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01 May 20. Aussie SME Aquaterro launches sovereign small arms facility. Australian-owned and operated Aquaterro has officially opened the Broad Arrow Forge facility, a premier ultra-high-security facility in south-eastern Melbourne, marking a critical investment in the nation’s high-quality, high-tech sovereign defence industry capability.
The new 5,000 square metre facility will also be the new and compartmented home to Broad Arrow Forge. Broad Arrow Forge represents the armament and EO engineering, armourer, service, and secure facilities division and skillsets of the Bulte Group.
The company leverages the 25-year experience of the group in providing unique survival, protective and equipment for people, as well as armaments and ammunition; Broad Arrow Forge was spun off from the product group to better and separately support Australasian customers seeking high-level engineering services in the defence and LE sector.
Group CEO and founder, Graeme Bulte, said, “We firmly believe in the future of Australian-owned defence capability in Australia. This significant investment of many millions of dollars of our own money in specialist infrastructure and technology capability. It shows our belief in Defence and law enforcement opportunities going forward.”
The new facility includes a number of specialist defence and law enforcement-oriented features, including:
- Around 5,000 square metres: 100 per centAustralian owned industry investments in dedicated Defence and LE small arms and weapon storage, handling and maintenance facilities;
- Secure warehouse vault storage for small arms and prohibited items;
- Instrumented, multi-lane, indoor 100-metre shooting range for demonstration, testing and training;
- Classroom/training space;
- High level of physical and ICT security;
- Secure video teleconferencing facilities;
- In-house design workshop;
- In-house prototyping using carbon fibre, ABS, and PLA additive manufacturing (3D printing), laser cutting, and CNC router (e.g. custom weapon case inserts); and
- Technical sewing workshop for prototyping, manufacture, and repair of clothing and equipment.
Bulte explained the importance of the sovereign industry capability to Defence Connect, “All the employees are high-tech, high-skills, high-wage, high-value added positions, it is a great investment in Australia’s sovereign defence industry capability and the workforce needed to support the nation’s defence capability.”
Aquaterro, Broad Arrow Forge, and the Bulte Group is 100 per cent Australian owned – with no foreign or multi-national partners, shareholders or investors.
“A lot of the additive manufacturing supports the holistic systems integration across ADF, so what we found was computer-assisted design and additive manufacturing enabled to design and introduce the efficient integration of disparate systems, both new and legacy to support the operator,” Bulte added.
Aquaterro is the leading provider of operational, tactical and safety equipment to professional users in Australia and the Australasian region.
“We look at the soldier or police officer as the platform, whether the soldier or officer wears it or carries it, that is our space,” Bulte told Defence Connect.
Aquaterro supplies every state, territory and federal law enforcement and border protection agency in the country, and we are a key supplier to the Australian Defence Force across all services.
Aquaterro is trusted by the world’s leading manufacturers to provide support and service to its select Premium Retail Dealer Network, and to government, military and commercial end users. (Source: Defence Connect)
30 Apr 20. Lockheed Martin’s PrSM Proves Reliability in Third U.S. Army Flight Test. Achievement advances missile closer to early Army acquisition of new long-range capabilities. Lockheed Martin (NYSE: LMT) successfully tested its next-generation long-range missile designed for the Army’s Precision Strike Missile (PrSM) program at White Sands Missile Range, New Mexico. All objectives were achieved in the third and final flight demonstration as part of the Technology Maturation and Risk Reduction phase of the program. Today’s flawless performance follows a highly accurate inaugural flight last December and equally successful March 10 test event.
PrSM was fired from Lockheed Martin’s High Mobility Artillery Rocket System (HIMARS™) launcher and flew approximately 85 kilometers to the target area, culminating in a highly accurate and lethal warhead event.
“Today’s PrSM test, a highly stressful short-range shot, represents the third successful flight test proving the effectiveness, survivability and reliability of the tactical baseline missile,” said Gaylia Campbell, vice president of Precision Fires and Combat Maneuver Systems at Lockheed Martin Missiles and Fire Control.
Test objectives included confirming flight trajectory, range and accuracy from launch to warhead event, as well as warhead lethality, HIMARS launcher integration and overall missile performance.
Last month, the success of PrSM’s test flights, program execution and overall performance resulted in Lockheed Martin earning the privilege to move to the next phase and continue maturation of the next-generation long-range precision fires solution for the U.S. Army.
“We’ve validated the design and performance of our baseline tactical missile and are already working with our Army partner on Engineering Design Testing, production readiness and fielding requirements to support the future needs of the Soldier,” Campbell said.
The next-generation precision-strike, surface-to-surface weapon system will deliver enhanced capabilities for attacking, neutralizing, suppressing and destroying targets at depth on the battlefield and gives field artillery units a new long-range capability while supporting brigade, division, corps, Army, theater, Joint and Coalition forces.
For more than 40 years, Lockheed Martin Missiles and Fire Control 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 Guided MLRS to domestic and international customers.
30 Apr 20. Serbia extends artillery range to 40km. A Serbian-developed NORA-B52 M15 155 mm/52 calibre 8×8 wheeled self-propelled gun-howitzer and LRSVM M18 Modularni Oganj (Modular Fire) multiple rocket launcher (MRL) have achieved a range of 40 km during live firings, the Ministry of Defence (MoD) announced on its website on 25-26 April.
The firings took place on the Pasuljanske livade training ground. Attending the test firing of the NORA-B52 by the Serbian Army’s (KoV’s) Mixed Artillery Brigade on 25 April, Defence Minister Aleksandar Vulin said that it was the first time the army has fired a projectile 40 km since 1991, adding that this “has proven that we are able to regain the capabilities we once had”.
The KoV’s Technical Test Center test fired three G-2000 extended range rockets from a modernised Modularni Oganj system featuring a new armoured cabin. (Source: Jane’s)
29 Apr 20. South Korea to develop new submachine gun to replace K1A. The South Korea’s Defense Acquisition Program Administration (DAPA) announced on 31 March that it has begun seeking offers from local weapon manufacturers to develop a submachine gun to replace the S&T Motiv K1A 5.56mm short‐barrelled assault rifle currently used by the Republic of Korea Armed Forces. Development of the new weapon, which is expected to cost at least KRW3.8bn (USD3.1mn), is to be carried out within 36 months after a contract has been signed with the selected company.
