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16 Aug 18. The start of new rules for autonomous weapons. In the near future, engineers are going to have to figure out ways to prevent robots from killing. This is part of the broader work on the edges of lethal autonomous weapons systems, a proposed legal category that does not quite match the function of any weapons at present, but may soon encompass a range of machines. In preparation for a diplomatic gathering where nations will debate how to govern or prohibit these systems, countries such as the United Kingdom are outlining how, specifically, humans will exercise meaningful control over the weapons they bring to war. The contours of this debate are political and legal; the execution will be largely up to the engineers. While the legal category is new, we are starting to see a framework. In advance of the upcoming meeting in Geneva, schedule for Aug. 27-31, the United Kingdom released its working paper on rules for autonomous weapons. Titled “Human Machine Touchpoints: The United Kingdom’s perspective on human control over weapon development and targeting cycles,” the paper outlines the government’s stance on a range of issues, from the importance of human-in-the-loop control to the applicability of existing humanitarian lawn.
What matters most for the companies and contractors that will be tasked with building these machines is likely the section’s first annex, which details a framework for considering human control throughout the design process. The first stages begin with top-level policy decisions from politicians and military leaders, and then explains how designers must think about human control throughout the process going forward. That emphasis on the role of human control would take place at the research and development stage, with the white paper noting “R&D to help the military define their capability needs, the users of the weapon system, and the context of use. These activities underpin consideration of human control later in the acquisition process.” It would continue through the program and project management stage, and into the definition of requirements. Human control is to remain an integral part of design, and never a feature added in later. Most importantly is the way this will be interpreted for detailed system design, down to human factors integration.
“In order to enable operators to exercise human control during use,” outlines the white paper, “the users’ needs and the context in which the system will be used must be considered throughout the system design.”
In other words, to use common security parlance, human control is “baked in,” not “bolted on.” Following that stage, the weapon will be subject to legal review to make sure it still complies with international law. Once in the hands of the people who will ultimately use the machine in combat, they will undergo training that is specifically mindful of “the capabilities and limitations of the system and any modes of operation.”
At every stage of the process, the way the human controls the machine, and the way the machine complies with lawful rules of engagement, are designed to be hard-coded into how the weapon operates. This is the politics of the machine. In a section acknowledging autonomy in existing defense weapon systems, such as Counter-Rockets, Artillery and Mortars (C-RAM), the white paper specifies that the parameters for engaging a target are set by humans before hand, even if the necessary speed of counter-fire is too fast for direct human control. And when it comes to guided offensive weapons like air-to-air missiles or hellfire missiles, the white paper specifies that while these weapons have some autonomy in navigating to a target beyond visual line of sight of the human that launches them, “in all instances the parameters for an attack are subject to information received from trusted sources and cannot be arbitrarily changed by the weapon after launch.”
Synthesizing the existing autonomy of offensive and defensive weapons, the white paper specifies that “any new weapon system must allow operators to comply with human-set ROE and targeting policies.”
So what does all of it mean?
This is not quite a human-in-the-loop standard of meaningful control over weapons, nor is it even a “human-on-the-loop” process, both of which require an active uniformed member of the military to be responsible for overseeing and authorizing specific targeting and firing decisions made by a machine. Instead, it is almost a “human-in-the-code” model, where human control is inferred from how the designers made the system, defined the rules of engagement, and programmed the machine to target. Designing autonomous systems in accordance with this view on international law is a potential legal minefield. It remains to be seen if the final decision from the Group of Governmental Experts will reflect the vision set out by the United Kingdom’s working paper, or if the standards for design and human control will involve a stricter standard than incorporating human input into programmed rules of engagement and targeting policies. Whatever the outcome, anyone looking to make an autonomous military machine that might be involved in target selection should be looking at how that control is baked into the design process. There’s a nonzero chance a coding error could end up interpreted as a war crime. (Source: C4ISR & Networks)
16 Aug 18. Tor-E2 SAM system introduced. Rostec’s JSC Rosoboronexport has introduced the new Tor-E2 short range air defence system for the protection of military and other critical facilities. The Tor-E2 combat vehicle is an independent, mobile, all-terrain fighting system that provides detection and identification of air targets, target lock-on and engagement at the halt, from a short stop and on the move. A high level of automation and algorithms of the SAM system minimise crew involvement in the engagement process. The Tor-E2 can engage aircraft, helicopters, cruise, anti-radar and other guided missiles; it can also target precision guided munitions, such as glide and guided air bombs, as well as UAS within its engagement envelope. The system is capable of operating in intense jamming and counter-fire environments, in any weather, day or night. A battery of the four-channel Tor-E2 SAM systems, consisting of four combat vehicles, can simultaneously engage up to 16 targets flying from any direction at a range of at least 15km and an altitude of up to 12km. Each Tor-E2 vehicle carries 16 missiles. Two Tor-E2 combat vehicles can also operate in the link mode, which enables them to exchange information about the air situation at different altitude ranges and coordinate joint engagement operations. The Tor-E2 SAM system can also be integrated into existing air defence systems. (Source: Shephard)
15 Aug 18. Russian airborne troops increase indirect fire capabilities. Russian airborne troops (VDV) are strengthening their indirect fire capabilities, an industry source has told Jane’s.
