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11 Jun 20. EDA Selects The ‘PILUM’ Consortium, A Disruptive-Technology Research Project For Innovative EM Railgun. Following calls for proposals launched by the European Defence Agency (EDA) in 2019, the consortium “PILUM” (Projectiles for Increased Long-range effects Using Electro-Magnetic railgun) has been selected to lead a research project on the electromagnetic railgun.
The project will last two years and aims at proving that this type of railgun concept is capable of launching hypervelocity projectiles with precision over a distance of several hundreds of kilometres. PILUM will thus demonstrate that the electromagnetic railgun has the potential to provide a disruptive change in the area of long-range fire support. Indeed, when compared with the former powder railgun, this new technology is capable of reaching a hypersonic velocity, multiplying the effective reach by five.
The so-called “railgun” is capable of accelerating projectiles at initial velocities far superior to those obtained by existing chemical guns. It uses electromagnetic force by injection of very high currents into conducting rails. The project will also examine the possibility of integrating the railgun into terrestrial and naval platforms. In a first phase, the project will validate the gun concept using numerical simulations and experimental work. The project represents a new major step towards developing a full-scale demonstrator in the next few years. It also includes reflection on concepts for future applications. This disruptive technology offers an important operational asset since it reduces the risk exposure of vehicles, vessels and crew by increasing the firing distance.
Reinforcing European strategic autonomy
Critical to ensure capability superiority, this emergent concept will make a substantial contribution to reinforcing European strategic autonomy. It will also allow advances in many different fields of sovereign technology including aerothermodynamics, projectile technologies, material strength, energy storage and conversion as well as various electric and electromagnetic phenomena likely to produce benefits for further applications.
Consortium coordinated by the French-German Research Institute of Saint-Louis (ISL)
The “PILUM” project is part of the Preparatory Action on Defence Research (PADR) research programme financed by the European Commission and managed by the European Defence Agency.
The consortium brings together nine partners from five European countries, each with its own industrial, technological and advanced scientific expertise:
- ISL, the French-German Research Institute of Saint-Louis, European leader in electromagnetic acceleration and coordinator of the project;
- the Von Karman Research Institute (Belgium), specialised in fluid dynamics and propulsion;
- two system integrators, Naval Group and Nexter Systems (France);
- two ammunition suppliers, Diehl Defence (Germany) and Nexter Munitions (France);
- Explomet (Poland), a small company specialised in the explosive cladding of metals;
- ICAR (Italy), manufacturer of high-density electric capacitors;
- Erdyn Consultants (France), an expert in the management of European collaborative projects (Source: https://www.navalnews.com/naval-news/)
12 Jun 20. Rheinmetall Bisalloy armour steel collaboration passes German Government testing. The first of two high-performance armour steel grades has passed stringent German government certification after two years of research, development and testing in a collaboration between the Bisalloy Steel Group and Rheinmetall Defence Australia.
This qualifies the steel to be manufactured for Rheinmetall’s Australian-built Boxer combat reconnaissance vehicles (CRV), for export to customers and as a source of supply for Rheinmetall in Germany.
The new type of ‘O-grade’ armour steel was developed in order to meet the protection levels required for the Boxer 8×8 CRV.
Testing of even stronger ‘Z-grade’ armour steel will soon take place in order to meet the exacting protection levels required for each Boxer 8×8 CRV and ensure the best protection for Australian soldiers to ensure they survive and win in combat.
Final phases of testing are scheduled to commence in Germany next month with final certification expected this year. Bisalloy Steel Group chief executive and managing director Greg Albert said the achievement confirmed the company’s place in the new military vehicle industry for Australia, for supply to the Australian Defence Force and among world-class producers of armour steel globally.
“Bisalloy is proud to have achieved this critical milestone after significant investment in research, development and testing of armour steel alongside our partners Bluescope Steel and Rheinmetall,” Albert said.