DAPA provided no further details about the requirements for the new submachine gun, which is expected to be first handed over to the country’s special forces, before it is rolled out across other military units. Among the companies likely to submit bids are S&T Motiv, which at the Seoul International Aerospace and Defense Industry Exhibition 2019 presented its STC-16 submachine gun, and Dasan Machineries, which makes the CAR816. The K1A, which is described in marketing literature as a sub-machine gun, entered service with the South Korean military in 1982, with about 180,000 units produced so far, including exports. (Source: Jane’s)
29 Apr 20. Kongsberg’s MCT-30 selected for USMC’s Amphibious Combat Vehicle-30 line. The US Marine Corps’ (USMC’s) 30 mm cannon Amphibious Combat Vehicle (ACV-30) is slated to be outfitted with Kongsberg’s Protector Medium Caliber Turret 30 mm (MCT-30). BAE Systems is expected to produce four ACV variants including the personnel carrier (ACV-P), command and control (ACV-C), recovery (ACV-R), and ACV-30. For the latter, the company has decided to integrate Kongsberg’s MCT-30 onto the vehicle, a BAE Systems spokesperson told Jane’s on 29 April. Kongsberg did not immediately return Jane’s request for information, but its MCT-30 is a remote weapon station developed for wheeled and tracked armoured fighting vehicles and its main weapon is the XM813 30mm Mk44 Bushmaster chain gun. (Source: Jane’s)
30 Apr 20. Thales produces first munition lot for Australia Air Force. Thales Australia has completed the first production lot of a new Australian-made munition, BLU-111, for the airforce. Australia Minister for Defence Industry Melissa Price said that the milestone was a key addition to the country’s F-35A Joint Strike Fighter capability. Price added that 15 Australian companies, including five small businesses, were involved in this work.
Thales’ new BLU-111 will have the same range and performance metrics as currently used General Purpose Bombs. However, the new munition will be significantly safer to store, transport and operate.
Price said: “This work establishes a strategically important sovereign manufacturing capability to support the Australian Defence Forces. It is a practical example of the government’s ongoing commitment to domestic manufacturing of munitions, which is one of the ten Sovereign Industrial Capability Priorities under the 2018 Defence Industrial Capability Plan.”
Last year, the Sovereign Industrial Capability Priority Industry Plan for Munitions and Small Arms Research, Design, Development and Manufacture was released by the Australian Government. Sovereign Industrial Capability Priorities are critical to defence and must be developed or supported by Australian industry. They identify various elements of the Australian Defence industrial base at a capability level to encourage innovation in existing technologies.
In October 2018, the Royal Australian Air Force’s (RAAF) No 3 Squadron received the tenth F-35A JSF at Luke Air Force Base (AFB) in Arizona, US.
This was followed by acceptance testing activities and marked an important milestone in the Australian JSF project. The new aircraft joined the other Australian F-35 aircraft on the flight line. (Source: naval-technology.com)
29 Apr 20. USAF issues solicitation for hypersonic cruise missile capabilities statements. The US Air Force (USAF) has initiated the research process for the potential acquisition of an air-launched hypersonic conventional air-to-surface cruise missile.
According to the provisions of a ‘Future Hypersonics Program’ Sources Sought notification issued on 28 April in conjunction with the US Department of Defense (DoD), US Air Force Materiel Command (AFMC), and US Air Force Life Cycle Management Center (AFLCMC) Armament Directorate, the USAF “is currently conducting market research seeking capabilities statements from potential sources … for an effort involving systems integration of a Weapon Open System Architecture (WOSA)-based, solid-rocket boosted, air-breathing, hypersonic conventional cruise missile, air-launched from existing fighter/bomber aircraft into a preliminary design”. (Source: Jane’s)
29 Apr 20. PLAGF brigade in Eastern Theatre Command also operates new 155mm SPH. Chinese state-owned television has revealed that the People’s Liberation Army Ground Force’s (PLAGF’s) new 155mm wheeled self-propelled howitzer – believed to have the designation PLC-181 – is also being operated by an artillery brigade under the People’s Liberation Army’s (PLA’s) Eastern Theatre Command.
In a video posted online on 28 April, the China Central Television 7 (CCTV 7) channel reported that the 25-tonne SPH, which is manufactured by China North Industries Corporation (Norinco) and has the export designation SH-15, features an automatic gun-laying system, a semi-automatic ammunition loading system, a digitised control board, and has room for six personnel in the cabin area (including the driver). The video also shows that the brigade has been equipped with at least 15 units of the SPH.
No further details were provided regarding the system – which may also bear the designation PLL-18, as this meets previously understood PLA designation conventions – or concerning other PLAGF units currently operating the SPH, which has been in service since at least January 2019. At the time, the state-owned Global Times newspaper reported that a PLAGF artillery brigade stationed in Tibet had been equipped with the new SPH to “boost its combat capability and improve border security”.
According to Norinco, the SH-15, which is based on a 6×6 truck chassis and is capable of travelling at a top speed of 90 km/h on roads, is fitted with a 155mm L52 howitzer capable of firing between four and six rounds per minute. (Source: Jane’s)
30 Apr 20. Watpac to build naval guided weapons facility in Western Sydney. Construction firm Watpac has secured a $67m contract to build the new naval guided weapons maintenance facility at Orchard Hills in Western Sydney. Serving as lead contractor for the project, Watpac plans to work closely with the Department of Defence as well as project partners. When finished, the base will accommodate 30 personnel, dispatch areas, as well as a maintenance workshop and test facilities.
“The award was testament to the company’s extensive experience in Defence and part of a long-term strategy,” said Watpac CEO Jean-Pol Bouharmont. “We are pleased to be collaborating again with the Department of Defence and partners on this project, which will benefit from our multidecade track record, including over 30 successful Defence projects worth more than $1bn. Watpac has a strong Australian heritage and commitment to building the nation with public and private sector clients, offering enhanced expertise through global leader BESIX Group.”
Watpac also said that it is committed to source 95 per cent of sub-contract work from the local industry which is 50 kilometres of Defence Establishment Orchard Hills.
