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21 Apr 20. APKWS Laser-Guided Rockets: More bang for the buck. APKWS rockets enable warfighters to make economical, precision strikes.
To support the national defense strategy, BAE Systems continues to focus on delivering the most effective and cost-efficient precision munitions. APKWS® laser-guided rockets are important for the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) and its allies around the globe. They enable warfighters to make economical, precision strikes.
APKWS rockets are assembled by adding innovative guidance kits to Hydra rockets, which existed for decades as unguided munitions. The APKWS guidance kit works with new and stockpiled fuses, warheads, and rocket motors, and doesn’t require modifications to rocket components, launchers, or firing platforms. Transforming Hydra rockets into precision munitions requires minimal training and the rockets are easy to use – effectively point and shoot.
The weapon’s accuracy and low collateral damage are unmatched by unguided rockets or anti-armor munitions. First employed in 2012, APKWS rockets have been fired thousands of times. In combat, the APKWS rocket has achieved greater than 90% hit rate.
APKWS is the only U.S. Government Program of Record for 70 mm (2.75 in) precision-guided rockets. BAE Systems sells APKWS rockets via a contract with the U.S. Navy, which provides units to all branches of the U.S. military and to foreign allies through the Foreign Military Sales (FMS) process. The U.S. Navy recently signed an indefinite delivery indefinite quantity (IDIQ) multi-year contract for $2.68 billion in support of high domestic and international demand. FMS activities support more than a dozen partner nations and interest from other nations.
BAE Systems delivered more than 35,000 units by the end of 2019, and expects to deliver 18,000 in 2020. The company and its supply chain are equipped to produce 25,000 annually in order to satisfy potential orders received under the U.S. Navy’s IDIQ contract. The company is also investing in product advancements, including multiple system upgrades designed to improve the weapon’s flexibility, range, and lethality.
APKWS rockets are qualified on 17 of the world’s most prolific military aircraft, including the Cobra and Apache attack helicopters and F-16 and F/A-18 fighter jets. Demonstrated firing platforms include domestic and international attack helicopters, multinational fighter jets, unmanned aerial vehicles, and vertical takeoff and landing platforms.
APKWS rockets are also demonstrating their mission flexibility against high-speed targets. In December 2019, the U.S. Air Force demonstrated APKWS rockets as viable munitions to perform cruise missile defense (CMD). “The test was unprecedented and will shape the future of how the Air Force executes CMD,” said Col. Ryan Messer, commander of the 53d Wing at Eglin. The munition is a fraction of the cost of the missile commonly used for cruise missile defense, can be loaded faster, and aircraft can carry more of them.”
“There will always be a need for a low-cost precision rocket to give the warfighter a less expensive, lower collateral damage option in multi-domain operations for increased stowed kills to maximize the number of aim points neutralized per mission,” said John Watkins, vice president of Precision Strike at BAE Systems.
BAE Systems is committed to providing warfighters with sophisticated precision strike capabilities via a diverse precision munitions portfolio. The company is also actively investing in munitions technology focused on increased standoff distances, enhanced lethality, and autonomous targeting for employment against threats in contested environments. (Source: ASD Network)
23 Apr 20. Poland aims to sign Javelin deal within 30 days. Polish Minister of National Defence Mariusz Błaszczak announced on Twitter on 21 April the completion of negotiations on the acquisition of FGM-148 Javelin anti-tank missiles for the Polish Armed Forces.
The US Foreign Military Sales (FMS) contract should be signed within 30 days, Polish Armament Inspectorate spokesman Krzysztof Płatek told Jane’s on 22 April. Poland will buy 60 Javelin command launch units (CLUs) and 180 missiles, Błaszczak tweeted. The US Defense Security Cooperation Agency announced on 4 March that the State Department had notified Congress of the possible FMS to Poland of 180 Javelin missiles and 79 CLUs for USD100m. (Source: Defense News Early Bird/IHS Jane’s)
24 Apr 20. Construction kicks off at new $60m Queensland munitions plant. Rheinmetall NIOA Munitions (RNM) has begun construction of its shell forging plant, boosting confidence in the Fraser Coast economy as it grapples with the coronavirus pandemic slowdown.
More than 90 workers will be needed at the peak of construction, while 100 ongoing jobs will be created when the $60m facility is fully operational by 2022. The projectile plant has had the backing of both the federal government ($28.5m) and state government ($7.5m), recognising the importance of the defence industry to kick-start regional economies.
RNM Maryborough project manager Jeff Crabtree said Australian-owned building firm BADGE would lead a 14-month construction phase, which would be followed by the fit-out then commissioning late next year.
“This has been in the planning stages for two years, so it is very exciting to see work finally begin, especially at a time when the wider economy has been knocked around by the COVID-19 pandemic,” Crabtree said.
“The new building will not only be an employment-generator for the immediate future, but it will put this region on the map for years to come as a defence industry centre of excellence domestically and globally.”
BADGE will look to find skills across 40 different construction elements during the build, including all skilled trades, with a focus on the local area. At the same time, recruitment at RNM has already begun for senior managers and engineers with employment in advanced manufacturing roles to open late 2020, early 2021.
Roman Koehne, chairman of Rheinmetall NIOA Munitions, said, “We looked at sites around the world for a factory like this and in the end we settled on this region because we know we can draw on the skills, workmanship and expertise to make high-quality equipment.”
