Sponsored by Galvion
07 Nov 23. Persistent Systems Wave Relay Supports Loitering Munitions. Persistent Systems, LLC (“Persistent”), a leader in mobile ad hoc networking (MANET), announced today that Applied Systems Engineering Inc. (“ASEI”), specialists in navigation systems for loitering munitions, has joined Persistent’s Wave Relay® Ecosystem.
The war in Ukraine has highlighted the effectiveness of low-cost drones as a mechanism to deliver a precision strike capability. ASEI advances this concept through the development of small, loitering, precision-guided munitions that operate effectively in contested environments. The Wave Relay MANET enables the munitions to network together and operate as a swarm, while receiving target tasking from UAS platforms and dismounted warfighters.
“We were looking for a mature MANET radio—one used by all the services and robust enough to operate in GPS-denied and contested environments,” said Shawn Wall, program director at ASEI. “Persistent Systems was the logical choice for a partner.”
ASEI is developing a family of munitions to include:
- (MCM) Miniature Cruise Missile – a long-range loitering munition, air-to-ground attack, in GPS-denied environments
- Ministrike – a miniature munition capable of being air dropped from a UAS or being deployed as a submunition on a larger weapon
The Wave Relay® Ecosystem is an industry alliance of unmanned aircraft systems (UAS), unmanned ground vehicle (UGV), and sensor companies all utilizing Persistent’s Wave Relay® MANET as their command-and-control and communications network. This standardization enables ASEI munitions to interoperate with soldiers and unmanned systems on the networked battlefield.
“We are excited to have ASEI join our growing Wave Relay® Ecosystem,” said Cody Larson, director of Business Development at Persistent Systems. “ASEI has developed a capability that enables small teams of warfighters to exert a disproportional effect on the battlefield through a team organic precision strike capability. This provides a significant advantage to US Forces and our allies while simultaneously serving as a deterrent to those who wish us harm.”
For more information or a capability demonstration of the MCM or Ministrike platforms please reach out to your ASEI representative. (Source: https://cuashub.com/)
07 Nov 23. Norway Invests NOK 690m to Support Ammunition Production. The Government Will Use NOK 690m to Support Norwegian Ammunition Production. The government has decided to take Norway into the European program ASAP, and will pay around NOK 190 m as its share. In addition, the government sets aside up to NOK 500 m that can be given in support to companies that apply for support through ASAP and that want to increase their production capacity in Norway.
This also applies to Nammo, which has recently signaled that it wants to expand its production both in Norway and in other countries in which it operates.
“We have placed several large contracts with Nammo in the past year, and we have advanced payments so that the pace of production can be increased more quickly,” says Gram. “Nevertheless, the donations to Ukraine eat away at the emergency stocks in the West, and we must be prepared to stand by this for a long time. We must therefore increase the volume and pace throughout Europe, if it is to succeed.”
ASAP (Act in Support of Ammunition Production) has a fund of 500 m euros and Norway pays approximately NOK 190 m in quotas so that Norwegian industry can apply for funds. European defense companies that want to expand their capacity can apply to the fund to have up to 45 per cent of the investment costs covered. The application deadline in ASAP is mid-December, and the results are expected in February.
“This means that the Norwegian defense industry will be able to increase production more quickly, if the application were to be approved in ASAP. This is good news for the industry and it is good news for our preparedness,” concludes the Minister of Defence. (Unofficial translation by Defense-Aerospace.com) (Source: https://www.defense-aerospace.com/ Norwegian Ministry of Defence; issued Nov. 07, 2023)
07 Nov 23. Swedish Defense Chief Calls for Expanded Air Defenses, Improved NATO Interoperability. Today, the commander-in-chief submitted his military advice to the government on Swedish defense capabilities with the new conditions that membership in NATO will entail. The council is a basis for the 2024 defense decision.
The Swedish Armed Forces states in its advice that Russia will be the most significant threat for the foreseeable future. Swedish defense policy must therefore take into account the risk that Russia’s war against Ukraine could escalate into an attack against other states.
The armed forces must protect both Swedish and the alliance’s interests and operations, enable the alliance to be able to build up forces and gather forces, and be able to operate within the framework of both stabilizing, defensive and offensive operations.
“Swedish NATO membership means that we need to be able to participate in deterrence and defense against armed attack even outside Sweden’s borders. This means higher requirements for more available units with the ability to operate together with allies,” says Defense Chief Adm. Micael Bydén.
In his advice, there are ambitious changes that relate to an increased focus on air defense within all defense branches. Among other things, to be able to be included in NATO’s integrated air and missile defense.
