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23 Mar 17. MILREM up-guns THeMIS with Protector weapon station. Estonia’s MILREM has broadened the range of remote weapon stations (RWS) that can be fitted to its Tracked Hybrid Modular Infantry System (THeMIS) unmanned ground vehicle (UGV).
The company has worked with Kongsberg to integrate the Protector RWS on THeMIS, in a configuration that includes a Javelin anti-tank guided missile. The combination was debuted at the 2017 Ground Robotics Capabilities Exhibition & Conference in Springfield, Virginia.
The Protector Dual RWS variant has been fitted to THeMIS features a primary armament – typically in the form of an M2 .50 calibre (12.7mm) machine gun (MG), 40mm MK19 automatic grenade launcher (AGL), or Heckler & Koch GMG 40mm AGL – accompanied by a co-axial M249 (5.56mm) MG, M240 (7.62mm) MG, or a Javelin missile system. “The integration has been made in order to demonstrate how easily THeMIS can be converted from a simple transportation unit to a weaponised system,” MILREM’s chairman, Kuldar Väärsi, told Jane’s . He added that discussions are under way regarding possible live-fire trials of the Protector system on THeMIS.
In the United States, MILREM is partnering with QinetiQ NA to offer THeMIS as the Titan platform, which sees the vehicle operating with QinetiQ’s robotic command-and-control technology. The system is being targeted at the US Army’s Squad Multi-purpose Equipment Transport (S-MET) programme.
Väärsi believes that the addition of the Javelin missile provides the UGV with an asymmetric capability that will enable it to engage even main battle tanks. He said that the conversion from logistics platform to the Protector configuration can be done by the end-user in less than one hour.
MILREM has been at the forefront of recent efforts to add offensive capabilities to UGVs and the integration of Protector follows previous work to fit ST Kinetics’ Adder and Aselsan’s SARP RWSs on THeMIS. (Source: IHS Jane’s)
23 Mar 17. DoD Officials Discuss Countering WMD, Threats Posed by Synthetic Biology. Senior defense officials detailed before a House panel today Defense Department programs for countering traditional weapons of mass destruction and its plans for countering a new threat posed by the adversarial use of synthetic biology tools.
Dr. Arthur T. Hopkins, acting assistant secretary for nuclear, chemical and biological defense programs, testified this afternoon before the House Armed Services Subcommittee on Emerging Threats and Capabilities.
Joining him were Peter Verga, performing the duties of the assistant secretary of defense for homeland defense and global security; and Shari Durand, acting director of the Defense Threat Reduction Agency.
Traditional WMD include chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear weapons.
One emerging threat discussed today was synthetic biology, defined as using sophisticated techniques and tools to sequence, synthesize and manipulate genetic material.
To date, according to the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, which funds research in this area, work in synthetic biology has focused mainly on manipulating individual species of domesticated organisms to perform specific tasks like producing medicines or fuels.
On the traditional side of countering WMD, Hopkins said the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Nuclear, Chemical and Biological Defense Programs has roots that go back to DoD’s establishment, when the office focused on nuclear deterrence.
“Since then,” he added, “the organization’s responsibilities have expanded.”
The Nuclear Matters Office handles DoD activities for sustaining a safe, secure and effective nuclear deterrent. The Chemical and Biological Defense Program develops capabilities that help warfighters deter, prevent, protect, mitigate, respond to and recover