Robert Nioa, chief executive of NIOA and director of RNM, said, “Today is the beginning of a new chapter for NIOA and Rheinmetall with whom we have had a great relationship for the past 25 years. This project represents a deep commitment to the region and to building Australia’s sovereign capability.”
Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Development Michael McCormack added that production from the Maryborough facility would meet increasing demand for investment in munitions for the Australian Defence Force.
“The forging and manufacturing facility will ensure future resources supplied to the ADF will be Australian-made and create Australian industry capability now and into the future,” Minister McCormack said.
Queensland Minister for State Development and Manufacturing Cameron Dick said it was great to see construction commence on this game-changing project.
“The construction of the $60m Rheinmetall NIOA Munitions facility will provide a great boost for the Maryborough and Wide Bay Burnett jobs market both on the building site and through the supply chain, and with 100 long-term manufacturing jobs when the plant commences full production in 2022, it’s big-thinking, job-creating projects like this that the Queensland government is proud to assist,” Minister Dick said. (Source: Defence Connect)
23 Apr 20. Taiwan to upgrade Dagaie decoy launchers on RoCN’s Kang Ding-class frigates. The Taiwanese Ministry of National Defense (MND) announced on 6 April that it will upgrade the Lacroix Dagaie Mk 2 countermeasures/decoy launcher systems on the Republic of China Navy’s (RoCN’s) six Kang Ding (La Fayette)-class frigates to enhance the survivability of the warships against missile threats.
The MND did not provide further details about the planned upgrade but Taiwanese media reports stated that the ministry has earmarked TWD835m (USD27.8m) for the acquisition of Dagaie Mk 2 decoy launcher upgrade kits and ammunition from France.
Each frigate of the class is fitted with two Dagaie Mk 2 decoy launchers, which have been in service for more 25 years and are becoming obsolete, according to the MND. (Source: Defense News)
22 Apr 20. Hypersonic weapons aren’t fast enough to avoid coronavirus. The supply chain the Pentagon is relying on to develop hypersonic weapons for the future is feeling heat from the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic, a department official said Wednesday.
“Yeah, absolutely we are,” said Mark Lewis, the department’s director of research and engineering for modernization, when asked if his team is tracking any impacts on the hypersonic supply chain from the disease, which has shut down work for dozens of defense contractors around the country since it began in early March.
“We’re monitoring it very carefully. We’re concerned about our first-tier industrial providers, but also worried right down the supply chain,” Lewis added while speaking at an event hosted by the Mitchell Institute. “If you look at hypersonics, for example, some of the most critical elements are produced by relatively small operations, and so we’re very sensitive to that, we’re including that as we look at the impacts of coronavirus on the industrial base.”
Lewis, whose remit includes overseeing the work coming out of the departments research and engineering office on hypersonic weapons, added that his office is working with that of Ellen Lord, the Pentagon’s acquisitions head, to track coronavirus impacts “across the board.”
Lord on Monday said that 106 prime contractors have stopped work at some point since the start of the COVID-19 outbreak, with 68 having reopened, with a three-month delay expected for major defense programs. Small companies doing early R&D work for the department may be particularly vulnerable, experts have warned.
The department requested $3.2bn for research, development, testing and evaluation funds related to hypersonic weapons in FY21.
Lewis was already tracking the hypersonic industrial base as part of a “hypersonic war room.” That group is expected to deliver a preliminary report sometime in the next few months, which will help guide how the department invests in the technology going forward.
That war room is also trying to figure out how much a hypersonic weapon might cost, something he admitted simply isn’t known yet. However, he stressed that for the technology to be useful for the department, it has to have an acceptable cost.
“We have to think about it in terms of the affordability of the capability that we’re providing. By that I mean, if I’ve got a hypersonic system that costs twice as much as its subsonic counterpart but is five times more effective, clearly that’s an advantageous cost” trade off, Lewis said, adding his team has instructed the primes working on hypersonic systems to keep price in mind.
Lewis added that he is particularly interested in hypersonic weapons that can be mounted on wings or in bomb bays of aircraft, because he believes scramjet technology will eventually be cheaper than the current rocket-based technology; those weapons would likely be smaller as well, meaning more can be fit onto the platform.
“At the end of the day, we have to be careful we’re not building boutique weapons,” he added. “If we build boutique weapons, we’ll be very reluctant to use them.” (Source: Defense News Early Bird/Defense News)
22 Apr 20. Lungteh Shipbuilding lays keel for RoCN’s third and fourth ‘rapid minelayers.’ On 17 April Taiwan’s Lungteh Shipbuilding held a keel-laying ceremony for the third and fourth ‘rapid minelayers’ on order for the Republic of China Navy (RoCN). The announcement by the Ministry of National Defense (MND) in Taipei comes after work on the first ship of the class, the designation of which has yet to be disclosed, began on 24 May 2019, with the keel being laid on 14 November of that same year.
That ship is expected to the delivered in 2021. Work on the second one is also under way at the company’s facilities in Yilan County. Only four of these vessels are known to have been ordered by the RoCN.
