26 Oct 22. Mobile Land Anti-Ship Capability for Australia?
An important but easily overlooked piece of Australia’s Army Land Project modernization has been Land Project 4100 Phase 2.
This is part of a broader series of efforts announced in September 2021 to field long-range precision strike weapons for not only the Royal Australian Air Force and Navy (SEA4100) which previously held such capability but for the Army as well.
Under Project Land 8113 the land forces had pursued acquiring the US Lockheed-Martin M142 truck mounted HIMARS which can currently address ground targets to 100 km with the GLMRS rocket and 300 km with precision accuracy using ATACMS. The country is also a cooperative partner in the US Army Precision Strike Missile (PrSM).
However, neither of these systems can strike maneuvering ships. Land Project 4100 Phase 2 is to acquire this capability, thus, allowing ground forces to interdict and destroy maritime surface threats. A mobile ground based anti-ship capability offers specific advantages in that they can be deployed to key areas, be easily concealed and would be able to engage and relocate enhancing their survivability and effectiveness.
Although a formal tender process has not yet been initiated some companies have potential solutions and could have interest. The government has programed around $500 million for the acquisition. The objective is to find a “low-risk” supportable solution.
A local in-county team of Thales Australia and Kongsberg are attempting to establish a favorable position for their candidate early on. The companies have jointed to independently develop the StrikeMaster. The system combines the proven and in Army service Bushmaster protected 4 X 4 vehicle with the Kongsberg Naval Strike Missile (NSM). The team unveiled a demonstrator of the StrikeMaster at the Land Forces 2022 exhibition in Brisbane in early October. The system which has two containerized launchers would be domestically produced in country.
A factor that supports the StrikeMaster offer is the July 2022 announcement by the Royal Australian Navy of its selection of the NSM to replace the Harpoon anti-ship missile on its surface combatants with fielding in 2024. In fact, Kongsberg indicates that the Launch Mission Module being used shipboard is adaptable to StrikeMaster. The NSM is in service with nine countries including the US, Japan, Malaysia, and Canada. The missile has a range of over 185 km and is compatible for both ground and ship launch. An air-launched NSM version is also being considered by the RAAF for its F-35A Lighting II.
Lockheed-Martin is proposing its AGM-184C Long Range Anti-Ship Missile – Surface Launched (LRASM-SL) which it suggests launching from the HIMARS. It is derived from the AGM-158 in development for F/A-18 aircraft and has been ordered by the RAAF for 2026 introduction. initially but which could be used from other platforms. It has a range of over 370 km.
The projected timetable for Land Project 4100 Phase 2 initiation remains unclear, however, it is evident that minimizing risk is a primary consideration.
28 Oct 22. Royal Thai Army unveils upgraded L70 AA gun.
The Royal Thai Army (RTA) has released the first images of its upgraded Bofors (now BAE Systems) 40mm L/70 Anti-Aircraft (AA) guns on its social media account on 21 October, featuring new a new optoelectronic system and integration work by local firm Armisys Supply Company.
The enhanced AA guns, designated the L70 OES (Type A Improved) were shown being operated by personnel from the RTA’s 2nd Anti-Aircraft Artillery Battalion, who underwent a company-supported training exercise from 18-20 October. Accompanying literature stated that troops were able to control the weapons either manually or via remote control.
The 40 mm L/70 AA gun has been in RTA service in the 1950s and has been upgraded several times during the intervening years. The latest update, worth 446.5 million baht (US$13.9 million), was awarded Armisys under a sole-source contract in February 2020.
The towed L/70 AA gun is tied to the Thales Flycatcher dual-band fire-direction radar.
Bofors L70 AA gun displayed at Thailand Defense & Security 2022
The RTA earlier highlighted other local enhancements to the weapon at the latest edition of the Defense & Security exhibition in Bangkok in late August, which centred on local efforts to update the weapons with new servomotor systems and a modern digital controller, as opposed to the original hydraulic motors to enhance traverse and elevation performance. Reliability and maintainability has also been improved as a result of this work.
Earlier upgrade work to the venerable weapons included LVS fire-control systems (LVS FCS) supplied by Saab Dynamics (now Saab) in the late 1990s, which were aimed at improving first-round hit probability. The LVS FCS was developed as a private venture and measures the 3D target trajectory independently of the gun movements, computing the aim digitally and controls gun direction automatically.
