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11 Mar 15. For the first time ever, Raytheon has begun enhancing Standard Missile-3 Block IBs with ‘threat upgrade’ software, giving the weapon’s kill vehicle the ability to hunt down more complicated, more lethal targets. Though exact details are classified, the ability to make improvements through software upgrades means combatant commanders can get increased ballistic missile defense capabilities without the time and expense associated with traditional disassembly or hardware replacement.
“We’re proving it’s possible to significantly improve the SM-3 Block IB’s capability without having to go through the process of breaking apart the missile and then rebuilding again,” Dr. Mitch Stevison, Standard Missile-3 senior program director. “Software updates are inherently less risky and extremely cost effective.”
The Missile Defense Agency and the U.S. Navy plan to test an SM-3 Block IB enhanced with the new software in 2015. The SM-3 Block IB’s software updates were performed in Raytheon’s Tucson, Ariz., Space Factory. Final assembly of the SM-3 takes place at Raytheon’s Redstone Missile Integration Facility in Huntsville, Ala. SM-3s destroy incoming ballistic missile threats in space using nothing more than sheer impact, which is equivalent to a 10-ton truck traveling at 600 mph. The next-generation SM-3 Block IB incorporates an enhanced two-color infrared seeker and the Throttleable Divert and Attitude Control System, a mechanism that propels the missile toward incoming targets.
* More than 200 SM-3s have been delivered to the U.S. and Japan to date.
* SM-3 Block IB will be deployed ashore in 2015 in Romania.
* SM-3 Block IIA, co-developed with Japan, will have larger rocket motors and a bigger, more capable kinetic warhead. It’s on track for deployment at sea and ashore in 2018.
10 Mar 15. Four firms answer Brazilian gun system RfP. The Brazilian Army has received four proposals for a local procurement of a 105mm gun system intended for its 8×8 armoured reconnaissance vehicle within the VBR-MR (Viatura Blindada de Reconhecimento-Média de Rodas) programme. CMI Defence, OTO Melara, Denel Land Systems, and China North Industries Corporation (NORINCO) responded on 9 March to the request for proposals (RfP) issued in November 2014 with the aim of buying one prototype and an option for a pilot batch of about 13 systems. The acquisition by the army’s Manufacturing Directorate will most likely open the door for at least 100 turrets. Requirements include the 105 mm high-pressure gun as main armament, 7.62×51 mm machine guns, 76 mm grenade launchers, electro-optical and fire-control systems, as well as provisions for communication and command-and-control systems. (Source: IHS Jane’s)
10 Mar 15. B-1B bomber gets new missiles as it continues to strike in Iraq and Syria. It has been a busy year for the B-1B Lancer, a workhorse bomber for the U.S. Air Force. The plane has been involved in airstrikes against the Islamic State militant group for months, including during an onslaught on the Syrian town of Kobane that eventually helped Kurdish forces take the town back from enemy fighters. The B-1B also is in the midst of getting new weapons. While the aircraft in the Middle East continue to make bombing runs, other Lancers stateside have been involved in a series of experiments to upgrade the plane’s arsenal of weapons. Air Force officials said Monday that the bomber has become the first U.S. aircraft to be approved for a new long-range missile. The Joint Air-to-Surface Standoff Missile-Extended Range (JASSM-ER), made by Lockheed Martin, more than doubles the range of the legacy JASSM missile to more than 500 miles. Each missile weighs about 2,000 pounds, and uses infrared technology to find its target. The older JASSM is used on the B-52 Stratofortress bomber and the F-15E Str