Two of the army’s brigades are prioritized to be able to participate early in NATO’s ground operations. It is also about developing logistics so that Sweden can be an area for basing and transporting allied units. The armed forces also need to improve interoperability in order to be part of NATO’s command system.
Personnel reinforcements will be required to meet the demands for increased operational capability. Among other things, it is proposed that basic education volumes increase to 10,000 individuals per year as early as 2030. The armed forces, on the other hand, advise against the establishment of additional organizational units and operations in specially designated locations.
“Taking into account the requirements of NATO membership, the world situation and the effect on the military units of our extensive military support to Ukraine, we are putting a lot of effort into the near-term perspective: To strengthen availability and capability in existing units and to ensure access to material and supplies,” says ÖB Micael Bydén.
(Unofficial translation by Defense-Aerospace.com)
(Source: https://www.defense-aerospace.com/ Swedish Armed Forces; issued Nov 06, 2023)
07 Nov 23. Rheinmetall Defence Australia and Supashock unveil the Sea Mine Rail Deployment System.
- Rheinmetall Defence Australia and Supashock have teamed to develop a world-first sea mine rail deployment system (MRDS)
- MRDS allows the storage and deployment of sea mines by international navies
- Rack remains fixed to the ship
- Both enterprises have a long association with military land vehicles
Rheinmetall Defence Australia, a key strategic industrial partner to the Australian Defence Force, has teamed up with Adelaide-based technology company Supashock, to develop a world-first sea mine rail deployment system.
Nathan Poyner, Managing Director, Rheinmetall Defence Australia, said that the two businesses had a long association with military land vehicles and had again collaborated on a solution known as Mine Rail Deployment System (MRDS).
“The MRDS was developed to allow for the storage and deployment of sea mines by international navies.
“In a world-first, the design means that the rack remains fixed to the ship and the deployment appliance basket is not discarded into the ocean as is the current model.
“The MRDS will be future-ready to integrate automation, further increasing on-deck operational efficiency,” Mr Poyner said.
Oscar Fiorinotto, Managing Director of Supashock, said the MRDS would be designed, tested and manufactured at the organisation’s Holden Hill facility in suburban Adelaide.
“Supashock is a global designer and manufacturer of advanced products for defence, heavy vehicles and automotive OEMs.
“I’m delighted to be working with our partners at Rheinmetall Defence Australia to achieve this outstanding result that will improve the deployment of sea mines, worldwide. We are excited for future collaboration between all parties, including the Commonwealth, to further test this Australian technology.” Mr Fiorinotto added.
The MRDS revolutionises payload deployment, reducing deck footprint, and increasing payload replenishment efficiency. The system is scalable and can be adapted to suit a range of different seacraft.
The MRDS also offers enhanced safety features such as jettison capability, improved ergonomics and a weather shelter that protects crew and disguises deck activity during transport or operations. (Source: ASD Network)
08 Nov 23. Origin’s BEAK is a Precision Bomb-Drop Drone with Class-leading ISR Capability. Origin, a pioneer in military unmanned aerial systems with precision bomb-drop capability, is ready to transform the industry with the introduction of their latest breakthrough – the ‘BEAK’. This multipurpose Unmanned Aircraft System (UAS) is set to redefine ISR capabilities, offering extended range, reduced acoustic signature, and the unique ability to precisely attack soft and hard targets.
Drawing from the lessons learned in the Ukraine war, Origin has developed a NATO-ready solution that empowers a new level of capability. The BEAK provides the means to employ unconventional tactics effectively exploiting an adversary’s vulnerabilities.
Designed to address the shortcomings of current systems used in bomb-drop missions in Ukraine, the BEAK is from ground-up designed for operations in GNSS-denied environments and has state-of-the-art anti-jamming capabilities. Despite its remarkable 4 kg munition payload capacity, the BEAK remains highly portable, ensuring flexibility in deployment. Beak can deliver 4 kilograms of munitions to a distance of over 12 kilometers. The beak can be configured with 6, 4 or 2 munition slots making it suitable for various missions. Moreover, in ISR configuration, it leads the industry with an impressive flight time of 60 minutes.
The team behind the BEAK has gone the extra mile to significantly enhance bomb-drop accuracy, incorporating advanced algorithms for precision hit capability. The Origin Ground Control software leverages an open-source architecture, featuring an intuitive user interface that slashes operator training time to just a few hours.
