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14 Jan 15. End of the road for another UK capability! Sources close to BATTLESPACE suggest that the UK MoD has chosen an Israeli solution from the Source Group, an Israeli Company, supported by Revision of Canada for the Vertis Infantry System Requirement in preference to long-standing supplier, NP Aerospace (Now Morgan) part of Morgan Plc. Source, as Prime Contractor, will supply a range of equipment including Torso Protection, Helmets with mandible protection and guard visor and Eyewear. Revision will manufacture the eyewear and helmets at its Canadian plant. Sources suggest that the Morgan workforce were informed yesterday of the loss of the contract which the Company has supplied since 1979, the latest being the Mk6 and Mk. 7 helmets. No redundancies are believed to be involved. Helmets have been manufactured in the UK since World War 1. The MoD did not comment on request from BATTLESPACE.
14 Jan 15. BAE conducts APKWS Australia flight tests, signs fresh DoD deal. Australian Defence Forces may field the APKWS rocket (shown in this artist’s rendering) on Airbus Tiger attack helicopters following successful flight testing last year. Source: BAE Systems
* APKWS flight test completed in Australia, DoD contract signed
* Australia could sign FMS this year, other Tiger operators seen as potential customers
BAE Systems has concluded a successful flight test for its advanced precision kill weapon systems (APKWS) programme in Australia and has received a new full-rate production order from the US Department of Defence (DoD) for the semi-active laser guidance kit, a company official told IHS Jane’s on 14 January. “Flight tests were conducted in Australia in November,” said Dave Harrold, director of precision guidance solutions for BAE Systems. “We hope to see an Australian FMS [Foreign Military Sale] order in the near future.” The Australian Army is expected to deploy APKWS on its Airbus Tiger attack helicopter, while its navy could use it on the Sikorsky MH-60R Seahawk fleet. During Australia’s ground trials earlier last year the APKWS marked its first integration on a Forges de Zeebrugge (FZ) rocket. Meanwhile, the company was awarded a USD45m contract modification for 1,601 APKWS for the US Navy (USN) and the US Marine Corps (USMC), Harrold noted. The December 2014 contract is for the remainder of full-rate production Lot 4, which continues through 2016. Harrold said the company’s goal is to continue driving down cost as it looks to a potential fifth production lot for the DoD, as well as more FMS deals. “Looking at the next lot, we’re aiming for even lower unit production cost,” he said. APKWS is the only DoD programme of record for a guided rocket system of its size. APKWS has been used on USMC AH-1W Super Cobra and UH-1Y Venom helicopters with an initial operational capability for the two types first declared in March 2012. The US Navy is expected to deploy the APKWS for its MH-60 series maritime helicopters in order to counter small boat swarms. The programme’s continued success “opens up the potential for new customers,” said Harrold. He noted that the company received “a number of letters of request” in 2014 and predicted that 2015 “will be a big year for those coming to fruition”. As an example of potential new target customers, Harrold noted that three countries in addition to Australia fly Tigers: Spain, Germany, and France. “Those will be future discussions for us,” he said.
The Royal Jordanian Air Force is also known to have ordered APKWS guided rockets for its recently received CN235 light gunships (known locally as AC-235s).
BAE Systems has also created an APKWS variant suitable for launching from fixed-wing platforms, and that the US government found to have met performance requirements during testing from the US Air Force’s A-10 Thu