Watpac defence sector head Kelvin Black said, “Local people and businesses of Western Sydney are set to benefit from construction activity and Watpac’s commitment to source 95 per cent of total sub-contract work within 50 kilometres of the site, and trade packages will be shared via the ICN Gateway as they become available.” (Source: Defence Connect)
28 Apr 20. Financial impacts of virus cause Argentina to postpone OPV gun buy. The Argentine government has postponed plans to acquire Leonardo’s Marlin-WS turrets with 30 mm guns slated for the navy’s four new Bouchard-class Offshore Patrol Vessels (OPVs) because funds have been diverted to address the impacts of Covid-19. The gun systems were scheduled to be ordered in 2019. The delay means the first two ships are likely to be deployed without the weapons. The guns, selected in 2018, are needed to support the OPV missions to stop illegal fishing in Argentina’s exclusive economic zone (EEZ) waters. Those operating the biggest fishing trawlers and other commercial ships often try to ram patrol boats trying to enforce territorial claims. (Source: Jane’s)
27 Apr 20. US Army Rebuilds Artillery Arm For Large-Scale War. The service’s new AimPoint plan builds very different forces for Europe and the Pacific – but new high-level artillery HQs are central to both. Call it the once and future king of battle. The Army’s artillery branch, neglected over 20 years of hunting guerrillas, is being revived as the long-range striking arm for multi-domain warfare against Russia and China. That will affect everything from what missiles the service buys, to which officers get promoted, to how the service organizes itself for battle – a force structure outlined in a new Army Futures Command study called AimPoint.
The biggest change? Having already created two experimental Multi-Domain Task Forces built around artillery brigades, the Army now plans to build new high-level headquarters called Theater Fires Commands to coordinate long-range missile warfare on a continent-wide scale.
“That is a direct output of AimPoint,” said Lt. Gen. Eric Wesley, whose Futures & Concepts Center developed the force structure plan. While the Theater Fires Commands do not exist yet, he said, the service has already begun setting aside manpower in its Total Army Analysis process to staff them.
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In AimPoint’s vision of the future, “the brigades largely look very similar to what you might see right now… except for your [increased] ability to connect to national assets” in space and cyberspace, Lt. Gen. Wesley told reporters last week in a wide-ranging discussion. (Read more here). The big changes, he said, will come at higher levels – division, corps, and theater command – that have largely played a supporting role in highly localized counterinsurgency operations, but which must take the lead in coordinating large-scale campaigns against well-armed nation-states.
“If you look at echelons above brigade, what we’re having to do is build out our capacity to fight large-scale, campaign-quality combat,” he said. “Those echelons we have mortgaged a bit in the last 20 or 30 years because our BCTs [Brigade Combat Teams] were so powerful relative to our opponent. [Today], because we are being contested in all domains and our two peer competitors are investing in their militaries, we have to build back some of that campaign quality at echelon, with the distinction being you’ve got to have information warfare, you’ve got to have cyber, you’ve got to have space access.”
Once the shooting starts, however – and even before, when you’re trying to deter the other side from shooting at all – you still need old-fashioned firepower, with a 21st century twist.
Artillery has been a US Army strength since World War II, when its ability to quickly coordinate far-flung howitzer batteries to pour overwhelming fire on a chosen target was one of the few things the German Wehrmacht feared. But back then, and even throughout the Cold War, the limits of radio networks, artillery range and precision targeting meant artillery could only be decisive on the tactical level, supporting the face-to-face battle of infantry and tanks.
Today, however, the precision-guided missiles that the US, Russia, and China are developing have such long ranges – hundreds or thousands of miles – that you need satellites to spot suitable targets and send back targeting data, plus superior cyber warriors to protect that communications network from hostile hackers. Bringing all those technologies together in the right organization with well-trained personnel, and artillery can make a decisive impact on theater-wide operations or even the strategic level.
Dead Branch Resurrecting?
But there’s a problem. Over the three decades between the end of the Cold War and the reawakening to Russian and Chinese threats, the Army neglected its artillery branch. In 2002, the Army actually disbanded the artillery brigades in its divisions and dispersed their component battalions across its armor and infantry brigades. Then, in Afghanistan and Iraq, US firepower was so overwhelmingly superior, and air support was so readily available for even small patrols, that artillery troops rarely got to fire their guns, even in training, and were routinely retasked for other duties. By 2008, three artillery colonels co-wrote a paper that called their arm of service a “dead branch walking.”
Meanwhile, Russian and Chinese howitzers, rocket launchers and surface-to-surface missiles came to not only outnumber but also outperform their aging US counterparts. That led Lt. Gen. Wesley’s predecessor as the Army’s chief futurist, Lt. Gen. H.R. McMaster, to tell Congress in 2016 that “we are outranged and outgunned.” The next year, in October 2017, the Army officially made Long-Range Precision Fires its No. 1 modernization priority.
Now the Army is urgently developed new artillery systems, from rocket-boosted, precision-guided howitzer shells with a range of 40 miles, to 300-plus-mile tactical missiles, to hypersonic weapons that can fly thousands of miles at more than Mach 10. But technology alone is not enough.
After two decades of its soldiers rarely getting to use artillery, the Army now needs experienced gunners to run its new high-level Fires Commands and make the most of its new long-range missiles. Sure, infantry and tank brigade commanders can call in strikes on the targets they see in front of them in a tactical fight. But it takes senior artillery officers and experienced, specialist staff to choose the most critical targets for an entire theater of war and to coordinate long-range strikes over hundreds of miles. While the Army recreated division-level artillery headquarters in 2014, it is now studying long-range fires commands at the corps and theater levels.
What’s more, the different theaters will require a different mix, not only of artillery systems, but of all the supporting players being developed as part of the Army’s “Big Six”: Long-Range Precision Fires, Next Generation Combat Vehicles, Future Vertical Lift, Networks, , Air & Missile Defense (also an artillery branch mission), and Soldier Lethality gear.
For Indo-Pacific Command, focused on the Chinese threat, the vast expanse of ocean means the Army must support the Navy. That means long-range artillery batteries – very long range, given the distances involved – based on friendly islands to control the surrounding sea lanes, forming unsinkable anvils for the Navy’s highly mobile hammer. But, Wesley said, that also requires advanced air and missile defense systems to blunt the enemy’s own long-range salvos, long-range high-speed aircraft to move ground forces from island to island and a sophisticated, secure network to coordinate it all.
In Europe, by contrast, the distances are shorter – requiring a different mix of missiles – and ground combat is the central front, with small and largely landlocked seas on either flank. That makes armored ground vehicles and soldier gear, from new rifles to targeting goggles, much more important than in the Pacific.