In its ISR configuration, the BEAK’s extended flight time and capable sensor payload make it an exceptional reconnaissance solution. Despite being size, weight, and power optimized, it delivers leading Detection, Recognition, and Identification (DRI) ranges. Equipped with a thermal imager, it enables human detection at night from distances of over 1000 meters.
Agris Kipurs, Co-founder at Origin, emphasized,
“At Origin, we believe that addressing the escalating security threats in Europe stands as our society’s foremost priority. Drawing on decades of expertise, we are committed to propelling Europe and our NATO allies forward in capability.”
BEAK is currently undergoing rigorous product qualification testing with several NATO partners, with shipments expected to commence in early 2024. (Source: UAS VISION)
07 Nov 23. US Navy empowers F/A-18 Super Hornet with Raytheon’s StormBreaker weapon. The digital technology enhances the striking capabilities of the naval aircraft. This technology, initially fielded on the F-15E and currently undergoing integration testing on the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter, demonstrates the power of digital solutions in enhancing air dominance.
Leveraging insights gained from its deployment on the F-15E, Raytheon was able to streamline the integration process, reducing the number of required flight tests. This approach saved time and conserved resources, enabling the US Navy to harness StormBreaker’s capabilities sooner.
Paul Ferraro, the president of Air Power at Raytheon, expressed the nature of this technology, stating, “StormBreaker is a prime example of how we are using digital technologies to deliver advanced air dominance weapons, ensuring the continued relevance of fourth-generation aircraft.”
This year, Raytheon Technologies secured a contract worth approximately $320m for the production and delivery of 1,500 StormBreaker smart weapon systems for the US Air Force.
The weapon’s features provide aviators with the ability to strike targets in challenging and dynamic scenarios, thereby enhancing their operational capabilities.
One of StormBreaker’s standout features is its multimode seeker, which guides the weapon using an imaging infrared camera, millimetre-wave radar, and semi-active laser, in addition to GPS and inertial navigation system guidance. This approach ensures a degree of accuracy and adaptability in operational scenarios.
Furthermore, StormBreaker’s compact size allows fewer aircraft to address the same number of targets compared to larger weapons requiring multiple jets. It can also travel over 40 miles to engage moving land and maritime targets, thereby reducing the time that aircrews spend in high-risk situations.
The US Air Force declared initial operating capability for StormBreaker on the F-15E Strike Eagle in 2022, marking its successful integration and performance in an operational context. Currently, all three variants of the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter are undergoing integration testing with StormBreaker, promising further to expand the reach and effectiveness of this smart weapon.
Boeing announced plans to cease production of the F/A-18 Super Hornet aircraft by late 2025 after delivering the final jet to the US Navy. However, this production timeline could be extended until 2027 if an international customer places an order. (Source: naval-technology.com)
08 Nov 23. The days of the AC-130J Ghostrider’s hefty 105mm cannon may be numbered. U.S. Air Force Special Operations Command confirmed to Defense News it is considering removing this howitzer-sized weapon, used to carry out punishing strikes on ground targets, from the aircraft as early as 2026. The idea comes as the service rethinks how it will use the heavily armed gunship following the end of the Afghanistan War and amid a greater focus on America’s top adversary, China.
The changes could amount to a major shift in how the Air Force’s famed gunship would support special operations forces and the military writ large in a sophisticated war against an advanced adversary such as China.
The command is also eyeing other changes to the Ghostrider, including the addition of small cruise missiles for standoff strikes; an advanced active electronically scanned array radar for improved tracking of ground targets; and a series of communications and networking upgrades to better tie into the joint force’s command-and-control networks.
“To field operational concepts and technologies relevant in the current and future strategic competition environments, AFSOC is currently assessing the capabilities of the AC-130J Ghostrider,” the command said in a statement to Defense News. “The goal of this review is to enhance the lethality, versatility and adaptability of the AC-130J in a wide range of operational scenarios while ensuring it remains a vital asset within AFSOC.”
The service hasn’t made a final decision on the fate of the 105mm cannon and what — if anything — would replace it, an Air Force official told Defense News on the condition of anonymity in order to speak candidly. AFSOC is using research and development funding to conduct an analysis through 2025.
The official noted the command now does not have the procurement funds to remove the cannon and to either patch up the hole or replace the weapon, meaning the gun wouldn’t get pulled off until 2026 at the earliest.
“In a scenario where you’re not able to just have free rein and fly over a friendly location for three hours, how do we beat our adversaries at that game?” the official said. “If they take away our ability to loiter for extended periods of time, what’s our counter-punch?”
