) in a flight test at White Sands Missile Range, New Mexico, firing the round from the U.S. Army’s HIMARS® launcher.
“This test demonstrates nearly double the range, while maintaining the precision GMLRS is known for,” said Jay Price, vice president of Precision Fires at Lockheed Martin Missiles and Fire Control. “Lockheed Martin is committed to advancing this critical capability on a rapid timeline for our Army customer, and this test moves ER GMLRS one step closer to fielding.”
ER GMLRS met success criteria in the first 150-kilometer test for flight trajectory, extended range and accuracy from launch to impact. The product also successfully integrated with HIMARS and achieved overall missile performance.
Prior to launch, the rocket pod underwent Stockpile to Target Sequence (STS) testing. This effort simulates cumulative effects ER GMLRS will meet in the field between factory and launch for the life of the system and demonstrates durability of the missile and launch pod container.
Lockheed Martin has produced more than 60,000 GMLRS rounds and is under annual contract to continue production of GMLRS unitary and alternative-warhead rockets including integrated logistics support for the U.S. Army, U.S. Marine Corps and international customers. The systems are produced at the company’s Precision Fires Center of Excellence in Camden, Arkansas. (Source: ASD Network)
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