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26 Oct 23. KEYSTONE tactical hub, including three cables for L3 Harris, Silvus and Bittium tactical radios and two device cables for Safran Vectronix’s MOSKITO TI target locator and STERNA True North Finder.
Designed to US Army Next Generation Hub (NGH) standards, Fischer KEYSTONE™ gives dismounted soldiers an easy way to manage the flows of data (USB 2.0 and SMBus) and power (100 W – 5 A max) between sights, sensors, night vision devices, radios and digital equipment.
“Reliable, simple, does what it’s expected to do: that’s the feedback we receive from customers who have field-tested Fischer KEYSTONE,” explains Olivier Thormann, Product Manager for Fischer KEYSTONE. “Soldiers already know how to use it – they clip it on, plug it in, and it just works.”
More extensions to the Fischer KEYSTONE tactical connectivity solution are coming in 2024. The next KEYSTONE hub – Fischer KEYSTONE™ 4 – is a 4-port hub designed for soldiers who need only basic power and data connections. KEYSTONE 4 will be showcased on Fischer Connectors stand 5 L 085 at Milipol in Paris, France, from 14 to 17 November 2023.
26 Oct 23. RTX, Rafael to build missile facility in Arkansas. U.S. defense contractor RTX Corp (RTX.N) and Israel’s Rafael Advanced Defense Systems will build a missile manufacturing facility in East Camden, Arkansas, the companies said on Thursday.
The facility will produce Tamir missiles for the Iron Dome weapon system and its U.S. variant, SkyHunter.
The joint venture plans to break ground on the new facility before the end of the year and aims to begin missile production in 2025.
Once operational, the facility will produce missiles for the U.S. Marine Corps and other allied partners.
Raytheon and Rafael have teamed for over a decade on the Iron Dome, which has more than 5,000 operational intercepts.
26 Oct 23. Egypt displays K9 howitzer in parade. The Egyptian Army displayed a 155 mm K9 self-propelled howitzer and its associated K10 ammunition vehicle for the first time during an inspection of the 4th Armoured Division by President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi on 25 October.
The president’s office released a video of the event, which was held at a location that could be identified as an inspection ground about 40 km northwest of Suez. Labelled as a K9 A1EGY, the single howitzer was towed past the viewing stand on a trailer after other artillery systems that are in service with the Egyptian military. It did not have unit markings on it like the vehicles that are in service.
The 4th Armoured Division’s self-propelled howitzer units were formed up for inspection with their M109 guns. The division also has M1A1 tanks and M270 Multiple Launch Rocket Systems, making it one of Egypt’s best-equipped formations. (Source: Janes)
26 Oct 23. Czech Cabinet Approves Order for 48 Derby Long-Range Anti-Aircraft Missiles. At its meeting on Wednesday, the government cabinet was informed about the public contract for the procurement of 48 I-Derby Long Range anti-aircraft missiles from the government of Israel.
Thanks to these missiles, which the Czech Republic will receive by October 2027, the Army 9ill acquire the ability to destroy unmanned air vehicles, helicopters, airplanes and guided missiles at ranges of up to 80 km and an altitude of 20 km.
“The war in Ukraine shows us how essential is protection from air attacks, whether by drones or conventional aircraft. In order for our soldiers to be able to defend against these threats if necessary, we must equip them with modern technology, which are precisely these missiles,” Defense Minister Jana Černochová said after the government meeting.
I-Derby Long-Range missiles will be used as part of the anti-aircraft complex of four batteries of SPYDER CZE air-defense missiles, which will be delivered to the Czech Republic by 2026. The agreed value of the order for these missiles is CZK 2.8bn (approx. $119.8m) before VAT, and the contract is to be signed by the end of October this year.
“Just as with other contracts, in this case too I consider it important that Czech companies be involved,” the minister said, adding that the supplier has committed to invest at least the equivalent of USD 14m in the Czech Republic, and that the companies RETIA and VTÚ sp, be involved in the production of missile containers, the provision of integrated logistic support and the integration of information systems.
A so-called option is part of the proposed contract. In case of its activation, it will be possible to purchase in the order of hundreds of additional missiles in six categories, with a maximum financial envelope of up to 12.6bn CZK ($539m) before VAT. (Unofficial translation by Defense-Aerospace.com) (Source: https://www.defense-aerospace.com/ Czech Ministry of Defence; issued Oct. 25, 2023)
26 Oct 23. DEWC, UNSW partner to develop integrated air and missile defence. Sovereign Australian Defence C4ISREW specialist company, , and the (UNSW) Canberra are making headway on a collaborative research project focused on enhancing Australia’s Integrated Air and Missile Defence (IAMD) capability by harnessing digital technologies.
An integrated air and missile defence system is being investigated for the Australian Defence Force under a partnership between DEWC and the University of New South Wales (Canberra).
Both partners will investigate defence-related research problems and collaborate on discovery of digital engineering technologies, artificial intelligence, and machine learning to support training, operations, and management of the ADF logistic supply chain.
DEWC chief executive officer Allan Dundas said the joint research project brings together the complementary strengths of DEWC and UNSW to solve the challenge of improving Australia’s future IAMD capability and better equipping ADF personnel to detect and respond to threats at speed.
“We are delighted to be working on our first collaborative project with the research team at the UNSW Canberra Capability Systems Centre,” Dundas said.
“The university’s experience in guided weapons, digital engineering, and modelling and simulation, combined with DEWCs’ strong track record of providing Command, Control, Communications, Computers, Intelligence, Surveillance, Reconnaissance and Electronic Warfare (C4ISREW) solutions to Defence, will drive innovative solutions to this complex challenge.
“Ensuring Australia has a seamlessly integrated air and missile defence (IAMD) is extremely important to protecting our country from potential threats.