Bisalloy had long worked in partnership with Australian steel producers, defence scientists and manufacturers of military vessels and vehicles to produce the best armour plate products in the world.
“Our work with Rheinmetall will ensure Bisalloy’s capabilities have created the best possible protection for the Australian soldier but also significant export opportunities for Australia,” Albert added.
Bisalloy is also working closely with Rheinmetall as part of the company’s offer – the LYNX KF 41 infantry fighting vehicle (IFV) – for the $10 billion LAND 400 Phase 3 program and the supply of more than 400 IFVs to the ADF.
Rheinmetall Defence Australia managing director Gary Stewart said achieving the German government qualification validated Australian steel for the Boxer program and Bisalloy’s status as a world-class supplier of armour grade steel.
“Meeting this quality threshold ensures supply to the LAND 400 Phase 2 vehicles and qualifies Bisalloy to work globally with Rheinmetall on future projects, including LAND 400 Phase 3 and other offshore defence programs,” Stewart said.
Listed on the ASX and operating for 40 years, Bisalloy is Australia’s only manufacturer of high tensile and abrasion-resistant quenched and tempered steel plate used for armour, structural, protection and wear-resistant steel applications. (Source: Defence Connect)
11 Jun 20. Emiratis seen operating Pantsir-S1 said to be in Libya. A leaked video has confirmed that personnel from the United Arab Emirates (UAE) are operating Russian-made Pantsir-S1 air defence systems in Libya, according to Operation Burkan al-Ghadab, the co-ordinating body for forces fighting for the internationally recognised Government of National Accord (GNA) against the rival Libyan National Army (LNA).
It tweeted the video on 8 June, saying it showed for the first time UAE personnel accompanied by Libyans from the LNA operating a Pantsir-S1.
The video was filmed inside an air defence system that had screens matching those of the Pantsir-S1, albeit ones that use the Latin rather than Cyrillic alphabet.
The operators were not clearly seen, but their voices could be heard as they tracked a target using the system’s radar and infrared sensors. Speaking Arabic with a Gulf accent, one says the target is 4 km away, but he does not have permission to fire.
Clearance is then given, a missile is launched, which is seen hitting the target on the infrared screen, and the operators celebrate.
Other voices with possible North African accents can be heard less clearly.
It had already been confirmed that some of the Pantsir-S1 systems that Russia supplied to the UAE had been deployed to Libya in support of the LNA, with a damaged one being captured when the GNA took control of Al-Watiyah Air Base in May. The UAE versions are distinctive because they are the only ones mounted on MAN trucks. (Source: Jane’s)
09 Jun 20. Airborne laser weapon on track for 2022 demonstration. Air Force Special Operations Command wanted an airborne-mounted laser weapon by the end of 2019. Now, they expect a demonstration in fiscal year 2022. The 60-kilowatt high energy laser will be mounted on an AC-130J Ghostrider, a massively armed workhorse for the Air Force. The laser weapon will be a cherry on top to the gunship, which already boasts a 30mm side-firing chain gun, a 105mm cannon, AGM-176A Griffin laser guided missiles, wing-mounted GBU-39/B GPS-guided and GBU-39B/B laser-guided Small Diameter Bombs.
Unlike those kinetic weapons, the offensive high energy laser would be able to disable enemy systems stealthily. As envisioned, a Ghostrider could take out several aircraft, defensive weapons and sensors with its silent, unseen laser weapons before the enemy even knew they were under attack. There’s no explosion, sounds or flashes of lights to alarm the targets. An enemy combatant would only realize what had happened once they attempted to use a system that had already been disabled.
At the virtual Special Operations Forces Industry Conference May 13, Col. Melissa Johnson, the program executive officer for fixed wing at U.S. Special Operations Command, acknowledged the Department of Defense’s laser development efforts have not been steady over the years.
In 2015, Lt. Gen. Bradley Heithold, former head of Air Force Special Operations Command, said he wanted “a high energy laser on an AC-130J gunship by the close of this decade.”