A spokesperson for the House Armed Services Committee’s majority staff declined to comment on the potential gunship changes under consideration.
A source in the gunship community, who spoke to Defense News on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to talk to the press, said AFSOC has all but decided to remove the 105mm cannon.
“It’s a fait accompli,” he said.
The source added that removing the massive cannon from the plane’s left side would create an imbalance in the aircraft’s center of gravity, among other structural issues. The price tag to remove the weapon and fix the airframe across the fleet would likely be in the ms of dollars, he explained.
“When you cut a hole in that airplane, it’s a major structural intrusion,” he said. “You can’t just yank the gun out of it and fly around with that hole. You’ve got to redesign the fuselage where it was cut out.”
John Venable, a former F-16 pilot and senior defense fellow at the Heritage Foundation think tank, told Defense News the AC-130J would not survive a war against China and that the command is right to rethink its mission. However, he added, the command should leave the 105mm gun in place on a portion of the fleet to conduct missions in permissive environments like the Middle East.
“This is a significant move,” Venable said. “In a high-intensity fight where you’ve got air-to-air threats and long-range [surface-to-air missiles], it would be relegated to a position — much like the [E-8] JSTARS, much like the [E-3 Sentry] AWACS — to where it would be almost combat ineffective in its current role. We will still need AC-130s to fly top cover in Africa; the same thing with our troops in Syria.”
But while the Air Force’s efforts to retire the A-10 Warthog aircraft led to years of conflict with lawmakers until recently, Venable doubts the service will run into similar opposition on Capitol Hill over potential AC-130 changes.
AFSOC has ruled out replacing the cannon with a high-energy laser currently undergoing tests and once considered for the AC-130J.
Another Air Force official, speaking on the condition of anonymity in order to talk freely, explained that placing a laser where the 105mm gun is now yields so much air turbulence that it would upset the laser’s beam. And that official threw cold water on the idea of an AC-130J one day going into battle armed with a laser.
The laser research has “been quite a lengthy program,” the official noted. “Our intent with [the airborne high-energy laser] right now is to continue and finish the demonstration for [the Office of the Secretary of Defense], and we will see if we are able to actually pick it up as a weapon system. Right now, it doesn’t look like we might. We just don’t know; the decision has not been made yet. But in short, the laser can’t go in where the 105[mm cannon] is.”
Rethinking the ‘Angel of Death’
The AC-130J is the fourth and latest version of the gunship series sometimes nicknamed the “Angel of Death” for its withering amount of firepower. The aircraft first saw action during the Vietnam War. And the U.S. military frequently used AC-130s during the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, particularly on close air support missions and major operations such as the battles of Fallujah.
The Ghostrider started to arrive at AFSOC in 2016, and it reached initial operating capability the following year. It is a heavily modified version of the Lockheed Martin-made C-130J, outfitted with twin cannons — a 30mm cannon that can fire up to 200 rounds per minute alongside the 105mm weapon — and the ability to carry precision-guided munitions such as the AGM-176 Griffin, AGM-114 Hellfire, GBU-39 Small Diameter Bomb and GBU-69 Small Glide Munition.
Former AFSOC head Lt. Gen. Bradley Heithold pushed for the AC-130J to have the 105mm cannon alongside the 30mm weapon, telling reporters in a 2015 conversation: “I want two guns.”
Both cannons are mounted on the left of the AC-130J, and the aircraft is typically meant to fly in counterclockwise loops over the target area — sometimes for hours — as its gunners pound enemy positions.
But the Pentagon has been slowly dialing back the scope it originally planned for the Ghostrider, each of which cost $165 m. AFSOC originally wants a fleet of 37 Ghostriders to replace the now-retired AC-130H Spectre, AC-130U Spooky and AC-130W Stinger II aircraft, but last year cut off procurement at 30.
AFSOC said it isn’t planning to further reduce the number of AC-130Js.
Former AFSOC head Lt. Gen. Jim Slife — the nominee to be the service’s next vice chief of staff — ordered the command to look at whether the 105mm cannon should be removed from the Ghostrider as part of the fiscal 2023 program objective memorandum. His successor, Lt. Gen. Tony Bauernfeind, has continued this review.
The first Air Force official said a combination of factors led to a reconsideration of the Ghostrider’s role.
“What does the future fight look like?” the Air Force official said. “Do we need the 105[mm cannon]? … We don’t want to pigeonhole ourselves in strictly special operations. That’s where our expertise lies, [but] we also want to expand capabilities and offer something up to the joint force as well.”
Tight budgets also played a role, he said, although AFSOC is still figuring out what the potential costs or savings a change to the weapon might yield.