According to computer generated-imagery released by the RoCN, each of these minelayers will be 41m long, 8.8m wide, have a hull draught of 1.7m, and a full-load displacement of 347 tonnes. Each of the vessels will be capable of reaching a top speed of 14kt, have a range of 2,000n miles, and be armed with a T75 20mm cannon and two T74 7.62mm machine guns. (Source: Jane’s)
23 Apr 20. US operations see major step change for EOS remote weapons systems. EOS Defense Systems USA successfully fired anti-tank missiles and a 30mm cannon from an EOS remote weapon station mounted on a High Mobility Multipurpose Wheeled Vehicle (HMMWV).
During the test, the team launched two Javelin missiles in between M230LF Bushmaster gun 30mm cannon fire volleys. Both systems were mounted on an EOS R400S Mk2 remote weapon station and validated that neither weapons’ employment adversely affected the other’s performance.
EOS and the Javelin Joint Venture, a partnership of Raytheon Technologies and Lockheed Martin, worked together to fully integrate the Javelin with the EOS remote weapon station within 10 months.
Grant Sanderson, chief executive of EOS Defence Systems, explained the importance of this milestone for the Australian company, telling Defence Connect, “We have been working on the integration the Javelin for the better part of a year and a half, technically it was a relatively straight forward program, it ended up coming together nicely working with key partners Raytheon and Lockheed Martin.”
Brigadier General (Ret’d) Phil Coker, CEO for EOS Defense Systems USA, explained the importance of the milestone: “This was an exceptional opportunity to fire one of the most lethal anti-tank missiles in the world in conjunction with a 30mm chain gun to validate that they are completely interoperable.
“We have now had successful integration and now we’re working that into delivery schedule for the customer, it’s been a great opportunity for the Australian and US-based teams of EOS to work with the US Army program office and the Javelin JV team to deliver this world-class capability.”
The R400S Mk2 is in full-rate production and is currently in use by six allied nations. The system can be mounted on a broad range of fighting and support vehicles, both wheeled and tracked.
The advanced technology of the system combined with the lightweight 30mm ATK M230 LF cannon provides light vehicles with unprecedented access to firepower normally reserved for much heavier (armoured) vehicles.
Sanderson added, “The vehicle this platform is destined for is in a similar scale to the Australian Army’s Hawkei and the US Army’s JLTV program, demonstrating the versatility and deployability of the capability. It demonstrates that there are no real limitations to where the R400 can be mounted.”
The R400S Mk2 operates a variety weapons including a machine gun, a 30mm lightweight cannon and an automatic grenade launcher.
The first round hit probability is provided through an enhanced integrated ballistic solution, which analyses weapon and ammunition data; range and ambient environment in addition to vehicle attitude and dynamics. Performance can be further enhanced with optional video track of targets and multi-axis stabilisation.
“The ability to effectively counter any manoeuvre threat on the modern battlefield is a significant advantage to an Army that has to deploy to any fight. At the same time, the capacity that the R400 offers to clearly identify friend-from-foe at the Javelin’s max range is an advantage that few other systems offer,” Coker added.
The R400S Mk2 is in service with the Australian Army and five other customers. Javelin was first deployed in 1996, and has been involved in more than 5,000 engagements by US and coalition forces.
EOS Defense Systems USA is a US company headquartered in Huntsville, Alabama. EOS’ parent company, Electro Optic Systems, is an Australian company that has been at the forefront of the development of remote weapon stations since 1993.
EOS is an industry leader in remote weapon station technology and continuously invests to improve currently fielded and developing stations. (Source: Defence Connect)
21 Apr 20. UAVenture Capital Fund Invests in Laser-Based Missile Counter Measure. UAVenture Capital (UAVC), a Tucson-based venture capital fund dedicated to the University of Arizona commercialization of discovery products, technology and services, today announced its fifteenth portfolio investment in just over two years. The Fund has invested in CMLaser Technologies, Inc, a Wyant College of Optical Sciences technology that intends to commercialize laser-based counter measures for both military and non-military aircraft.
The invested funds from UAVC will be utilized to further University of Arizona patented technologies designed to provide aircraft-based counter measures capable of detecting and defeating a missile born attack.
Dr. Nasser Peyghambarian is the inventor of the technology, currently operating from the University of Arizona Tech Park.
“Dr. Peyghambarian is a true superstar, and the Wyant College of Optical Sciences has an incredibly strong tradition of innovation in technologies that contribute to our national security and public safety,” said University of Arizona President Robert C. Robbins. “I am very glad to see the potential of this invention continue to develop with the support of an outstanding partner in UAVenture Capital.”
UAVenture Capital Fund II, LLC is a Tucson based investment fund designed specifically to help finance University of Arizona connected enterprises including the commercialization of faculty led innovations originating at the University of Arizona. The fund provides early stage capital to companies where the science or service array was pioneered by faculty members, students and/or colleagues at the University of Arizona, one of the top research universities in the world.
About University of Arizona James C. Wyant College of Optical Sciences:
The University of Arizona College of Optical Sciences is one of the world’s premier educational and research institutions in optics and photonics. Its focus is on educating outstanding students with a broad foundation in all areas of optics and on providing practical experience while developing highly competitive technical skills. The research programs include optical engineering, fundamental optical physics, photonics, and image science. The College provides unique opportunities to pursue cutting-edge applications of optics in real-life systems. Graduates become professors, scientists, engineers and entrepreneurs, working in academia, industry, government and business around the globe. (Source: PR Newswire)
21 Apr 20. U.S. says ‘deeply concerned’ with reports on Turkey’s efforts to turn on Russian missiles. The United States continues to object “strenuously” to Turkey’s purchase of Russian missile defense systems and is “deeply concerned” with reports that Ankara is continuing its efforts to make the weapons operational, U.S. State Department spokeswoman Morgan Ortagus told Reuters on Monday.