Others have expressed skepticism about the near-term prospects for airborne lasers. Then-Director of the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency Steven Walker said in 2018 he expected airborne assets to be the last to adopt laser weapons due to the inherent size, weight and power constraints at play.
“This gets a lot of attention because, you know, over the years at DoD we’ve done a lot of work in lasers, but quite frankly sometimes it ebbs and flows,” Johnson acknowledged. “But here’s what’s really exciting — after a couple of years of really trying to get stable funding, we’re there.”
According to FY21 budget documents, the program will utilize rapid prototyping efforts to develop laser, beam control, power and thermal subsystems and then bring the systems together through a lead government integrator.
Lockheed Martin was awarded a contract for the high-power laser in December 2018 and is expected to deliver in early 2021. The total value of that contract is expected to be $19.3m. Other aspects of the laser system are under development at the Naval Surface Warfare Center.
Johnson said she is confident that the new offensive weapon will be ready for a demonstration in two years.
“We are on track to demonstrate at the end of FY22 airborne-wise with AFSOF on a C-130, so this will be pretty exciting, and if successful – which you know, we’re planning for success – then it will feed into future requirements and potentially a new program down the road.” (Source: C4ISR & Networks)
09 Jun 20. Is China already inside America’s hypersonic industrial base? As the Pentagon focuses on developing new technologies such as artificial intelligence and directed energy, department officials have declared the need to ensure foreign nations are not buying their way into the defense-industrial base. But a new report warns China may already have ownership over a key focus: hypersonic weapons.
Hypersonic missiles, which are capable of going faster than five times the speed of sound, are expected to become a backbone of the U.S. military in the coming decades.
As part of its annual Federal Scorecard, data and analytics firm Govini found that tier one suppliers in the hypersonic supply chain — seven major companies that are working most closely with the Department of Defense on the technology development — has done a good job of keeping Chinese-owned companies out of the process.
But at the tier three level, where companies provide smaller but still critical components, the exposure to Chinese suppliers jumps to nearly 10 percent. And that exposure grows slightly by the time it reaches tier five suppliers, with Govini seeing signs of overlap among companies at those lower levels.
“This does not necessarily mean that Chinese parts are ending up in DoD’a hypersonics,” explained Jim Mitre, Govini’s senior vice president for strategy and analysis. “However, China may have opportunities to jeopardize the development [of] hypersonics through engagement in the supply chain, and it’s critically important for DoD and industry to ensure that’s not the case.”
That is “an area that we’re regularly working with the department on exploring and unpacking” to understand the challenges in the supply chain, Mitre added.
A series of Pentagon reports in the last two years have raised concerns about the defense-industrial base, particularly when it comes to high-end materials and design knowledge for missiles. In some cases, the only supplier for critical materials come from China, the exact country the U.S. is looking to counter by investing in hypersonic weapons.
In March, the Pentagon announced it was launching a deep dive into the hypersonic industrial base specifically to understand the vulnerabilities at the lower-tier suppliers. That study is ongoing.
Meanwhile, officials have acknowledged that smaller suppliers have been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Govini also found that the U.S. is under investing compared to China in the realm of quantum technologies, with the Pentagon’s fiscal 2021 research, development, testing and evaluation budget for quantum-related programs decreasing by nearly 10 percent from the previous year. The department has requested $3.2bn for RDT&E funds related to hypersonic weapons in FY21. (Source: Defense News)
08 Jun 20. Russia, Turkey Reach Agreement in Principle on Delivery of Second Batch of S-400s – Turkish Official. The deployment of the first batch of S-400 air defence systems was delayed due to the global pandemic and was not complete by April 2020 as previously planned. Despite this setback, Turkey assured that eventually the systems will be deployed and used in spite of the US threats of sanctions against the country.