If small cruise missiles are added to the AC-130J, the official said, the crew could eject them from the gunship’s ramp to be launched — potentially as palletized munitions, in which a container of multiple cruise missiles is slid out of a cargo plane and then fired in a barrage. Or, the official added, the missiles could be mounted and launched from the Ghostrider’s wings.
AFSOC said these cruise missiles would allow strikes on both fixed and mobile targets, and allow the AC-130J to engage enemies from a safer distance. AFSOC has not yet decided which specific missiles might fill this role.
The active electronically scanned array radar under consideration for the AC-130J would be more sensitive, scan faster and have greater resistance to jamming, while also allowing the aircraft to better discriminate between targets, AFSOC said. It would also support multiple missions such as air-to-air search, air-to-ground targeting, mapping of the ground, and weather detection.
And the adaptive mission networking advancements that might be added to the AC-130J would let it better share critical information with other friendly aircraft or forces, as well as receive real-time updates on the battlefield.
The potential removal of the 105mm weapon also comes after 17 gunships in the fleet received upgraded cannons. Engineers from the Naval Surface Warfare Center designed and developed that latest version, dubbed GAU-XX, and delivered the weapons in January 2022.
The first Air Force official said the AC-130J’s focus isn’t entirely shifting to standoff strike capability, and it will still be able to provide close air support, even without a 105mm cannon.
“Close air support is what we’ve always done since our beginnings, and it’s something that we will continue to do,” he said. “Our guys on the ground anticipate and expect us to … provide the same high level of support that we’ve always provided them. It’s not shifting focus from one to another, but it’s expanding capabilities.” (Source: Defense News)
08 Nov 23. US Army ‘highly unlikely‘ to field hypersonic glide weapon this year. After another canceled test of the U.S. Army and Navy’s Common Hypersonic Glide Body due to a problem just prior to launch at the end of October, it is now “highly unlikely” the Army will field the weapon to the first unit by the end of the year as planned, Doug Bush, the service’s acquisition chief, told reporters in a Nov. 8 briefing.
The Army and Navy have in recent months seen two tests of the Common Hypersonic Glide Body aborted during pre-flight checks. A previous test planned in March was also scrapped.
Details of the failure detected prior to launch are classified, Bush said, and the Army and Navy are still conducting analysis of the root cause of the problem.
“After a test failure you take the thing back, take it apart, and the members of the team work through, with the engineers, on exactly what the failure was,” he added. “I think we’re close to understanding what exactly the problem was, which will inform our path to getting back to testing.”
But because the Army needed to have at least one live-fire test of the glide body before sending the first Long-Range Hypersonic Weapon, or LRHW, missiles to the first unit equipped, the service will likely not meet its deadline to deliver by the end of calendar year 2023, according to Bush. The Army already shifted the deadline from the end of fiscal 2023 to the end of the year.
The Army completed its delivery of the first hypersonic weapon capability to I Corps’ 5th Battalion, 3rd Field Artillery Regiment, 17th Field Artillery Brigade unit at Joint Base Lewis-McChord in Washington state two days ahead of its end of FY21 fielding deadline.
The service went from a blank piece of paper in March 2019 to delivering hardware in just over two years including a battering operations center, four transporter-erector-launchers and modified trucks and trailers that make up the ground equipment of Dark Eagle.
The plan was to allow the unit to train on all the equipment over the next two years while it waited for the real all-up rounds to be delivered.
Hypersonic weapons are capable of flying faster than Mach 5 — or more than 3,836 miles per hour — and can maneuver between varying altitudes, making it difficult to detect. The C-HGB is made up of the weapon’s warhead, guidance system, cabling and thermal protection shield.
The U.S. is in a race to field the weapon capability as well as develop systems to defend against hypersonic missiles. China and Russia are each actively developing and testing hypersonic weapons.
The Army remains committed to the LRHW, Bush stressed, and needs the capability LRHW will bring to the table. “We’ll get LRHW, but it’s going to take more time unfortunately.”
Bush said one compensating factor for the service is that it was able to successfully field its new ship-killing Mid-Range Capability that uses a ground-launched Tomahawk and SM-6 missile.
“That program is now moving into operational capability, so it would be awesome to have both at the same time, but the fact that we got one will add capabilities to the Pacific, in particular, is really important,” Bush said. (Source: C4ISR & Networks)
08 Nov 23. MBDA Germany exploits proximity to European Patriot missile customers. MBDA Germany’s rocket motor subsidiary, Bayern-Chemie, gives a glimpse into its growing production process at an international press event as its parent company establishes a “European missile hub” in Bavaria.