Those profound differences mean the Army cannot create a single universal unit with one set of equipment that can adapt to every situation, as the cancelled Future Combat Systems program once attempted. Even if a one-size-fits-all Army somehow made sense tactically, Wesley said, it wouldn’t work out technologically. With rapid advances in computing affecting everything from targeting to logistics, there’s no way to develop a new piece of equipment, mass-produce it and issue it to every brigade across the Army before something new and better comes along. Instead of “pure fleets” where every brigade has the same software, trucks, missiles, etc., organized in the same way, the Army must tailor its forces to the theater.
For more from Lt. Gen. Wesley in his own words (edited for brevity and clarity), read on:
Q: Historically, the Army has always wanted to standardize equipment, training, and organization as much as possible – after all, “G.I.” stands for “General Issue.” But Europe and the Pacific are very different. Do you need more of a mix of forces across the Army?
A: The world and technology are moving too fast to believe I’m going to get Technology One in every single brigade [before Technology Two makes it obsolete]. We have to be more agile than that. Pure fleeting and even pure structuring is probably not an acceptable approach.
Second, the reality is there are two pacing threats that we’re looking at, and they’re distinctly different, the geography is different, and so we have to consider different ways to approach those problems. You can expect that the force package we build for INDOPACOM will be distinct from the force package we build in Europe.
Where there’s commonality is in Multi-Domain Operations. MDO is a way of fighting, and I think you’re going to see that way of fighting be consistent in both theaters, but the application of it will be different.
What are those distinctions? In INDOPACOM, fires to help the Navy control sea lanes are indispensable. In Europe, the essence of the problem is the ability to conduct a very advanced ground maneuver effort.
Those [Big Six] priorities that we identified are pretty consistent with what most of the data and analytics and the rigor of the experimentation we look at – those priorities are priorities for a reason. But if you look at the theaters, those priorities might look a little different.
So in INDOPACOM, fires, air and missile defense, and the network are some of the really critical pieces, and Future Vertical Lift, I would argue. If you look to Europe, it’s going to be long range fires, the network, next generation combat vehicles, and soldier lethality.
Q: How are you designing that future force?
A: Gen. Milley [the 39th Army Chief of Staff, from 2015 to 2019], asked us, in a perfect world, what that force looks like. [He] asked us to build a resource-unconstrained design that reflects the precepts and principles of multi-domain operations. That was affectionately called the White Board Force.
CSA 40 [the new Chief of Staff, Gen. James McConville] and Gen. Murray, the AFC commander, asked us to do a resource-informed design. That’s what is called the AimPoint. It tightens the shot group and it allows us to define our experimentation, analysis, and programming better.
When you’re resource-unconstrained, you can go out and buy a Maserati. When you’re resource-informed, you might buy a Corvette. We just had to throttle back on some of the ambitious desires we were looking for. We’re on a [trajectory] to 492,000 [active duty soldiers]: How would you organize that in order to achieve MDO?
AimPoint is not a locked down design that everybody has to invest in and build towards now. It’s really an architect’s design, and now we have to get into the detailed engineering and blueprint of it.
We need an enhanced posture forward in both INDOPACOM and in Europe – nothing like the 1980s, but larger than what we have now. That’s obviously going to be informed by resource decisions, but already the Army [is reactivating] an additional corps headquarters with an operational command post forward [in Europe].
Q: How will the AimPoint Army be organized differently to fight?
A: The brigades largely look very similar to what you might see right now, because you still have to shoot, move, and communicate. BCT [Brigade Combat Team] and below, what you see won’t change a lot — except for your ability to connect to national assets. Why is that? Well, we’re fighting multi-domain, which means access to cyber, access to space assets, in certain instances at the tactical level. You have to have the plugs to get connect to national assets.
If you look at echelons above brigade, what we’re having to do is build out our capacity to fight large-scale, campaign-quality combat. Those echelons we have mortgaged a bit in the last 20 or 30 years because our BCTs were so powerful relative to our opponent.
[Today], because we are being contested in all domains and our two peer competitors are investing in their militaries, we have to build back some of that campaign quality at echelon, with the distinction being you’ve got to have information warfare, you’ve got to have cyber, you’ve got to have space access. So in each echelon you would have that capacity to fight all domains and integrate them.
Each echelon has distinct problems that has to be solved in order to enable the force to get to a position of advantage. Sometimes that requires each echelon to have distinct capabilities.
Competition [short of war] is the first joint problem that has to be solved. Frankly, a brigade commander cannot provide the resources, the solutions, and the decisions made, to compete with a peer competitor. That’s got to be retained at the three- and four- star level.
In the event of conflict, it requires long range fire to strike the Russian combined arms army or Chinese equivalent. Again, that BCT commander would not necessarily have either the assets or the authority to strike the targets we’re talking about with long range fire. So you have to do that at a different echelon.
There are problems that the BCT commander does not solve for the theater, and some of that needs to be done at echelon.
Q: What kinds of higher-echelon capabilities from the Cold War era are being recreated, like corps level artillery formations?
A: Building out the ability to integrate fires at echelon is really important to being able to fight at scale.
When we went to modularity, with the BCT being the coin of the realm, we moved the artillery fires battalion [out of the division-level artillery brigade] into the BCT. Now what you’re going to see is the need to return to some aspects of centralization of fires, with the ability to decentralize [as needed], which makes the problem even harder.
So, how have we done that? Well, for example, you saw a couple of years ago that we went back into the [division-level] fires brigade. That might be further reinforced as we go forward.
Then the theater fires command, as an example, that is a direct output of AimPoint. In the last TAA [Total Army Analysis] cycle, we started to [set aside] a wedge of structure that we can design against. So that does not exist [yet].
Q: What are you able to do in the near term? You already have one experimental Multi-Domain Task Force in the Pacific and another being stood up in Europe.
A: We’ve got AimPoint, we’ve got this orientation to the future, but General McConville said, ‘hey, I want to get stuff out there now, because the customer needs it, and that is the capacity to penetrate with long range fires, with the ability to integrate all domains.’
That is what a MDTF is, and we’re building them right now, and we want to get them into each theater. As we deploy those, we’re going to learn lessons on how they best connect with the joint force. You may see, for example, an MDTF subordinate to a theater fires command or subordinate to a corps fires element. Right now, they’re individual [units] that are being built; we will experiment with them and learn how they plug in, but ultimately you’re going to see that capability migrate to the [higher] echelons.