Turkish Undersecretary for Defence Industries Ismail Demir has announced that Moscow and Ankara reached an agreement in principle on the delivery of the second batch of Russian S-400 air defence systems. The Turkish official said that the two countries only need to clarify the details on the transfer of technology and the roadmap for the joint production of the system’s parts in Turkey.
Demir went on to say that the systems from the second batch, as well as the first, will be used for their intended purpose – to guard the country’s air space, instead of being stored away or resold as Turkey’s NATO partner, the US, previously suggested. Washington has gone to great lengths to convince Turkey to ditch the Russian systems, with the suggestion of simply not using them being their last attempt to prevent the deployment of S-400s in the country.
“As we always said, if we buy a system, then we do so to use it [as intended]. Period. As for the deployment of the [S-400] systems, the world went through a certain stage that slowed down the pace of the deployment, since travel was limited. This all influenced the deployment of the S-400”, Demir said apparently referring to the fallout from the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Undersecretary for Defence Industries also shared that Ankara’s talks with Washington regarding the possible purchase of Patriot air defence systems haven’t progressed at all due to a lack of offers from the US. He added that Turkey is also negotiating with France and Italy on purchasing and producing equipment in a joint enterprise on Eurosam air defence systems.
US-Turkey Row Over S-400 Systems
Washington earlier threatened Turkey with economic sanctions if the country goes ahead with the deployment of Russia S-400 air defence systems, but Ankara replied that it would not abandon its plans just because the US wants it to. American officials claimed that the Russian system is incompatible with the rest of the NATO defence grid, despite the deployment of their predecessor, the S-300, in Greece going flawlessly.
In addition to this, the US argued that the Russian system will allegedly be able to reveal the F-35’s weaknesses and under this pretext denied shipments of ordered and pre-paid fifth-generation stealth fighters to Turkey. Ankara harshly condemned the US move, calling it illegal and unsubstantiated, and reminding that Turkey had funded the jets costly development. (Source: defense-aerospace.com/Sputnik News)
08 Jun 20. US Army’s Flickr Account Accidentally Publishes Images of Secretive Hypersonic Weapon. An aerospace journalist recently uncovered some images published on the Flickr account of US Army Secretary Ryan McCarthy that show a model of a secretive hypersonic weapons system and associated handout, revealing some shocking information about what the Pentagon calls [“Vintage Racer.”] Sometimes, we take photos and don’t always realize everything that’s captured in the image, right? That was the case when McCarthy, the US Army’s most-senior civilian figure, uploaded some photos last October of the Association of the US Army convention, an annual meet-and-greet that bills itself as the “largest landpower exposition and professional development forum in North America.”
In the photo, the Army secretary stands with an unidentified attendee at a table covered by objects, one of which appears to be a model of the Long-Range Hypersonic Weapon (LRHW), a Mach 5-capable missile being built by industry giant Lockheed Martin.
According to Lockheed, the LRHW is specifically designed to be ultra-maneuverable and fired by road-mobile launchers, but as Aviation Week discovered, it may also be intended to strike enemy mobile targets as well.
Steve Trimble at Aviation Week rotated and magnified the handout in front of McCarthy, which gives some telling details about the weapon.
Trimble noted the handout headline reads “Vintage Racer – Loitering Weapon System (LWS) Overview,” and that it has six bullet points: “Hypersonic Ingress”; “Survivable”; “Time Over Target”; “Multi-role”; “Modular payload”; and “Cost Imposition Strategy.” There are other items in smaller type that are not legible from the photo. At the bottom, a partially obscured tagline reads “Long Range, Rapid Ingress.”
Vintage Racer would supposedly be used for striking mobile targets with the ultra-fast projectiles, which can be fired from thousands of miles away. Trimble later explained on Twitter how the purported weapon works, based on his understanding: “imagine a hypersonic projectile that dispenses (somehow) a loitering, multi-role air system over a target area. That’s what I think Vintage Racer is.”
