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11 Mar 14. DARPA evaluates Excalibur programme prototype. The US Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) has successfully developed and tested a 21-element optical phased array (OPA), as part of its
Excalibur programme. The OPA features three identical clusters of seven tightly packed fibre lasers, with each cluster only 10cm across. It was able to precisely hit a target located more than four miles away. DARPA programme manager Joseph Mangano said: “The success of this real-world test provides evidence of how far OPA lasers could surpass legacy lasers with conventional optics. The demonstrations also demonstrated near-perfect correction of atmospheric turbulence at levels well above that possible with legacy optics using an ultra-fast optimisation algorithm, and then correcting the resulting static optically aberrated atmosphere in sub-milliseconds to maximise the laser irradiance delivered to the target. The experiments were conducted several tens of metres above the ground, where atmospheric effects can be most detrimental for the Army, Navy and Marine Corp applications. In addition, the demonstration helps advance Excalibur’s goal of developing a 100kW-class laser system in a scalable, ultra-low size, weight and power requirements (SWaP) OPA configuration compatible with current weapon system platforms. Mangano said the systems can achieve the ultra-low SWaP required for deployment on a broad spectrum of platforms due to power efficiencies of more than 35% and the near-perfect beam quality of fibre laser arrays. Additional tests are scheduled to be conducted in future to prove the OPA’s capabilities in even more intense environmental turbulence conditions and at higher powers, which are likely to offer improved reliability and performance for aircraft self-defence and ballistic missile defence applications. (Source: army-technology.com)

10 Mar 14. Turkey’s state-owned missile specialist Roketsan has successfully tested a long-range anti-tank missile it has been developing, the country’s procurement agency has announced. The first guided firing test for MIZRAK-U was conducted from a Cobra AH-1S helicopter and hit a target at a distance of 3.5 kilometers.
The office said that MIZRAK-U would be used in the T-129 attack helicopters being co-produced by a partnership of Tusas Turkish Aerospace Industries and Italian-British AgustaWestland. MIZRAK-U has a maximum range of eight kilometers, and its serial production will start in 2015. The missile has a homing imaging infrared seeker with radio frequency data link and with tandem-high explosive warhead and a laser-seeker option. The missile’s medium-range version, MIZRAK-O, has a four-kilometer range and similar characteristics to MIZRAK-U.
(Source: Defense News)

10 Mar 14. Israel’s Elbit Systems and a consortium of Israeli, German and US firms are facing off in a high-stakes bid to modernize Israel’s Artillery Corps with new self-propelled guns. The two candidates for more than $1bn in multiyear procurement awards were downselected by Israel’s Ground Forces Command from a pool of four prospective bidders, officers here said. Designated as a priority program by the Israel Defense Forces’ (IDF) General Staff with approved multiyear funding for a first brigade, the future gun will replace 50-year-old M109 howitzers. The competition pits a new development by Elbit Systems against the Artillery Gun Module by Munich-based Krauss-Maffei Wegmann (KMW) optimized for the IDF by state-owned Israel Aerospace Industries. Both options must be integrated on the Lockheed Martin-built M270 multiple launch rocket system chassis to maximize commonality of existing inventory and Israel’s recent acquisition of 150 chassis from excess US Army stocks. “We are going with the 270 chassis in any case due to new excess supplies from the Americans and the savings to accrue through commonality,” said Brig. Gen. Roy Riftin, IDF chief artillery officer. He added that US-based integration

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