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14 Sep 21. £72.5m investment for laser and radio frequency weapons. Three contracts awarded to produce new Directed Energy Weapons advanced demonstrators for British Army vehicles and Royal Navy frigate The MOD has awarded three contracts worth around £72.5m to UK industry to produce advanced laser and radio frequency demonstrators as part of the Novel Weapons Programme (NWP). Known collectively as Directed Energy Weapons (DEW), these next-generation technologies could revolutionise the battlefield and reduce the risk of collateral damage. The systems are powered by electricity and operate without ammunition, significantly reducing operating costs, increasing platform endurance and providing unprecedented offensive and defensive flexibility to personnel on the frontline.
Awarded to consortia headed by Thales and Raytheon UK, the four-year contracts will create at least 49 new jobs and sustain 249 jobs.
The first laser will undergo user testing onboard a Royal Navy Type 23 frigate by detecting, tracking, engaging and countering Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAV), whilst the British Army’s Wolfhound armoured vehicle will host a laser demonstrator that will investigate capability against UAV and other air threats. The radio frequency demonstrator will also be used by the British Army, hosted on a MAN SV truck to detect and track a variety of air, land and sea targets. This will create around 30 new jobs at Thales in Belfast, Northern Ireland.
Minister for Defence Procurement, Jeremy Quin, said, “We are investing £6.6bn in research and development across Defence over the next four years, reaffirming our commitment to provide the Armed Forces with truly advanced capabilities. Directed Energy Weapons are a key element of our future equipment programmes and we intend to become a world-leader in the research, manufacture and implementation of this next-generation technology.”
Marking a significant step towards the use of high-powered laser and radio frequency weapons across Defence, the investment reaffirms commitments outlined in the Defence Command Paper ensuring UK Armed Forces are equipped with the best possible equipment ready to deal with new and emerging threats.
Further supported by an increase of £24 billion of Defence spending over the next four years and an additional £6.6 billion of funding for research and development, this a prime example of how the MOD is using research partnerships with industry to invest in the technology of tomorrow.
These innovative capabilities will be integrated onto existing platforms for the Royal Navy and British Army and will undergo user experimentation from 2023 to 2025. The experimentation will focus on operation and maintenance of these new systems and will provide invaluable knowledge, information and experience to assess whether DEW can be fully embedded on other Defence assets in the future.
MOD Director Strategic Programmes, Shimon Fhima said, “These technologies have the potential to revolutionise the future battlefield for our Armed Forces, enabling the prosecution of new targets in the land, sea and air domains and allowing commanders to meet mission objectives in new ways. We must exploit at pace the cutting-edge technologies developed by the talented scientists and engineers across the UK to capitalise on its benefit.”
The newly formed Team Hersa brings together the best acquisition skills from Defence Equipment and Support (DE&S) and the best in technical expertise from the Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (Dstl).
Team Hersa will manage delivery of the demonstrators and is responsible for preparing Defence for the introduction of innovative weapons systems, ensuring the UK Armed Forces can successfully integrate the weapons on current aircraft, ships and vehicles.
The new contracts will exploit decades of MOD experience developing cutting-edge laser and radio frequency weapons technology and globally recognised strengths in performance testing and evaluation of these systems. (Source: https://www.gov.uk/)
14 Sep 21. Avon Protection recognise partnership with NSPA at DSEI. Paul Hammond, Chief of Staff at NSPA met Avon Protection at DSEI following their first successful year of delivery against the 10-year contract to supply a complete CBRN personal respirator system.
Understanding the operational flexibility required by NATO forces, Avon Protection were awarded a 10-year contract to provide a unique modular respirator system to protect NATO troops. The FM50 respirator and a suite of filters are at the core of the personal respirator system selected by NSPA.
The FM50 is designed to protect troops in the most demanding of environments. Developed in conjunction with the United States Department of Defense to counter the multiple CBRN threats met in modern war fighting, anti-terrorist and peace-keeping operations, the FM50 provides the operational flexibility and interoperability required by NATO Allies and Partner forces.
The FM50 is the most operationally proven and widely deployed battlefield respirator in the world. Many NATO Nations and Partners including Belgium, Denmark, Finland, The Netherlands, Norway and more recently Lithuania have already utilised the framework contract to equip their military personnel with the FM50.
