Sponsored by Arnold Defense www.arnolddefense.com
27 Aug 20. Saab Reveals New Decoy Missile for Gripen. Saab’s offering to Finland includes advanced Electronic Warfare systems, comprising of a newly developed Electronic Attack Jammer Pod and a decoy missile system.
Saab’s offering to Finland for the HX fighter procurement includes both the fighter jet Gripen E/F and the GlobalEye Airborne Early Warning and Control System.
As part of Gripen’s E/F Electronic Warfare capability, Saab now reveals the development of a new decoy missile system, the Lightweight Air-launched Decoy Missile. The decoy missile and the new Electronic Attack Jammer Pod, which Saab started flight testing in 2019, will ensure that Finnish pilots will be protected from enemy radars and missiles.
The new decoy missile will be a highly capable stand-in jammer for the most demanding missions. It will act as a force multiplier as it reduces the number of missiles and aircraft required to complete a mission. The decoy missile can jam or create false targets for acquisition, tracking, fire control and airborne radars.
“Our offering to Finland, combining Gripen E/F and GlobalEye as force multipliers, will protect Finland’s people and borders, by delivering both comprehensive situational awareness and a true deterrence effect.
“The decoy missile, that we present today, will constitute a strong addition to Gripen E/F’s built-in electronic attack capabilities.The payload of the new decoy missile is to a large extent developed in Finland and this will strengthen our offer to Finland even further,” says Jonas Hjelm, Senior Vice President and Head of Saab Business Area Aeronautics.
The development of the new decoy missile means that Saab will expand its Saab Technology Centre in Tampere, Finland with more highly skilled employees. Saab has already established a deep technical partnership with Aalto University, where more than 10 research projects are ongoing within the areas of advanced sensors and artificial intelligence.
27 Aug 20. Ukraine adopts Neptune coastal defence missile. Defence Minister Andriy Taran approved the adoption of the RK-360MC Neptune coastal defence missile by the nation’s armed forces on 23 August based on the results of its state trials.
The RK-360MC is a land-based cruise missile system armed with the R-360 anti-ship missile designed to destroy warships, landing ships, and transports operating both independently and in groups, landing units, and coastal radio-contrast targets in normal and difficult meteorological conditions any time of the day and year in face of enemy fire and electronic countermeasures.
The ground platform is a modified KrAZ-7634NE all-wheel drive 8×8 chassis with a 460 hp engine and automatic transmission. The platform carries four transport and launch containers with missiles.
Plans call for a battalion-size RK-360MC division to include six unified USPU-360 launchers, TZM-360 transport-loading vehicles, TM-360 transport vehicles, and a mobile command post. Each division will be equipped with 72 R-360 missiles (four per each of the six launchers), with the transport-loading and transport vehicles carrying the other 48 missiles. (Source: Jane’s)
26 Aug 20. US Army seeks ways for self-propelled howitzers to fire faster. The U.S. Army is turning to small business innovators to figure out a way to increase the rate of fire of self-propelled howitzers, according to an Aug. 25 service statement. The effort is through an Army Small Business Innovation Research pilot that brings government and industry best practices to help drive innovative solutions, according to the release.
“This rate of fire aspect is more than just putting rounds in the back of the howitzers,” Brig. Gen. John Rafferty, who is in charge of the Army’s Long Range Precision Fires modernization efforts, said in the statement. “It’s also about asking, ‘where do we spend all of our time?’ We spend a lot of our time handling unpacking, unloading and downloading ammunition. If we can do that more efficiently we will become a more combat effective unit,” he said.
The program breaks down “long-standing barriers small businesses have face in working with the Army: transparency, access and capital,” the statement added.
The goal is to put small businesses on contract within a month of the close of the submission period, according to the statement.
Companies could receive up to $200,000 during the first phase of the effort, which is expected to last four months “with considerable increases for Phase II and beyond,” the statement read.
And these companies involved “also have the option to participate in a cohort program that grants them unparalleled access to the soldiers who will use their technologies and to Army problem owners,” the statement explained. “By working with these stakeholder groups, innovators can have confidence that the solution they design effectively matches Army needs.”
Earlier this year the Army’s Field Artillery Autonomous Resupply cohort run by the Army Applications Lab marked the first time the service gave companies a chance to “explore the problem and immerse themselves into the problem,” Rafferty said. “It has proven to be an effective process.”