The standard system has a day sight which incorporates a laser rangefinder, and is provisioned for night-time engagements with the addition of an optional image intensifier or thermal imager. (Source: AMR)
28 Oct 22. UK Armed Forces to benefit from £45m contract for life-saving explosive devices protection system. Soldiers, vehicles and UK military bases to receive innovative digital protection against Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs) through a £45m contract.
- UK Armed Forces to receive crucial protection system against improvised explosive devices
- £45m contract supports British Defence industry
- Project supports cutting edge UK skills and capability development, laying the foundation for long term growth
Soldiers, vehicles and UK military bases around the world will receive innovative digital protection against remote and radio controlled Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs) through a £45m contract with British industry.
Under the contract awarded to Team Protect, the work – called Project CRENIC – sees UK military experts collaborate with small and medium businesses during the next five years.
Team Protect compromises of PA Consulting, Leonardo, Leidos Innovations UK, and Marshall Land Systems. This contract will sustain more than 50 jobs around the country, including in the North-West, East and South-West of England. The project aims to support and create further jobs through contracts with small and medium enterprises.
The project will develop equipment designed to be carried by soldiers, fitted to vehicles and protect military bases by detecting and disrupting explosive devices using advanced techniques across the electromagnetic spectrum.
Defence Procurement Minister Alex Chalk said: “Our Armed Forces dedicate their lives to protecting and securing our nation. As the technology used by our adversaries to threaten our people and operations evolves, we are innovating to stay ahead of the challenge.
This project brings together pioneering UK technology and industry to create a world leading protection system for our Armed Forces.”
The new system will be supported by the Defence Cyber and Electromagnetic Activities (CEMA) Architecture, which uses a common set of hardware and software open technology standards, equivalent to desktop computers and cellular phone software, to allow for wider industry participation and support reconfiguration for other military uses. This will allow the Armed Forces to modify the solutions in the future and allow for greater collaboration with allies.
Major General Robin Anderton-Brown, Director Capability Strategic Command, said: “Incorporating cutting-edge technology and adopting an agile acquisition approach, CRENIC will deliver a world-leading capability to protect our forces deployed on global operations.
Using the Defence CEMA Architecture, Project CRENIC will enable information to be shared across multiple domains, making it the first capability to directly support Multi-Domain Integration. This means information only needs to be collected once and can then be used many times. The project is expected to support electronic warfare in the future, including countering remotely piloted air systems.”
On behalf of Team Protect, Peter Lovell, Global Head of Defence and Security at PA Consulting said: “We are delighted that Team Protect has been selected to be the System Integrator (SI) for this project. The work marks a strong progression of the collaborative approach between industry and the Ministry of Defence to deliver innovative solutions to keep UK forces safe. The team has deep and extensive experience across vital capabilities, including complex programme delivery, engineering, agile software development, and digital transformation. We will deliver this project and keep UK forces safer by leveraging our relative strengths – using ingenuity to help deliver a positive human future.”
A cutting-edge integration laboratory facility will also be established to support the development of the system. The laboratory will promote innovation and experimentation as the new capability evolves against emerging threats.
First deliveries of the new equipment for vehicle and soldier carried systems for use on operations are due to take place in 2026. Equipment will be incrementally deployed and will evolve to meet the needs of the British Army, Royal Marines and Royal Air Force land forces long into the future. (Source: https://www.gov.uk/)
27 Oct 22. Nexter and MBDA Present the New NARWHAL Turret Equipped With the AKERON MP Missile System. The NARWHAL is a remotely operated 20mm naval turret that can be integrated just as easily onto small patrol boats as onto frigates. Equipped with state-of-the-art optronics, including a day/night sight and a laser range finder, it is effective at more than 2,000 metres thanks to its 20M621 gun.
The NARWHAL is already a commercial success, in service with six different navies. To meet their needs and those of future customers, our engineers are working to add new capabilities and options that enhance its operational effectiveness.
The NARWHAL turret presented on the Nexter stand is paired with a manual target designator: the Short Range Pointer (SRP), designed by the German firm Hensoldt. With this easy-to-use tool, an onboard operator can quickly designate a target to the NARWHAL by pointing a laser beam.