In other words, the weapon would use its super speed to zip past enemy air defense perimeters, then deploy either some kind of sub-munitions that would be able to seek their own targets, or some kind of spotter reconnaissance device to locate the moved targets and relay targeting information back to the launch site for subsequent weapons to zero in on.
According to the journalist, the only mention of a “Vintage Racer” weapon is from a budgetary document from February 2020, which touts it as a “recent success story.”
“Vintage Racer matured an advanced capability to prosecute targets of interest. The project successfully validated aerodynamic design with wind tunnel testing and integrated a guidance subsystem for targeted kinetic effects before culminating in a FY [fiscal year] 2019 flight test. Documentation and prototype technologies transitioned to the US Army for additional development and follow-on acquisition activities,” the report states.
A New Arms Race
The US currently has no operational hypersonic weapons system and continues to lag behind other powers, such as Russia and China. Moscow has two such weapons: the Avangard hypersonic glide vehicle and Kinzhal air-launched ballistic missile. A third weapon, the Tsirkon submarine-launched hypersonic missile, was tested earlier this year.
China has also shown off at least two hypersonic weapons: the Dongfeng 100 and DF-ZF, which the Pentagon calls the WU-14.
China has also let slip admissions about its own weapons programs recently. While Beijing has carefully avoided explicitly confirming that the JL-3 submarine-launched ballistic missile (SLBM) exists, only ever having made vague statements about missile tests, the engineers behind the missile were recently nominated for China’s top science prize, the National Award for Excellence in Innovation. The missile purportedly has a range of 7,450 miles, giving it the ability to reach the United States if fired off the Chinese coast. (Source: defense-aerospace.com/Sputnik News)
09 Jun 20. Scramjet test points to progress in China’s hypersonic weapon development programme. China’s Institute of Mechanics recently conducted a successful ground-test of a scramjet engine that ran for 600 seconds, the institute said in a statement, which has subsequently been removed from its website.
Scramjets, also known as supersonic combustion ramjets, are a key technology that can be used to power missiles and aircraft in hypersonic flight, which is defined as speeds in excess of Mach 5.
China has an extensive hypersonic flight research programme that involves many institutes and considerable investment in facilities, including wind tunnels capable of simulating conditions in flight at up to Mach 25.
At the National Day military parade held in Beijing in October 2019, China’s People’s Liberation Army displayed for the first time a hypersonic missile that is reportedly in service. Called DF-17, the weapon is assessed to be a hypersonic glide vehicle (HGV) that is launched using a solid-fuelled rocket motor, which separates from the payload at the highest point of ascent. The payload then falls back to Earth at hypersonic speed in a controlled glide, following a very different and unpredictable trajectory when compared to that of a ballistic missile.
The range of an HGV depends on the apogee of the launch trajectory. However, an alternative concept is to design a hypersonic cruise missile, which would achieve greater ranges by powering the missile in the hypersonic phase of flight.
In August 2018 China tested a powered hypersonic vehicle called the Xingkong-2 (Starry Sky-2) which was launched vertically using a rocket motor, but after separation was powered by its own propulsion system at speeds approaching Mach 6. (Source: Jane’s)
08 Jun 20. F-15E becomes first aircraft compatible with new nuclear bomb design. America’s newest nuclear bomb design has been successfully tested on the F-15E, making the Strike Eagle the first fighter jet to be officially compaiable with the B61-12 design.
Two test flights were flown twice in March at the Tonopah Test Range in Nevada, according to a release by Sandia Labs. The mock weapon was released on one test at about 1,000 feet and at nearly the speed of sound, while a higher-altitude test occurred at around 25,000 feet; both tests hit the target as designed.
“It’s representative of the environment for the weapon,” Steven Samuels, a manager with Sandia’s B61-12 system’s team, said in a news release. “The flight test is really everything coming together to say we’re good.”