“In early August, the VDV received a batch of upgraded 2S9-1M Nona-SM air-droppable self-propelled mortars (SPMs),” the source said, adding that the VDV “is scheduled to receive two 2S9-1M battalions, comprising more than 30 vehicles.”
The 2S9-1M SPM is a heavily upgraded variant of the baseline 2S9 Nona-S. The system has received a fire control system, inertial navigation system (INS), and new sensor suite. The combat compartment of the Nona-SM is heated. Like the baseline Nona, the upgraded system is armed with the 2A51 120 mm/L24 mortar, which has a range of 8.8–12.8 km and a rate of fire of 8 to 10 rounds per minute. (Source: IHS Jane’s)
14 Aug 18. Frost & Sullivan’s recent analysis, Global Surface-to-Air Missile Market, Forecast to 2023, reveals that the growing number of missile attacks in the Middle East, North Korea’s long-range missile tests, China’s expansion in the South China Sea, and Russia’s sale of S-400 have inspired new growth within the surface-to-air missile (SAM) market. The market is anticipated to grow at a CAGR of 5.3% until 2023 and reach $3.88bn.
“SAM systems were originally designed to counter threats posed by enemy aircraft, but advanced fighter aircraft, hypersonic missiles, and drones developed to destroy ground and naval surface targets are driving high demand for faster, smarter, and more precise missiles capable of traveling longer distances,” said John Hernandez, Senior Industry Analyst, Defense at Frost & Sullivan. “The next step in the development of SAM systems will be the enhancement of the missile systems’ ability to avoid detection.”
Due to space limitations on board ships, SAM systems must be custom designed to fit and interoperate with other weapons systems properly. Hernandez recommends ship designers and SAM makers collaborate early in the shipbuilding process to provide efficient air defense solutions. From a regional perspective, the Middle East is making large investments in the SAM market as aggression continues in that region. Countries in the region have no indigenous capability and so organizations in the US and Europe will benefit. Several Asian countries will turn to India, Russia and China for their SAM needs, but such moves may come at the cost of sanctions by the US.
6 key trends creating growth opportunities in the market include:
- The largest portion of spending within the overall market through 2023 will be focused on the long-range surface-to-air missile (LRSAM) segment, 90% of which will be dedicated to the Patriot system. Upgrades and field support will further drive segment growth.
- Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) growth due to aggressor nations that are known to have ballistic missile capabilities.
- Acquisition of older SAM systems by countries with less-developed military strength.
- Development of modern fighter aircraft armaments with longer range capabilities to avoid flying within SAM envelopes.
- Rise in procurement of SAMs through 2023 as many US allies seek tactical advantages.
- Fast growth of short-range air defense (SHORAD) SAM segment among global naval forces due to past aggression as well as large global inventories for re-engineering.
“The development of laser technology may eventually scrap the use of SAMs completely; however, the effective use of lasers to counter air and missile threats is still a long way off,” noted Hernandez. “Once lasers become a true alternative to conventional air defense missiles, the market will skyrocket.”
Frost & Sullivan’s recent analysis, Global Surface-to-Air Missile Market, Forecast to 2023, studies the disruptive technologies, drivers and restraints, market share and competitive environment for players such as Raytheon, MBDA, Lockheed Martin and others. Key findings, spending forecasts, and engineering measurements for segments including LRSAM, MRSAM, Missile Defense, and SHORAD are discussed while analyzing the US, Middle East, Europe and APAC regions.