The AKERON MP missile (formerly known as the MMP) has been available to French forces since 2017 and has already been selected by five countries, including three in Europe. It is the only latest-generation land combat missile in service to have been successfully engaged in operations on multiple occasions. With more than 150 test and training firings to its credit, the AKERON MP is capable of dealing with all battlefield threats in all types of environment: extreme heat and cold, urban spaces, maritime areas, and mountainous terrain. Finally, a naval capability is being implemented on the AKERON MP missile to facilitate the acquisition of small targets and signatures from naval platforms, including with a mast-mounted configuration, and provide these platforms with an enhanced self-defence capability in coastal environments against sea- or land-based asymmetric threats. AKERON MP offers both “fire-and-forget” and “man-in-the-loop” capability (for engagements where there is a risk of collateral damage).
The integration of MBDA’s anti-missile system on the NARWHAL turret means that the AKERON MP is now available on a new naval platform, as the system also comes in a dismounted version on a light firing post, as well as on a range of other platforms, such as armoured vehicles, light vehicles, ECUME semi-rigid commando boats, fast patrol boats, or larger ships for close protection needs. (Source: ASD Network)
28 Oct 22. Turkey’s First Kamikaze Drone on Show. The Turkish defense industry has added a new product to the kamikaze unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) developed domestically. The new drone, named Deli, was developed by Titra Teknoloji and was exhibited for the first time at the SAHA Expo defense and aviation fair in Istanbul.
Titra Teknoloji general manager Davut Yılmaz told Anadolu Agency (AA) that the Deli Project was started about two years ago.
He said they set out to develop a fixed-wing kamikaze UAV that can be launched manually or from a catapult, which is as cost-effective as possible, adding the testing process near end and that they expect the product to reach a level where it can be added to the inventory by the end of this year.
With its autonomous and manual operational capabilities, Deli can be easily transported with its modular structure and is ready for use in less than 15 minutes. Deli, whose safety level has been increased with anti-jamming devices, can reach a cruising speed of 80 kph (50 mph) and a maximum speed of 180 kph.
Deli is preparing to enter the battlefield with a maximum altitude of 3,500 meters (11483 feet) and an operational altitude of 150-500 meters. It has a warhead of around 3.1 kilograms (6.8 pounds).
The warhead to be used on the kamikaze UAV was developed by the Defense Industries Research and Development Institute (SAGE) of the Scientific and Technological Research Council of Turkey (TÜBİTAK).
Yılmaz further noted that their product has three basic advantages compared to similar products on the market.
“First, it is cost-effective. This kind of kamikaze drone is preferred to be cheap because you will not use it twice,” he said.
The second advantage is the drone’s warhead, according to Yılmaz while the third advantage is its autonomy capability.
“Thanks to the algorithms we developed ourselves with its autonomy features, we think Deli will make a big difference,” he said. (Source: UAS VISION/The Daily Sabah)
26 Oct 22. Brazil to add 81 mm mortar to Guarani AFVs. The Brazilian Army plans to progressively convert 182 of its more than 550 IDV VBTP-MSR Guarani 6×6 amphibious armoured fighting vehicles (AFVs) into 81 mm mortar carriers. The effort intends to increase fire-support troops’ mobility and protection, while also safely transporting mortar and related equipment inside a vehicle, the army said. The kit must be easy to install, utilise, and remove, according to the requirements.
The project, run by the Manufacturing Directorate, would develop and then produce, at the War Arsenal of Rio de Janeiro (Arsenal de Guerra do Rio: AGR), an adaptation and transport kit to accommodate the army’s Morteiro Médio Antecarga (Mrt Me Acg) 81 mm medium muzzle-loaded mortar.
A total of 182 VBTP-MSR Guarani personnel carriers equipped with the W&E Platt MR550 ring mount with protection shield could be converted to transport the mortar and a minimum of 60 high-explosive rounds by 2026, according to the army. The vehicle’s crew will be composed of a driver, commander, gunner, and two ammunition loaders. (Source: Janes)
27 Oct 22. MBDA’s Cyber-Secure Multi-Mission Firing Control Unit.
During Euronaval, MBDA presented its Multi-Mission Firing Unit (MMFU), MBDA’s new cyber-secured firing unit designed to operate all MBDA’s weapon systems.