27 Apr 20. Poland develops new 120mm mortar ammunition. Poland is developing new 120mm ammunition for use with its Rak 120mm self-propelled mortar (SPM) systems that are now deployed by the Polish Army. Lt Col Piotr Kobylecki, senior specialist, field artillery department of the Polish Armed Forces, said in March that a new family of 120mm ammunition was being qualified. This includes a 120mm high-explosive (HE) mortar bomb with a streamlined body, designated the 120 RAK HE K-43, fitted with a UMZ-12 fuze and a maximum of six propellant charges at the rear. It weighs 16kg and the TNT filling is insensitive munition (IM) compliant. (Source: Jane’s)
28 Apr 20. Taiwan test-fires locally developed Yun Feng LACM. Taiwan’s National Chung-Shan Institute of Science and Technology (NCSIST) test-fired its new Yun Feng (Cloud Peak) long-range land-attack attack cruise missile (LACM) on 15 April. The latest test of the missile system, which has a reported range of between 1,500 and 2,000km, were carried out by the NCSIST at the Jiupeng Base in Pingtung, southern Taiwan.
The missile is fitted with a ramjet engine and carries a semi-armour-piercing, high-explosive blast fragmentation warhead. It features a solid rocket booster and can reportedly reach speeds of Mach 3 or about 3,704km/h. Local media outlets in Taiwan reported in August 2019 that the NCSIST had begun series-production of the Yun Feng system under the ‘Qilin Project’, which has reportedly been given USD390m to produce at least 20 of these missiles along with 10 mobile launch platforms. (Source: Jane’s)
28 Apr 20. New system reduces the risk of friendly fire. A next-generation system that identifies friendly aircraft, helicopters and ships as well as potential threats and targets is being rolled out across multiple UK platforms. Mode 5 uses advanced cryptographic techniques and world-leading electronic technology to allow UK land, sea and air units to quickly identify friendly forces, thereby operating safely alongside NATO allies across any battlefield and significantly reducing the risk of fratricide. The current system that is being used will cease this year and, without Mode 5 – its replacement system – the UK would be unable to deploy on coalition operations overseas. The MOD has invested £260m in installing the secure Identify Friend or Foe (IFF) technology to 31 types of aircraft, ship, vehicles and even radar through the Mode 5 project – that’s more than 400 individual platforms covering air, land and maritime environments. The DE&S Mode 5 team in the Air Support Operating Centre leads the contract with Leonardo MW on the design, integration onto platforms and initial inservice support. The team also provides IFF technical support to DE&S platform delivery teams. The UK’s Mode 5 project covers legacy in-service platforms and has been designed to give UK units a clear and secure view of potential threats and targets, providing a powerful cyber shield against jamming and interference intended to reduce vital situational awareness.
The system is used and mandated by NATO and used by several close allies, with each country responsible for making their own platforms Mode 5-enabled. Robin Kelly, Mode 5 project manager at DE&S, said: “Mode 5 significantly reduces the risk of friendly fire and ensures our servicemen and women can operate confidently alongside the UK’s allies and partners. The challenge for the Mode 5 team and its stakeholders has been to deliver this critical capability across multiple platforms whilst facing a demanding, immoveable sunset date for the legacy system.” In recent months – the Mode 5 project has initiated – and in some cases already completed – successful trials on several platforms. These include Puma, Merlin, Chinook, Type 102 radar, Watchkeeper, Type 23 frigate and mine countermeasure vessels. Robin added: “The Mode 5 project has started to see initial successes following inaugural flight and sea trials. It’s required a whole-team approach with DE&S and industry teams working handin-glove. The trials enable DE&S delivery teams to declare acceptance of Mode 5 for their own platform. Each one is an important milestone as this then allows the modification to be rolled out across the whole fleet. (Source: U.K. MoD desider)
24 Apr 20. Upgraded UK digital sensor-to-shooter system allows allied nations to share tactical information. The Artillery Systems team in Land Equipment is rolling out an updated, innovative, sensor-to-shooter digital system that is able to transfer strategic operational commands between nation forces in seconds. The Fire Control Battlefield Information System Application (FC BISA) is a Command, Control, Communications, Computation and Intelligence system (C4I) that generates firing data for artillery and mortars. It operates on the Bowman ComBAT Infrastructure and Platform (BCIP) system and is supported by CGI IT and Business Consulting UK ltd. The team is working with the Artillery Systems Co-operation Activities (ASCA) network – a community of allied forces – to build new software into FC BISA that will allow the British Army to share information with other forces and allow them to identify and fire at hostile targets between them. It will be used across the the whereabouts of a target to a weapon system which the Royal Artillery or infantry will use to destroy said target. The data transfer is almost instant but there are built-in safety features which means that before any shots are fired, the information is checked and verified by a safety officer first. Safety is key throughout this process.
The introduction of the ASCA network will allow full digital fires from sensor to shooter across national digital boundaries quickly and safely with no language barrier.” The Royal Artillery Trials & Development Unit (RATDU) is the lead user in the development of FC BISA v4 and the ASCA programme. Since re-joining the programme and becoming full members in 2018, the UK fielded an ASCA terminal for the field Army in December 2019 and are now in the process of developing the next version. Michael added: “The success of this is down to a close working relationship with Artillery Systems and industry as well as working more closely with other nations, all of which are taking the same steps as the UK to develop their systems. “When developing a fire control system for the end user, as well as interoperability, it’s the exchanges in ideas and interpreting a task from different perspectives, from industry and our allies, that shapes how we move forward.” FC BISA was first brought into service with the Royal Artillery in 2008 and was designed to be a fully networked and interoperable digital fires capability. This latest iteration of the system – version 4 – is being introduced in line with capability updates to the software which is used across the BOWMAN BCIP 5.6 system. The first tranche of updates have already been introduced to limited systems and the second and third tranches are expected to be introduced in Spring 2021 and Summer 2022 across the entire BICIP 5.6 network. (Source: U.K. MoD desider)
28 Apr 20. Royal Navy’s autonomous minesweeper system receives praise for success during cold-weather trials. The SWEEP system recently underwent a two-week period of cold weather sea trials in Nova Scotia. The SWEEP minesweeper system –designed to defeat the threat of underwater sea mines and safely clear sea lanes – has recently proven its capabilities during two weeks of cold-weather sea trials. Developed by Atlas Electronic (AEUK) as part of a £13m contract, the autonomous vessel can pull three coil auxiliary boats behind it, with each emitting magnetic, electric and acoustic signals that can detonate a variety of mines. SWEEP is a complimentary system used to deal with mines that cannot be dealt with using traditional mine-hunting tactics and, having already proven to be capable of defeating the threat of modern digital mines in normal weather conditions, cold-weather trials were recently conducted to ensure its capability. Barry Miller, MHC team leader, said: “Minesweeping has a long history of use as part of a mixed mine countermeasures capability, complementing mine hunting in difficult environments. The UK is currently trialling a ‘toolbox’ of autonomous mine hunting and minesweeping modules hosted on unmanned surface vehicles. This successful trial of an innovative and autonomous minesweeping capability in extreme weathers means we are a step closer to delivering a truly transformational capability to the Royal Navy.” These latest trials were used to test the system’s cold-weather performance and help to inform the UK’s future unmanned minesweeping capability.