“Not only is it a priority area in Australia’s recent Defence Strategic Review, but the current conflicts in Europe and the Middle East demonstrates just how vital having a highly responsive and time critical IAMD is for keeping Australia safe.”
The development of capabilities will also be discussed at the UNSW Canberra 2023 Digital Engineering Summit later this year on 17 November.
DEWC Canberra research lead Dr Aaron Matthews said the research will focus on how digital engineering approaches can support the ADF’s decision making when responding to advanced and capable hostile states.
“The scale and capabilities of new air and missile threats makes the IAMD task extremely challenging. It is no longer possible for humans to be directly involved in every stage of the IAMD mission,” Dr Matthews said.
“There are a range of complex considerations a commander or even the system operator must take into account when responding to a threat and with modern threats being harder to detect and faster than previous generations, the time to make an optimal response is reduced to seconds.
“This is one area in the IAMD problem set which can be supported with AI, machine learning, and digital engineering approaches.”
UNSW Canberra Capability Systems Centre (CSC) director and associate professor Sondoss El Sawah said the UNSW and DEWC are working collaboratively to turn novel ideas into technologies and systems that Defence can innovate, build, and deploy efficiently.
“Any integrated air and missile capability has a massive amount of data and we need the ability to understand this data, detect patterns, and inform decision making, which is beyond the cognitive capacity of any person or team,” assistant Professor El Sawah said.
“Digital technology has the potential to transform our approach to strengthening this Defence capability and helping Defence operators make the right decisions quickly in a real-time situation.
“UNSW Canberra CSC and DEWC are bringing unique strengths to this research challenge and we are building a collaborative framework which will leverage the strengths of all digital technologies, including AI and machine learning, systems engineering, and modelling and simulation.”
(Source: Defence Connect)
25 Oct 23. Fischer Connectors released an expanded set of cable assemblies for the KEYSTONE tactical hub, including three cables for L3 Harris, Silvus and Bittium tactical radios and two device cables for Safran Vectronix’s MOSKITO TI target locator and STERNA True North Finder.
Designed to US Army Next Generation Hub (NGH) standards, Fischer KEYSTONE™gives dismounted soldiers an easy way to manage the flows of data (USB 2.0 and SMBus) and power (100 W – 5 A max) between sights, sensors, night vision devices, radios and digital equipment.
“Reliable, simple, does what it’s expected to do: that’s the feedback we receive from customers who have field-tested Fischer KEYSTONE,” explains Olivier Thormann, Product Manager for Fischer KEYSTONE. “Soldiers already know how to use it – they clip it on, plug it in, and it just works.”
More extensions to the Fischer KEYSTONE tactical connectivity solution are coming in 2024. The next KEYSTONE hub – Fischer KEYSTONE™4 – is a 4-port hub designed for soldiers who need only basic power and data connections. KEYSTONE 4 will be showcased on Fischer Connectors stand 5 L 085 at Milipol in Paris, France, from 14 to 17 November 2023.
11 Oct 23. LM Advances Joint Fires Concept with Captive Carry Test.
For the first time, a Lockheed Martin missile communication prototype successfully demonstrated a proof-of-concept for providing in-flight target updates to a surrogate Guided Multiple Launch Rocket System (GMLRS).
During a recent captive carry test, the company’s Remote Interceptor Guidance – 360 (RIG-360) uplinker prototype provided target updates to a data link being evaluated for experimental use on MLRS Family of Munitions (MFOM). The data link was flown inside of an aircraft replicating the rocket’s surface to surface trajectory.
Integrating the MFOM and RIG-360 would enable long-range precision fires to receive in-flight target updates to accurately engage relocated or mobile targets. The RIG-360 prototype is an internally funded development activity to demonstrate future and evolving art-of-the-possible capabilities.
“This test is a big step forward to advancing the U.S. Army’s Joint Fires vision,” said Scott Arnold, vice president of Integrated Air and Missile Defense at Lockheed Martin Missiles and Fire Control. “This proof-of-concept aims to enable Army deep-strike capabilities with offensive fires against moving targets in contested environments, a critical capability to drive agility within the US Army’s connected network and keep our customers ahead of evolving threats.”
A Joint Fires flight test is planned for 2024 to validate in-flight target update capabilities.
“Integrating offensive and defensive systems provides rapid response capability to defeat critical threats,” said Jay Price, vice president of Precision Fires at Lockheed Martin Missiles and Fire Control. “This test is yet another example of how Lockheed Martin is advancing 21st Century Security and delivering next-gen capabilities today.”
The uplink capability demonstrated in this test is based on the RIG-360’s abilities to provide 360-degree in-flight communications capabilities for Army Integrated Air and Missile Defense. Lockheed Martin is currently under an engineering manufacturing and development (EMD) contract to mature this concept into a tactical capability that includes effort to design, build, test, and field RIG-360 for Army IAMD. Once fielded, the capability will augment missile performance by expanding the Army’s area of control and supporting best sensor best shooter capabilities within Army’s Integrated Air and Missile Defense Battle Command System (IBCS) architecture. (Source: ASD Network)
24 Oct 23. US Army Air Defense Units from 3 Bases Are Deploying to Middle East After 13 Drone Attacks. The Army air defense units deploying to the Middle East amid the Israel-Hamas war come from Fort Bliss in Texas, Fort Liberty in North Carolina, and Fort Sill in Oklahoma, the Pentagon said Tuesday.
The units are bringing Patriot missile batteries and a Terminal High Altitude Area Defense, or THAAD, battery to the region after more than a dozen drone and rocket attacks on U.S. bases in Iraq and Syria over the past week that the Pentagon has blamed on Iranian proxies. NBC News reported Tuesday evening that two dozen American military personnel were wounded in the attacks, but that could not be immediately confirmed by Military.com.
