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03 Jul 20. EOS secures contract to provide remote weapon stations to Australian Army. Prime Minister Scott Morrison and Defence Industry Minister Melissa Price have announced that the Australian Army will acquire 251 remote weapon stations to be equipped on the fleet of Bushmaster and Hawkei vehicles.

The remote weapon stations, which allow a gunner to operate a weaponised system from a protected position, will be added to the Army’s Bushmaster and Hawkei protected mobility vehicles.

EOS Defence Systems’ RWS will significantly enhance the protection of Australian Defence Force personnel operating in high-risk areas, by offering improved targeting and allowing weapons to be remotely operated.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison said the new weapons were part of the $270bn capability upgrade for the Australian Defence Force, under the new 2020 Force Structure Plan.

“The federal government is committed to ensuring Australian Defence Force personnel have the tools they need to protect themselves and keep Australians safe. At the same time we must have a robust and resilient defence industry that maximises opportunities for small businesses and supports Australian jobs and local investment,” the Prime Minister explained.

Dr Ben Greene, EOS Group chief executive, said, “This announcement from Prime Minister Scott Morrison and Minister for Defence Industry Melissa Price has secured ongoing work for 146 Australian businesses in our supply chain, for which EOS and its suppliers are very grateful.”

Defence Industry Minister Melissa Price explained the investment in new remote weapon stations would provide job stability for over 200 of Electro Optic Systems’ workforce directly involved in engineering and support.

“More than 80 per cent of the parts that Electro Optic Systems use for these weapons are sourced through the Australian supply chain and that’s good for jobs and small businesses,” Minister Price said.

The R400S Mk2 is in full-rate production and is currently in use by six allied nations. The system can be mounted on a broad range of fighting and support vehicles, both wheeled and tracked.

Minister Price added, “While the federal government’s focus is on keeping Australians safe, our investments in Defence have a significant benefit for Australian businesses and workers – around 15,000 businesses and 70,000 workers benefit from our investments and that’s set to grow.”

Dr Greene added, “I would like to congratulate the Morrison government on their commitment to improve Australia’s strategic defence capability, and their recognition of the critical role of the Australian industry to meet this objective. EOS Defence Systems welcomes the opportunity to partner with the Department of Defence to deliver world-class capability to our armed forces, in turn securing over 1,300 high-value, high-technology Australian jobs.”

The R400S Mk2 operates a variety weapons including a machine gun, a 30mm lightweight cannon and an automatic grenade launcher.

The first round hit probability is provided through an enhanced integrated ballistic solution, which analyses weapon and ammunition data; range and ambient environment in addition to vehicle attitude and dynamics. Performance can be further enhanced with optional video track of targets and multi-axis stabilisation.

The R400S Mk2 is in service with the Australian Army and five other customers. Javelin was first deployed in 1996, and has been involved in more than 5,000 engagements by US and coalition forces.

EOS is an industry leader in remote weapon station technology and continuously invests to improve currently fielded and developing stations.

EOS Defence Systems has been exporting the RWS since 2007 to Australian partners and allies such as the US, Singapore and the Netherlands. Over 35 years, EOS has grown to become Australia’s largest defence exporter with $160m of exports in 2019, exporting over 95 per cent of its products and services. (Source: Defence Connect)

01 Jul 20. MBDA’s MMP missile selected to fulfill the European Beyond-Line-Of-Sight battlefield engagement capability. MBDA is joining with 13 partners and subcontractors from 5 countries to develop a new capability based on the MMP missile system that will be unique for mounted and dismounted forces. LynkEUs, an MBDA coordinated project, has been selected by the European Commission as part of the new European Defence Industrial Development Programme (EDIDP), following consultation with Member States.

LynkEUs is the first technological and industrial contribution to the objectives of the Permanent Structured Cooperation (PESCO) Beyond Line Of Sight (BLOS) capability project. The BLOS capability project had been approved in November 2018 by the EU Defence Ministers.

The LynkEUs project is managed in close partnership with the French, Belgian and Cypriot armed forces. The project seeks to define an initial operational concept for a European BLOS capability. It will also provide an opportunity to identify and test emerging solutions of potential value for future upgrades to the capability, and will be validated by a test campaign.

