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MISSILE, BALLISTICS AND SOLDIER SYSTEMS UPDATE

Sponsored by Arnold Defense www.arnolddefense.com

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30 Jul 20. Galvion signs major helmet contract with Danish Ministry of Defence Acquisition and Logistics Organisation (DALO). Galvion, a world leader in innovative head protection systems and power management solutions, has signed a new contract to supply the Danish Ministry of Defence Acquisition and Logistics Organisation (DALO), with a suite of helmet systems. Awarded following a full and open competition, the 7-year contract is worth approximately USD$23.5m. Galvion will deliver new helmets across two unique helmet geometries and additionally, has established a spare parts and life extension programme with estimated completion in 2034.   As well as the Danish MoD, the Danish Police and Ministry of Foreign Affairs can also use this framework contract to procure and support their own specific helmets.

DALO is not a new customer to Galvion; in 2012, Galvion (under its former corporate name Revision Military) won a contract to deliver helmets and spare parts to Denmark over a seven-year period.  Following a competitive technical assessment process including comprehensive user trials, this newest contract extends an already strong relationship with the DALO. Starting in Q4 2020, Galvion will begin delivering a combination of their flagship Batlskin Caiman® Special Forces helmet system and the newly launched PDxT™ helmet. The PDxT introduces a new helmet geometry to balance space, comfort and impact performance together with a low-profile shell.  Both helmet platforms include the very latest APEX lining system, which can be configured to meet a variety of impact standards and mission requirements.

Major Kasper Riis from DALO said: “We’re pleased that Galvion won the tender and therefore will continue as our ongoing supplier of helmet systems, following an extensive competitive assessment to establish protection for our soldiers, whilst delivering value for money. Galvion (formerly Revision Military) have proven themselves to be a reliable and dependable supply partner to DALO in recent years and we’re confident that this new contract will build on that success and that Galvion will continue to be a good partner for DALO”.

Jonathan Blanshay, CEO at Galvion said: “We’re honoured to sign another contract with the DALO, solidifying our partnership for many years to come.  Galvion has developed a reputation as the leader in NATO next-generation helmet systems, and the awarding of this contract speaks of our commitment to provide bespoke solutions for the modern soldier.  He added: “Our team has created a suite of helmets for the Danish MoD that balances quality, durability and the all-important user-acceptance and we are excited to start delivering these systems to the soldiers who need them”.

As well as the new DALO contract, Galvion enjoys an impressive track record of large-scale global sales for protective head systems and soldier power management systems. Other customers include defence forces from the US, Canada, UK, Germany, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, UAE, Israel, Australia, New Zealand, Indonesia and others.

28 Jul 20. Singapore, Israeli firms team to develop new ship-killing missile. Singapore’s ST Engineering believes that a new joint venture with Israel Aerospace Industries, to market and sell advanced naval missile systems, will leverage both companies’ strengths and track records to address a growing demand for guided munitions.

The joint venture, announced in mid-July, is called Proteus Advanced Systems, with ST Engineering’s land systems arm and IAI each having a 50 percent share. According to the news release announcing the joint venture, the new entity will “market and sell advanced naval missile systems, including a next generation anti-ship missile system.”

ST Engineering confirmed to Defense News that its next generation anti-ship missile is called the Blue Spear, a system that it says it has been working with IAI over the past few years, although it declined to divulge the exact timeline.

A spokesperson from the company added that Blue Spear, which was also known as the 5G SSM, is “is an anti-ship missile system that introduces an advanced and novel approach which addresses the challenges of the modern naval arena for years to come,” and confirmed reports elsewhere that ST Engineering’s role in the Blue Spear’s development includes the design, development and production of major subsystems like the booster motor and warhead.

The spokesperson added that the land systems arm of the company, ST Engineering Land Systems, was chosen to participate in the development of the missile as it “has been in the business of conventional munitions for many years.”

The division has manufactured NATO-standard ammunition for small arms and artillery systems, and has been involved in license-production of both the Rafael Spike anti-tank and the Russian 9K38 Igla surface-to-air missiles used by Singapore’s military.

No other technical details of the Blue Spear were made available. IAI has previously developed the Gabriel family of anti-ship missiles, with the latest being the Gabriel 5, which the Israeli company says is designed to penetrate modern hard- and soft-kill anti-missile defenses.