Although Pentagon officials didn’t name the Army units being deployed, Fort Bliss is home to the 11th Air Defense Artillery Brigade, Fort Liberty hosts the 108th Air Defense Artillery Brigade, and Fort Sill is home to the 31st Air Defense Artillery Brigade.
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The units are among the latest deployments to the Middle East following two aircraft carrier strike groups earlier this month; F-16 Fighting Falcon fighter jets this week — adding to jets and A-10 Thunderbolt II planes already sent; and military advisers including a Marine Corps general versed in urban warfare to aid Israel as it wages war on Hamas.
Brig. Gen. Pat Ryder, the top Pentagon spokesman who briefed reporters Tuesday, would not say how many troops are deploying with the air defense units or give their specific destinations. He did say that a THAAD battery was coming from Fort Bliss and the Patriot battalions would come from Fort Liberty and Fort Bliss.
More than 2,000 U.S. troops were also put on ready-to-deploy orders by Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin as yet another show of support for Israel, which declared war against Hamas, which rules the Gaza Strip, after its sudden and brazen terrorist attack on Oct. 7 killed about 1,400 Israelis.
The deployment of the air defenses came as Pentagon officials disclosed new details about an uptick in drone and missile strikes on U.S. bases in the region since last week. On Monday, the Pentagon blamed the attacks on Iran and groups it supports in the region, and said it expected the threat to grow as the bloody war in Israel and Gaza drags on.
Ryder said that between Oct. 17 and Oct. 24, “U.S. and coalition forces have been attacked at least 10 separate times in Iraq and three separate times in Syria via a mix of one-way attack drones and rockets.”
The Pentagon had revealed some of these attacks last week as they occurred, but Ryder stressed that 13 attacks are “initial numbers.”
Defense officials have also stepped up the rhetoric around the attacks, telling reporters Monday that they “see a prospect for much more significant escalation against U.S. forces and personnel in the near term and, let’s be clear about it, the road leads back to Iran.”
Marine Corps Commandant Gen. Eric Smith was even more direct. Defense officials said last week that the Marine Corps’ 26th Expeditionary Unit was heading “to the waters off of Israel” as a result of the crisis after it abruptly ended pre-scheduled training in Kuwait.
A Navy spokesperson told Military.com on Monday that the Bataan Amphibious Ready Group, which transports the 26th MEU, was in the Gulf of Oman area conducting freedom of navigation operations.
The Marines now deployed to the area “bring with them the weapons of war, if needed,” Smith told a crowd Monday while speaking at a memorial for the 40th anniversary of the bombing of the Marine barracks in Beirut.
“For those that are in the area, if that MEU has to go in, if you target them, someone else will raise your children,” Smith added.
Meanwhile, at sea, the destroyer USS Carney shot down drones and Houthi-launched cruise missiles on Thursday. The incident has been framed as a self-defense move by the Pentagon since last week, when officials wouldn’t say whether the threat they posed was to the ship or Israel.
Ryder told reporters Tuesday that the land attack cruise missiles that the Carney shot down had a range that “was likely in excess of 2,000 kilometers,” making them quite capable of striking Israel.
Another addition to the Middle East besides the Army’s air defense missiles will be more F-16 Fighting Falcon fighter jets from the New Jersey Air National Guard’s 119th Expeditionary Fighter Squadron. Ryder said that the unit arrived in the Middle East on Tuesday. (Source: Military.com)
25 Oct 23. Savox Communications, the world-renowned leader in providing mission-critical hearing protection and communication solutions, is happy to announce the latest addition to its acclaimed Noise-Com (NC) 500 series – the Savox NC- 520XP hearing protection headsets. Designed to meet the needs of professionals working in the most demanding environments, the NC-520XP sets new industry standards by combining safety, innovation and reliability.
In noisy work environments, protecting one’s hearing is paramount, but it should never come at the cost of situational awareness and effective communication. The Savox NC-500 series is a frontrunner in delivering top-notch acoustic protection and reliable communication solutions in challenging conditions. With the launch of the Savox NC-520XP, this product family introduces ground breaking features that cater to a wide range of work settings, offering an ideal solution for professionals facing the most demanding tasks.
The Savox NC-520XP hearing protection headsets enhance Savox’s product offering by incorporating Savox Dual Bluetooth, a feature that sets them apart from other NC-500 series models. The ability to connect two Bluetooth devices simultaneously, in most cases a radio and a mobile phone, enables hands-free communication and allows users to listen to radio transmissions and still be reachable. The noise-cancelling Push-to-Talk (PTT) boom microphone ensures crystal-clear speech even in the loudest of environments. The headsets also feature a user-friendly answer button and rotary switch for convenient control of ambient sound volume and incoming communication. With a rechargeable power unit designed for maximum durability, the Savox NC-520XP headsets represent a significant leap forward in on-site safety, providing reachability, usability, and reliability.
Key benefits of the Savox NC-520XP hearing protection headsets:
- Bluetooth: The NC-520 models offer Savox Dual Bluetooth, allowing users to connect two devices simultaneously.
- Ambient Sound: Stay aware of your surroundings while protecting your hearing.
- Ambient Audio Profiles: Available in the XP models for personalized audio settings.
- Easy Access Rotary Button: Conveniently control PTT and ambient sound volume.
- Built-in Rechargeable Battery: Ensure extended use and cost-effective operation.
- Unique Casting Technique: Protects electronics, ensuring maximum reliability.
- Voice-Prompted Menu: User-friendly interface for easy navigation.
- Professional Two-Way Radio PTT Compatibility: Seamlessly integrate with your existing communication systems.
- Noise-Canceling Boom Microphone: Exceptional speech clarity in noisy environments.
- Low Battery Warning and Automatic Switch-Off: Never miss an important communication.
- Made in Finland.