MBDA Germany’s (MBDA-D) missile propulsion manufacturer, Bayern-Chemie, has returned to Raytheon’s industrial supplier base for the Patriot missile defence system this year.
By the time that demand for Patriot missiles diminished at the close of the Cold War, the Bavarian company had produced over 2,300 rocket motors for PAC-2 missiles from 1987 to 1996; this makes the lifetime of its PAC-2 rocket engine nearly 40-years-old.
Now, the provider is ramping up production once again for the next-generation PAC-2 variant: the Patriot Guidance Enhanced Missile (GEM-T) interceptors.
This new build is equipped with a track-via-missile guidance system. Midcourse correction commands are transmitted to the guidance system from the mobile engagement control centre.
Carrying a high-explosive 90kg warhead, the missile has a range of 70km and a maximum altitude greater than 24km. The minimum flight time is less than nine seconds while the maximum is three and a half minutes.
Supplying the Bundeswehr and Nato partners
As tensions continue to simmer in Eastern Europe due to Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine, several European countries have donated their missile defence systems to the war-torn country, which has depleted their inventories in recent months.
The Bundeswehr is among those re-stocking, which Thomas Gottschild, Managing Director of MBDA-D, commented at an international press event in late October at its Schrobenhausen site, that the company is focused on “filling the gaps in the Bundeswehr, not so much on new capabilities.”
As a result, there has been an increase in missile procurements across Europe to restore the stockpiles to optimum levels to meet their national security requirements. It is no surprise that GlobalData intelligence projects Europe to be the leading geographic segment in the global missile defence market, accruing a 31.1% revenue share.
MBDA-D plan to ramp up production of its vast portfolio, including the Patriot missile components it is responsible for, Enforcer, Taurus, Brimstone, Meteor and Arrow3 missiles, among others.
When it comes to its Patriot commitments, head of sales and business development at MBDA-D, Michael Rieder, observed “we have a lot of infrastructure here [in Bavaria] for it.”
Rieder also noted the use of PAC-2 and PAC-3 throughout the next decade. We can expect the dual use of both versions for the next ten years, until PAC-2 is discontinued in 2032.
According to GlobalData Defence Analyst, Wilson Jones, “PAC-2’s are larger, have a bigger warhead, and can travel longer and higher distances. PAC-3’s are smaller, carry a smaller warhead, and have reduced ranges, but the trade off is that they can move faster and are more manoeverable.”
Wilson continued to explain the market attraction of both versions.
“Because the PAC-3 is much more accurate, it is designed to smash into its target, while the PAC-2 just needs to get close enough for the target to be in the blast. The PAC-3 is probably getting more because it is the latest system, while the first PAC-2 came out in the 1980s. This is part of why one PAC-2 is about half the cost of one PAC-3.
“Ultimately, PAC-2 and PAC-3 function slightly differently to do the same job of intercepting missiles, and are most effective when used together.”
Bayern-Chemie upscales propellent production, indicating MBDA-D’s continental ambitions
During the press event, in Aschau am Inn, Bayern-Chemie discussed their production process and their contribution to their parent company’s ambitions for an MBDA-led continental “missile hub.”
The company makes and upscales solid-fuel rocket propellants for MBDA-D’s missile portfolio, particularly Meteor, for which it is the sole-source provider.
According to Bayern-Chemie, their mixing facility produces 40 batches of propellent a year, or two tonnes per week, with an option to upscale capacity to three shifts as customer demand grows.
Meanwhile, the subsidiary’s chemical laboratory technical specialists also experiment and explore new propellants while meeting its growing production. This could take between eight to ten years to come up with a new propellant, while they modify existing propellants.
This research and development process begins with 2kg of propellant, which will increase between 10 and 30kg maximum.
It is worth noting that the chemical producer is driven by customer requirements, adapting their recipes to such qualities as a smokeless take-off, thereby reducing the rocket motor’s signature.