The system was tested against a number of performance requirements, for example magnetic, acoustic and electrical influence generation, how well it cleared mines in sub-zero temperatures, whether the autonomous system could successfully avoid other vessels and the overall system performance in colder conditions that could be experienced for military operations. The trials, led by the Ministry of Defence and conducted by the Royal Navy, took place at the Bedford Basin, Nova Scotia in Canada, with logistic support provided by the Canadian Forces Maritime Warfare Centre. Miguel Rial, MHC trials manager, said: “I have no doubt the valuable information obtained from these cold-weather Trials in Canada will be a key contributor to the manufacture of a robust and reliable operational minesweeping system in the near future, reinstating a minesweeping capability into the Royal Navy.” Operated remotely or in the portable command and control cabin, the mine countermeasures and Hydrographic Capability Combined Influence Minesweeping system is the Royal Navy’s first autonomous unmanned surface vessel demonstrator that significantly reduces the risk to crew members in pressured and time-constrained operations, and proved its ability to operate successfully in cold conditions during the recent trials. (Source: U.K. MoD desider)
24 Apr 20. Hypersonics: DoD Wants ‘Hundreds of Weapons’ ASAP.
“We want to deliver hypersonics at scale,” said R&D director Mark Lewis, from air-breathing cruise missiles to rocket-boosted gliders that fly through space.
The Pentagon has created a “war room” to ramp up production of hypersonic weapons from a handful of prototypes over the last decade to “hundreds of weapons” in the near future, a senior official said Wednesday. Those weapons will range from huge rocket-powered boost-glide missiles, fired from Army trucks and Navy submarines at more than Mach 10, to more compact and affordable air-breathing cruise missiles, fired from aircraft at a relatively modest Mach 5-plus.
“It isn’t an either-or,” said Mark Lewis, modernization director for Pentagon R&D chief Mike Griffin. “It isn’t rocket-boost or air-breathing, we actually want both, because those systems do different things.”
Right now, however, US combat units have neither. Inconsistent focus and funding over the years means that “we had a number of programs in the department that were very solid technology development programs, but at the end of those programs, we would have prototypes and we’d have weapons in the single-digit counts,” Lewis said during a webcast with the Air Force Association’s Mitchell Institute. “If you’ve got a program that delivers eight missiles and then stops, well, which of the thousand targets in our target set are we going to use those eight missiles against?”
With hypersonics now a top priority for both Undersecretary Griffin and Defense Secretary Mark Esper, the Pentagon is trying to improve that stop-and-go track record with a new “hypersonic acceleration plan” – no pun intended, Lewis said. Griffin likes to compare the effort to the Cold War, when the US had a massive nuclear weapons infrastructure capable of building complex components by the tens of thousands.
“We want to deliver hypersonics at scale,” Lewis said. “That means hundreds of weapons in a short period of time in the hands of the warfighter.”
How an Air Force-Industry Team Saved a Critical Asset.
Mass-production, in turn, requires production facilities – but today hypersonic prototypes are basically hand-crafted by R&D labs like Sandia. Lewis and his counterpart in the Pentagon’s acquisition & sustainment directorate, Kevin Fahey, are “co-chairing what we’re were calling a war room … looking at the hypersonic industrial base,” he said. “That’s not just the primes, but the entire industrial base” down to small, specialized suppliers.
Controlling cost is both essential to large-scale production and a huge challenge, Lewis acknowledged. “We don’t know what these things cost yet,” he said. “We’ve asked the primes to consider costs as they’re developing.”
Which hypersonic weapons the Pentagon buys also makes a major difference. “There are some technology choices we can make that lead us to more cost-effective systems,” he said. “I’m especially enthusiastic about hypersonic weapons that come off the wings of airplanes and come out of bomb bays, [because] I think those are some of the keys to delivering hypersonic capabilities at scale and moderate cost.”
Likewise, “[there’s] larger investment now in the rocket boost systems,” Lewis said, “[but] one of the reasons I’m so enthusiastic about scramjet-powered systems, air-breathing systems is I think that, fundamentally, they can be lower-cost than their rocket-boosted alternatives.”
Why is that? Understanding the policy, it turns out, requires a basic understanding of the physics.
Four Types of Hypersonics
“Hypersonics isn’t a single thing,” Lewis said. “It’s a range of applications, a range of attributes, [defined by] the combination of speed and maneuverability and trajectory.”
To put it in simple terms – and I’ll beg the forgiveness of any aerospace engineers reading this – there are two kinds of hypersonic projectile, based on how they fly: one is an air-breathing engine flying through the atmosphere, like a jet plane or cruise missile; the other is a rocket booster arcing to the edge of space, like an ICBM. There are also two kinds of platform you can launch from: an aircraft in flight high and fast above the earth, or a relatively slow-moving vehicle on or below the surface, like an Army truck, Navy warship or submarine.
Combine these and you get four types. Lewis thinks all four could be worth pursuing, although the Pentagon currently has programs – that we know about – for only three:
- Air-launched boost-glide: Air Force ARRW (Air-launched Rapid Response Weapon). The Air Force also had another program in this category, HCSW (Hypersonic Conventional Strike Weapon), but they canceled it to focus on ARRW, which the service considers more innovative and promising.