The Savox NC-520XP hearing protection headsets redefine the standards for hearing protection and communication in challenging work environments. With Savox’s commitment to innovation and quality, these headsets empower professionals to work more safely and efficiently, while ensuring the utmost protection for their hearing.
For more information about the Savox NC-500 series hearing protection headsets and other Savox Communication solutions, please visit www.savox.com.
25 Oct 23. Australian industry MoU extends range of JDAM-ER aerial munitions. Building on collaborative efforts on the Powered Joint Direct Attack Munition (P-JDAM), Australian industry will continue production of the aerial munitions. Boeing has announced that it has signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the Australian engineering company, Ferra, to extend its 12-year collaboration by continuing production of the Joint Direct Attack Munition Extended-Range (JDAM-ER) wing kits through to 2028.
In addition, the two companies will also work together to explore applications for the next-generation Powered Joint Direct Attack Munition (P-JDAM).
This arrangement comes just after the global aerospace prime secured another joint manufacturing agreement last week with the Technical Directions Unit (TDI), a Kratos Defense and Security Solutions subsidiary, to produce the TDI-J85 propulsion engine that will power the P-JDAM.
The JDAM-ER is a 500Ib winged-variant of the conventional JDAM precision bomb guidance kit originally produced by Boeing. The ER aerial munition was jointly developed alongside Australia’s Defence Science and Technology Organisation.
JDAM-ER wings unfold in flight and triple the range of the weapon from 15 miles (24km) to more than 45 miles. The modular-design wing kit can be easily upgraded with improved technologies and other modular enhancements such as laser sensors and anti-jamming countermeasures.
Meanwhile, the next-generation P-JDAM is a long-range, low-cost and mass-producible JDAM derivative that can travel upwards of 300 nautical miles.
23 Oct 23. Japan successfully fires electromagnetic railgun. While other countries have given up on electromagnetic railgun technology Japan remains committed to the ground-breaking concept. Japan successfully test-fired an electromagnetic railgun from a ship on 17 October, a world first and a major step in a process worth bns of Yen.
The Acquisition, Technology, and Logistics Agency (ATLA) of Japan’s Ministry of Self Defence announced the success of the test on Twitter/X stating: ‘ATLA has accomplished ship-board firing test of railgun for first time in the world with the cooperation of the Japanese Marine Self-Defence Force.’
The announcement highlighted the main role of the system is to ‘protect vessels against air threats and surface threats by high-speed [munitions].’
In May 2022, the ATLA’s Ground Systems Research Centre concluded a JPY6.5 bn ($47.9 m) contract with Japan Steel Works to research and prototype a railgun. Also in May, ATLA said a further contract of JPY16 bn would be inked.
Securing electrical power is a practical issue in the application of railguns. To this end, ATLA signed a JPY3.7 bn contract with Japan Steel Works to downsize power supply units and capacitors.
The ATLA railgun uses five megajoules (MJ) of charge energy and achieved a speed of about 2,230m/s or Mach 6.5 in a 2018 test. Ultimately, ATLA has said it intends it to run on 20MJ.
Other countries have walked away from railgun technology but Japan remains committed. In May, Japan announced it had developed a prototype medium railgun of 40mm calibre to research how to achieve higher initial velocity and longer barrel life.
The rail’s endurance is more than 120 rounds and can fire a projectile weighing 320gm. It has, however, been a long road with ATLA beginning research on a small 16mm-calibre railgun in 1990.
ATLA said the railgun would be mounted on a destroyer or truck to intercept hypersonic guided missiles and attack naval vessels and ground targets, despite the difficulties for a Mach 6.5 projectile with no guidance system to effectively intercept hypersonic-guided missiles flying at Mach 5-10 speeds. (Source: Shephard)
23 Oct 23. Boeing, Ferra Expand Precision Aerial Munition Partnership.
- Agreement deepens Boeing’s work with key Australian industry partner
- Boeing continues to strengthen Australian domestic capabilities with Ferra and foster closer integration with U.S. defense industrial base
Boeing [NYSE: BA] and Australia industry partner Ferra Engineering signed a Memorandum of Understanding to continue production of Joint Direct Attack Munition Extended Range (JDAM ER) wing kits. The agreement also includes the intent to explore applications for Powered JDAM — a long-range, low-cost and mass-producible JDAM derivative capable of travelling upwards of 300 nautical miles.
Brisbane-based Ferra is Boeing’s global supplier of the 500-pound JDAM ER wing kits. Under the memorandum, the partnership will be extended through 2028. The partnership aligns with the Australian Defence Force’s commitment to enhance sovereign weapons capability under the Guided Weapons and Explosive Ordnance (GWEO) Enterprise and aligns with the AUKUS security partnership goal of advancing trilateral defence capabilities.
“These wing kits developed by Australia’s Defence Science and Technology Group and produced for Boeing by Ferra in collaboration with U.S partners are a success story for Australian industry,” said Bob Ciesla, vice president of Boeing Precision Engagement Systems. “Our participation in Defence’s Global Supply Chain (GSC) Program helped enable the partnership on JDAM ER wing kits and now opportunities for Powered JDAM.”
“Powered JDAM will exponentially increase the effective range of the munition, and alongside the JDAM ER, will effectively and affordably meet a variety of defence needs around the world,” Ciesla said.
Chief of Guided Weapons and Explosive Ordnance, Air Marshal Leon Phillips, praised the joint efforts of the Defence Science and Technology Group, Boeing and Ferra.
“This project is a great example of Australian industry working with Defence to the great benefit of one of our key allies, the United States,” he said.
The JDAM ER kits triple the effective range of the standard JDAM — a low-cost option to convert the existing munitions into guided smart munitions.