The concepts and tests completed for the PESCO BLOS project will contribute to the development of a family of man-on-the loop BLOS missile systems with back image, based on the MMP medium range missile, and under full control of Europe’s defence industry.

Eric Béranger, MBDA CEO, said: “LynkEUs is the first cooperative project in the missile systems field leveraging on the new EU defence instruments, and the first EU defence R&D project to be coordinated by MBDA. It demonstrates our eagerness to cooperate to an ever-greater extent in Europe and to expand our circle of industrial and technological partnerships, particularly with innovative SMEs and European research centres. It also demonstrate our commitment to serve European strategic autonomy and technological sovereignty ambitions.”

MBDA and its 10 partners – from Belgium: The Royal Military Academy, John Cockerill Defense, FN Herstal, Thales Belgium, and Xenics; from Cyprus: Aditess, Cyprus Institute, and SignalGenerix; from France: Novadem and Safran; along with the 3 subcontractors: MILREM (from Estonia), DELAIR (from France), and Carmenta (from Sweden) – are now entering the negotiation phase of the grant agreement with the Commission.

This first success at the European level paves the way for further collaborative projects, that will consolidate a European BLOS capability by developing associated functions such as training systems and cooperative engagement. These new projects could be eligible for the future European Defence Fund as early as 2021.

30 Jun 20. US Air Force delays timeline for testing a laser on a fighter jet. The U.S. Air Force’s long-planned test of an airborne laser weapon aboard a fighter jet has been delayed until 2023 due to technical challenges and complications spurred by the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, its program head said.

The Air Force’s Self-Protect High Energy Laser Demonstrator program, or SHiELD, had originally planned to conduct its first flight demonstration in 2021, but the test has been pushed two years back, said Jeff Heggemeier, SHiELD program manager for the Air Force Research Laboratory.

“This is a really complex technology to try to integrate into that flight environment, and that’s ultimately what we’re trying to do with this program, is demonstrate that laser technology is mature enough to be able to integrate onto that airborne platform,” he told Defense News in a June 10 interview. “But even things like COVID, and COVID shutting down the economy. That has impacts.”

Beyond that, the future of using laser weapons aboard fighter aircraft is even more unclear. The goal of SHiELD was to give combat jets a way to counter missiles shot by an enemy aircraft or by air defense systems on the ground. But in May, Mike Griffin, the Pentagon’s undersecretary of defense for research and engineering, noted that he was “extremely skeptical” that an airborne laser could be used for missile defense.

Asked what that meant for SHiELD, Air Force acquisition czar Will Roper acknowledged that the service is rethinking how it could best use directed-energy technologies. Perhaps the most optimal use for SHiELD wasn’t onboard a fighter, he said.

“What I’ve told that team is, let’s have a dialogue,” Roper said during a June 9 event hosted by the Mitchell Institute for Aerospace Studies. “Let’s understand the different power levels and what they should correspond to, and let’s not make the highest power level that we can dream up and the mission that’s the sexiest be the thing that drives us.”

“What I expect to get laser weapons to the goal line has been the humble, but important and very worrisome small drone threat. They continue to show up, they’re difficult to attribute — we don’t know who is sending them to our installations and tests and things of that nature, and we can’t afford to shoot missiles at them,” he added. “So this is a perfect threat to make laser weapons real, and once they’re real, we’ll do what the military does. We’ll look to scale the power.”

Heggemeier said there are many ways the Air Force could spin off laser technologies developed by the SHiELD program, but it’s critical the service continue with development so it can gauge the maturity and usefulness of the capabilities.

“I think it’s important for us to first remember what the whole point of SHiELD is. The whole point of SHiELD is not an acquisition program where we’re turning out hundreds or tens of these laser systems for operational use. What we’re trying to do with SHiELD is exactly answer those questions of: ‘Is laser technology mature enough to go on an airborne platform? Have we solved enough of those technical challenges that this is now a feasible thing?’ Because there is that concern.”