“Currently, on ships, each weapon system is linked to its own firing unit, a large cabinet that places certain constraints on a ship’s architecture,” Bruno Moretti, MMFU Chief Engineer, said during the press briefing organised in the context of Euronaval. Beyond the footprint on the ship’s architecture, this approach also means that when a weapon system is changed, the whole unit needs to be changed as well. “A resource-intensive process in terms of time, money and human resources, especially when one considers that weapon systems now evolve much faster than they did before” Moretti added.
To offer its customers more flexility throughout the lifetime of their capabilities, MBDA has designed the MMFU, a digitalised firing unit that manages all onboard weapon systems and communicates directly with the ship’s Combat Management System (CMS).
“The MMFU has been developed following a Lego Brick approach,” Moretti told journalists. It is based on three key bricks. The CBOX is the software operating all the systems, and has been designed following what MBDA refers to as a ‘ring approach’: “Every time a new weapon system is added, it is integrated into the ring of softwares, as though one would be adding a bead to a beads neckless.” The SIMBOX is the hardware interfaced with ammunition. Finally, the SEQBOX manages the launchers.
At the heart of this Lego Brick approach is the idea that when a new – or simply additional – weapon system is added, only the SIMBOX needs to be changed – or added. The customer can then simply update the software in order for the weapon system to be operational on the ship. “The result is a system that offers customers much more flexibility for ship design, since only two – for redundancy – CBOX are placed on the ship rather than a large firing unit for each weapon system,” Moretti told journalists. The whole system is cyber secure.
The first MMFU will be delivered on board the first French – in 2024 – and Greek FDIs. It will be the ITR-A and ITR-E, named after the French acronym for the MMFU (Installation de Tir Reconfigurable), A for Aster and E for Exocet. ITR-A has also been offered for the PANG, while the ITR-A and E has been offered for the Horizon frigates. “Currently the system is designed to work with French missile systems only because this is where the original need came from, but evolutions are part of the roadmap,” Moretti concluded. (Source: Armada)
27 Oct 22. German Armed Forces conduct first operational tests of high-energy laser weapon against drones. It was a big step in the direction of fully operational laser weapons. For the time ever, the German Armed Forces fired a shipboard laser weapon. On August 30th 2022, the German frigate Sachsen successfully engaged drones at short and very short range in the Baltic Sea near Putlos Major Training Area. The laser weapon demonstrator was developed by the High-Energy Laser Naval Demonstrator working committee (“ARGE”), consisting of MBDA Deutschland GmbH and Rheinmetall Waffe Munition GmbH. Future high-energy laser (HEL) weapon systems for the Navy will be especially useful in defending against drones and drone swarms as well as engaging attacking speed boats at close and very close range. But the system can also be designed for greater output, enabling it to destroy guided missiles and mortar rounds.
The joint integration and test phase of the naval demonstrator started in November 2021, which the ARGE integration team concluded with a successful factory acceptance test at Rheinmetall’s Unterlüß proving ground. The demonstrator was then installed onboard the frigate Sachsen in Kiel. In July 2022 the first test campaign took place in Eckernförde Bay near the Bundeswehr’s Technical Centre for Ships and Naval Weapons, Marine Technology and Research, WTD 71, in Surendorf. During the trials, the capabilities of various sensors, including the electro-optical sensor suite from the ARGE and the radar, were verified. In addition, the interplay between all the components and procedures in the entire operational sequence from target acquisition to engagement was put to the test. The trials included multiple highly realistic engagement scenarios. The test planning and the provision of various types of targets on land, at sea or from the air were carried out and organised by the Federal Office of Bundeswehr Equipment, Information Technology and In-Service Support (BAAINBw). The test management was carried out by WTD 71.
Daniel Gruber, naval demonstrator project manager at MBDA Deutschland, and Dr. Markus Jung, in charge of laser weapon development at Rheinmetall Waffe Munition GmbH, were on hand to observe the test campaign with the frigate. Looking back on the integration and test phase, they drew a positive conclusion.
For everyone involved, the historic live fire test from a German Navy warship was a special moment. The team succeeded in proving the demonstrator’s capabilities in full. “Solid teamwork between the two ARGE partners played a key role in helping us integrate a fully functional, high-performance demonstrator onboard the frigate”, reports Gruber. “Close cooperation with the command team of the Sachsen enabled direct communication with the future user. This way, ideas from the Navy could be directly incorporated or implemented during subsequent development.”
