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02 Mar 16. UK Royal Marine unit ditches the SA80 for Colt C8. A high-profile UK Royal Marine unit has been re-equipped with the Colt Canada C8 carbine to enhance its ability to protect the Royal Navy’s nuclear deterrent submarine base and nuclear weapon convoys.
The move makes the unit the first British non-special forces unit to completely drop the bullpup L85A2 (SA80) rifle used by the rest of the regular forces. Various UK special forces units already use the C8, which is designated the L119 in British service.
Details of the re-equipment effort were revealed by the commander of 43 Commando Fleet Protection Group Royal Marines, Colonel Graeme Fraser, in a briefing document to service members distributed in February. (Source: IHS Jane’s)
03 Mar 16. US MDA begins delivery of David’s Sling Weapon System to Israeli Air Force. The US MDA has started delivering key components for the David’s Sling Weapon System (DSWS) to the Israeli Air Force.
The surface-to-air missile system was successfully tested in December last year. The Israeli Defence Ministry was quoted by media sources as saying: “In the first stage, project managers from the administration in charge of developing missile defences together with military industries, headed by the prime contractor, Rafael, will begin handing over the interception, command and control, and radar systems.”
A statement on the Israeli Defence Ministry read: “The process of delivery takes place gradually, according to the development plan of a “magic wand”, and is expected to continue for several weeks.”
According to DefenseNews, the latest phase of development will involve the forces receiving multi-mission radar by Elta Systems, stunner interceptors by Rafael and its US partner, Raytheon Missile Systems, and the Golden Almond Battle Management Centre by Elbit Systems Elisra.
The next development phase will involve the integration all system components prior to a declaration of initial operational capability (IOC).
Also known as the ‘Magic Wand’, the DSWS surface-to-air missile system is designed to intercept medium-to-long-range rockets and cruise missiles, fired at ranges from 40km to 300km.
The system is said to be the future of Israel’s aerial defence formation, and has been developed to work alongside Iron Dome, Patriot and Arrow missile systems.
DSWS incorporates its own interception management centre, in which operators can issue orders for interceptions of aerial threats.
Its missiles broadcast real-time sensory information, and it is expected to be linked to Home Front Command, which provides civilian projectile alerts and information to air defence systems. (Source: airforce-technology.com)
02 Mar 16. HELI-EXPO: MD Helicopters developing new ‘6XX’ assault platform. MD Helicopters is developing a new assault helicopter known as MD6XX as the company also prepares to deliver an updated version of the commercial MD902 Explorer.
Company owner Lynn Tilton disclosed development of the 6XX at Heli-Expo on 1 March. A non-flying prototype is expected to arrive in the first quarter of 2017 ahead of integration with the FADEC-equipped Rolls-Royce M250-C47E3 engines.
The aircraft is not intended as a direct replacement for the MD530F Cayuse Warrior and MD530G light attack helicopters respectively ordered by Afghanistan and Malaysia, but is a larger, clean-sheet aircraft aimed at future armed aerial scout-type roles for the domestic and international markets.
Detailed design work is already underway, and Tilton wants it ready by 2018 for delivery to at least one unidentified potential customer.
“We’ll probably have a customer who will expect delivery at that time,” she says. “In 2017, we’re looking towards completing testing and certifying the aircraft so we can start building in 2018. If I can move that to the left, I’d be