“We continue to stress at the highest levels that the S-400 transaction is the subject of ongoing CAATSA sanctions deliberations and it remains a major obstacle in the bilateral relationship and at NATO. We are confident that President Erdogan and his senior officials understand our position,” Ortagus said in an emailed statement. (Source: Reuters)
21 Apr 20. Guatemala showcases its new Indumil Galil SAR. The Guatemalan Army has begun equipping units with Industria Militar Colombiana’s (Indumil’s) new Galil short automatic rifle (SAR) Córdova 13.
Guatemala purchased 8,000 weapons from Indumil, a Colombian state-owned arms producer, in 2019 as part of a transaction with an estimated value of USD10m. Jane’s had been able to confirm that Guatemala is interested in buying an additional batch of rifles, but such an acquisition has been put on hold due to the Covid-19 pandemic. (Source: Jane’s)
21 Apr 20. Heckler & Koch begins delivery of M110A1 rifles to US Army. Heckler & Koch (H&K) have begun delivering new 7.62 mm chambered rifles to the US Army. The service received its first batch of new M110A1 Squad Designated Marksman Rifles (SDMRs) at the beginning of April, H&K announced in a 2 April press release. The rifles were manufactured at H&K’s facility in Oberndorf, Germany, before being shipped to the H&K-USA facility in Columbus, Georgia.
The new M110A1 is derived from the G28 and 417 rifles, and is part of a larger package that includes optical systems and other accessories. The M110A1 is designed to improve on the range and power of the 7.62 mm NATO round (compared to the 5.56 mm NATO round). (Source: Jane’s)
21 Apr 20. The Power of Short Range Air Defense. The Counter-Rocket Artillery and Mortar (C-RAM) system of systems was deployed in 2005 to address a joint urgent operational need to defend our troops against rocket, artillery and mortar attacks in four primary pillars: sense, warn, intercept and respond. Countless soldiers deployed over the past decade and a half have heard the jarring yet familiar “Incoming! Incoming!” siren warning in advance of an attack, while behind the scenes, the system developed and executed an intercept engagement plan. The C-RAM system is credited with saving hundreds of lives in theater, providing the precious seconds needed to take cover or lie down.
At the center of the C-RAM system is an enhanced version of the Forward Area Air Defense (FAAD) Command and Control (C2) software. FAAD C2 is the U.S. Army’s short range air defense (SHORAD) C2 program of record. It was originally fielded to defend maneuver forces against attacks by manned fixed wing and rotary wing aircraft. The combined software, now known as FAAD/C-RAM C2, is what senses and confirms the threat, provides early warning to the specific impact area at risk, tracks the threat trajectory, and engages the in-bound threats. Northrop Grumman has been the prime contractor for FAAD/C-RAM C2 responsible for developing and fielding this capability at home and across the globe since 1986.
FAAD/C-RAM C2 is an open, modular system that allows easy and rapid integration with available sensors, effectors and warning systems to enable rapid, real-time defense against short range and maneuvering threats. FAAD/C-RAM C2 is integrated with more than 20 different effectors and close to 15 sensor systems, as well as a number of additional external communication systems. It continues to demonstrate rapid, cost-effective integration of new systems to deliver greater situational awareness and protection as the operational environment evolves. Besides protecting vital military bases overseas, it also provides protection to cities like the U.S. national capital region, Washington D.C.
Extending the Mission – C-UAS
Even though FAAD/C-RAM C2 capabilities were developed as solutions to specific customer needs, they continue to evolve as a counter to new and emerging threats.
Countering Unmanned Aircraft Systems (C-UAS) is at the forefront of air defense and brings new challenges to the battlefield. There is no one-size-fits-all response to address these new threats. FAAD/C-RAM C2 is the U.S. Army’s C2 solution for C-UAS, currently fielded and engaging UAS daily with multiple effector systems. FAAD/C-RAM C2 is continuing to evolve to integrate new C-UAS sensors and effectors onto the network, including electronic warfare and directed energy systems to support this growing mission.
FAAD/C-RAM C2 was recently the main C2 system for the Army’s Maneuver and Fires Integration Experiment (MFIX), an annual event at Ft. Sill, Oklahoma. There, military and industry leaders showcased their latest technologies and capabilities aimed to fill gaps in long-range fires and maneuver short-range air defense. Among those new C-UAS capabilities that were integrated with FAAD/C-RAM C2 and demonstrated at MFIX were more portable, compact directed energy weapons systems.
Another example is the Army’s Mobile Low, Slow Unmanned Aerial Vehicle Integrated Defense Systems (MLIDS), a solution that has spent the last year testing at Yuma Proving Ground, Arizona. MLIDS is composed of two vehicles using FAAD/C-RAM C2 to cue, track, disrupt and destroy targets, including UAS. FAAD/C-RAM C2 also deploys and directs a one-time use attack UAS from the MLIDS vehicle that acts as a maneuverable missile. It’s a UAS for the C-UAS mission.