Commenting on the visit, Steve Elwell, Vice President – Europe, Middle East, Africa and Asia, Avon Protection said, “Today we celebrate the successful ongoing partnership between NSPA and Avon Protection. NSPA is a strategically important customer to us, and we look forward to continuing to work together to provide NATO with world leading military capabilities.”
14 Sep 21. Hanwha Defense launches ‘Team Thunder’ for UK Mobile Fires Platform Programme.
◼ Hanwha Defense to sign MOUs with UK suppliers to form ‘Team Thunder’ to offer a ‘Made in UK’ variant Self-Propelled Howitzer
◼ Local production to bring manufacturing jobs and investments to UK; potential for UK to become regional hub within Hanwha Defense’s global supply chain
◼ K9 ‘UK variant’ to feature fully automated turret and increased rate of fire
Hanwha Defense has formed a unique international partnership with leading defence manufacturers in the UK to develop a local variant of the world’s most popular self-propelled howitzer, K9 Thunder, for the British Army.
The companies have come together as “Team Thunder” to bid to manufacture and supply self-propelled howitzers for the Royal Artillery as part of the Mobile Fires Platform Programme operated by the Ministry of Defence.
During DSEI 2021, running from September 14-17, at ExCel, London, Hanwha Defense is to sign memorandums of understanding (MOUs) to form “Team Thunder,” which includes Leonardo UK; Pearson Engineering; Horstman Defence Systems; and Soucy Defense of the Soucy Group. Lockheed Martin UK is also in talks to join the Team Thunder and more partners may be announced later.
“Team Thunder will be a key pillar of Hanwha Defense’s bid for the Mobile Fires Platform programme, and the formation of Team Thunder demonstrates a firm commitment to bringing the maximum benefit to the UK industry through a robust partnership with local suppliers,” said Vice President Mr. Oh Kyehwan of Hanwha Defense’s Overseas Business Division. “We believe the combination of UK industrial expertise and South Korean technology will generate an incredible level of synergy.” Utilizing on each partner’s expertise in the given areas, the work scope of the Team Thunder partner companies will be discussed in a way of maximizing the benefits to the UK industry, Oh said, stressing a substantial part of the manufacturing will take place in the UK.
Other localization plans will include training programmes to support workforce development and provide opportunities for local graduates and apprentices.
Hanwha Defense has already had positive experiences of industrial partnerships in Poland and India with regards to the manufacturing of K9 vehicles, whilst industrial capability programs are also taking shape in Australia for potential production of K9’s Australian version _ AS9 Huntsman _ under the LAND 8116 Protected Mobiles Fire program.
The Team Thunder partnership is established with one eye on the export market with the potential for the UK to become a regional hub within the global supply chain of the 2,400 K9 family vehicles, including K10 ammunition resupply vehicles.
For the MFP programme, Hanwha Defense will offer the most advanced version of the K9 155mm/52-calibre Self-Propelled Howitzer (SPH), called the K9A2, which is being developed to feature enhanced firepower, protection and mobility.
The K9A2 is to be equipped with a fully automated turret capable of firing nine rounds per minute. With the automated turret, the number of crew is to be reduced from five to three. A plan is being examined to equip the K9 with composite rubber tracks, which will bring several benefits, including improved road mobility.
Nearly 1,700 K9 variants are in service with seven countries _ South Korea, Turkey, Poland, Finland, India, Norway and Estonia. Australia would be the eighth customer operating K9 vehicles, as the country is in the process of acquiring 30 AS9 Huntsman vehicles and 15 K10 armoured ammunition resupply vehicles.
14 Sep 21. Avon Protection to showcase integrated protection solutions at DSEI. A world leader in CBRN and ballistic protection, Avon Protection will be showcasing their latest integrated protection solutions at Defence and Security Equipment International (DSEI) Exhibition, 14-17th September.
Building on their position at the forefront of CBRN solutions, Avon Protection will be demonstrating their future CBRN capability which includes Avon’s market leading 50 series respirators: alongside helmets, CBRN suits, boots, and gloves.
As an innovative capability provider, Avon Protection understand the unique requirements of the modern warfighter and tactical operator. The future capability on show from Avon Protection demonstrates their continued drive towards fully integrated Personal Protective Equipment (PPE). This integration between solider equipment provides militaries with the highest level of performance and protection whilst still maintaining operational agility.