Dr Thomas Baumgärtel, project manager for the naval demonstrator at Rheinmetall Waffe und Munition GmbH, was also satisfied with the outcome: “The principal components of the demonstrator are truly high tech. This is the result of long years of research at both the participating companies. Many of the demonstrator’s system components were developed specially for the project and combined in this form for the first time. Moreover, given the extremely short integration phase for a system of this complexity, we’re very proud of the results achieved thus far and of how well the trials went. The impressive performance of the HEL effectors in protecting surface combatants from short- and very-short range threats can be credited to the joint efforts of everyone involved in the project – defence industry experts, government officials, and of course the men and women of the frigate Sachsen.”
Both Doris Laarmann, head of laser activities at MBDA Deutschland, and Alexander Graf, in charge of programme management for laser weapons at Rheinmetall Waffe und Munition GmbH, emphasized how the current trials have now set the basic stage for introducing laser weapon systems and capabilities into the Bundeswehr – capabilities whose relevance is by no means restricted to the Navy. The defence industry is pressing ahead with laser systems that will help to protect troops deployed in harm’s way in multiple applications.
Testing of the high-energy laser weapon will continue until mid-2023. In subsequent test campaigns, new scenarios will challenge the demonstrator’s capabilities. Not least, the results will determine what still needs to be done on the path to a fully functional, operational laser weapon.
Effector-related tasks in the ARGE are basically evenly divided. MBDA Deutschland is taking care of target detection and target tracking, the operator console and linking the laser weapon demonstrator to the command-and-control system. Rheinmetall is responsible for the slewing system, the beam guidance, the demonstrator container as well as mechanical and electrical integration of the demonstrator onto the deck of the Sachsen, and finally for the high-energy laser source, including its periphery.
24 Oct 22. Hanwha Rolls Out 24 ‘K9PL’ Howitzers for Poland. Hanwha has proven strong production capacity to deliver products to customers on time Hanwha is expanding their partnership with the Government of Poland to secure additional executive contracts under the Framework Contract The K9PL is expected to help enhance the security of Poland with the artillery solution’s proven firepower, mobility and survivability. The initial batch of 24 K9 Thunder Self-Propelled Howitzers (SPHs) for Poland were rolled out on October 19 as part of the first executive contract signed in mid-August this year.
The roll-out ceremony was held at Hanwha Defense’s Factory 1 in Changwon, some 300 kilometers southeast of Seoul. This proves Hanwha’s robust production capacity to deliver customers with the best-quality products at speed since the roll-out of 24 K9PL howitzers comes less than two months after signing the executive contract to provide K9 SPHs by 2026. Under the Framework Contract, hundreds of K9 SPHs will also be manufactured in Poland from 2026, in partnership between Hanwha and Poland’s state-funded defense group, Polska Grupa Zbrojeniowa (PGZ).
About 150 distinguished guests gathered at the ceremony with the attendance of high-ranking officials from the two countries, including Eom Dong-hwan, Minister of the Defense Acquisition Program Administration; Lieutenant General Eom Yong-jin, commander of the ROK Army Logistics Command; Major General Maciej Jablonski, Polish Army Inspector of the Land Forces; and Piotr Ostaszewski, Polish Ambassador to South Korea.
During the event, all the 24 K9PL vehicles were lined up on the site, as a K9PL led the parade of advanced combat vehicles, built by Hanwha Defense. These include the K10 Ammunition Resupply Vehicle; K77 Fire Direction Center Vehicle; K21 Infantry Fighting Vehicle; Korean Amphibious Assault Vehicle; and Arion-SMET Unmanned Ground Vehicle. On top of these ground vehicles, Hanwha’s guided missiles and aerospace engines were also on display, showcasing the company’s wider range of defense capabilities through the upcoming merger of defense and aerospace affiliates of Hanwha Group.
“Today’s rollout of K9PL Self-Propelled Howitzers represents our firm commitment to satisfying the needs of Poland,” said Lee Boo-hwan, Executive Vice President of Hanwha Defense’s Overseas Business Division. “We are very confident about our strong production capacity to deliver best-quality products on time.”
The 155mm/52-calibre K9 Thunder is the world’s most popular tracked self-propelled gun with over 1,700 units are already in service with nine countries. The howitzer can deliver consistent, accurate, rapid effects at +40km range with high rates and volumes of fire. In particular, the K9 is optimized for “Shoot-and-Scoot” capability to fire multiple rounds and immediately move to a different location to avoid potential counter-fire.