He also drew a distinction between the tactical, self-defense capability a SHiELD laser would give combat aircraft versus a more powerful laser capable of intercepting highly-advanced ballistic missiles, as the Missile Defense Agency has proposed.

“You’re not talking about these really, really long ranges. You’re talking about a shorter range and different targets just to protect yourself or your wingman,” Heggemeier said. “Missile defense can mean a lot of things. Some of those missile defense missions are very, very hard, and some of them aren’t quite so hard.”

For now, at least, the Air Force’s investment in directed energy remains stable. The service’s budget lays out cash for high-energy lasers in multiple funding lines. For fiscal 2021, it requested $15.1m for basic research and $45.1m for applied research for high-energy laser technology, as well as another $13m for high-power, solid-state laser technology. In FY20, the service received $14.8m for basic research and $48.2m for applied research for laser technologies.

SHiELD is comprised of three elements: the laser itself, which is being developed by Lockheed Martin; the beam control system made by Northrop Grumman; and the pod that encases the weapons system, from Boeing. Heggemeier said the pod is under construction, with integration of the laser and beam control system planned to start next year.

“A lot of the challenge is trying to get all of this stuff into this small pod. If you look at other lasers that are fairly mature, we have other laser systems that some other contractors have built that are ready to be deployed. But these are ground-based systems, and they are much, much more mature,” he said.

In April 2019, the Air Force Research Lab conducted a ground test with a surrogate laser system — the Demonstrator Laser Weapon System, or DLWS, now in use by the Army. The demonstration involved the successful downing of several air-to-air missiles.

“It turns out the DLWS system, when you take everything into account, is a really good surrogate for the laser power on SHiELD,” Heggemeier said.

Because both SHiELD and DLWS generate similar amounts of energy on target — in SHiELD’s case, Heggemeier would only say that it amounts to “tens of kilowatts” — the surrogate test gave the lab a good idea how the laser physically affects a target.

In 2019, the team conducted a flight test of a pod with the same outer mold line as the one under development by Boeing. The pod was mounted to an aircraft — Heggemeier declined to specify the model — and flown around Eglin Air Force Base, Florida, to help measure how vibrations, the force of gravity and other environmental factors might influence the performance of the weapon. Air Force Magazine reported in 2019 that aerial demonstrations of SHiELD would occur onboard an F-15 fighter jet.(Source: Defense News)

30 Jun 20. South Korea to develop supersonic ASM for future KF-X fighter aircraft. South Korea is planning to develop a new supersonic air-to-surface missile (ASM) that is expected to be carried by the Republic of Korea Air Force’s (RoKAF’s) future Korean Fighter eXperimental (KF-X) multirole fighter aircraft.

A Joint Chief of Staff (JCS) official told Janes on 30 June that the weapon is expected to fly at speeds in excess of Mach 2.5, weigh less than 3,000 lb (1.36 tonnes) and have a range of at least 250 km.

No further details were provided about the ASM.

The revelation comes after Janes reported on 28 May that South Korea had recently completed the selection process for the precision-guided munitions and guidance kits it plans to integrate with the KF-X, which is being developed by Korea Aerospace Industries (KAI), with PT Dirgantara Indonesia as KAI’s industry partner on the project.

South Korean military officials told Janes on 28 May that Raytheon’s GBU-12 Paveway II, Boeing’s GBU-31/38 Joint Direct Attack Munition (JDAM), GBU-54/56 Laser JDAM, and GBU-39/B Small Diameter Bomb1 (SDB1), as well as Textron’s Wind Corrected Munitions Dispenser (WCMD) CBU-105 had all been selected for integration with the KF-X.

They said the integration process for the smart bombs and guidance kits, all of which are already in service with the RoKAF, would start later this year, with full integration expected over the coming six to seven years.

The move comes after MBDA Missile Systems announced in November 2019 that it had been awarded a contract for the integration of its Meteor beyond visual range air-to-air missile (BVRAAM) with the KF-X.