“The RAAF was Boeing’s first JDAM ER customer and we have partnered with Boeing for 12 years to produce this critical global defence capability,” said Aaron Thompson, managing director of Ferra Engineering. “This assures our production pipeline and paves the way for continued innovation, such as Powered JDAM.”
“The expanded partnership further strengthens Australian industry’s capacity to contribute to the future needs of the Australian Defence Force and support its priorities to deter aggression and defend our country and our allies in the rapidly evolving threat environment,” Thompson said. (Source: ASD Network)
24 Oct 23. Iran’s Jet-Powered Karrar Drone Now Armed with Majid Air Defense Missile. Iranian military specialists have successfully modified a domestically-produced surface-to-air missile for compatibility with the ‘Karrar’ jet-powered drone. Brigadier General Alireza Sabahifard, Commander of the Iranian Army’s Air Defense Force, announced on Sunday that the Karrar drone is now equipped with a heat-seeking air-to-air missile that has a reach of 8 kilometers.
The development comes after 18 months of rigorous research and testing, during which the Air Defense team altered the AD-08 “Majid” surface-to-air missile. The missile’s warhead is now capable of neutralizing a variety of aerial threats.
Previously, the Karrar drone had been utilized for radar and radio alerts against foreign aircraft nearing Iranian airspace or coastal waters. The drone is part of Iran’s new generation of aerial technology, specifically designed for high-altitude interception tasks, thus expanding the scope of the country’s air defense operations.
The Karrar drone, unveiled in 2010, was developed during President Ahmadinejad’s tenure and is a reverse-engineered model based on the American Beechcraft MQM-107 Streaker, a 1970s-era target drone, David Israel comments in Jewish Press. In 2021, the Karrar drones were fitted with Shahab-e-Saqeb missiles aimed at aerial targets.
The drone was initially revealed on August 23, 2010, a day following the inauguration of a nuclear reactor in Bushehr. It was branded as Iran’s first long-range unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) capable of bombing operations.
Reports indicate that the Karrar has been exported to Hezbollah as early as 2014. This is one reason among many why Israel has been carrying out airstrikes in Syria—to target Hezbollah’s stockpiles including the Karrar drone. Bloomberg reported in November 2020 that Iran had begun arming the Karrar drones with warheads. (Source: UAS VISION/Army Recognition
23 Oct 23. US State Department approves potential missiles sales to UK, Finland, Lithuania -Pentagon. The U.S. State Department approved three potential arms sales to the United Kingdom, Finland and Lithuania, the Pentagon said on Monday as Ukraine’s European allies continue to stock up on munitions after flooding Kyiv with donations.
European demand for U.S. weaponry is soaring, but instead of big-ticket items like jets and tanks, shopping lists are focused on cheaper, less-sophisticated items such as shoulder-fired missiles, artillery, and drones that have proven critical to Ukraine’s war efforts.
The State Department backed a potential sale of 3,000 joint air-to-ground missiles to the United Kingdom worth $957.4 m, according to a statement. The missile is primarily used for short-distance air strikes.
Lockheed Martin Corp (LMT.N) would be the principal contractor for the sale.
The department also approved a potential sale to Finland of 150 advanced anti-radiation guided missiles worth $500m, according to a separate Pentagon statement on Monday. The missiles are used to destroy an enemy’s radar arrays in the hopes of rendering the adversary blind to attack.
Northrop Grumman (NOC.N) would be the principal contractor for the transaction with Finland.
The Pentagon also announced on Monday that the State Department has approved a potential sale of 36 advanced medium range air-to-air missiles to Lithuania with Raytheon as the principal contractor. (Source: Reuters)
23 Oct 23. The British Royal Navy aircraft carrier “HMS Queen Elizabeth” recently carried out new tests with torpedo launches and tests on new armaments. This occurred during some naval and air exercises of the Carrier Strike Group, that is a battle group made up of various maritime vessels and fleets of aircraft such as the Lockheed Martin F-35B aircraft, attack helicopters such as the “Apache”, and patrol rotary wing like the “Merlin” and transport rotary wing like the “Chinook”.
The aircraft carrier began its Autumn exercises as the flagship of the British Carrier Strike Group on 8 September. The Royal Air Force aircraft on board are carrying out simulated attack missions in a real scenario, testing their capabilities and those of coordination with maritime assets. In particular, the air force carried out exercises together with Norwegian and Swedish forces and the Joint Expeditionary Force.
Among the most significant tests is that of the new Stingray torpedoes, called Training Variant Torpedo (Tvt). In detail, an AgustaWestland AW-101 “Merlin” helicopter, taking off from the frigate “HMS Portland”, launched a torpedo into the sea, which was then recovered by another military maritime vessel. The objective was to test external weapon processes and helicopter launch systems. (Source: News Now/https://www.avionews.com/)
23 Oct 23. ‘Robotic Goat’ Fires Anti-Tank Weapon in Marine Corps Test Program. Marines Test Emerging Technologies at the Combat Center.
USMC Air Ground Combat Center has emerged as a critical center for innovation within the United States Marine Corps. The largest Marine Corps training facility of its kind, MCAGCC has become an essential testing ground for emerging technologies.
Marines with Tactical Training and Exercise Control Group, Marine Air Ground Task Force Training Command, MCAGCC, in concert with the Office of Naval Research, tested a quadruped robotic platform referred to as the “robotic goat”, Sept. 9, 2023. TTECG and ONR test fired an M72 Light Anti-tank Weapon rocket launcher from the robotic goat. The robotic goat can carry various sensors or weapon systems that would otherwise be carried by a Marine.
“Instead of having a Marine handle the weapon system, manipulate the safeties, we could put a remote trigger mechanism on it that allowed it to all be done remotely,” said 1st Lt. Aaron Safadi, officer in charge, emerging technology integration section, TTECG. “The Marine could be behind cover and concealment, the weapon system could go forward, and the Marine could manipulate the safeties from a safe place while allowing that weapon system to get closer to its target.”
