13 Dec 13. Saab has made the first delivery of its new HEAT 655 CS 84-mm ammunition giving, for the first time, Carl-Gustaf system users the ability to fire from inside confined spaces. Saab is a pioneer in the development and production of confined-space weapons, including the AT4 CS AST and NLAW systems. The latest Carl-Gustaf ammunition option further expands Saab’s leading position as a supplier of modern ground combat weapon systems. The HEAT 655 CS (CS, Confined Space) is the first Carl-Gustaf ammunition that is fully optimised for launch from confined spaces, i.e. from inside a building. This is an important requirement in modern, urban conflicts and Saab’s business area Dynamics has conducted detailed research and development to provide such a solution for the multi-purpose Carl-Gustaf weapon system. Last week, Saab delievered the HEAT 655 CS to its first customer.
04 Dec 13. ANA takes new artillery fire-control system into service. Afghan National Army (ANA) artillery units are operating with a new computerised fire-control system that has been developed by Ukranian Defense Consulting (UDC). The Universal Battery Level Fire Direction System (UBLFDS) was first trialled by NATO mentor teams prior to handing over to the ANA. Around 300 systems have been delivered and are operating with the army’s 122 mm calibre D-30 howitzers. Ukrainian armed forces are finalising their trials of the UBLFDS and are planning to acquire 500 systems, scheduled to be delivered in mid-2014. The effective use of its D-30 howitzers is key to the ability of the ANA to operate independently of ISAF support. The D-30 is the ANA’s primary heavy artillery piece and will be used in many instances in place of the close air support provided by ISAF assets. As IHS Jane’s reported earlier this year, ANA units had been experiencing difficulties in operating their D-30s, due to the lack of suitably qualified personnel to instruct gun crews. In some instances this has led to novel solutions, including the ad hoc creation of an operators manual by Czech personnel familiar with the D-30 and the modification of gun pits to include visual aim points and elevation levels. Between August and October, UDC representatives worked with students of the Rocket and Artillery College of the Ukrainian Army Academy to undertake field trials of the UBLFDS operating with D-30 howitzers at a Ukrainian Army Academy firing range near Lviv. According to a UDC representative, the students were able to understand how to operate the UBLFDS after just a 20-minute instruction course. In the first instance Ukraine intends to supply the UBLFDS to units equipped with the 152 mm calibre 2S3M self-propelled howitzer, 152 mm calibre 2S5 self-propelled gun, 122 mm calibre Grad multiple-launch rocket system (MLRS), and 220 mm calibre 9K57 Uragan MLRS. During November, UDC company specialists tested the UBLFDS on the Grad MLRS at the Rovno firing range. These trials took place during a field exercise for the Ukrainian Army’s 80th Aeromobile Regiment, during which up to 200 rockets were fired. In mid-December four BM21 self-propelled rocket launchers (which make up one Grad MLRS battery) are scheduled to undertake field trials with the UBLFDS. The UBLFDS system enables real time dissemination of data across a network, which is intended to speed up the fires process and improve efficiency. The system automates the preparation and fine targeting of the various artillery pieces. A UBLFDS set is comprised of a handheld computer (based on a PDA TDS NOMAD) at the battery command level, position sensors (fitted to the ordnance), and a tablet computer for each artillery piece’s commander. All of the system’s components are linked on a wireless network. The battery commander is provided with weapon position and orientation data from the sensors and after inputting target, weapons, ammunition, and other relevant mission data, is able to issue weapons placing commands and create fire taskings for each