The K9PL is based on the K9A1 variant that features improvements such as automatic fire control, driver night vision periscopes, and auxiliary power units. Hanwha plans to upgrade the K9A1 to A2 version equipped with a fully automatic ammunition handling system. The autoloading K9A2 can fire over nine rounds per minute, with just three crewmembers.
“Hanwha will be the best and most reliable partner for Poland, contributing to the Polish defense capability and industry growth,” said Son Jaeil, President and CEO of Hanwha Defense. “Moreover, we will take the lead in the globalization of South Korean weapons systems and continue efforts to develop global too-class defense products to meet the expectations of our customers around the globe.” (Source: ASD Network)
17 Oct 22. Teijin Aramid offers a sustainable future for ballistic protection. ‘At Teijin Aramid, we design better, more sustainable materials for ballistic protection. We’re the biggest aramid manufacturer in the world, and Twaron, our para-aramid, is used in various soft and hard ballistic protection solutions – from body armour and ballistic helmets to shields, armoured vehicles, and more. Many of today’s protective vests are made of Twaron, which provides enhanced protection, comfort, and an excellent performance-to-weight ratio. In vehicle spall liners, the material forms protective layer to defend passengers from secondary fragments.’
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Are you interested in discovering how Twaron can be used in solutions for various threat levels? Meet us at Future Forces 2022 in Prague to discuss how our solutions can add value to your ballistic applications.
18 Oct 22. Hanwha has signed a framework contract to supply 288 K239 Chunmoo MLRS (Multiple Rocket Launcher Systems) to Poland. Hanwha Defense and Poland entered into a Framework Contract on October 19 for the delivery of 288 K239 Chunmoo Multiple Rocket Launcher Systems (MRLS). The contract was signed by Son Jaeil, President and CEO of Hanwha Defense, and Polish Deputy Prime Minister M. Błaszczak in Warsaw. Among the attendees were Yoo Dong-joon, Deputy Minister of Defense for Force and Resource Management of the Ministry of National Defense; and Sung Il, Deputy Minister of the Defense Acquisition Program Administration.
“I would like to thank you for the very fruitful defence cooperation between Poland and South Korea,” Błaszczak, who also serves as defence minister, said during the signing ceremony. “The analysis of the war in Ukraine war underlines particular value of the artillery. Hence, we decided to strengthen Polish artillery, emphasising rocket artillery.”
The K239 Chunmoo is a self-propelled wheeled MRLS capable of firing various calibres of shells. The launcher vehicle carries two missile containers, each of which can contain up to six 239mm guided missiles with a range of approximately 80 kilometres or one ballistic missile with a range of approximately 290 kilometres.
Under the framework agreement, the first batch of 18 Chunmoo artillery systems and ammunition will be delivered to the Polish Armed Forces in 2023, complimenting the large buy of K9 Self Propelled Howitzers announced in July this year. The first batch of 24 K9 howitzers were rolled out on October 19 at Hanwha Defense’s factory in Changwon, about 300 kilometres southeast of Seoul.
The Polish version of Chunmoo MRLS, in particular, will be integrated with Polish subsystems such as JELCZ trucks manufactured by the Polish Armaments Group, and TOPAZ automated fire control systems built by WB Electronics. The sets will also be equipped with Polish means of communication and the battlefield management system. It is planned to award contracts to Polish industrial entities for the supply of command vehicles, technical support vehicles, ammunition, and technical evaluation vehicles.
“Based on close cooperation with PGZ, Hanwha is committed to maximising the benefits to the Polish industry,” said Lee Boo-hwan, Executive Vice President of Hanwha Defense’s Overseas Business Division, referring to efforts to jointly develop next-generation weapons systems and conduct joint marketing activities with Polish partners.
“Chunmoo is a key asset of South Korea’s self-reliant defence capability, and the advanced artillery system will be taking the roles of defending the Polish border, and the Polish Chunmoo MRLS will be supplied as fast as possible to contribute to the military build-up of Poland,” Son Jaeil, President and CEO of Hanwha Defense said. “Moreover, Hanwha will make utmost efforts to build a stronger and more reliable partnership with Poland by exploring areas where both sides can cooperate in addition to the defence sector.” (Source: www.joint-forces.com)
18 Oct 22. General Robotics of Israel, an advanced systems developer, has unveiled the SHARK Naval RCWS smart weapon station for light boats.