The FAAR participants received $150,000 to complete a 12-week program ending in a pitch to the Army. The Army picked six companies to work on ways to improve the currently cumbersome, taxing and sometimes risky munitions resupply system for field artillery units operating M109 Paladin howitzers.
The Army is also working on an autoloader for the service’s future Extended-Range Cannon Artillery program and plans to field it by 2024. The service toyed with the idea of tapping non-traditional business to come up with a new autoloader but decided instead to go with a government-developed technology demonstrator, which has undergone testing at Yuma Proving Ground, Arizona.
The Army shifted the cohort’s focus to improve the entire system that resupplies munitions to the guns.
Efforts included contributions to an entire resupply system from ordering, to a tracking system, to a transport method and even how ammunition is packaged in order to make resupply faster and more efficient.
The cohort was expected to wrap up capability presentations in April.
The Army is accepting applications for the effort it is calling “Fire Faster” between Sept. 18 and Oct. 6. (Source: Defense News)
26 Aug 20. Latest variant of Patriot missile misfired in major test of command system. The most advanced variant of the Patriot missile misfired during a major test of the U.S. Army’s air and missile defense battle command system, which involved tactical ballistic missile and a cruise missile targets, an Army official confirmed.
Inside Defense, on Aug. 24, first reported the failure that occurred at White Sands Missile Range, New Mexico, on Aug. 20.
A Patriot Advanced Capability-2 Guided Enhanced Missile was used against the cruise missile target, but the Patriot Missile Segment Enhancement missile that was intended to intercept the tactical ballistic missile target misfired, Col. Phil Rottenborn, the Integrated Battle Command System project manager within the Army’s Program Executive Office Missiles and Space, confirmed for Defense News in an Aug. 26 statement.
Lockheed Martin is the manufacturer of all Patriot missile variants.
The test set up two interceptors to go up against the tactical ballistic missile, which was a Black Dagger Zombie target missile, and “the [IBCS] system did what it was designed to do” by deploying a PAC-3 Cost Reduction Initiative, or CRI, missile when the Patriot Missile Segment Enhancement missile misfired, which continued the engagement and took out the tactical ballistic missile, Rottenborn said.
An additional CRI was available but was not launched due to the system’s confirmation that an interceptor had destroyed the target, he added.
“Root cause analysis on the MSE misfire is ongoing, but preliminary indications are that all IBCS commands to the launcher were executed successfully,” Rottenborn said, “and that the error may lie within the missile, but further analysis is required to determine that with certainty.”
Rottenborn noted the MSE weapon is “a proven and capable missile with a great track record, and I’m confident the team will sort this out quickly.”
The Army’s IBCS system is undergoing a major limited-user test through mid-September ahead of a production decision expected by the end of the year. The system has had a plagued past; it failed its first limited-user test in 2016 after a few days of trying to get it up and running.
Army officials including Army Vice Chief of Staff Gen. Joseph Martin and Army Under Secretary James McPherson told reporters on a call last week shortly after the live-fire test that it was a success and the two incoming targets were destroyed nearly simultaneously. There was no mention of the MSE misfire during the call.
The cruise missile and advanced tactical ballistic missile targets were launched from different places toward Army air and missile defenders, while multiple, disparate radars sent data to IBCS as they tracked the incoming targets. IBCS pieced the data together into a uniform track of each target missile. The system then informed the defenders which interceptors would be best to engage the threats.
Officials reported that soldiers launched a Patriot Advanced Capability-2 missile and destroyed the cruise missile target, while a PAC-3 was launched and destroyed the ballistic missile.
The live-fire test falls on the heels of another major test executed a week ago at White Sands, where IBCS successfully coordinated the defeat of two incoming cruise missile threats amid debris while a portion of the system was brought down by jamming.
In that test, IBCS made it possible to engage a single interceptor per target, Col. Tony Behrens, the Army capability manager and director of Army Air and Missile Defense Command, said at the time of the event. Typically, two interceptors, one following the other, are deployed against a single missile target in case the first misses.
With IBCS, the Army will be able to use fewer interceptors in engagements, Behrens said. (Source: Defense News)
26 Aug 20. Government commits to future mine countermeasures technology. Defence Minister Linda Reynolds and Defence Industry Minister Melissa Price have announced a new five-year, $15m research and development investment into new autonomous technologies that will revolutionise mine clearance capability in operations close to shore. The project is part of a new partnership between Defence, Australia’s Trusted Autonomous Systems Defence Cooperative Research Centre (TAS DCRC) and Thales Australia.