MCAGCC is the largest Marine Corps base with an abundance of ranges that allows for robotic platforms, augmented reality, and artificial intelligence systems to be tested. Additionally, MCAGCC hosts several large-scale exercises every year, bringing in an array of personnel to gain insight on how to utilize these robotics.
According to Safadi, MCAGCC’s suitability for testing emerging technology lies in its permissive live-fire environment and its wealth of knowledge resources. The presence of TTECG at MCAGCC, combined with the continuous influx of diverse training units each year, provides a unique opportunity to observe and study the standard operating procedures and tactics, techniques, and procedures of much of the Marine Corps. This wealth of experience and knowledge makes MCAGCC the ideal location for testing and refining new military technology.
“Instead of having a Marine handle the weapon system, manipulate the safeties, we could put a remote trigger mechanism on it that allowed it to all be done remotely.”
1st Lt. Aaron Safadi, officer in charge.
Large-scale exercises, such as Marine Air-Ground Task Force Warfighting Exercise, gives Marines the opportunity to test emerging technology in an unscripted force-on-force exercise. This enables Marines to see how to implement new technology, and how to counter it as well. The robotic platforms being tested at MWX can range from small, unmanned aircraft systems to the HDT Hunter Wolf, a 2,200-pound unmanned vehicle capable of carrying various sensors or heavy weaponry into the battlespace.
Marines at MCAGCC have also began implementing virtual realities to assist in training. The Battle Simulation Center has developed virtual training technology in conjunction with ONR to train Joint Tactical Air Controllers and Forward Air Controllers in a more safe, economic, and realistic environment.
Force Design takes on an important role in the ongoing testing and integration of robotics at the MCAGCC. Testing emerging technologies, such as robotics, aligns with Force Design’s objectives by providing a platform for evaluating the practicality and effectiveness of these robotics systems for use in the battlefields of the future.
MCAGCC contributes to the Marine Corps’ broader goal of ensuring Marines are equipped with the most advanced tools and capabilities for future warfare scenarios. (Source: https://www.defense-aerospace.com/USMC)
23 Oct 23. Commission Supports the Ramp-Up of European Ammunition and Missiles Production with First Calls for Proposals.
Today, the Commission intensifies its support to the European defence industry with the adoption of the Work Programme foreseen in the Regulation on supporting Ammunition Production (ASAP) for 2023-2025.
ASAP will allocate €500 m to the support of investment projects worth up to €1.4bn, thereby incentivising the ramp-up of ammunition and missiles production in the European Union.
For the first time ever, the Commission is publishing calls for proposals to select and fund projects improving European production capacities of defence products and supporting the resilience of the related supply chains.
ASAP will address bottlenecks throughout the supply chains of ammunition and missiles in the EU and Norway, by supporting industry to rapidly adjust to new market trends and reduce dependencies.
Incentivising investments to address supply chains needs
The ASAP Work Programme targets key bottlenecks identified in the ammunition supply chains: explosives, propelling powder, and shells, and supports the missiles production ramp-up. It also addresses the obsolescence, testing, or reconditioning certification of relevant defence products.
Accordingly, the ASAP Work Programme is structured along 5 calls for proposals with the following indicatives budgets:
— Explosives, with a budget of €190m;
— Powder, with a budget of €144m;
— Shells, with a budget of €90m;
— Missiles with a budget of €40m;
— Testing and Reconditioning certification, with a budget of €4.35m.
The ASAP Work Programme will support projects aimed at improving the production capacities under different calls, through the implementation of various types of actions. For instance, ASAP will support extension or modernisation of existing lines, creation of new lines, plans to repurpose old ammunition, securing value chains, and addressing skills gaps.
Different topics under specific calls, such as on Explosives and Powder, will address different but complementary needs of the European ammunition supply chain. The objective is twofold: on the one hand incentivising investment in rapid adjustments, in order to increase the responsiveness of the supply chains, and on the other increasing the resilience and robustness of the supply chains, notably through cross-border cooperation.
To encourage quick and decisive investments in response to the Russian aggression of Ukraine, ASAP foresees a retroactive clause. The ASAP Work Programme therefore allows co-financing of industrial production ramp-up projects that started after 20 March 2023 (i.e. date of the Council agreement on the so-called ‘three-track approach’).
The ASAP Work Programme also foresees the creation of a ‘Ramp-Up Fund’, to facilitate the access to finance of defence manufacturers in the fields of ammunition and missiles, with a budget of €30m. Its implementation will make it easier for companies across these value chain to access both public and private financing and speed up investments needed to increase manufacturing capacities.
The calls are available from today, with a deadline for submission on 13 December 2023 17:00 CET, at the following links:
— Explosives: ASAP-2023-LS-XPL
— Powder: ASAP-2023-LS-POW
— Shells: ASAP-2023-LS-SHL
— Missiles: ASAP-2023-LS-MIS
— Testing & Reconditioning certification: ASAP-2023-LS-TRC
ASAP is a direct response to the Council’s call to urgently deliver ammunition, and missiles if requested, to Ukraine and to help Member States refill their stocks by introducing targeted measures.
Aimed at enabling ramp-up of ammunition production capacity across Europe, ASAP constitutes the track 3 (industrial part) of the so-called three-track approach of the ammunition plan agreed by the Council.
The three tracks are closely interlinked. In order for Member States to be able to use their ammunition in stock to support Ukraine (track 1) and subsequently replenish them with new orders (track 2), there needs to be enough confidence that the EU artillery ammunition and missiles producers can timely match the demand (track 3).