~Naval commandos rely on stealth and surprise to get close to the enemy, strike swiftly, and disengage. For these attributes, they rely on submersible vehicles or Rigid Hull Inflatable Boats – RHIB, small and fast boats, to bring them close to the target with the firepower they need. However, due to the size of these boats, naval commandos cannot use many of the sophisticated weapons employed on larger platforms. That is precisely where General Robotics’ new SHARK Remotely Controlled Weapon Station (RCWS) comes into effect.
SHARK addresses the need for SOF to operate their weapons on small boats. These compact boats move at high speed and agility. Yet, the constantly moving platform degrades fire accuracy with conventional weapon mounts, requiring operators to get dangerously close to the enemy to deliver the desired effects. Crews on larger boats often operate stabilised weapon stations to improve fire accuracy, but these systems are much larger and heavier for RHIBs. To meet this challenge, General Robotics has introduced the SHARK, a unique RCWS that applies to naval roles, from special operations to law enforcement interception, including interception, coastal security, counter-terror, and anti-piracy activities. “We designed SHARK to meet the specific requirements of naval commandos and SEALS,” Shahar Gal, General Robotics’ CEO, said.
Addressing the most demanding needs of Naval Special Warfare (NSW), SHARK was designed and tested with users and experts from the local and international NSW community. SHARK fits on small manned and unmanned naval vessels, NSW boats, and raiding crafts to deliver versatile and accurate firepower. At a net weight of 85 kg (without weapon and ammunition), SHARK is much lighter and smaller than other naval weapon stations. Built as a rugged, robust, seaworthy system, it is versatile enough to operate remotely on a cluttered deck, scoring direct hits at a sea state up to 3, where the platform and targets constantly move.
General Robotics PITBULL RCWS [© General Robotics]
The new SHARK is based on General Robotics’ combat-proven Pitbull RCWS. “We developed the SHARK prototype as a robust yet lightweight system offering seamless remote operation by a single operator with some special adaptations for naval use and NSW concepts of operation,” Gal said, adding that the prototype was further refined based on feedback from our customers and partners following extensive field trials, further maturing SHARK for fielding. SHARK uses dual-axis electro-mechanical stabilisation coupled with automatic tracking, video motion detection, and fire control for accurate weapon laying to deliver fast and precise firepower. This feature improves its capability to compensate for motions induced by the sea waves, platform, and target movements to engage moving targets. But that isn’t all. When the operator presses the trigger, the AI-driven fire control runs a target prediction algorithm to align the projectile’s path and the target’s expected location and points the weapon in that direction. Only then is a burst fired. This technique has demonstrated hit accuracy of about 70 percent. This unique capability enables SHARK to be used as a naval Counter-UAS weapon. The SHARK can be mounted in this role with an optional Anti-Drone Jammer used as a ‘soft kill’ C-UAS.
Weapon control is done locally or remotely through an intuitive touch screen tablet encased in a jacket providing the intuitive operating and safety buttons for the “Point & Shoot™” control. Another feature added to SHARK that benefits remote operators is the rear camera, providing the operator with a point of view to assess the weapon status and overcome malfunctions associated with the ammunition, weapon, or mount. The integration on USV poses additional challenges since the boat’s cluttered deck and constant movement add to a situational awareness complexity, restricting the sectors of fire the weapon can use. SHARK is built for platform-independent operation; it maintains an autonomous situational awareness that includes built-in Anti-Collision functions and multiple Fire Inhibiting Zones (FIZ) and is integrated with other systems onboard. Optional integration with onboard radar enables SHARK to detect and alert hostile fires aimed at the unmanned platform and take responding measures accordingly.