Also set for integration is the IRIS-T short-range air-to-air missile (SRAAM) by Germany’s Diehl Defence, with a contract expected to be signed in the near future. (Source: Jane’s)

30 Jun 20. Safran arms Patroller UAV. Safran Electronics & Defense has displayed its Patroller unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) during past Eurosatory exhibitions and if this year’s show had not been cancelled it might have shown a mock-up fitted with rocket pods. The French Army has decided to add effectors to the UAV and the Direction Générale de l’Armement (DGA), the French armament procurement agency, awarded the company a risk-reduction contract in late 2019 to integrate Thales Acüleüs 68 mm induction rockets into the Patroller. The original 2016 contract is for 14 UAVs and six ground control stations. The investigation into the 6 December 2019 crash landing of a Patroller, apparently due to software issues that should not require hardware modifications, is 95% complete. Test flights have already been resumed.

The need for on-board effectors is a lesson learned by French forces during operations, when they have identified time-sensitive targets of opportunity that could not be neutralised due to a lengthy sensor-to-shooter loop. (Source: Jane’s)

30 Jun 20. Russia: Turkey cannot re-export S-400 without Moscow’s blessing – Interfax. Turkey cannot re-export Russian-made Russian S-400 defence systems without Moscow’s permission, Interfax news agency reported on Tuesday, citing a spokeswoman for Russia’s federal service for military-technical cooperation, Maria Vorobyova. The United States has said that Turkey risks U.S. sanctions if it deploys the Russian-made S-400s. (Source: Reuters)

29 Jun 20. Leonardo’s Hitfact Mk II turret to be fitted with new 105/52mm gun. Leonardo is installing its Hitfact Mk II turret armed with the new 105/52 mm rifled gun in place of the 120 mm smoothbore weapon on the Centauro II 8×8 armoured vehicle that was to have been exhibited at the cancelled Eurosatory on 8–12 June. The vehicle was to have been displayed at the Consorzio Iveco DV Oto Melara (CIO) and Leonardo stand.

Leonardo is installing its Hitfact Mk II turret armed with the new 105/52 mm rifled gun on the Centauro II. (Leonardo)

Installation of the 105mm gun allows a reduction in turret weight by 750 kg and more ammunition to be carried, and offers a wide choice of less expensive rounds. The 105 mm gun developed by Leonardo leverages the advanced materiel used in the 120 mm gun, while maintaining the barrel thickness of the older 105 mm to reduce qualification issues. The gun has a 20% shorter recoil length and 5% lighter oscillating mass, while the maximum admissible pressure is 20% higher, enabling the use of new ammunition currently under development by various manufacturers, Leonardo told Janes. This was achieved with improved materiel characteristics: fracture toughness and extensibility were increased by 30% compared with the steel used in the gun that armed the original Centauro.

Leonardo Defence Systems has started building a company-owned Hitfact II turret for demonstration purposes that will be armed either with a 105 mm or 120 mm gun, depending on customer requirements. The company believes many countries around the world that do not face a high-end armoured threat are still interested in the smaller Western tank gun calibre. (Source: Jane’s)

29 Jun 20. Hanwha Defense awarded contract to mass-produce new SPAAG system for South Korean military. South Korea’s Defense Acquisition Program Administration (DAPA) has awarded Hanwha Defense a KRW250bn (USD207.6m) contract to mass-produce a recently developed 30 mm self-propelled anti-aircraft gun (SPAAG) system based on the chassis of the Hyundai Rotem K808 8×8 armoured vehicle.

South Korea’s DAPA has awarded Hanwha Defense a KRW250bn (USD207.6m) contract to mass-produce a new 30 mm SPAAG) system based on the chassis of the K808 8×8 armoured vehicle. (DAPA)

In a 27 June statement DAPA said that the short-range air-defence system is intended to gradually replace the ageing 20 mm M167 Vulcan Air Defense Systems (VADSs) still in service with the South Korean military.

No details were provided as to how many units were ordered but the new SPAAG system is expected to enter service from 2021.

Developed by Hanwha between 2015 and 2019 as part of a KRW55bn project, the turret mounted on the vehicle is armed with a pair of stabilised and podded 30 mm autocannons, and features an electro-optical/infrared system enabling automatic day/night target tracking.

The new SPAAG system has been designed to increase South Korea’s capability to engage aerial targets at low altitudes and to provide mobile and localised air-defence support for ground troops.