ST Engineering says that the development of the Blue Spear and the formation of the joint venture was a commercial venture by both companies and is “not driven by any ongoing customer requirement.”

However it has not escaped notice that the Republic of Singapore Navy’s current anti-ship missile is the Boeing RGM-84C Harpoon, a weapon that was introduced in the early 1980s. The Harpoon is used by Singapore’s six Formidable-class multi-role frigates and a similar number of Victory-class missile corvettes, while the air-launched AGM-84C can be carried by Singapore’s Fokker 50 maritime patrol aircraft and its Lockheed-Martin F-16C/D multi-role fighter jets.

The service plans to buy six multi-role combat vessels, starting the middle of this decade, to replace its missile corvettes, and will almost certainly equip these with a new anti-ship missile given several of Singapore’s neighbours are introducing much more modern capabilities.

The Singaporean frigates, which entered service between 2007 and 2009, will likely receive new missiles in the future as part of a continuing program to refresh its capabilities. Singapore’s defense ministry has yet to respond to questions from Defense News about potentially acquiring a new anti-ship weapon.

Singapore and Israel have enjoyed a close defense relationship spanning several decades, with the latter providing extensive assistance in setting up Singapore’s military when it became independence in 1965. The relationship extends to both countries defense industries, and Singapore is a major user of Israeli defense equipment although the relationship is usually kept low-profile. (Source: Defense News)

28 Jul 20. Dstl Awards £300m Weapons Sector Research Framework (WSRF) Contract to QinetiQ. The Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (Dstl) has signed a 5 year framework contract which is budgeted to be worth £300m over that period with QinetiQ, and their key partners MBDA and Thales, to lead the Weapons Sector Research Framework (WSRF). The framework will enable Dstl, and over 70 industry and academic suppliers to develop and exploit technology for the benefit of UK Armed Forces and HM Government. In particular, the WSRF will cover the overall scope of the Future Kinetic Effects and Weapons (FKEW) Programme comprising Complex, Conventional and Novel Weapons technologies. The WSRF replaces the existing Weapons Science and Technology Centre (WSTC) contract and offers a broader scope of research activities including directed energy weapons.

The MOD requires the ability to accelerate development of emerging and disruptive weapons technologies.  The purpose of the WSRF is to respond to these challenges at pace through an Enterprise Approach between the MOD and industry encompassing planning, tasking and delivery of Weapons science and technology research.  This approach provides access to a wide range of suppliers, which can be continually refreshed, thus improving the MOD’s knowledge base and access to innovative, disruptive solutions, state-of-the-art techniques and world leading researchers.  Through this, the WSRF will support the MOD strategic objectives, with direct exploitation through the UK Complex Weapons Portfolio, MOD’s Novel Weapons Programme and Front Line Commands (FLCs).

Gary Aitkenhead, Chief Executive Dstl said, “As the science inside UK defence and security Dstl’s research delivers clear military and strategic advantage for our armed forces. We reduce risk to our forces by delivering technology with increased effectiveness and range. We have seen a growing demand from customers for our advice, assurance and research which create new game changing capabilities for defence. We are proud to have delivered affordable and effective solutions to our customers that have saved lives and money, as well as supporting the growth of the UK economy. The WSRF brings together our key partners, SMEs and academia to develop the solutions defence and security need in a fast evolving world.”

Steve Fitz-Gerald, Group Managing Director for Maritime and Land at QinetiQ said, “We are immensely proud to be supporting Dstl and the wider defence enterprise to deliver a framework that ensures the UK benefits from the best thinking and innovation. The enhanced scope of the WSRF will allow the generation of new capability, getting battle winning equipment and technology into the hands of the warfighter at pace, and enable the UK to counter the evolving threats to our sovereignty and prosperity.”

27 Jul 20. Home Office Awards Level Peaks and NP Aerospace Applied Science & Technology (CAST) Certificate of Accreditation. Level Peaks Associates is proud to announce that its Adaptive Vest system, in conjunction with the NP Aerospace LASA LWB III+ IC06 Lightweight Buoyant Ballistic Hard Armour plate, has been awarded Certificate of Accreditation by the Home Office Centre for Applied Science & Technology (CAST).