The B61-12 program will replace the B61-3, -4, -7 and -10 nuclear gravity bomb variants with a new warhead design. The warhead is being developed and produced by the National Nuclear Security Administration, a semi-independent agency located within the Department of Energy, while the Pentagon is developing new tailkit assemblies for the design.
An NNSA estimate puts the likely cost of the program between $8bn to $9bn. The upgraded variant will be certified on America’s F-15, F-16 and B-2 aircraft, as well as on aircraft for NATO member nations. The F-35 is expected to go through certification on the weapon at some point in the next decade. The weapon passed its final design review in October 2018.
Notably, the NNSA release states that the first production unit is scheduled for completion in fiscal 2022, when previous agency statements had set that target at March 2020. The source of the delay is likely an issue with an off-the-shelf part, which did not meet NNSA’s standards for parts on the weapon, that was discovered last summer and will result in time delays and cot hundreds of millions of dollars to replace.
“The success of these tests is a major milestone on the path to full rate production and the B61-12’s initial operation capability on the F-15E in the coming years,” Brig. Gen. Ty Neuman, NNSA’s principal assistant deputy administrator for military application, said in a statement. “Once delivered, this capability will underpin our nation’s deterrent and strengthen our NATO partnerships.” (Source: Defense News)
08 Jun 20. US Army tests future PrSM seeker. The US Army recently completed the first captive-carry test of an advanced multi-mode seeker designed for its new Precision Strike Missile (PrSM).
During the 3 June ‘open-air’ test at Redstone Arsenal in Alabama, the service mounted a pod under the wing of an aircraft, sent it up in the air, and it was able to detect larger objects on ground or at sea level such as ships.
“We’re pretty pleased with the preliminary results,” Mike Turner with the Aviation & Missile Center told reporters during a 4 June call. “What that means for the future of long-range fire missiles [is that] we could use this technology to locate targets in an [anti-access/area denial] environment … and successfully prosecute targets with unknown or poorly located coordinates.”
This seeker is being developed inside the army’s science and technology community with the support of industry partners, and currently operates in two modes – radio frequency (RF) and imaging infrared (IR).
“We would use RF more along the lines of midcourse and then IR in the terminal phase to do aim point refinement and target discrimination,” Turner added.
During this most recent test, the seeker was operating at about 50% of its capacity, he explained, and said that the army was set to conduct another captive-carry test at “full capacity” with a “more representative target” at White Sands Missile Range in New Mexico in the coming months. Then, as the programme scales up, the sensor will be integrated into a surrogate missile.
“We have three tests planned on that before we are able to start integrating into PrSMs for tests,” Turner furthered. (Source: Jane’s)
05 Jun 20. More details emerge about South Korea’s CIWS development plans. South Korean officials have revealed further details about the close-in weapon system (CIWS) their country is planning to develop for use on Republic of Korea Navy (RoKN) warships.
Speaking to Janes on 5 June the officials said the ‘Close-in Weapon System (CIWS)-II’, which is set to be developed between 2021 and 2030 for KRW350bn (USD289m), will feature a 30 mm Gatling-type gun and a new active electronically scanned array (AESA) radar.
For its new CIWS-II the RoKN is planning to use the same GAU-8/A Avenger autocannon used by the Goalkeeper CIWS (pictured), which is already operated by the service.
While the radar will be locally designed and built, the weapon is not likely to be a locally developed one but rather the same GAU‐8/A Avenger seven-barreled autocannon used by the Goalkeeper CIWS, which is already in service with the RoKN.
The reason for this, said the officials, is that developing and testing a completely new gun system would take much longer.
Poongsan, South Korea’s largest ammunition manufacturer, already produces K164/K165 missile-piercing discarding-sabot rounds that can be used by the GAU-8/A Avenger, which South Korea is planning to produce domestically through a technology transfer from US manufacturer General Dynamics Ordnance and Tactical Systems.