FAAD/C-RAM C2 also recently successfully tracked, engaged and defeated a UAS during the recent IM-SHORAD Weapon Safety Performance Test at White Sands Missile Range, the first successful engagement with a Longbow Hellfire missile from a vehicle that was using an onboard sensor. Also in the works, FAAD/C-RAM C2’s integration with Northrop Grumman’s capability to support the full C-UAS kill chain with lethal and nonlethal systems, including our own Bushmaster® Chain Guns® with advanced medium caliber ammunition (Programmable Air Bursting Munitions, Proximity Fuzed and Guided) and the Mobile Acquisition Cueing and Effector (M-ACE) system.
What Comes Next – M-SHORAD and IBCS
The SHORAD mission is gaining new emphasis as the Army modernizes its capabilities to protect maneuver forces around the globe. FAAD/C-RAM C2 is the Army’s directed solution for the initial maneuver solution (IM-SHORAD), as the Army continues to develop a longer term enduring solution, Objective or OM-SHORAD. FAAD/C-RAM C2 is also the foundational command and control system for Northrop Grumman’s Directed Energy M-SHORAD prototype solution and our fully integrated, mobile end-to-end offering for OM-SHORAD.
FAAD/C-RAM C2 was developed for short range air defense, and this and many other capabilities will ultimately converge into a much bigger command and control – the Integrated Air and Missile Defense Battle Command System (IBCS). This will extend the battlespace to enable both short and extended range air defense operations and provide revolutionary multi-domain defense capabilities for U.S., joint and coalition forces to address and defeat the evolving threat.
21 Apr 20. Russia boosts missile defence with S-350 systems. Russia’s Aerospace Force and Navy are set to receive additional self-propelled S-350 ‘Vityaz’ missile defence systems which the Defence Ministry’s Krasnaya Zvezda newspaper reports will increase capabilities fourfold. The S-350 is manufactured by Almaz-Antey and is capable of neutralising targets within a maximum range of 60km and at an altitude of 30km and offers protection against aerodynamic and ballistic threats. Each S-350 unit can be armed with up to 12 9M96E2 SAMs capable of reaching speeds of 1,945kt. Shephard’s Defence Insight shows that each SAM weighs 420kg. Initial delivers of the system were confirmed in December 2019 with the Aerospace Defence Military Academy also receiving a batch in early 2020. (Source: Shephard)
21 Apr 20. Soldier Lethality Cross Functional Team. Soldier Lethality CFT Director Discusses COVID-19 Impacts to the CFT’s Signature Modernization Effort.
“Agile processes are our strength, and frankly, it’s how we maintain momentum.” – BG David Hodne, SL CFT Director
The Army officer in charge of enhancing Soldier lethality praised an agile and nontraditional partnership with Microsoft for keeping the development of the Integrated Visual Augmentation System (IVAS) on schedule in spite of the challenges wrought by the COVID-19 pandemic.
The four weeks since the Army implemented strict measures to reduce the spread of the virus have been very telling, said Brig. Gen. David Hodne, the director of the Army Future Command’s Soldier Lethality Cross Functional Team, which leads the modernization enterprise developing the IVAS for the Close Combat Force. Team IVAS set out to keep the Soldiers and civilians working on the program safe without sacrificing time in the aggressive pursuit of critical next generation modernization technology.
“A month ago, we didn’t know what to expect as far as the potential impacts of the virus,” Hodne said. “The situation was still new, and we were just beginning to anticipate an extended period of mitigating measures, like a quarantine and social distancing and telework. Today, we’re still on track to deliver on time because we employed some creative solutions and rearranged the schedule in such a way as to move some things to the left and some to the right to keep us on target.”
IVAS, an augmented and virtual reality goggle system based on Microsoft’s HoloLens, is the SL CFT’s signature modernization effort. The “leap ahead technology” has made headlines since the concept was introduced when the Army partnered with Microsoft in November of 2018. New capabilities and a new approach to funding and acquisitions, all designed to return the force swiftly to a position of overmatch against peer threats in accordance with the National Defense Strategy, keeps IVAS in the crosshairs of skeptics.
“Our processes have understandably made some uncomfortable, largely because they don’t fit in the traditional manner in which we’ve done things in the Army,” Hodne said. “But the agile processes we’ve used throughout this effort are also our strength and, frankly, how we’ve maintained momentum.”
With restrictions on travel and gatherings, the pandemic has revealed the value of the methodologies Team IVAS has employed since inception, he said. The team consists of subject matter experts from the SL CFT, Program Executive Office Soldier, Army labs, Microsoft and the FORSCOM units who support the Soldier Touch Points (STPs) for which SL CFT has become known. The team is spread across the country, and members of each organization come together regularly to host the STPs that give Soldiers a critical voice in the process. STPs are high visibility events, popular with senior military leaders, Congress and the media, so the postponement of the much anticipated STP 3, from summer to fall, met with speculation that the fielding of IVAS to the troops would ultimately be delayed.
But that’s not the way it works, Hodne said. The development of IVAS has never been linear.
“It’s precisely because we take a nimble approach to our processes that we can shift Soldier Touch Point Three and still deliver all the same capabilities in the fall without impacting STP4 and the date we will equip that first unit. The team has always managed development across all the capability sets to capitalize on opportunities to accelerate technology or bring capabilities forward to get Soldier feedback early on,” he said. “This is an agile acquisition process that matches the agility of industry.”