The Centre for Applied Science & Technology (CAST) has confirmed that the Adaptive Vest System in conjunction with the NP Aerospace LASA LWB III+ IC06 Ballistic Hard Armour Plate has met the minimum requirements of Body Armour Standard 012/17 and has been accredited by the Home Office.

Level Peaks Associates supplies high-performance tactical gear to elite forces across the world. NP Aerospace is a global manufacturer of personal armour and vehicle armour used by major military organisations. Both are key partners to the UK Ministry of Defence, UK Police Forces and NATO military forces. The announcement extends both companies’ product offerings into elite law enforcement.

Jim Clarke, Director of Programs at Level Peaks Associates, comments: “Level Peaks supply products to specialists who demand the best capability. The Adaptive Vest System is one of our latest innovations designed for Armed police and other specialist users. Working in conjunction with NP Aerospace has allowed us to provide the highest level of ballistic protection against the latest advanced threats combined with a lightweight solution for enhanced user mobility.”

James Kempston, CEO NP Aerospace, comments: “Our Level III+ IC06 CAST Ballistic Plate is one of our lightest high protection plates designed to stop rifle rounds including AK47. Being awarded CAST certificate of accreditation extends our reach into law enforcement, enabling police forces to fight crime effectively using well established military products. Level Peaks are a very well-established market leader and we are pleased to be working together to provide integrated systems.”

24 Jul 20. Hypersonics, Counter-Hypersonics a Top DOD Priority. Hypersonics and counter-hypersonics remain one of the Defense Department’s highest technical modernization priorities, Ellen M. Lord, undersecretary of defense for acquisition and sustainment said.

“We are continuing on an accelerated path to develop and field land-, sea- and air-launched hypersonic weapons, as well as developing options for defense against adversary hypersonic missile capabilities so as to ensure our continued ability to dominate the battlefield for decades to come,” Lord said this week at the Institute for Defense and Government Advancement’s Defense Logistics Summit.

Lord said acquisition and sustaiment’s goals and priorities align with the National Defense Strategy’s three lines of effort:

  1. Restore military readiness as we build a more lethal force
  2. Strengthen alliances and partnerships
  3. Bring business reform to DOD

The mission is to enable the delivery and sustainment of secure and resilient capabilities to the warfighter and international partners quickly and cost effectively, Lord said. Under that mission are six A&S goals, and Lord discussed those goals in the context of DOD’s hypersonic efforts. “I am committed to evolving our acquisition and program expertise to ensure that business execution issues do not hinder our ability to prototype, demonstrate, test and field warfighting capability — especially hypersonics,” she said

  1. The first A&S goal is to enable innovative acquisition approaches that deliver warfighting capability at the speed of relevance.

Hypersonic weapons have the potential to alter the future of strike, air combat and air defense, Lord said.

“The United States has historically been a world leader in hypersonics research,” she noted. “However, we have consistently made the decision not to weaponize this technology in the past — in large part due to our recent focus on countering violent extremist organizations.”

The United States’ potential adversaries in this great power competition have dramatically increased their emphasis on weaponized hypersonic technologies, which could be creating an unacceptable capability gap, she said.

It is from the analysis baseline that we determine areas that may require innovation or increased capacity to keep pace with the advancing threat, Lord said.

“Hypersonic defense broadly aligns with more traditional air and missile defense,” she said. “It also requires significant innovations across the entire kill chain, spanning indications and warning, sensing, command and control, and advanced intercept capabilities.”

Hypersonic and counter-hypersonic technology is advancing rapidly, and the demand for these capabilities is strong, she said.

“Our offensive hypersonics capability is maturing, with a number of systems being accelerated. On the defensive side, there is a wide range of efforts underway to assess alternatives.

“We in A&S must look to the future and ensure that our industrial base is prepared to produce these weapons once the technology is mature and demonstrated,” Lord said, adding that they must also consider how to sustain hypersonic and counter-hypersonic weapons over the long term.

  1. The second A&S goal for acquisition and sustainment is to build (a) safe, secure and resilient defense industrial base, she said.

Relative to hypersonics, DOD needs to establish a secure and resilient supply chain, she added.