The DAPA noted that the new system is not only more accurate but its range of over 3km is also 1.6-times greater than that of the M167 VADS, which has a maximum range of 2.2km, according to Janes Land Warfare Platforms: Artillery & Air Defence. (Source: Jane’s)

30 Jun 20. Patria and Kongsberg teaming up for U.S. turreted mortar programs. Patria and Kongsberg Defence & Aerospace have teamed up for the future U.S. turreted mortar programs. The teaming will provide to the U.S. market an unrivalled combination of Patria’s world-leading mortar systems together with Kongsberg’s U.S. remote weapons systems (RWS) manufacturing capabilities and experience in the U.S. market.

Patria Nemo is the foremost turreted mortar system. It is a remote-controlled 120mm mortar system capable of both direct and indirect fire on the move. Nemo can also execute multiple rounds simultaneous impact (MRSI) fire missions with up to 6 rounds per MRSI mission. In addition to being highly protected, Patria Nemo is light, compact and easily installable on light, tracked chassis, wheeled armored vehicles or navy vessels.

Having an eye on upcoming turreted mortar programs for the U.S. armed forces, Patria and Kongsberg have agreed to leverage Kongsberg’s existing RWS manufacturing facilities in Johnstown, Pennsylvania for Nemo’s production to the U.S. market. Kongsberg’s Johnstown’s facility together, with their wide U.S. supplier base, has provided over 14,000 weapon systems to U.S. armed forces over the last 20 years. Kongsberg produced MCT-30 remote turrets for the U.S. Army’s Stryker program in Johnstown and in May 2020 was selected to do the same for the U.S. Marine Corps’ Amphibious Combat Vehicle program.

“Kongsberg’s track record in high-end weapon system production in the U.S. is highly regarded making Kongsberg a logical choice to manufacture our systems for the U.S. Armed Forces. We are now ready to provide the U.S. with the world’s most advanced, protected and mobile 120mm mortar system and to do so from within the U.S.”, says Jussi Järvinen, President of Patria’s Land Business Unit.

“KONGSBERG and Patria have a long history of working together and a relationship that was strengthened in 2016 with KONGSBERG’s minority stake in Patria”, says Pål Bratlie Executive Vice President Kongsberg Defence & Aerospace AS. “This teaming agreement for the Nemo mortar system is a fantastic means for our companies to join forces to provide solutions to the warfighter for the turreted mortar mission”.

29 Jun 20. The Belgian-Dutch mine hunter program carried by Belgium Naval & Robotics successfully crosses the «Systems Functional Review» milestone. On May 23, a new contractual milestone was crossed by the Belgium Naval & Robotics teams. Exactly one year after the notification of the contract in 2019, this program, which provides for the supply of twelve mine hunters equipped with drone systems (Toolbox) to the Belgian and Dutch navies, reaches a new milestone.

In the midst of the Covid-19 health crisis, the Belgium Naval & Robotics teams have reached a new milestone within the framework of the mine war program, which provides for the delivery of 12 mine hunters equipped with their toolbox. The milestone reached on May 23, 2020, “Systems Functional Review”, validates the functional and architectural studies of all the systems of mine action ships developed by Naval Group such as computer networks, electrical installations, propulsion or combat systems, as well as those of all drones developed by ECA Group, key elements of the ships. This review also focused on the systems of systems that provide mission management, communications and cybersecurity, as well as on the integration of drone systems on the ship.

“This milestone represents an important step because it demonstrates that the systems’ architecture of the armed ship meets the functional requirements of our Belgian and Dutch customers,” said Eric Perrot, program director for Naval Group.

The twelve ships will be equipped with a total of a hundred drones managed in a pool called Toolbox, shared by the two navies and supplied by ECA Group. The configuration of the Toolbox, used on board each ship or deployed from the shore, will vary depending on the typology of the missions. It will consist of surface drones USV INSPECTOR125, underwater drones AUV A18M and towed sonars T18 for mine detection and the MIDS system (Mine Identification and Disposal System) for mine identification and neutralization.