The structure of the ASAP Work Programme has been informed by the results of a mapping exercise of the European industrial production of artillery ammunition. Information was gathered through:
— Research and analysis within the Defence Joint Procurement Task Force;
— Information collected during Commissioner Breton’s visits to key manufacturers in EU Member States;
— Bilateral exchanges with industrial stakeholders.
In response to the Council’s call, the Commission proposed ASAP to European Parliament and the Council on 3 May 2023. The legislators adopted the Regulation in a record time on 20 July 2023. To keep the momentum and urgently deliver the expected impacts, the Commission set an ambitious timeline also for the adoption of the ASAP work programme and could meet it thanks to Member States support.
“The very swift adoption of the Work Programme on the Act in Support of Ammunition Production demonstrates the EU ability to act fast and united. This reaffirms the EU commitment to deliver on its promise to support Ukraine and its people, as well as protect our citizens. Through this Work Programme we will ramp up European ammunition production, contributing to matching Ukraine’s immediate needs as well as improving the European defence readiness.,” said Vice-President Věra Jourová.
“In the new geopolitical realities, Europe must enhance its defence readiness. With ASAP, we support European defence industry to produce more and faster the ammunition we need for Ukraine and for Member States’ security. I call on the European industries to answer the calls we are launching today to support industrial projects and ramping up efforts,” said Thierry Breton, Commissioner for Internal Market.
ASAP financing decision & work programme. (Source: https://www.defense-aerospace.com/EU)
24 Oct 23. Georgian-Polish Plant Launching Kamikaze UAV Production. Loitering munition drones – also referred to as ‘kamikaze’ drones – have made their mark in the war in Ukraine, with both combatants heavily employing the UAVs to strike the other’s positions along the frontlines and key infrastructure behind the lines. Though with small payloads, loitering munition drones provide precision strike potential at a cost low enough to enable mass procurement and thus, unsurprisingly, other militaries around the world are taking note and looking to adopt the capability.
One country looking to introduce these types of UAVs into service is Georgia, which fought and lost a war with Russia in 2008 that laid bare the power disparity between the two. While Russia had its own challenges in that conflict, it destroyed a significant amount of Georgian military hardware, particularly aircraft and air-defense weapons. Georgia is no mood to rekindle that war, but nevertheless is wary of Russian intentions, especially as Moscow continues to back two separatist republics on Georgian soil. Earlier in October, the leader of one of those republics announced that it would soon play host to a Russian naval base, a move Georgia’s Foreign Ministry slammed as a “flagrant violation of Georgia’s sovereignty and territorial integrity.”
Georgian defense planners see loitering munition drones as offering a way to improve deterrence against Russia, using Ukraine as a model. Along with its growing arsenal of missiles, Ukraine has been using UAVs (and unmanned maritime drones) to hit Russian air and naval bases in occupied Crimea, eastern Ukraine, and Russia proper, forcing Russia to deploy additional military resources, namely air-defense equipment, away from the front while bringing the war home to the Russian leadership.
On May 18, 2022, Georgia’s STC Delta signed an agreement with Poland’s WB Group to localize production of two types of drones, the FLYEYE reconnaissance drone and Warmate, a loitering munition UAV. In an update to parliament this past week on October 17, Georgian Defense Minister Juansher Burchuladze said that Delta-WB LLC should begin producing the first drones by the end of this year. Georgia’s Armed Forces are to be the first customer.
Warmate delivers a high-explosive payload to ranges of 30 kilometers, according to a product sheet from WB Group. It carries a flight time of 70 minutes, making it a “good alternative for anti-tank guided missiles” that might otherwise be used for similar purposes. Warmate can be manportable or equipped to ground vehicles or helicopters.
Drawing on the lessons from the 2008 war, Georgia’s military announced in 2017 that its Su-25 fleet, with about a dozen aircraft remaining, would be decommissioned, probably for resale, and would be replaced with drones to carry out the same function. Su-25s were once manufactured in Georgia, but this is no longer possible without industrial coordination with Russia – which also makes acquiring spare parts to support the existing fleet difficult. The rationale for the decision to cut the Su-25s was solid, as it is expensive to continue to maintain aircraft that Russia would shoot down within hours of warfare breaking out anyway, but the Ministry of Defense ultimately was not ready to take that step and retire the jets at that point.
Combat UAVs have only recently started becoming widely-available in international markets, so, faced with few procurement options, the Ministry of Defense shelved the Su-25 retirement plans, announcing a modernization effort in 2021 that remains ongoing. The seventh modernized Su-25 returned to duty in August. In time, however, loitering munition drones like the Warmate may become the replacement for the Su-25s.
(This article was originally posted on Forecast International’s Defense and Security blog.) (Source: https://www.defense-aerospace.com/ Forecast International)
23 Oct 23. Apache AH-64E attack helicopters ready for UK frontline duty.
Apache AH-64E attack helicopters are cleared for frontline duty following the British Army’s largest land exercise in 20 years, Iron Titan.
With a successful showing at exercise Iron Titan, the British Army’s largest land exercise in 20 years, Apache AH-64E attack helicopters have been declared ready for frontline duty, the British army announced on 23 October.
Over 6 weeks, 3 Regiment Army Air Corps (AAC) planned and executed simulated strike missions, while Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers and ground crew kept the aircraft in working order and ran Forward Arming and Refuelling points in isolated locations.
Testing the full gamut of requirements, Iron Titan put every aspect of the unit, from logistics and command and control procedures to maintenance and operations, through its paces.
“To achieve validation, every single function that we deliver as a Regiment has been tested in a realistic scenario that reflects the challenges of modern operations,” said 3 Regt AAC’s Commanding Officer Lieutenant Colonel Rich Simcock. “We have shown how we can sustain ourselves and survive on the battlefield, while striking targets far behind enemy lines to give ground troops a decisive advantage.”