06 Nov 23. Dutch army eyes greater firepower for its Boxers. The Royal Netherlands Army has a formal requirement to up-arm its Artec Boxer armoured personnel carriers, Janes learnt at Defence iQ’s 2023 International Dismounted Soldier conference in London. Operated by the army’s 13th Light Brigade, the Dutch Boxers were originally procured with the Kongsberg M151 remotely operated weapon system (ROWS), armed with a 12.7 mm heavy machine gun (HMG). This is now deemed to be insufficient, and the Dutch army has put forward a formal requirement for the Boxers to be fitted with an automatic cannon of at least 30 mm in calibre. Janes understands that an uncrewed turret solution is being favoured, in order not to impact the existing troop-carrying capacity of the vehicle. A counter-unmanned aircraft system (C-UAS) capability was stated as a ‘nice to have’, but not a core requirement at this stage. (Source: Janes)
06 Nov 23. Finnish Army details current and future soldier modernisation efforts. Further details regarding the Finnish Army’s ongoing and future soldier modernisation efforts emerged at Defence iQ’s International Dismounted Soldier 2023 conference in London. Janes has learnt that alongside deliveries of Sako’s M23 7.62 mm precision rifles and TRG M10 8.6 mm sniper rifles, additional Glock 17 and Glock 19 9 mm pistols are on order as part of the ongoing small arms modernisation effort. The Finnish Army is also fielding new night-vision devices (NVD), laser illuminators, thermal imagers, weapon and helmet mounted lights, and identification systems acquired under the ‘Night Combat 2020′ programme. Deliveries began in 2022. (Source: Janes)
06 Nov 23. ATIL unveils DP18A UCAV. Thai firm Aero Technology Industry Company Limited (ATIL) has unveiled a new X-tail unmanned combat aerial vehicle (UCAV) at the Defense & Security 2023 exhibition in Bangkok.
The company said the DP18A UCAV is a “tactical attack UAV [unmanned aerial vehicle] for reconnaissance, surveillance, [and] intelligence gathering” that can also provide “real-time strikes against enemy targets”.
An ATIL official told Janes that the UCAV prototype has been developed over the past year for the Royal Thai Armed Forces as a “cost-effective, fast, and manoeuvrable strike system”.
ATIL recently completed the development of the DP18A, and the company is now in discussion with the Thai military about potential procurement, the company official said.
Such a programme, which is expected to be supported through further testing by the Thai military, would initially encompass one DP18A system, which comprises four UCAVs and a ground control system. (Source: Janes)
07 Nov 23. Finnish Navy Hamina-class FACs conduct first firings of Tp 47 torpedo. The Finnish Navy has conducted acceptance firings of the Torpedo 47 (Tp 47) lightweight torpedo from its Hamina-class fast attack craft (FAC).
The test firings were performed by first-of-class FRNS Hamina (80) and fourth boat FRNS Pori (83) in the Archipelago Sea on 31 October, the Finnish Navy confirmed on 1 November.
Developed by Swedish defence and security group Saab for the Royal Swedish Navy and for export as a replacement for the Torpedo 45 (Tp 45) anti-submarine warfare (ASW) torpedo, the Tp 47 is a near-neutrally buoyant 400mm wire-guided torpedo specifically designed for shallow-water operation in the Swedish archipelago and the Baltic Sea. Features include a fully digital acoustic homing head, two-way data communications with the launch platform via a wire-guidance link, a highly accurate navigation system, a wide stepless speed range, and significantly improved manoeuvrability. (Source: Janes)
05 Nov 23. Russian nuclear submarine test launches Bulava intercontinental missile.
- New nuclear submarine nearly ready for service
- Russia building more submarines
- Kremlin: relations with Washington ‘below zero’
Russia’s new strategic nuclear submarine, the Imperator Alexander III, has successfully tested a Bulava intercontinental ballistic missile, the Russian defence ministry said on Sunday.
The missile, which the Federation of American Scientists says is designed to carry up to six nuclear warheads, was launched from an underwater position in the White Sea off Russia’s northern coast and hit a target thousands of kilometres away on the Kamchatka peninsula in the Russian Far East, the defence ministry said.
“Firing a ballistic missile is the final element of state tests, after which a decision will be made to accept the cruiser into the Navy,” a ministry statement said.
The Imperator Alexander III is the seventh of the Russian Project 955 Borei (Arctic Wind) class nuclear submarines and the fourth of the modernised Borei-A variant, according to Russian sources.
They are known in NATO as the Dolgoruky class of submarines, after the first boat – the Yuri Dolgoruky – became the first new generation of nuclear submarine launched by Russia since the Cold War.
The Borei class submarine is armed with 16 Bulava missiles. The 12-metre (40-foot) missile has a range of about 8,000 km (5,000 miles).
Since rising to power in 1999, President Vladimir Putin has increased military spending and sought to rebuild Russia’s nuclear and conventional forces after the chaos that accompanied the 1991 fall of the Soviet Union.