“The requirement and the rigor of the client when passing these milestones are essential; we can thus approach the following phases of the program under sound conditions. Furthermore, the mobilization of our teams during the confinement period made it possible to ensure an efficient telework organization and thus meet the deadlines,” confirms Jean-Louis Sambarino, program director of ECA Group.

In charge of the preliminary design of the ships, Naval Group works in close collaboration with Kership who will carry out the detailed design of the ships and their construction. Kership’s activities will start after crossing the Preliminary Design Review milestone, which is scheduled for December 2020.

“The COVID-19 challenge was resolutely taken up and mastered by Belgium Naval & Robotics and our binational project team. The flexibility, diligence and professionalism of both parties were the ingredients necessary for the success of this important step in the contractual deadlines. The constructive atmosphere and expertise of Belgium Naval & Robotics inspires confidence in the prospect of the next milestone this fall,” said Commander Claude Bultot, program director for the Belgian and Dutch navies.

The contract for twelve mine hunters for the Belgian and Dutch navies will span over ten years. After a design period of three years, Belgium Naval & Robotics will move on to the production phase of these ships and drone systems, with an initial delivery scheduled for 2024. Six ships will be delivered to the Belgian navy and six to the Dutch navy; they will be equipped with a complete drones system (Toolbox) containing a total of more than a hundred underwater, surface and aerial drones entirely dedicated to mine hunting.

29 Jun 20. Strategic defence partnership to secure hundreds of Australian jobs.

  • Thales and the Australian Government have signed a 10-year Strategic Domestic Munitions Manufacturing (SDMM) contract that will secure hundreds of jobs in regional New South Wales and Victoria,
  • The contract valued at over AUD 1bn is a key pillar in Australia’s Sovereign Industrial Capability in munitions and small arms.
  • To support the Government’s drive to boost Australian Industry Capability (AIC) Thales has committed to 75% or more AIC whilst delivering the best capability to Defence.

Thales and the Australian Government have signed a decade long contract worth more than AUD 1 bn[1] that guarantees the Australian manufacture and supply of strategic munitions to the Australian Defence Force.

This contract demonstrates that Australia’s sovereign defence industry is vital to delivering a capability advantage to the Australian Defence Force (ADF).

The continued long-term partnership between Thales and Defence reinforces the Government’s commitment to maintaining a world leading, competitive and safe domestic munitions manufacturing capability in Australia.

Thales continues to build long-term relationships with hundreds of Australian suppliers, building Australia’s self-reliance and the capability of the broader Australian manufacturing sector.

Thales’s recent supply chain study with AlphaBeta Advisers proved that there is a strong correlation between Sovereign Industry Capability and benefits flowing to Australian suppliers.

In 2019, Thales spent AUD 113m with its Australian suppliers for munitions and small arms, supporting 414 direct jobs in the supply chain.

This contract will enable Thales to secure more than AUD 450m in export and non-ADF orders over the coming 10 years, demonstrating Australia’s world leading munitions manufacturing capability. The Group has invested more than AUD 20m in research and development and AUD 25m in capital infrastructure over the last 10 years at the Benalla and Mulwala facilities and will invest further to develop new and world leading products for the Australian Defence Force.

Thales employs approximately 650 highly skilled staff between its two Australian Government owned facilities in Benalla and Mulwala. It exports products to 17 countries globally.

26 Jun 20. Spanish Army will acquire new sniper rifles. The Spanish Army is to procure 27 new semi-automatic sniper rifles, as it continues efforts to strengthen its small arms inventory. The service intends to spend around €318,00 ($360,000) to acquire the weapons and accessories.

An army spokesperson told Shephard that it has not yet decided which units will receive the sniper rifles.

The tender was published on 11 June and states that the rifles should be delivered by December 2020.

The 7.62x51mm weapons should be compatible with NATO ammunition. Each rifle must be handed over with four magazines (two with ten cartridges and other two with 20).

Besides the weapons, the army will also acquire silencers, optical viewfinder with polarised lenses, tilt indicators, tripods with handle and support and waterproof ballistic calculators.

Although the competition is open to national and international industry, the Spanish Army has invited three companies to submit proposals.