Global Surface-to-Air Missile Market, Forecast to 2023 is part of Frost & Sullivan’s global Aerospace, Defense & Security Growth Partnership Services program.
14 Aug 18. Laboratory Technicians Examine Enemy Weaponry. Most soldiers do not think much about what happens to improvised explosive devices once they are found and disarmed by friendly forces. Some may believe that IEDs are taken somewhere in a controlled environment to be safely detonated or disposed of properly. Sometimes properly disposing of IEDs is the only thing to do. However, most times, IEDs are sent to specialized laboratories where they can be analyzed and researched to help counter enemy forces. The Forensic Exploitation Laboratory Central Command here is one of the many facilities where enemy weapons such as IEDs are analyzed by highly trained and educated professionals in various disciplines of forensic science.
“The great thing within our laboratory is that everyone is really passionate about the work we do,” said Roman Aranda, the supervisory chemist and laboratory manager for the FXL-C.
“The laboratory takes the anonymity away from the adversary,” he added.
Removing anonymity from enemy forces is a crucial advantage for any combatant commander in any area of responsibility. “The lab is a culminating point for everything that comes off the battlefield in order for the intelligence community to get those products and information distributed out to those that are on the ground,” said Army Maj. Allen Spence, the officer in charge of the laboratory operations, assigned to U.S. Army Central and attached to the FXL-C.
A forensic lab can adapt and move more quickly compared to stateside and other federal laboratories, Aranda said. The FXL-C networks with explosive ordinance device units, Special Forces and often with partner nations to protect and support U.S. forces.
They work closely with the Army Criminal Investigative Division and the Terrorism and Criminal Investigation Unit, Spence said. They also work with the FBI and the International Criminal Police Organization, more commonly known as Interpol, to push out information to 192 countries. So far this year, the FXL-C has closed more than 440 cases, processed more than 45,000 exhibits, documented almost 650 latent prints and found more than 70 biometric matches. The FXL-C’s accomplishments have come through modernization and research efforts that help support its four core principles: firearms and tool marks, DNA, chemistry and electronics exploitation. Being deployed and closer to the battleground is an additional capability the FXL-C provides to ground forces.
“Working directly with the submitters, we can provide them what they need to know as fast as we can,” said Mark Chapman, an electrical engineer assigned to the FXL-C.
“This mission is critical to the Army, and it’s the focal point where everything meets,” Spence said.
“Our main goal is to find the smart guy that is developing these tools such as IEDs and unmanned aerial vehicles,” Chapman said. “Not so much that guy that is using them — they are still a target — but if we can find that smart guy and eliminate him, that’s the main challenge.”
The men and women of the FXL-C deployed to these forward laboratories put in long work days and sometimes nights. They also work every day of the week during their six-month tour, because they recognize the contribution it makes on the battlefield by exposing enemy forces new and old tactics.
“If it’s a new device that’s come out, we will find it and figure out how it works and we will get that information back out to the [intelligence] community,” Spence said. (Source: US DoD)
13 Aug 18. The U.S. Army awarded Lockheed Martin (NYSE: LMT) a $218m contract to produce High Mobility Artillery Rocket System (HIMARS) launchers and associated hardware for an international customer. With this procurement, HIMARS is now in the inventories of four international partners. The contract calls for the delivery of 18 HIMARS launchers and associated equipment by December 2020. The HIMARS vehicles will be produced from the ground up at Lockheed Martin’s award-winning Camden, Ark., Precision Fires Center of Excellence. HIMARS is a lightweight mobile launcher, transportable via C-130 and larger aircraft for rapid deployment, that fires Guided Multiple Launch Rocket System (GMLRS) rockets and Army Tactical Missile System (ATACMS) missiles. HIMARS consists of a launcher loader module and fire control system mounted on a five-ton truck chassis. A specialized armored cab provides additional protection to the three crew members that operate the system.
Lockheed Martin’s international partners continue to see the effectiveness and reliability of the HIMARS. Performance, interoperability, joint coalition operations and the added value of joint munitions procurement make HIMARS a sound option for nations seeking effective precision fires option for missions.
For more than 40 years, Lockheed Martin has been the leading designer and manufacturer of long-range, surface-to-surface precision strike solutions, providing highly reliable, combat-proven systems like MLRS, HIMARS, ATACMS and GMLRS to domestic and international customers.