- Surface-launched boost-glide: Army LRHW (Long Range Hypersonic Weapon) and Navy CPS (Conventional Prompt Strike). Both weapons share the same rocket booster, built by the Navy, and the same Common Hypersonic Glide Body, built by the Army, but one tailors the package to launch from a wheeled vehicle and the other from a submarine.
- Air-launched air-breathing: HAWC (Hypersonic Air-breathing Weapons Concept) and HSW-ab (Hypersonic Strike Weapon-air breathing). Arguably the most challenging and cutting-edge technology, these programs are both currently run by DARPA, which specializes in high-risk, high-return research, but they’ll be handed over to the Air Force when they mature.
- Surface-launched air-breathing: This is the one category not in development – at least not in the unclassified world. But Lewis said, “eventually, you could see some ground-launched air breathers as well. I personally think those are very promising.”
Each of these has its own advantages and disadvantages, Lewis explained.
Rocket boosters are proven technology, offering tremendous speed and range. The Minuteman III ICBM, introduced in 1970, can travel over 6,000 miles at Mach 23. Their one drawback is that ICBMs can’t steer. Once launched, they follow a predictable course like a cannon ball, which is why they’re called ballistic missiles. The big innovation of boost-glide weaponry is that it replaces the traditional warhead with an agile glider. Once the rocket booster burns out, the glide body detaches and coasts the rest of the way, skipping nimbly across the upper layers of the atmosphere like a stone across the pond.
But boost-glide has some big limitations. First, once the rocket booster detaches, the glide body has no engine of its own so it just coasts, losing speed throughout its flight. Second, precisely because the rocket launch is so powerful, it puts tremendous strain on the weapon, whose delicate electronics must be hardened against shock and heat. Third, the booster is big, because a rocket not only has to carry fuel, it has to carry tanks of oxygen to burn the fuel.
An air-breathing engine, by contrast, can be significantly smaller. It just has to carry the fuel, because it can scoop up all the oxygen it needs from the atmosphere. That means the whole weapon can be smaller, making it much easier to fit on an aircraft, and that it can accelerate freely during flight instead of just coasting, making it more maneuverable.
But while conventional jet engines are well-proven technology, they don’t function at hypersonic speeds, because the airflow pours their intakes far too fast. So you need a sophisticated alternative such as a scramjet, a complex, costly technology so far found only on experimental vehicles, like the Air Force’s revolutionary Boeing X-51.
Even with a scramjet, you can’t fly too high because the air doesn’t provide the needed oxygen. That means air-breathing weapons can’t reach the same near-space altitudes as boost-glide missiles. They also can’t fly nearly as fast. Lewis expects air-breathers will probably top out around Mach 7, half or less the peak speed of a boost-glide weapon. (That said, remember the glider will have slowed down somewhat by the time it reaches the target).
The platform you launch from also has a major impact on performance. Warships, submarines, and long-bodied heavy trucks can carry bigger weapons than aircraft, but the weapons they carry need to be bigger because they have to start from low altitude and low speed and go all the way to high-altitude hypersonic flight. By contrast, an air-launched weapon doesn’t need to be as big, because it’s already flying high and fast even before it turns on its motor.
All these factors suggest that the big boost-glide weapons are probably best launched from land or sea, the smaller air-breathing ones from aircraft in flight. But since boost-gliders go farther and faster than air-breathers, you still want them as an option for your bombers for certain targets. On the flipside, while a naval vessel or ground vehicle has plenty of room to carry boost-glide weapons for ultra-long-range strikes, it can also use the same space to carry a larger number of the smaller air-breathers for closer targets.
“We’re interested in basically the full range,” Lewis said. “We’ve got some ideas of things we want to put into play quickly, but we’re also extremely open-minded about future applications, future technologies.” (Source: glstrade.com/Breaking Defense.com)
27 Apr 20. Moroccan Harpoon Block II missiles to be ‘non-coastal’ versions. The Boeing AGM-84L Harpoon Block II missiles that the United States has approved for the Royal Moroccan Air Force (RMAF) are the “non-coastal target suppression” version, according to an arms sale notification published by the US Federal Register on 27 April. This reduction in capability was not mentioned when the Defense Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA) announced on 14 April that the US State Department had approved the sale of 10 AGM-84Ls for an estimated USD62m for use by the RMAF’s F-16 multirole fighters. The AGM-84L was designed to have a substantially improved ability to find target ships sailing close to shore or in congested waters. (Source: Jane’s)
26 Apr 20. US Army seeks tethered UAV for laser-designating. The US Army is looking to acquire tethered unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) to laser-designate ground targets from stand-off distances.
A solicitation posted on 24 April by the Department of the Army calls for information on a tethered-UAV that can be used by Air National Guard (ANG) Special Tactics Operators (STOs) to observe and engage hostile ground forces using laser-guided weapons from greater stand-off distances.
“The required product will allow STOs to develop tactics, techniques, and procedures for observing and engaging hostile forces with low-collateral, long stand-off, laser-guided weapons fired or released from weapons systems that are unable to self-designate and expedite targeting for systems that can self-designate but have not yet identified a target’s location,” the request for information (RFI) noted.
Performance standards for the tethered UAV set out in the RFI comprise the ability to reach 200 ft above ground level (AGL); 24-hour flight on a 2 kw or smaller generator; a 5 lb (2.3 kg) payload capacity; AES 256 encryption of the UAV control and video data; ability for open architecture use of the UAV’s onboard computer; gimballed camera with co-witness laser designator capability of 30 mj or better, laser spot tracker, and laser rangefinder (which would reduce the 5 lb payload); the ability to generate target co-ordinates; an untethered communications link range of 8 km or better; remote handoff capability desired; an untethered flight duration of at least 45 min with 3 lb payload; autonomous delivery capability of 4 lb; multiple hot-swappable payloads and batteries (ability to change payload and batteries without powering down); the ability to operate in high winds of more than 40 mph (64 kph); the ability to operate in precipitation- industry standard IP54 or better; a temperature capability of -10°F to + 120°F (-23°C to 49°C); a hover capability and forward flight speed of 35 mph or better; target recognition artificial intelligence (AI) capable for people and vehicles; an Android Team Awareness Kit (ATAK) integrated plugin; and the ability to operate and navigate in GPS and radar-denied environments. (Source: Jane’s)
26 Apr 20. Covid-19: US Army juggling air and missile defence testing delays. Testing new weapons in an ongoing challenge for US Army leaders in the face of the outbreak of coronavirus, and the service’s Air and Missile Defense Cross-Functional Team (CFT) is experiencing testing delays with its Integrated Battle Command System (IBCS) and Interim Maneuver Short-Range Air Defence (IM-SHORAD) vehicle. Brigadier General Brian Gibson, the head of the CFT, told Jane’s on 22 April that his team’s top four development efforts – which also includes Raytheon’s Lower Tier Air and Missile Defense Sensor (LTAMDS) and fielding an Indirect Fire Protection Capability (IFPC) – is currently concerned only with testing slips to IBCS and IM-SHORAD due to programme maturity and the current testing phases. (Source: Jane’s)
24 Apr 20. Pentagon releases request for proposals on Next Generation Interceptor. The fight to build America’s next missile interceptor has officially begun. The Missile Defense Agency on Friday released its request for proposal for its Next-Generation Interceptor (NGI). The RFP aims to downselect to two companies who will then compete for the right to build the interceptor, which will form the core of America’s homeland missile defense going forward.