The Ukraine war has triggered the worst crisis in Moscow’s relations with the West since the depths the Cold War and Putin last month said he was not ready to say whether or not Russia should resume nuclear testing.
Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said in an interview aired on Sunday that relations with the United States were below zero.
“Relations are at zero – or I would say below zero,” Peskov said, though he added that at some point the leaders of Russia and the United States would have to resume contact.
“Putin has repeatedly stated that he is ready for any contacts,” Peskov said.
Russia aims to build a total of 10 to 12 Borei-class submarines to be divided between the Northern and Pacific fleets, according to the current plans disclosed by Russian media.
Three more Borei-class submarines are being built: the Knyaz Pozharsky, the Dmitry Donskoy and the Knyaz Potemkin. Two additional boats are also planned, according to Russian media. (Source: Reuters)
03 Nov 23. Study from Ventus Illustrates Evidence and Risk of Toxic Respiratory Exposure from Firearm Combustion and Weapons Training. An independent analysis of filters recovered from Ventus’ TR2 Tactical Respirator, worn during various weapons training exercises, revealed the presence of 32 different heavy metals and compounds after just a single day of use. Ventus Respiratory Technologies, a company pioneering a new standard of respiratory protection for law enforcement, the armed forces, and first responders, has conducted a comprehensive study to illustrate the filtration efficacy of its TR2 Tactical Respirator, while also providing quantitative evidence of airborne hazards in weapons training environments.
“The TR2 is unique in the market, being the only CE-certified respirator that is purpose-built for military and law enforcement personnel, to protect them from toxic exposure,” said Arjun Grewal, CEO of Ventus, who previously spent 20 years with the Canadian Armed Forces. “Chronic exposure to particulates such as those produced by combustion has been shown to pose a significant health risk.”
“Particulate” refers to a type of air pollution consisting of a complex mixture of tiny solid particles and liquid droplets in the air. The TR2 has demonstrated its ability to filter out ≥99% of solid airborne particulates down to 0.06μm and 97% of oil-based particles down to 0.3μm.
About The Study:
The study consisted of weapons training exercises with participants wearing Ventus’ TR2. These took place in multiple live training scenarios often experienced by Special Forces and SWAT teams and included indoor firing ranges, outdoor firing ranges, and close-quarter battle (CQB) shoot houses.
Following this, the respirator filters were removed and analyzed by an independent lab to learn the level and volume of airborne contamination present. “The TR2 protects the wearer’s airway and respiratory system, our filter is a critical layer of protection between the toxic air present in these environments and the body, the findings were surprising”
An average of 32 different compounds including heavy metals and known carcinogens were identified in all TR2 filters including aluminum, antimony, bismuth, copper, iron, lead, potassium, sodium, strontium, and uranium, with levels consistently exceeding daily exposure thresholds for each chemical, as established by the World Health Organization (WHO) and the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH).
Access the full report here:
“These concentrations of heavy metals and carcinogenic compounds are very concerning, particularly considering that the filters examined were worn for a single day only, whereas real-world users typically participate in similar activities 10-15 times per month,” added Grewal. “Respiratory protection has lagged, or simply been non-existent, compared to eye and ear protection requirements for these activities for far too long. The rate of respiratory illness in military personnel is roughly three times greater than for the average population. This study is critical to educate users and leadership of the clear and present risks.”
Short-term exposure to these and other particulate matter can cause airway restriction, reduced oxygenation, slower cognition, diminished performance, and acute respiratory illness. Longer-term exposure to high particulate loads can lead to chronic illness and disability.
Ventus is backed by ONE9 and Kensington Capital. ONE9 is Canada’s first and only venture capital fund and accelerator focused purely on national security and critical infrastructure technologies.
Galvion designs, develops, and delivers mission critical head, face, and torso protective solutions as well as intelligent power and data management systems for the world’s most demanding military and tactical teams. Founded in 2002 as Revision Military, a foundational belief in calculated investment and capability expansion led to a strategic refocus, resulting in the divestiture of the protective eyewear business, along with the Revision name, in 2019. Rebranded as Galvion, the company’s products and technology continue to evolve beyond purely passive protection, focusing instead on active systems that enhance performance and survivability, with an eye to the ever-changing demands of the modern battlefield. Through advanced design, keen end-user insight and intelligent integration, Galvion engineers uniquely customized solutions that go beyond what was once thought possible.
Privately owned with ISO 9001:2015 certified facilities in Vermont, Massachusetts and New Hampshire in the US, Montreal in Canada and Bristol in the UK, Galvion’s team of 400+ employees work proactively to solve the problems left unsolved by others.