“Hypersonics are critical to our national security; we cannot allow our DIB to be compromised,” Lord said. She added that she has established the Hypersonics War Room to analyze and assess the status of the hypersonics and counter-hypersonics industrial base.

The Hypersonics War Room identifies risk areas where industry lacks capability and capacity, and develops options for mitigation, she explained.

“Once we determine what is needed to mitigate the risks, we will work with industry to mutually make investments, where necessary, to ensure the Department’s counter-hypersonics efforts are successful,” Lord said.

  1. The third A&S goal is to ensure safe and resilient DOD installations, she said.

A&S has responsibility for policies associated with DOD installations. Lord said the projects range from providing assured energy if the grid goes down — which may involve micro nuclear reactors — to cleaning up and replacing hazardous substances in materials utilized in training exercises, operational missions and sustainment activities.

  1. The fourth A&S goal is to increase weapon system mission capability while reducing operating cost, she said.

Nuclear deterrence is the No. 1 priority mission of the DOD, Lord said.

  1. The fifth A&S goal is to promote acquisition and sustainment initiatives with key international partners, she said.

Lord said her office is leading DOD’s efforts to deepen engagement on acquisition matters with its allies and partners.

  1. The sixth A&S goal is to recruit, develop and retain a diverse acquisition and sustainment workforce, she said.

“Not only do we need to build hypersonic weapons, we need to be able to defend against them,” she noted.

“We have significantly increased our investments to accelerate the transition of hypersonic systems and counter-hypersonic technologies to achieve the warfighting capability and defense afforded by those systems,” Lord said.

DOD must continue to modernize on all fronts to provide effective hypersonic weapon systems to our warfighters, she said, adding, “Modernization requires a robust industrial base for production, joint exercises and simulations, and planning for integrating hypersonics capability into our defense enterprise.”

To ensure effective acquisition and delivery of advanced counter-hypersonics capabilities, DOD must look across traditional system domains into mission capability space to better identify threat trends, capability and interoperability limitations, the breadth and synchronization of science and technology, experimentation, rapid prototyping, acquisition programs and fielding and sustainment plans, Lord said. (Source: US DoD)

23 Jul 20. Cost tripled for missile defense warhead, despite prior warnings, GAO finds.

— Despite numerous warnings of critical problems from experts within and outside the government over roughly 10 years, the cost to develop the now-canceled Redesigned Kill Vehicle program for homeland missile defense more than tripled, and the program’s schedule slipped by four years, a new U.S. government watchdog report reveals.

“At the time [the Defense Department] canceled the RKV program in August 2019, MDA [the Missile Defense Agency] had spent a total of $1.21bn on RKV development — $340m more than the agency’s original estimate for the entire RKV development effort, including eight initial production kill vehicles,” according to the Government Accountability Office report, released July 23. The estimated cost increased by more than 230 percent from 2015 to 2019, the report said.

The Pentagon decided to take a “strategic pause” on the RKV in May 2019 before outright killing the program in August 2019. The department cited “technical design problems” as the reason for hitting the brakes and changing course.

Raytheon was the developer of the RKV, serving as a subcontractor to Boeing. The RKV would have replaced the current Exoatmospheric Kill Vehicle, or EKV, on the Ground-Based Interceptor, which makes up the Ground-based Midcourse Defense, or GMD, system designed to counter ballistic missile threats. It would have also been fielded on all future ground-based interceptors — ultimately a total of 64.

The EKV is designed to destroy targets in high-speed collisions after separating from the booster rocket. The EKV required technical changes due to issues in tests, and so the Missile Defense Agency decided to initiate the RKV program. In the meantime, the agency has had several successful tests of the GMD system with the EKV following engineering changes.

“Ending the program was the responsible thing to do,” Mike Griffin, then-undersecretary of defense for research and engineering, said. He resigned from his post at the Pentagon earlier this month.

“Development programs sometimes encounter problems. After exercising due diligence, we decided the path we’re going down wouldn’t be fruitful, so we’re not going down that path anymore. This decision supports our efforts to gain full value from every future taxpayer dollar spent on defense,” he said at the time.

Warnings

The RKV program was canceled just a few years ago, the GAO report noted, but before then, the MDA was warned consistently of major issues with the program that could lead to failure. That included concerns from the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory in May 2010, which came forward with specific performance risks regarding the SM-3 Block IIA missile, which has considerable commonality with the RKV design.