13 Aug 18. Iran unveils ‘Bright Conqueror’ missile. Iran unveiled the latest generation of its Fateh ballistic missile on Monday. Iranian Defense Minister Brig. Gen. Amir Hatami said the indigenously designed munition was an “agile, radar-evading and tactical missile with pinpoint accuracy,” semiofficial Tasnim News Agency reported. It has reportedly been successfully test fired. Tasnim publicized the new short-range ballistic missile called the Fateh-e Mobin, or Bright Conqueror, which is said to have a range between 300-500 kilometers. For Hatami, this new missile demonstrates Iran’s commitment to bolster what he characterizes as defensive capabilities.
“As I had promised the Iranian nation, I will spare no effort to boost the country’s missile capabilities, and we will certainly increase our missile power every day,” Hatami said. “[W]ith a powerful, smart and up-to-date defense industry, we will be able to preserve peace and stability, and today, the enemies are fully aware of the Islamic Republic’s defense power.”
During naval exercises in the Strait of Hormuz that took place in the first week of August, the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps launched an anti-ship variant of the Fateh-100 Mod 3 from its base in Bandar-e-Jask in southeastern Iran. The missile flew more than 100 miles on a flight path over the strait to a test range in the Iranian desert, Fox News reported. This was the first test-fire of an Iranian ballistic missile in over a year, and the first test of a Fateh missile since March 2017. It is unknown if the missile struck its target. Last year, two Fatehs were fired at a floating barge target 155 kilometers from Bandar-e-Jask, according to the Center for Strategic and International Studies’ Missile Defense Project. One missile missed the barge but was “in the vicinity” of the target. The second missile, fired the next day, hit its mark. The Fateh-e Mobin is not the only new missile Iran has shown off this year. In April 2018, Iran displayed an unidentified air-launched cruise missile during Iran’s Army Day parade. Marked with initials of the Islamic Republic of Iran Air Force, the missile features trapezoidal grid fins ― most commonly associated with U.S. missiles ― and a seeker in the tip. (Source: Defense News Early Bird/Defense News)
13 Aug 18. Meggitt Training Systems announces launch of test and evaluation with the Miami Police Department for Meggitt Training System (Meggitt) FATS® 300LE. The FATS 300LE delivers virtual scenarios that train police officers in the split-second, use-of-force evaluations and de-escalation tactics they need to deploy in real-world situations.
“We are delighted to partner with the Miami Police Department to provide their officers the FATS 300LE, the next-generation training system to sharpen their decision-making skills and help them make the most appropriate decisions, especially when seconds count in hazardous situations,” said Matt Cunningham, Director of Virtual Systems, Meggitt Training Systems.
“This system will provide our officers with the absolute best training there is in the country,” said Miami Police Department Chief of Police Jorge Colina.
The FATS 300LE includes five, free-standing flat screens, each with 150”x84” borderless projection surfaces arranged in a hexagonal format that creates a 300-degree, virtual environment. A small entrance area completes the 360 degree circle. The FATS 300LE’s powerful software engine can support up to twenty simulated law enforcement weapons systems concurrently, including rifles, pistols, machine guns, and non-lethal deterrents like a Taser or pepper spray. The system syncs seamlessly with Meggitt’s wireless BlueFire® simulated weapons – that form, fit and function exactly like their real-world counterparts, including recoiling when fired. The system tracks weapon movement to provide trainers with detailed information for post-action reports. Through its ability to replicate many different real-world situations. From domestic family disputes and traffic stops to school shootings, the FATS 300LE provides a next-generation training solution to improve the way law enforcement professionals react and behave in stressful and at times life-threatening situations. (Source: BUSINESS WIRE)
13 Aug 18. Qatar on track to receive Apaches from 2019. Qatar is on track to receive its recently ordered Boeing AH-64E Apache Guardian attack helicopters from 2019 through to mid-2020. The Qatar Emiri Air Force (QEAF) project officer said on 13 August that the first batch of 24 helicopters ordered in 2016 will be received before the end of next year. Deliveries will be complete by the end of May 2020. According to Brigadier General (Pilot) Ghanem bin Abdul Hadi Al Shahwani, the deal includes the training of 70 pilots and 100 ground crew, as well as options for up to 24 additional helicopters. Qatar first requested the Apache helicopters in July 2012. Weapons requested in the original Foreign Military Sales notification included AGM-114R Hellfire laser-guided missiles, FIM-92H Stinger missiles with air-to-air launchers, and 70mm Hydra air-to-surface rockets. Earlier this year the US State Department approved the sale of the BAE Systems Advanced Precision Kill Weapon Systems (APKWS) II guided rocket. (Source: IHS Jane’s)