The CIWS-II is expected to be fitted onto several RoKN vessels, including the RoKN’s future FFX-III-class frigates, KDDX-class destroyers, and LPX-II-class large-deck amphibious assault ships.
Industry officials told Janes that South Korean companies LIG Nex1 and Hanwha Systems have shown an interest in taking part in the competition to develop the new system. (Source: Jane’s)
03 Jun 20. Azerbaijan Looking to Purchase Additional Loitering Munitions from Israel. Israeli companies are negotiating more sales of advanced loitering weapon systems to Azerbaijan, which is becoming one of Israel’s largest markets for loitering weapon, and other, systems.
The defence ties between Israel and Azerbaijan are very close as in late 2018, the latter purchased the Elbit systems SkyStriker Loitering Munition (LM) system as part of Azerbaijan’s plan to acquire autonomous strike capabilities. Though the Israeli company refused to comment on the contract, videos of tests with this system in Azerbaijan recently surfaced on the net.
SkyStriker, the first such system developed by Elbit Systems and based on Elbit’s vast experience providing precise long-range tactical solutions, is a remotely operated, electro-optical, precise guided LM that is designed to seek, locate and engage various targets for the tactical level military force. According to Elbit, SkyStriker is capable of locating, acquiring and striking operator-marked targets, enabling high-precision performance. The system’s electric propulsion provides a low acoustic signature and enables covert low altitude operations while due to its flight speed capability, it can reach a distance of tens of miles within minutes and upon reaching the target area, it can loiter and pursue the target for up to two hours.
The Israeli company says that the SkyStriker offers quick deployment and ease of operation in the field, providing forces with the ability to observe and identify an enemy target before delivering a rapid precision air strike. Its remote operation capability reduces the exposure of the operator to detection and enemy fire while guiding it to its target. In addition to high accuracy, long range and a significant loitering time, the SkyStriker is capable of carrying up to 21 pounds of munitions alongside the ability to choose any target, to engage at any direction and in various angles (shallow to steep) while significantly decreasing costs. Moreover, SkyStriker enables the operator to abort a strike at up to two seconds to impact, to re-engage and in case of a lack of authorised targets, to order a safe return home.
According to the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute, Azerbaijan is one of the largest weapons markets for Israeli military equipment. In the past, the country has purchased another loitering weapon system, the HAROP, made by Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) to destroy high quality targets while it also purchased the Long Range (LORA) Surface-to-Surface missile, also made by IAI.
The HAROP is armed with a 35 pound warhead and is equipped with a very advanced day/night payload (POP-250) made by the Tamam division of IAI while it has an operational range of 620 miles and an endurance of six hours. The LM is launched from transportable launchers and navigates towards the target area, where it can loiter and search for targets for up to six hours. Once a target, whether stationary or moving, is detected, it is attacked and destroyed. The attack can be performed from any direction and at any attack angle, from flat to vertical. (Source: ESD Spotlight)
01 Jun 20. India Ready to Install Ballistic Missile Defence. India is likely to expedite the installation process of its Ballistic Missile Defence (BMD) system, aimed at protecting its important cities, vital installations and critical assets from being targeted by missiles from hostile nations. India’s BMD programme is structured as a two-layered missile defence system consisting of two land and sea-based interceptor missiles, namely the PRITHVI Air Defence (PAD) missile for high altitude interception and the Advanced Air Defence (AAD) missile for interception at low altitude. The Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO), which has developed the system and the Indian Air Force (IAF), which has carried out the tests, have submitted a final induction strategy to the government.
“All tests and trials carried out so far have been successful, including the radars and missiles,” a DRDO official said. The first BMD will be installed in the national capital, New Delhi, and the second one could be in the financial capital Mumbai, the official notes. DRDO had earlier stated that the first phase of the BMD shield would be ready by 2013 to protect New Delhi from hostile missiles with a 2000 km range. It had also said that by 2016, the second phase would be operational with the capability to kill hostile missiles within a 5000 km range.