Then, “despite multiple efforts made by MDA’s engineering directorate to enforce requirements that would have necessitated design changes to address the performance risks,” the program steamed ahead, the report stated, receiving formal agency approval to move forward in June 2015, waiving those requirements.

The agency and contractors justified the waiver, according to the report, because it would have required a redesign following a critical design review that would have raised the cost significantly and resulted in schedule delays.

The worry was that the RKV used commercial off-the-shelf parts and reused Aegis SM-3 Block IIA components.

“MDA chose to use these parts in the RKV design because of their perceived maturity and cost savings as compared to those used in the EKV design,” the report stated. “However, specific performance risks were identified at multiple junctures in the SM-3 Block IIA and RKV programs over the past ten years.”

During a November 2015 RKV system requirements review, “the program identified and assessed performance risks as having a high likelihood of occurrence with major consequences,” the report noted. But it was determined that changes to the design could be made later.

Two years later, during the RKV preliminary design review in March 2017, the program claimed the hardware reuse in the program had been “vigorously vetted” and that performance risks would be “mitigated almost entirely,” the report added.

Yet, a red team panel involved in the review warned the agency that the program’s schedule was too ambitious to resolve any problems if mitigation efforts were insufficient, the report noted. Griffin was a member of this read team prior to taking his position as undersecretary of research and engineering in 2018.

And in an October 2018 briefing aimed at deciding whether the RKV was ready to go into a critical design review phase, the program showed the testing data of parts that “indicated significant performance risk,” according to the report.

Lessons learned?

As the MDA embarks on a new attempt to replace the current GBIs — with the Next-Generation Interceptor — the GAO said the agency is including lessons learned from the RKV program.

The agency released a request for proposals in April following a delay. A Raytheon and Northrop Grumman team as well as incumbent Boeing plan to compete to develop an NGI.

The hope is competition will drive out some risk instead of MDA’s best-of-breed approach to the RKV that fused multiple contractors’ concepts into one design.

The NGI program will also conduct early parts testing, the report noted; in the RKV program, critical parts were tested following the preliminary design review.

And two intercept flight tests are to be successfully conducted before NGI production begins. The MDA built GBIs for operational use prior to demonstrating success in an intercept flight test, and the agency planned to do the same thing with RKV, the report stated.

Prior to his departure from the Pentagon, Griffin said he did not envision an NGI being fielded in less than 10 years; agency officials have previously pointed to a fielding schedule goal of roughly 2028.

But Congress is pushing to see an earlier fielding timeline. The Senate Armed Services Committee, in its version the fiscal 2021 National Defense Authorization Act, wants 20 interim interceptors fielded by 2026. The move could be seen, in part, as a way to motivate the MDA to push the NGI goal posts to the left in order to avoid taking on an interim interceptor program. (Source: Defense News Early Bird/Defense News)

24 Jul 20. India tests anti-tank guided missile ‘Dhruvastra.’

India has tested a locally developed anti-tank guided missile (ATGM) system called Dhruvastra.

The ATGM underwent three flight trials at the Integrated Test Range in Odisha’s Chandipur.

Developed by the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO), the helicopter-launched Dhruvastra is designed to destroy enemy battle tanks, armoured vehicles and bunkers.

However, the tests were carried out in direct and top attack mode from the ground using a launcher, Times Now reported citing news agency ANI. The missile has reportedly met the required criteria while detailed analysis is underway.

Dhruvastra is designed as a customised and updated version of the ‘Nag Helina’ range of DRDO’s anti-tank destroyers.

Such ATGMs are used to destroy both medium and long-range targets. These missiles utilise laser, TV cameras and other forms of guidance systems to locate the target.

The induction of Dhruvastra will enhance the capabilities of the Indian Armed Forces. The missile first penetrates the tank’s outer explosive reactive armour, following which, its main charge detonates to destroy the vehicle’s inner armour.

Notably, the testing comes as India is engaged in a military standoff with China in Ladakh.

Recently, it was reported that the Indian Army is planning to deploy drones to monitor borders along the line of actual control (LAC) in eastern Ladakh. DRDO has developed a high-altitude drone called Bharat for this purpose. (Source: army-technology.com)

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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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