That agility stems from the ability within the enterprises’ individual organizations to work concurrently on one aspect of the system or another – hardware, software, integration, etc.
“We can work software remotely, we can test it remotely, and we can come together using collaborative tools for design reviews. What we cannot do is get together at a location where we can’t maintain a responsible separation. Those are the things that we’re having to work our way around today to figure out what can we substitute in place and figure out how to mitigate the impacts to the schedule when those touch points are delayed,” Hodne said. “The incremental approach we take, with user juries and studies and touch points, lends itself to adjustments at any point for any reason. We adjust, we adapt; it’s what we’ve always done. In this case, it happens to be COVID-19.”
Some of the practices implemented across the national workforce because of the virus were already considered Team IVAS best practices, he said.
“Teleworking and remote distributed operations from coast to coast were fairly unique to this program and unique to this partnership before the pandemic made them commonplace, at least for the time being, in the national workforce. We’ve been operating in this mode for the last few years, and it so many ways it has been the key to our success.”
Though the pandemic situation remains dynamic, Hodne said, the experience has underscored the resilience of AFC’s innovative approach to modernization.
“COVID-19 is having an impact here as it as it is across the nation. But the (IVAS) team is driving on to the objective, and we absolutely have a plan to maintain our first unit equipped for IVAS in the fourth quarter of fiscal year 21,” Hodne said. “We’ve hit every mark. We’ve made every milestone. We’ve been able to provide even more capabilities than we had originally
anticipated. It’s a rare program, not only to go this fast, but for the collective team to accomplish so much in the face of so many challenges. And we really don’t see that changing here in the near future.”
Hodne said the third STP, now scheduled to start in mid to late October, will put to the test the first ruggedized military form factor of the IVAS. STP 4, in the early part of 2021, will put IVAS to the test at the company level in a variety of combat scenarios to challenge system performance and network integration across multiple echelons.
21 Apr 20. With strong support from Germany, HENSOLDT’s South Korean partner company, Huneed Technologies, was able to deliver the first eight final assembled MILDS AN/AAR-60 in Korea to Korea Aerospace Industries (KAI) on time on April 1, 2020. The delivered missile warning systems will be integrated into the Korean Utility Helicopter (KUH) and the Maritime Utility Helicopter (MUH).
Huneed is responsible for the production of two printed circuit boards, configuration and calibration, final assembly and testing of the MILDS missile warner on behalf of HENSOLDT within the scope of offset obligations. HENSOLDT completed, approved and commissioned the MILDS final production line in South Korea in less than two years.
The HENSOLDT team supported Huneed with the delivery working from home as well as during the shutdown in Germany to ensure on-time delivery. They will continue to support Huneed in the future to solve all kinds of problems and to deliver the MILDS “knock-down kits”. By the end of April 2020, Huneed is to supply three additional sensors and by November 2020 a further 85 sensors. In total, the offset commitments currently have a volume of 258 sensors.
The Missile Launch Detection System AN/AAR-60 (MILDS) is qualified for installation on-board a wide variety of tactical rotary-wing and wide-body aircraft including NH-90, Tiger, UH-60, CH-47, C-130 and P-3. With more than 7,000 sensors sold so far, MILDS has earned a worldwide reputation for reliability and effectiveness.
21 Apr 20. Turkey’s S-400 plans delayed because of coronavirus. Turkey’s plans to activate its new Russian missile defence systems S-400 have been delayed due to Covid-19 outbreak; however, it does not plan to halt its decision of switching on the system, which was delivered by Moscow last July, reported Reuters, citing a senior official. Turkey’s decision to activate the air defence system had created tensions with the US, which last year ejected Turkey from the F-35 programme in response. (Source: army-technology.com)
19 Apr 20. CSB accelerates JSOW C-1 NEW integration on F-35. The F-35 Joint Program Office (JPO) Configuration Steering Board (CSB) has approved an accelerated timeline to integrate a Joint Stand-Off Weapon (JSOW) C-1 full Network-Enabled Weapons (NEW) capability on the F-35 Lightning II platform. Sanctioned in February, the CSB decision accelerates by approximately two years the JSOW C-1 NEW capability on the F-35, with funding already programmed to support the C-1 integration effort. NEW effectively enables a Moving Maritime Target (MMT) capability for the C-1.
A joint US Navy (USN)-led USN/US Air Force (USAF) programme, the Raytheon Missiles & Defence (RMD) AGM-154 JSOW is comprised of a family of 1,000 Ib-class, advanced glide munitions. The AGM-154C-1, along with the AGM-154C (JSOW Block IIIC), are the latest design JSOW production variants.
The AGM-154C incorporates the UK-developed BROACH (Bomb Royal Ordnance Augmented Charge) multi-stage warhead – consisting of a 100 kg (220 lb) penetrating shaped-charge in front of a 145 kg (320 lb) conventional follow-through warhead, an uncooled, long-wave imaging infrared (IIR) seeker with autonomous target acquisition algorithms for precision Stationary Land Target (SLT) engagements. The AGM-154C-1 NEW variant adds a Rockwell Collins TacNet 1.5 dual-waveform (UHF and Link 16) Strike Common Weapon Datalink (SCWDL), enabling the weapon – which can interface with the USN/USAF Multifunctional Information Distribution System Joint Tactical Radio System (MIDS JTRS) – to be retargeted after launch, for Stationary Land Target (SLT)/Re-locatable Land Target (RLT) engagements. The JSOW C-1 weapon also incorporates a redesign of, and software modification to, the IIR seeker algorithm to support a network-enabled MMT engagement capability. The JSOW C Block III and C-1 variants have a stated range of 130km (80.0 miles/70.0 n miles) at high altitude (40,000 ft), and 22km (13.7 miles/11.9n miles) at low altitude. (Source: Jane’s)
20 Apr 20. The USAF made a surprise decision to sole-source the Long Range Standoff Weapon. In a surprise move, the Air Force on Friday announced plans to continue its Long Range Standoff Weapon program with Raytheon as the prime contractor.