13 Aug 18. Portuguese Army boosts ATGM capability. The Portuguese Army is boosting its mobile anti-tank capability with five 8×8 General Dynamics European Land Systems Pandur II armoured anti-tank guided missile (ATGM) carriers. The army’s vehicle-based ATGM capability previously comprised MILAN and M220A1/TOW 2A series missiles carried by light vehicles and M901A1 Improved TOW Vehicles (ITVs). The new Pandur II ATGM platform features a protected weapon station with STANAG 4569 Level 4 protection, mounting a manually operated Raytheon Missiles Systems Tube-Launched, Optically Tracked Wire-Guided, Improved Target Acquisition System (TOW ITAS) missiles, as well as a weapon station incorporating six built-in M27 periscopes and a 12.7 mm M2HB machine gun (MG) for self-protection. Compared with earlier vehicles, the Pandur II ATGM platform has benefited from new add-on armour, deflectors for missile launch tube and 12.7 mm MG, blast deflectors and limiting stops, as well as relocation of the Elbit Systems TDS laser warning system, winch pulley, and smoke grenade launchers. Internally, the vehicle is outfitted with an M159A1 tripod to provide a stable platform for the TOW ITAS during dismounted operations, storage for 10 missiles, and nuclear, biological and chemical (NBC) protection masks for the crew that are linked to the vehicle’s life support system. The TOW ITAS comprises the Advanced Composites M22 missile tube that can launch TOW 2A, TOW 2B Aero, and TOW BB missiles with first round hit capability of up to 3,750m against stationary or moving targets. It is also outfitted with a target acquisition subsystem incorporating a thermal imager based on Standard Advanced Dewar Assembly II (SADA II) focal plane array technology, day-sight with aided target tracker and eye-safe laser rangefinder, as well as SADA II linear cryocooler unit and eyepiece assembly, M83 traversing unit with handles, and a fire-control subsystem. The crew comprises the driver, commander/gunner, missile gunner, and missile loader. (Source: IHS Jane’s)
08 Aug 18. Epsilor to Showcase Soldier Wearable Battery for Digital Soldier Programs at DVD2018. Epsilor, a globally recognized developer and manufacturer of mobile energy products for defence and aerospace applications, will present its innovative wearable conformal military battery for advanced Digital Soldier programs at the DVD2018 show, which will take place at Millbrook, on September 19–20, 2018. Epsilor will display its conformal battery at Booth C3-502 as part of the VIRTUS, the new soldier system of the British Army, made by SOURCE Tactical Gear. SOURCE has integrated Epsilor’s battery into the VIRTUS textile vest, placing it in the MOLLE hip battle belt, thus offering soldiers maximum comfort.
“Epsilor’s batteries are packed in flat ergonomic flexible packaging that conveniently integrates into the soldier’s vest,” said Guy Harary, SOURCE Tactical Gear CEO. “The conformal battery is much more comfortable to carry, does not hinder soldiers’ movements and enables the troops to carry out their mission without disruption.”
The battery is offered in two configurations:
- ELI-1614 Conformal Battery – a rechargeable semi-flexible high energy density Li-ion battery pack
- ELP-1614 – a rechargeable semi-flexible lithium iron phosphate (LiFePO4) battery offering increased safety
Both batteries support a wide verity of applications, such as communications, tactical computers, sensors and additional devices. They offer high energy and high-power density as well as SMBus or one-wire communication protocols
“In a large-scale trial conducted by the Israel Defence Forces (IDF), infantry soldiers used Epsilor’s wearable conformal batteries instead of traditional rigid batteries, each fit a unique device, and benefited from a significant increase in available energy for different kinds of portable equipment,” said Merav Kolody Shubeli, Director, International Sales and Marketing at Epsilor. “In a 72-hour mission profile, batteries’ weight decreased by 30%.”
Today’s digital soldiers rely on tactical radios, ruggedized computing and navigation systems, night vision systems and gun sights. This translates into multiple spare batteries of different kind and shapes that an infantry soldier must carry with him. Using conformal batteries to operate multiple different devices simplifies the logistics and the usage of batteries before, during and after a mission. During the event, Epsilor will also showcase its 6T NATO battery which offers the highest energy density in the world and 1,000 deep charge cycles. Epsilor’s 6T type batteries are the optimal energy storage solution for new military vehicle programs as well as for drop-in replacement in existing vehicle fleets. This new 6T battery offers four times more energy at just half the weight of modern lead-acid 6T batteries.