India has been working on a two-tiered BMD system since 1999, with the PRITHVI Air Defence (PAD) Pradyumna and PRITHVI Defence Vehicle (PDV) interceptors designed to destroy missiles at exo-atmospheric altitudes of 50–180 kilometres. PAD has the capability to engage the 300 km to 2,000 km class of ballistic missiles at speeds of 5 Mach and is guided by an inertial navigation system with mid-course updates from the Long-Range Tracking Radar (LRTR) and active radar homing in the terminal phase. India has specifically developed a LRTR named SWORDFISH as part of its BMD programme which helps in tracking and providing fire control to interceptor missiles. Currently, the SWORDFISH LRTR has a range of 600 to 800 km and can spot objects two inches in diameter and India has upgraded this radar to increase its range to 1500 km. This will be used along with upgraded variants of the PAD and AAD missiles.
Tests and Trials
The first PAD exercise was conducted in November 2006, in which a PAD missile successfully intercepted a modified PRITHVI-II at an altitude of 50 km, which was modified successfully to mimic the trajectory of Pakistan’s M-11 missile. On 6th March 2009, DRDO carried out a second successful test of the PAD interceptor missile against a ship-launched DHANUSH missile, which followed the trajectory of a missile with a range of 1500km. The target was tracked by SWORDFISH LRTR radar and destroyed by the PAD at a 75km altitude. With that test of the PAD missile, India became the fourth country to have successfully developed an anti-ballistic missile system, after United States, Russia, and Israel. The PDV is to eventually replace the older PAD/PRADYUMNA Ballistic Missile Interceptor and among other features, this new two-stage, solid-fuelled PDV interceptor is fitted with an Imaging Infrared (IIR) seeker, developed by DRDO to distinguish between incoming warheads and decoys. The PDV was first tested in April 2014 and the missile interceptor had a “near miss” at an altitude of 120 km. However, on 12th February 2017, PDV was able to successfully destroy a ballistic missile target launched from over 2000 km at an altitude of 97 km.
On December 6, 2007, the first AAD successfully intercepted a modified PRITHVI-II missile at an altitude of 15 km after which several tests were conducted before on 1st March 2016, an AAD missile was able to destroy the target missile, meeting all the mission objectives successfully, according to the DRDO official. The AAD system is a single-stage, solid-fuel missile named ASHVIN, designed to intercept incoming endo-atmospheric ballistic missiles at an altitude of 20-40 km. The interceptor is 7.5m tall, weighs around 1.2 tonnes and has a diameter of less than 0.5m, using guidance similar to that of PAD, with an inertial navigation system, mid-course updates from ground-based radar and active radar homing in the terminal phase.
India is already set to receive the Russian S-400 TRIUMPH air defence system and DRDO is also developing BARAK-8, a long-range anti-air and anti-missile naval defence system jointly with Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI). The Indian Army is considering induction of a variant of the BARAK 8 missile to meet its requirement for a medium-range surface-to-air air defence missile while the naval version has the capability to intercept incoming enemy cruise missiles and combat jets targeting its warships at sea. It would also be inducted into the Indian Air Force, followed by the Army and DRDO is also hoping to soon induct its short range Quick Reaction Surface-to-Air Missile (QRSAM) into the country’s military after it was tested successfully last year. The sophisticated all-weather and all-terrain missile with a strike range of 25-30 km (16-31 mi.) has been developed by the DRDO for the Indian Armed Forces, with search and track on-the-move capability, in a short reaction time. The missile can be mounted atop a truck and stored in a canister, uses solid-fuel propellant, and is equipped with electronic counter measures against jamming by aircraft radars. It is also equipped with an indigenously-developed phased array radar, inertial navigation system, data link and RF seeker. The missile will give a boost to the ballistic missile defence system and there are also plans to develop a laser based weapon system to intercept and destroy missiles soon after they are launched towards the country. (Source: ESD Spotlight)
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