The LRSO program, which aims to field a new air-launched cruise missile capable of both nuclear and conventional strikes, is currently in its technology maturation and risk reduction phase, with both Raytheon and Lockheed Martin developing their own versions of the weapon.
Typically, the Air Force would downselect to a single company in fiscal year 2022, when it awarded the engineering and manufacturing development contract that precedes low-rate production.
However, the Air Force decided to press ahead with Raytheon’s design after an “extensive evaluation” of the company’s technology as presented during the preliminary design review, said Maj. Gen. Shaun Morris, who leads the Air Force Nuclear Weapons Center.
“Our competitive TMRR phase, which included both Lockheed Martin and Raytheon as the prime contractors, enabled us to select a high-confidence design at this point in the acquisition process,” he said, according to an Air Force release.
“And this early off-ramp of a contractor is completely in line with the existing LRSO acquisition strategy, which included periodic reviews to assess contractor designs,” Morris said. “Lockheed Martin has been an excellent contractor and partner throughout the TMRR effort and this pivot to Raytheon does not represent a lack of effort or commitment on their part. Lockheed Martin has supported the nuclear enterprise for decades and we continue to value their expertise in sensors and nuclear certification and surety.”
Elizabeth Thorn, the service’s program manager, characterized the decision as “not a downselect, per se,” adding that the Air Force will continue to work with Lockheed on specific technologies that could drive down risk to the LRSO design or otherwise be beneficial to the program.
The Air Force noted that the company had begun the “closeout process” to stop work on risk reduction phase of the program, leaving Lockheed’s precise role in the LRSO program unclear.
“We’ve supported our nation’s nuclear triad for more than 60 years and look forward to working with the USAF to support the LRSO mission, specifically leveraging our sensor technology and nuclear certification and surety expertise,” Lockheed said in a statement.
LRSO is set to replace the AGM-86B Air Launched Cruise Missile or ALCM, but the program has come under intermittent fire from lawmakers who believe that arming aircraft with a weapon that could be either nuclear or conventional could unnecessarily raise the risk of miscalculation, triggering a nuclear war.
The Air Force has argued that it needs a nuclear missile that can be fired from standoff distances to enable the non-stealthy B-52 to remain a credible deterrent to adversaries with advanced air defense systems.
Due to the decision to select Raytheon early, the Air Force wants to shift funding that will allow the company to begin certain work early, such as flight tests, the service said. A contract award for the next phase of the program is still scheduled for fiscal year 2022.
Morris added that the service was also confident in its ability to keep the program affordable in a sole-source environment, despite the lack of competition that usually helps the government negotiate a lower-cost product.
Roman Schweizer, a defense analyst with Cowen Washington Research Group, said the Air Force’s announcement prompts additional questions about Lockheed’s future role and the information both companies presented during the preliminary design view.
“It’s possible the USAF made an industrial base/cost decision based on other long-range weapons,” he wrote in an email to investors. “Singling up on LRSO could have been an industrial base decision or a way to reduce cost and speed up development.”
In a statement, Raytheon noted that the company is on track to complete risk reduction efforts by January 2022.
“LRSO will be a critical contributor to the air-launched portion of America’s nuclear triad,” said Wes Kremer, president of Raytheon Missiles and Defense. (Source: Defense News)
20 Apr 20. DOD Announces New Allied Prototyping Initiative Effort with Norway to Continue Partnership in Advancing Solid Fuel Ramjet Technologies. The U.S. Department of Defense and the Norwegian Ministry of Defence announced their intent to continue a bilateral effort to explore advanced solid fuel ramjet technologies. The Tactical High-speed Offensive Ramjet for Extended Range, or THOR-ER, is an Allied Prototyping Initiative (API) effort under the Directorate for Advanced Capabilities within the Office of the Under Secretary of Defense for Research and Engineering.
The THOR-ER effort aims to cooperatively develop and integrate advancements in solid fuel ramjet technologies into full-size prototypes that are affordable, attain high-speeds, and achieve extended range, culminating in flight demonstrations in operationally relevant conditions. The effort will also consider potential U.S. and Norwegian co-production opportunities.
“This continuation is an important next step in advancing high-speed propulsion technologies with our Norwegian partners,” said Dr. Michael Griffin, Under Secretary for Research and Engineering. “It will drive fielding of the critical technologies needed to ensure U.S. and Allied military superiority in hypersonic systems.”
THOR-ER continues collaborative research efforts involving the U.S. Navy’s Naval Air Warfare Center, Weapons Division China Lake; the Norwegian Defence Research Establishment; and Norwegian industry partner Nammo.