10 Aug 18. Selva Highlights Need for Nuclear Enterprise Recapitalization.
On Aug. 16, 1968, the Air Force launched the first Minuteman III missile into the Eastern Test Range off the coast of Florida. The intercontinental ballistic missile was state-of-the-art with multiple independently targeted reentry vehicles. It was needed to cement nuclear deterrence of the Soviet Union during a time of high tensions in the Cold War. At the time, there were 500,000 U.S. service members in Vietnam. The Soviets brutally put down a move to freedom in Czechoslovakia. North Korea took the USS Pueblo. China was at the height of Mao’s Cultural Revolution.
“Those same Minuteman IIIs are still in our inventory,” Air Force Gen. Paul J. Selva told the Air Force Association’s Mitchell Institute breakfast here today.
U.S. Nuclear Enterprise
Selva, the vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, discussed nuclear deterrence, missile defense and space, and why it is important to invest in the nuclear enterprise.
“Were it not for the exceptional airmen who man those systems and the civilians in the depots who maintain them, the Minuteman III would, long ago, have exited our inventory,” Selva said.
The first Minuteman III went on alert in 1970, and the weapon has been the heart of nuclear deterrence since. The missile was designed for an operational life of 30 years. Due to the skill of the maintainers and those who handle “the physics packages” — the weapons themselves — the Minuteman II has served 50 years. The entire nuclear triad needs recapitalization, the vice chairman said. ICBM replacements are one part of it, but so is building the Columbia-class ballistic missile submarine and a new bomber. The recapitalizing and modernizing of nuclear command and control and detection systems also is required, he said. And, there has to be a discussion of deterrence itself, Selva said.
“That we not miss a critical key element of nuclear deterrence … that nuclear deterrence is about the capability, the will and the capacity to respond in kind, and the declaratory statement that says we will do so,” he said.
All of those issues, Selva said, are discussed in the Nuclear Posture Review. During the Cold War, the United States maintained its nuclear deterrence capability, Selva said, noting the nation must also maintain that in this new era. The current nuclear triad is safe, secure, reliable and ready, “but that is not a birthright,” the general said. (Follow Jim Garamone on Twitter: @GaramoneDoDNews)
09 Aug 18. Philippine Navy completes sea acceptance test of Spike ER missile system. Key Points:
- The Philippine Navy has conducted a successful acceptance firing of the Spike ER missile
- Weapon significantly improves the service’s anti-surface warfare capabilities
Representatives from Rafael Defense Systems and the Philippine Navy (PN) have concluded sea acceptance test of the Spike Extended Range (ER) surface-to-surface missile systems from on board the service’s multipurpose attack craft (MPAC). The test was conducted on 9 August off the peninsula of Bataan, and involved the firing of a single round at a moored seaborne target located about 6km away, said the PN’s office of public affairs. With the test, the service is now officially equipped with its first-ever anti-surface missile capabilities. The PN operates a fleet of nine 19-tonne MPACs, which resemble the Swedish Combat Boat 90 design, as part of the service’s Littoral Combat Force Unit. The 16.5m vessels are each powered by two Caterpillar C32 engines, propelled by Hamilton waterjets, and can attain a top speed of 45kt. The latest three vessels in the class, which have been referred to as the MPAC Mk III boats by PN officials, are equipped with Rafael’s Typhoon MLS ER launchers, and Mini Typhoon 12.7mm remote-controlled weapon systems. The Typhoon MLS ER launcher incorporates an electro-optical director and fire-control system, and can be operated in either fire-and-forget, fire, observe, and update, or fire-and-steer modes, the last of which allows for missile launches without a pre-locked target. The system has an effective range of 8 km, and up to four Spike ER missiles can be accommodated on the launcher turret. Besides surface target prosecutions, the Typhoon MLS ER can also be utilised as day-and-night surveillance sensors for routine maritime patrol operations. (Source: IHS Jane’s)
