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03 Mar 15. IDF developing battlefield firepower app.
The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) has begun to develop a military smartphone application designed to enable middle- and low-ranking field commanders to transmit a target’s co-ordinates and select a firepower platform to destroy it. Brigadier General Roy Riftin said this technology will be readily available for the IDF’s manoeuvring forces by 2025. The smartphone will allow platoon and company commanders to receive a full battlefield picture and know which firepower is on stand-by, Brig Gen Riftin said. He gave an example of a scenario in which a platoon commander engaged in urban warfare operations could receive the co-ordinates of a target directly from an unmanned aerial vehicle. (Source: IHS Jane’s)
03 Mar 15. Ukraine’s KBAO quadruples artillery production rates. The Ukrainian State Enterprise Design Bureau of Artillery Armament (KBAO) has quadrupled its production rates over the past five months, Ukroboronprom announced on 2 March. KBAO, part of Ukroboronprom, is now producing 65 artillery pieces a month (up from 15 a month). This compares with a total of 63 units in the entirety of 2013. KBAO designs, produces, and restores artillery and canon barrels and automated grenade launchers. Its main products are 152 mm towed howitzers; 30, 120, and 125 mm gun barrels; and 82 mm mortars. (Source: IHS Jane’s)
04 Mar 15. The U.S. military is considering sending its THAAD missile defense system to the Middle East, a senior U.S. Army general said on Wednesday, citing what he called an urgent need to respond to foes with missile systems and the will to use them. General Vincent Brooks, head of U.S. Army Pacific Command, said no decisions had been made about deploying a U.S.-owned Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) battery in the Middle East or South Korea, another region where he saw an urgent need given the threat posed by North Korea.
“The need is there in … those two places, urgently, because we have adversaries who have capability and they have demonstrated that they are willing to use it,” Brooks told Reuters in an interview.
Brooks did not name Iran, but U.S. military officials have raised concerns in the past about Iran’s development of longer-range missiles that could reach Israel and potentially Europe.
The U.S. military must weigh its options, given the high cost involved in deploying the THAAD weapon system, built by Lockheed Martin Corp, Brooks said. He said the U.S. military also continued to explore options for lower-cost systems to defend against lesser threats, but gave no details.
The Army is preparing to swap out a THAAD battery that has been operating in Guam for about a year. It has four active THAAD batteries, with a fifth to start training this year.
“They have to decide where the need is greatest,” said one congressional aide said. “The question is, what does the Central Command commander need to protect U.S. forces.”
The commander of U.S. troops stationed in South Korea last June said he had proposed deploying THAAD missiles to South Korea to counter the growing threat of nuclear-armed North Korea’s weapons capabilities.
Critics say such a deployment could inflame tensions with China and Russia as they see the move as a threat to their security interests.
U.S. Deputy Secretary of State Antony Blinken said in Seoul last month that a THAAD deployment in South Korea was not under active discussion.
Lockheed will make initial deliveries of a THAAD system bought by the United Arab Emirates under a $1.96bn sale first announced in December 2011, but it will take a year or more until the system is fully operational. Lockheed hopes to finalize a similar deal with Qatar over the next two years, and Saudi Arabia is also considering a possible purchase.
Brooks said the U.S. military remained