“I am very pleased with the prospects of this initiative. Not only will it provide a game changing capability for our Armed Forces, it also brings bilateral cooperation to a whole new level,” said Mr. Morten Tiller, Norwegian National Armaments Director. “The THOR-ER development incorporates the results of long term R&D on missile and rocket technology in Norway. In my opinion this merger of US and Norwegian R&D efforts and engineering skills strengthens alliance innovation, in addition it represents an opportunity for closer defence industrial base cooperation”.
“Nammo’s new propulsion solutions are closing the range gap between the US and its future potential adversaries. Our involvement in THOR-ER allows us to bring together the best of US and Norwegian propulsion technology through the framework of a bilateral US-Norwegian partnership, and this fits perfectly with our long term ambitions,” said Morten Brandtzæg, President and CEO of Nammo Group.
The Allied Prototyping Initiative, launched in 2019 by the Office of the Under Secretary of Defense for Research and Engineering through its Advanced Capabilities directorate, leverages new and existing frameworks for international cooperation in research and development, so that the U.S. and its closest Allies can co-develop prototypes to bolster their military superiority. The goal of the API is to rapidly co-develop high-impact, game-changing, large-scale operational prototypes and to explore opportunities to energize the industrial bases within the U.S. and its closest Allies. (Source: US DoD)
20 Apr 20. The U.S. Air Force announced plans to continue with Raytheon Missiles & Defense, a business of Raytheon Technologies (NYSE: RTX), on the development of the Long-Range Standoff (LRSO) cruise missile, a strategic weapon that will replace the service’s legacy Air-Launched Cruise Missile.
“LRSO will be a critical contributor to the air-launched portion of America’s nuclear triad,” said Wes Kremer, president of Raytheon Missiles & Defense. “Providing a modernized capability to the U.S. Air Force will strengthen our nation’s deterrence posture.”
In 2017, the U.S. Air Force awarded Raytheon and Lockheed Martin contracts for the Technology Maturation and Risk Reduction (TMRR) phase of the program. The Raytheon Missiles & Defense LRSO team recently passed its preliminary design review and is on track to complete the TMRR phase of the defense acquisition process by January 2022.
Contract negotiations for the engineering and manufacturing development phase, with a strong focus on schedule realism, affordability, and cost-capability trades, will start in fiscal year 2021. The contract award is anticipated in fiscal year 2022.
17 Apr 20. Boxer to be demonstrated with John Cockerill Defense’s C3105 turret. Belgium’s John Cockerill Defense is supplying its latest-generation C3105 turret armed with their 105 mm High Pressure (HP) rifled gun to Krauss-Maffei Wegmann for installation on the rear mission module of the Boxer 8×8 Multi-Role Armoured Vehicle (MRAV). This combination is being developed using internal research-and-development funding and is expected to undertake firing trials later in 2020. The Boxer MRAV is deployed by Australia, Germany, Lithuania and the Netherlands, and is on order for the British Army. The John Cockerill Defense C3105 is a member of the C3000 series of turrets that are in volume production for the export market with over 450 built to date and with production still underway. (Source: Jane’s)
17 Apr 20. Russia shows willingness to include new nuke, hypersonic weapon in arms control pact. U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov discussed arms control and other issues Friday as Moscow has signaled readiness to include some of its latest nuclear weapons in the last remaining arms control pact between the two countries. But first Washington must accept the Kremlin’s offer to extend the agreement.
The State Department said the two top diplomats discussed next steps in the bilateral strategic security dialogue. Pompeo emphasized that any future arms control talks must be based on U.S. President Donald Trump’s vision for a trilateral arms control agreement that includes China along with the U.S. and Russia, the State Department said.
Russian President Vladimir Putin has offered to extend the New START arms control treaty that expires in 2021. The Trump administration has pushed for a new pact that would include China as a signatory. Moscow has described that goal as unrealistic given Beijing’s reluctance to discuss any deal that would reduce its much smaller nuclear arsenal.
Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov said Friday that Russia’s new Sarmat heavy intercontinental ballistic missile and the Avangard hypersonic glide vehicle could be counted along with other Russian nuclear weapons under the treaty.
The Sarmat is still under development, while the first missile unit armed with the Avangard became operational in December.
The New START Treaty, signed in 2010 by U.S. President Barack Obama and Russian President Dmitry Medvedev, limits each country to no more than 1,550 deployed nuclear warheads and 700 deployed missiles and bombers.
The treaty, which can be extended by another five years, envisages a comprehensive verification mechanism to check compliance, including on-site inspections of each side’s nuclear bases.
New START is the only U.S.-Russia arms control pact still in effect. Arms control experts have warned that its demise could trigger a new arms race and upset strategic stability. (Source: Defense News)
17 Apr 20. New Chinese BVRAAM spotted on PLAAF JH-7A fighter bomber. The same beyond-visual-range air-to-air missile (BVRAAM) that was first spotted on a People’s Liberation Army Air Force (PLAAF) J-16 fighter aircraft in November 2016 has now also been photographed being carried by a JH-7A fighter-bomber.
The latest image of the missile, which is only the second photograph to have emerged so far, was posted on Chinese online forums in mid-April. It is unclear when and where the image was taken but it shows that the missile, the official designation of which has yet to be made public, is significantly larger than any other AAM operated by the PLAAF, including the new PL-15 BVRAAM. (Source: Jane’s)
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.