10 Aug 18. China claims successful test of hypersonic waverider. The China Academy of Aerospace Aerodynamics (CAAA), the flight technology development arm of state-owned space and defence technology prime China Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation (CASC), announced on 3 August that it has successfully developed and tested China’s first experimental hypersonic waverider, called Xing Kong-2 (Starry Sky-2). The institute stated on its official social media account that the hypersonic test vehicle was first carried by a solid-propellant rocket supplied by the Fourth Academy of the China Aerospace Science & Industry Corporation (CASIC), also known as the CASIC Delivery Technology Technical Research Institute. CAAA claimed that the test vehicle – which it said had been in development for three years – was launched from an undisclosed launch facility in northwestern China and separated cleanly from the booster rocket following a 10-minute ascent and controlled transition, successfully engaging its own propulsion system to perform independent flight for over 400 seconds, attaining a maximum speed of Mach 6 and flight ceiling of 30km (98,425km/h). (Source: IHS Jane’s)
09 Aug 18. Live Fire with a Purpose Program Takes Navy Warfighting to New Level. In early 2016, Naval Surface and Mine Warfighting Development Center (SMWDC) was designated as the executive agent for Commander, U.S. Pacific Fleet and U.S. Fleet Force’s revamped missile exercise (MSLEX) program, Live Fire with a Purpose (LFWAP). Since that time, the SMWDC LFWAP team supported 85 combatants in firing more than 100 Standard Missile 2 (SM-2), Rolling Airframe Missile (RAM) and NATO Sea Sparrow Missiles (NSSM). On May 28, 2018, USS The Sullivans (DDG 68) launched an SM-2 to mark the centennial missile firing. Over the course of each of the 29 LFWAP events, an Integrated Air and Missile Defense (IAMD) Warfare Tactics Instructor (WTI) lead the team through the plan, brief, execute and debrief (PBED) process including the planning, training and execution of safe live firing. This also serves as a template for real-world operational preparation. Unit level training consists of IAMD WTIs working closely with the ships to ensure watch standers become comfortable with the objectives and scenarios to ensure safe execution of each event. Typically, ships run five nominal and five off-nominal scenarios to prepare them for system casualties that may occur during execution. This also serves as a final check to ensure watch teams are capable of reacting appropriately to casualties during deployment, when no trainers are present. For execution, every ship is assigned an IAMD WTI to assist with final training and coordination, doctrine verification and system set-up questions. Final rehearsals are conducted with live aircraft to ensure the systems and watch standers are ready for execution. An important part of preparation is verifying the data collection set-up and operation as weapon and radar system data is collected with the assistance of Naval Surface Warfare Center (NSWC) – Corona Division. This allows for a same day replay to support key event objectives during the on-site debrief. The data is then collected and provided to NSWC-Corona for further analysis. In the months following a LFWAP event, the SMWDC team and engineers from NSWC-Corona conduct a data analysis work group (DAWG) to discuss the tactical and technical nuances of each live fire event. The data analysis is used to provide an in depth debrief to the firing units prior to their deployment, confirm current tactics, techniques and procedures (TTPs), assist in development of future TTPs, and provide feedback to the Navy acquisitions communities in support of developing future capabilities.
“LFWAP is treated as the graduation event by U.S. Fleet Forces Command and U.S. Third Fleet prior to ships deploying, because it provides a tactically challenging scenario for each ship requiring watch teams to utilize ship TTPs, pre-planned responses (PPRs) and the commanding officer’s battle orders to defend themselves,” said IAMD Division Director Capt. Jim Jones. “This is not a checklist event. This is an event that stresses a watch teams understanding of their own self-defense processes while building confidence within the watch teams and with the systems that will defend our nation down-range.”
The LFWAP program is taking the Navy’s warfighting to a new level. Over the last three years, live fire events have become more complex with each event enhancing our fleet’s weapon systems competency and efficacy. Across the naval enterprise, warfighting capability has benefited from the lessons captured and studied from each firing event. These lessons assist with updating and revising TTPs, PPRs, commanding officer’s battle orders, and lead to validated training curriculums for formal courses of instructions.
The Live Fire with a Purpose program is an excellent example of high velocity learning to counter today’s threat, and more importantly, prepares our ships and sailors for the real-world threat environments they will face. SMWDC is a subordinate command of Commander, Naval Surface Force, U.S. Pacific Fleet and exists to increase the lethality and tactical proficiency of the surface force across all domains. SMWDC headquarters is at Naval Base San Diego with four divisions in Virginia and California focused on sea combat, IAMD, amphibious warfare and mine warfare. (Source: ASD Network)
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