Proposals are due July 31, but the MDA notes that there may be some give in that schedule due to the ongoing COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic.
The agency requested $664.1m in fiscal year 2021 for the NGI program, as part of a $4.9bn five-year budget plan.
Mark Wright, a spokesman for MDA, called the RFP “a vital step forward in designing, developing, and fielding the finest capabilities of both the DoD and American industry for the extraordinarily important purpose of defending the American homeland.”
“Notably, the intention of awarding two contracts for simultaneous development of the NGI effort promotes a healthy competition between the two contractor teams to produce the best NGI possible in the shortest time feasible,” Wright added.
In August, the Pentagon made the surprise decision to cancel the Redesigned Kill Vehicle program, with DoD research and engineering head Mike Griffin saying he didn’t want to keep throwing money at a program with fundamental technical issues.
RKV would have upgraded the U.S. homeland defense system’s interceptors designed to go after ballistic missile defense threats. The Pentagon decided that no more ground-based interceptors for the Ground-based Midcourse Defense System (GMD) would be built and all future interceptors that are fielded as part of the GMD system will be the new interceptor – that is, the NGI program.
Critics of the decision to cancel RKV and start over with a new design have raised concerns over the timeline, which could extend past 2030. But speaking in March, MDA head Vice Adm. Jon Hill said that waiting that long for the new capability is “unacceptable from a war fighter view” and “unacceptable to me as a program manager.”
Hill said once bids are on the table, the agency will be able to take a harder look at schedule and once an award has been made, it will hold industry accountable to meet “all the wickets.” If that happens, the schedule can be pulled to the left. (Source: Defense News)
24 Apr 20. Talon-A hypersonic testbed to achieve IOC by 2022. Seattle-based Stratolaunch is expected to achieve an initial operational capability with its developmental Talon-A hypersonic testbed platform by 2022. A privately-funded development, Talon-A is an air-launched, unmanned, reusable air vehicle. With a launch weight of about 2,772 kg, the platform is 8.5 m in length, has a wingspan of 3.4 m, and according, to Stratolaunch, will be capable of conducting long duration flights at hypersonic speeds in excess of Mach 6. Art Pettigrue, Director, Communications & Marketing at Stratolaunch, told Jane`s that the Talon-A testbed is currently in the development stage, with a prototype being built to undergo configuration and computational testing. (Source: Jane’s)
23 Apr 20. USMC May Get New Tropical Uniform in Time for Summer Heat. The Marine Corps is preparing to select a maker for the service’s new tropical uniform for hot and humid climates. The Marine Corps Tropical Combat Uniform is a rapid-dry, breathable uniform to be worn for prolonged periods in wet, jungle environments as an alternative to the current Marine Corps Combat Utility Uniform and the Marine Corps Combat Boot. This month, Marine Corps Systems Command (MCSC), published a request for proposals to industry to manufacture the uniforms, with plans to get them into troops’ hands by the final quarter of this fiscal year, which ends Sept. 30.
“This new tropical uniform allows Marines to be more comfortable and less fatigued while focusing on the mission at hand,” Lou Curcio, MCSC’s tropical uniform project officer, said in the release.
The tropical uniform effort is a result of the U.S. military’s increased emphasis on the Pacific region in an effort to prepare for a potential war with China. The Army finalized the design for its Improved Hot Weather Combat Uniform last year.
The trousers and blouse of the new uniform will be made of the same 50/50 cotton-nylon blend as the Marine Corps Combat Utility Uniform and features the same camouflage pattern, the release states. The fabric will also be treated with permethrin to provide protection from insects.
The difference is in the weave and weight, resulting in a lighter material that dries more quickly, according to the release.
Hundreds of Marines participated in various user evaluations from June to September 2017 to assess the fit and durability of a prototype tropical uniform that’s designed to dry faster and keep Marines cooler in warm climates, the release adds.
“Many Marines said the [uniform] feels like pajamas, appreciating how lightweight it is,” Curcio in the release. “They also noted how quickly the uniform dries upon getting wet.”
The boots, awarded on a separate contract, are also lightweight, with self-cleaning soles to improve mobility in a tropical environment, the release states. They are more than a pound lighter than the current Marine Corps boot.
Marine Corps Systems Command awarded two contracts in August for up to 140,000 total pairs of tropical boots, according to Monique Randolph, spokeswoman for MCSC.
One contract worth up to $11.1m went to Atlantic Diving Supply Inc., for up to 70,000 pairs of Rocky brand tropical boots, and a contract worth up to $13.7m went to Provengo LLC for up to 70,000 pairs of Danner brand tropical boots, Randolph said.
The Corps plans to purchase 70,000 sets of the new tropical uniforms to support the fleet training or operating in tropical climates, the release states, adding that the MCSC procured more than 10,000 sets of blouses and trousers under a manufacturing and development effort.
Based on January 2020 market research and responses to a November 2019 request for information, the Marine Corps estimates it should see a potential cost reduction of up to 60% per uniform, the release adds.
“[The tropical uniform] will bring many advantages during training and combat in tropical environments,” Curcio said in the release. “For all the sacrifices and challenges they endure, Marines deserve a uniform like this one.” (Source: Military.com)
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.