Two of them are Spanish (USP – Uniformidad y Suministros de Protección and Ranninger y Compañia). The third one is Heckler & Koch (H&K) in Germany.

Besides the guns, the winner of the competition will also provide a training programme to teach how to maintain the rifles.

The procurement of these weapons should be seen in the context of a broader effort to improve the lethality of Spanish Army troops.

Earlier this year, the army has announced its intention to improve the small arms inventory of its Special Operations Command (MOE in Spanish) and to procure new weapons for snipers and troops.

The force will take delivery of Accuracy International AXMC338 sniper rifles and H&K MP7A1 submachine guns. These weapons will replace the Accuracy AW 7.62mm and H&K MP5 models.

Also for its SOF, this year the Spanish Army plans to procure pistols, .308 semiautomatic rifles, 12.7mm semi-automatic sniper rifles and semiautomatic shotguns. These weapons would be delivered between 2020 and 2024. (Source: Shephard)

25 Jun 20. Pentagon solicits proposals for new hypersonic advanced warning system. The US Department of Defense (DoD) is soliciting industry proposals for the development and fielding of a new network of low Earth orbit (LEO) satellites, designed specifically to detect, track, and provide advanced warning against hypersonic weapons launched against US armed forces or allied targets.

The request for proposals (RFP) issued by the Pentagon’s Space Development Agency (SDA) to industry on 15 June is seeking programme proposals in support of the early warning LEO satellite network for advanced missile threats, known in agency parlance as the Tracking Layer. The Tracking Layer is only one element of the SDA’s multi-layer National Defense Space Architecture (NDSA) strategy to detect, identify, and deter potential terrestrial and space-based threats.

Those additional layers include the Battle Management Layer, which is designed to provide “architecture tasking”, mission command and control, and data dissemination to support “time-sensitive kill chain closures at campaign scales”, according to SDA documents. Agency officials envision the Navigation Layer to provide US armed forces alternative position, navigation, and timing (A-PNT) capabilities in GPS-denied environments, the documents stated.

The Deterrence Layer will foster platforms and technologies to “deter hostile action in deep space” beyond geosynchronous Earth orbit (GEO), while space-based programmes developed under the Support Layer will “enable ground and launch segments” to provide overarching support to the SNA’s responsive space architecture, the documents said. The Transport Layer, as envisioned under the SDA strategy will provide space-based “assured, resilient, low-latency military data and connectivity” to US armed forces across the globe, SDA officials said in the documents. Finally, the Custody Layer will leverage LEO satellite networks to provide comprehensive “all-weather custody of time sensitive, left-of-launch” surface mobile targets, such as missile launchers, the documents added. (Source: Jane’s)

23 Jun 20. Aerojet Rocketdyne delivers 600th DACS for US Army’s THAAD system. Aerojet Rocketdyne has achieved a new milestone with the delivery of the 600th Boost Motor and Divert and Attitude Control System (DACS).

The company provides the two components for the US Army’s Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) weapon system.

Built by prime contractor Lockheed Martin, THAAD is a land-based weapon of the US Missile Defense Agency’s (MDA) missile defence system.

THAAD is designed to protect deployed US and allied forces from threat ballistic missiles travelling within and outside of the Earth’s atmosphere.

Since its production commenced, the system has demonstrated a 100% success rate in intercept tests with 16 intercepts in 16 tests.

Currently, Aerojet Rocketdyne produces the THAAD solid rocket boost motor at its US facilities in Huntsville, Alabama, and Camden, Arkansas.

The DACS thruster system helps steer the THAAD’s kinetic kill vehicle through the latter stages of an intercept to successfully engage the target.

The system is manufactured at the company’s facility in Los Angeles, California.

Aerojet Rocketdyne CEO and president Eileen Drake said: “I am proud of our team’s vital role on this important programme.

“Over the past two years they have successfully transferred production from our Sacramento, California site, supported the Missile Defense Agency’s successful THAAD flight test, and delivered the 600th Boost Motor and 600th DACS.”

In December 2018, the US Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency awarded a contract to Aerojet Rocketdyne to design a propulsion system for its Operational Fires (OpFires) programme. (Source: army-technology.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.


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