Commenting on Avon’s future capability, Justin Hine, Project Director, Avon Protection said: “Integration is at the core of our capability. We understand the importance of protecting personnel in volatile situations and our world-leading solutions are designed and tested together to ensure the successful integration of the solider systems.”
Steve Elwell, Vice President – Europe, Middle East, Africa and Asia, Avon Protection commented: “We’re very much looking forward to DSEI 2021. As one of the world’s largest defence and security events, DSEI provides the opportunity for global visitors to meet with our experts and discuss their requirements for integrated solutions. With customers in over 60 countries, Avon has established itself as a leading global brand in CBRN and ballistic technology offering innovative Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) products and services across defence and security markets.”
Avon Protection is at DSEI, 14-17th September 2021 on Stand H4-630.
08 Sep 21. FN Herstal presents its FN Airborne Extended Digital Suite. FN Herstal, the world’s leading designer and manufacturer of small calibre weapons and integrated weapon systems, will showcase its new FN® Airborne Extended Digital Suite at the DSEI international trade show, London, from 14 to 17 September 2021. This suite further enhances combat capabilities of rotary- and fixed-wing airborne platforms by integrating high-performance equipment such as laser guided and/or unguided rockets from Thales, digital machine gun pods from FN Herstal and EO/IR systems from Safran.
FN Herstal: weapon systems integrator
In 2018, FN Herstal introduced its FN® Airborne Digital Suite comprising: the digital FN® D-HUD Head-Up Display, the digital FN® D-PC Pod Controller and the self-contained fixed forwardfiring digital FN® D-Pod system.
Today, the Belgium-based company has pushed ahead the development of the Digital Suite that now allows the integration of FN Herstal and Third-Parties equipment onto rotary- and fixed-wing airborne platforms: the FN® Airborne Extended Digital Suite.
Based on the initial infrastructure, the FN® Airborne Extended Digital Suite allows airborne platforms to widen the choice of integrated airborne fixed forward-firing weapon solutions with unprecedented firing capabilities.
Besides the .50 cal machine gun in the FN® D-Pod, lightweight rocket launchers available in 7, 12 or 19 tubes allow a mix of 70mm laser guided and/or unguided rockets (such as FZ231 from Thales Belgium) delivering metric accuracy at extended range (exceeding 7km on static targets) to defeat soft and light armoured targets.
The FN® Airborne Extended Digital Suite also accepts EO/IR equipment such as the ultra-long range electrooptical system Euroflir 410™ from Safran incorporating up to 10 sensors.
The FN® Airborne Extended Digital Suite allows the integration of multi-functional displays such as the MDU-268V2 display from Scioteq used to select the armaments and display the digital video from the EO/IR.
The FN® Airborne Extended Digital Suite allows high-value equipment from several different suppliers to be fully integrated. This gives the customer a very wide range of capabilities to choose from, and ensures that they will operate reliably together. FN Herstal, as a weapon systems integrator, once again, has put its expertise and innovation to work to ensure the highest level of operational capability and top quality service for military forces around the world.
Discover the FN® Airborne Extended Digital Suite by visiting FN Herstal’s booth from 14 to 17 September 2021 at DSEI international trade show (Belgian Pavilion, Booth H4 105). (Source: ASD Network)
Arnold Defense has manufactured more than 1.25 million 2.75-inch rocket launchers since 1961 for the U.S. Army, U.S. Navy, U.S. Air Force and many NATO customers. They are the world’s largest supplier of rocket launchers for military aircraft, vessels and vehicles. Core products include the 7-round M260 and 19-round M261 commonly used by helicopters; the thermal coated 7-round LAU-68 variants and LAU-61 Digital Rocket Launcher used by the U.S. Navy and Marines; and the 7-round LAU-131 and SUU-25 flare dispenser used by the U.S. Air Force and worldwide.
Today’s rocket launchers now include the ultra-light LWL-12 that weighs just over 60 pounds (27 kg.) empty and the new Fletcher (4) round launcher. Arnold Defense designs and manufactures various rocket launchers that can be customized for any capacity or form factor for platforms in the air, on the ground or even at sea.
Arnold Defense maintains the highest standards of production quality by using extensive testing, calibration and inspection processes.