The system’s size, weight, and power (SWaP) make SHARK particularly suitable for Naval Special Warfare (NSW) crafts, RHIB, and other manned or unmanned raiding crafts. It enables the crew to maximise the effect of small caliber weapons such as the 40mm automatic grenade launchers, 0.5″ heavy machine guns, and 7.62mm light machine guns. As a veteran of Israel’s navy, Gal is accustomed to the marine environment, a knowledge that shaped the system’s design optimisation to increase operational flexibility, reduce the size and weight saving, and improve reliability. “At the bottom line, the reduced weight and size derive significant benefits,” said Gal, “It means SHARK can be mounted on smaller boats and handle the recoil loads with less weight and energy. As a result, SHARK consumes less power and delivers higher accelerations, resulting in better accuracy and agility. It can be used as a stand-alone system with its sensors or integrated with other sensors onboard. In this way, we offer tailor-made combat solutions to meet the unique requirements of our customers.” (Source: www.joint-forces.com)
21 Oct 22. Defexpo 2022: India set to locally produce Russian AK-203 rifles. Indo-Russian Rifles Private Limited (IRRPL) – a joint venture between Russia and India to manufacture AK-203 assault rifles for the Indian Armed Forces – has initiated the process to produce the rifles in India, it has been confirmed to Janes at Defexpo 2022, being held in Gandhinagar, Gujarat, from 18 to 22 October.
Rajeev Sharma, general manager, Advanced Weapons and Equipment India Limited (AWEIL), which is one of the stakeholders in IRRPL, told Janes that the modalities to manufacture AK-203 are already out and the process of producing AK-203 in the Ordnance Factory, Korwa, has started.
In September the president of the Kalashnikov Group, Alan Lushnikov, told Russian state-affiliated media agency TASS that the Russian-Indian joint venture for the production of AK-203 assault rifles has started its work.
IRRPL said that the rifle is chambered for 7.62×39 rounds and can use ammunition and magazines that exist within the Indian Army supply chain.
21 Oct 22. B-21 Bomber to Be Unveiled Dec. 2. The USAF confirmed Oct. 20 it plans to reveal the B-21 Raider Dec. 2 during an unveiling ceremony hosted and sponsored by the Northrop Grumman Corporation at its production facilities in Palmdale, California.
The B-21 is a long-range, highly survivable, penetrating strike stealth bomber that will incrementally replace the B-1 and B-2 bombers, becoming the backbone of the U.S. Air Force bomber fleet.
“The unveiling of the B-21 Raider will be a historic moment for our Air Force and the nation,” said Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. CQ Brown, Jr. “We last introduced a new bomber over 30 years ago. As we look to the threats posed by our pacing challenge; we must continue to rapidly modernize. The B-21 Raider will provide formidable combat capability across a range of operations in highly contested environments of the future.”
The Department of the Air Force is investing in the aircraft’s long-range strike capability as part of its seven Operational Imperatives as it develops the advanced communications, sensors, and a broad mix of weapons and supporting systems needed to deter our adversaries and prevail in combat.
We must invest in long-range strike in a highly contested environment by integrating the B-21 bomber with advanced communications, sensors, and a broad mix of weapons and supporting systems.
After unveiling, the B-21 program will continue its rigorous testing campaign with a combined team of professionals from the Air Force Test Center, Air Force Operational Test and Evaluation Center, and Northrop Grumman. Their work will verify performance and identify areas for improvement for the weapon system.
“The B-21 program is a powerful example of America’s long experience with fielding advanced military technology through an innovative, adaptable and efficient defense industrial base,” said Andrew Hunter, assistant secretary of the Air Force for Acquisition, Technology and Logistics. “The Air Force made the decision early in the life of the program to make the flight test aircraft production representative, which is paying dividends as we look towards first flight.”
The B-21 weapon system is manufactured under the Air Force’s contract with Northrop(Source: Defense News)
Grumman. It is designed with an open systems architecture, enabling rapid insertion of mature technologies, and allowing the aircraft to remain effective as threats evolve over time. (Source: ASD Network)
21 Oct 22. IRGC unveils manportable loitering munition.
Iran’s Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) unveiled the Meraj-521 tube-launched loitering munition during an exercise held in northwest Iran from 17 to 20 October.
Iranian media coverage showed three munitions and launchers with a configuration similar to the AeroVironment Switchblade 300, which is launched from a tube like a mortar using compressed air and then unfolds two sets of wings, vertical stabilisers, and a pusher propeller. Unlike the tubular Switchblade, the Meraj-521 has a square cross-section.
The Iranian media coverage also showed a mannequin holding the system’s ground control system, which had a flip-up screen, presumably for the feed from a camera carried by the unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV), as well as control sticks so the operator can steer it into a target.