50 new Apache AH-64E attack helicopters to be delivered by 2024
The new Apache AH-64E’s were first delivered in November 2020, when the British army received two of the attack helicopters from a compliment of 50 that are being procured from Boeing as part of an inter-government agreement signed with the US in 2016, expected to be completed in 2024.
The AH-64Es will replace the Apache MK1 helicopters that have been in service with the British Army since 2001. The AH-64E is considered one of the most advanced multi-role helicopters in the world today, with improvement over predecessors including advancements in sensors and new avionics, such as communications and data sharing facilities.
The flight performance has received a boost as well, with a new drivetrain and rotor blades. Units operating the new Apache should also expect to see better availability froth air platform, as an embedded maintenance diagnostic system has been added to cue dynamic servicing.
In June 2021 the UK Minister of Defence Procurement confirmed that the helicopters will be armed with the Joint Air-to-Ground Missile (JAGM), as well as the Hellfire K1 and Hellfire Romeo missiles, and a 30mm chain gun. (Source: army-technology.com)
20 Oct 23. Launch of ‘Vlissingen,’ Second Mine Countermeasure Vessel of the Belgian-Dutch rMCM Programme. The launching ceremony of the Vlissingen, second of the twelve mine countermeasure vessels of the Belgian-Dutch rMCM programme, intended for the Royal Netherlands Navy, took place on October 19th 2023 in Concarneau, France, in the presence of the Chiefs of Navy of the Royal Netherlands Navy and the Belgian Navy, and the representative of the Chief of Staff of the French Navy. The launching was carried out by Kership, which builds the ships in Concarneau on behalf of Naval Group, general contractor.
This programme was awarded in 2019 to Belgium Naval & Robotics, the consortium formed by Naval Group and Exail1 , following an international competition. It provides for the supply to the Belgian Navy and the Royal Netherlands Navy of twelve mine countermeasures vessels and around a hundred drones integrated inside a toolbox that will equip the vessels.
Naval Group, as overall architect and prime contractor, is responsible for the design of the ships, the overall integration, and the testing and commissioning of the mission system (combat system and mine countermeasures system).
Kership, a joint venture between Naval Group and Piriou, is in charge of the production of the twelve vessels which are assembled in Concarneau and Lanester.
Exail, as co-contractor, is in charge of the unmanned drones’ system. Most of these drones will be produced in Ostend, Belgium. The maintenance of the ships will be carried out in Belgium in close collaboration between the Belgian Navy and Naval Group Belgium, with the assistance of its partner Flanders Ship Repair.
The Vlissingen, second vessel of the program and first one intended for the Royal Netherlands Navy, will be delivered in 2025.
The first vessel, Oostende, intended for the Belgian Navy, has been launched on March 29th 2023, while the keel for the third of the twelve vessels, the M941 Tournai, also intended for the Belgian Navy, was laid. The keel of the fourth vessel, the Scheveningen, second vessel intended for the Royal Netherlands Navy, was laid on July 19th 2023.
The delivery of the Oostende is scheduled for the end of 2024 in Zeebrugge, Belgium. Deliveries of the other vessels will then be staggered until 2030. (Source: https://www.defense-aerospace.com/Naval Group)
20 Oct 23. KAI MCH to carry two primary anti-mine systems internally. Korea Aerospace Industries’ (KAI’s) new Mine Countermeasures Helicopter (MCH) will have two out of its three deployable anti-mine assets located within the aircraft’s internal cargo bay.
According to a project member in KAI, the helicopter, which is currently under development, will store both its BAE Systems Archerfish Mine Neutralisation System (AMNS) and its Teledyne Gavia autonomous underwater vehicle (AUV) in its interior cargo section. It was initially planned to install just the AUVs in the MCH’s cargo bay.
“The decision to also install AMNS in the cargo bay was taken to reduce drag, which will affect the speed and agility of the MCH,” the project member told Janes on 20 October, during the Seoul International Aerospace & Defense Exhibition (ADEX) 2023 held from 17 to 22 October. (Source: Janes)
20 Oct 23. Delivery of the First Replacement CAESARs to the French Army: Nexter Hosted Sébastien Lecornu, Minister of the Armed Forces, in Roanne. On the occasion of his visit to the KNDS site in Roanne, the Minister of the Armed Forces, Sébastien Lecornu, witnessed the coming off the line of the first recompletion CAESARs intended for the French Army following the transfers to the Ukraine.
This delivery comes following an order placed in record time by the DGA and a production time reduced to less than 15 months.
Delivery in record time
In order to replace the CAESARs delivered to Ukraine, the Directorate General of Armaments (DGA) ordered 18 CAESAR 6X6 MkI for in July 2022. This great responsiveness, enabled by an early production launch, was followed by the unprecedented reduction in our production times: 15 months later, the Minister of the Armed Forces attended in Roanne the first examples coming off the production line, with a production cycle halved. Six CAESARs are currently being produced each month, and eight will be produced in 2024 if orders require it, compared to two to four (occasionally) before the start of 2022.
An industrial challenge in times of war economy
To meet this record deadline, Nexter, a KNDS company, has adapted to a war economy stance: substantial purchases from its own funds to build up stocks of raw materials, anticipated supplies from its supply chain, development of new infrastructure and deployment of new machine tools.
The transition to a war economy posture in a context of international electronic components crisis has required major efforts to reduce the production time of a CAESAR gun from 30 to 15 months while more than doubling production rates. Manufacturing. This result, which will also benefit all other CAESAR 6X6 customers, is a collective achievement made possible thanks to the mobilization of our partners and suppliers .
Nexter’s adaptation to the demands of a war economy also translates into increased support for our customers. Thus, Nexter worked on the local implementation of its support system for the Ukrainian armed forces, as close as possible to the front, through a local partner and thanks to intense mobilization of its technical experts and its supply chain.
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