Researchers will design, develop, test and evaluate various teams of micro Autonomous Underwater Vehicle swarms and Autonomous Surface Vessels to develop new systems for underwater mine detection and clearance.
Defence Minister Linda Reynolds explained that the project will harness Australian research and innovation capabilities in autonomous systems technologies.
“As announced in the 2020 Force Structure Plan, developing new systems for underwater mine detection and clearance are vital to protecting Australia’s maritime environment and advancing our interests. Key technologies such as artificial intelligence, big data, connectivity and cyber security will be vital in developing the capability to autonomously undertake environmental data collection and mine countermeasures missions,” Minister Reynolds explained.
Defence Industry Minister Melissa Price added that Australian businesses will play a vital role in the TAS DCRC project.
“Our local business partners will be part of the team designing and developing a communication, simulation and training solution for the new autonomous technologies. We are delighted to be working with the TAS DCRC, Thales and Australian businesses Mission Systems and INENI Realtime,” Minister Price explained.
Research partners include Flinders University, the University of Sydney, the University of Technology Sydney and Western Sydney University who will design, develop, test and evaluate various platforms. (Source: Defence Connect)
24 Aug 20. USMC to acquire M72 LAW FFE variants. The United States Marine Corps (USMC) is set to add a newly developed fire-from-enclosure (FFE) capability to its inventory of M72 Light Assault Weapon (LAW) variant pre-loaded, single-use, shoulder-launched unguided weapon systems.
The US Army Contracting Command, acting on behalf of the Project Manager-Close Combat Systems (PM-CCS), on 31 July issued a solicitation for “the production of M72 Light Assault Weapon (LAW) variants and components for Shoulder Launched Munitions (SLM) training systems.” The PM-CCS is procuring the weapon systems with direction from, and on behalf of, the Marine Corps Systems Command (MCSC) to meet an identified Marine Corps requirement.
According to the solicitation, “the [US] Government is fulfilling this requirement via a Sole Source, Firm Fixed Price (FFP) Indefinite Delivery Indefinite Quantity (IDIQ) contract with a period of performance of five years.” The contract will be executed with Nammo Defense Systems (NDS), based in Mesa, Arizona.
The required LAW variants include: the M72A7 LAW with Graze Fuze Function and Night Vision Device (NVD) Mount, M72A9 LAW Anti-Structure Munition (ASM), M72A8 LAW Fire FFE and NVD Mount, M72A10 LAW FFE ASM and NVD Mount, M72AS FFE Trainer Launcher Kit, M72AS Trainer Launcher Kit, HA21 21mm Trainer Rocket, and Components for SLM Training Systems. (Source: Jane’s)
26 Aug 20. Almaz-Antey unveils new launcher for Abakan ballistic missile defence system. Russia’s Almaz-Antey Corporation unveiled the new 51P6E2 10×10 mobile surface-to-air missile launch platform for the 98R6E Abakan non-strategic ballistic missile defence system at the Russian Federation Ministry of Defence’s Army 2020 International Military-Technical Forum, held in Kubinka, near Moscow between 23 and 29 August.
The 98R6E Abakan is a highly manoeuvrable multichannel system designed to protect critically sensitive military-industrial, government, and administrative facilities against tactical ballistic missiles.
The Abakan system includes a 98L6E mobile multifunctional ballistic target detection and tracking radar based on a 4×4 platform, and several 51P6E2 mobile launchers. The exact number of launchers depends on a combat task. The 51P6E2 launcher is furnished with two vertically launched cylindrical containers, each containing a 9M82MDE interceptor, and a deployable radar that can be folded down between the containers in transportation mode. A ready-to-use launcher weighs 53.5 tons and is controlled by a crew of two.
The Abakan is designed to engage aerial targets with a minimum radar cross-section of 0.02 m² at a distance of up to 30 km and at altitudes up to 25 km. Two 9M82MDE interceptors can be guided to a single target.
The launch vehicle has a range of 500 km on surfaced roads and produces a top speed of 60 km/h. The 51P6E2 has a stated deployment time of approximately six minutes, with preparation of the interceptor given as 7.5 seconds. (Source: Jane’s)
26 Aug 20. Umkhonto sale to Egypt falls through as Denel rating downgraded. South African media has reported that the sale of Umkhonto surface-to-air missiles by Denel Dynamics has fallen through after the company failed to raise the required funds for a bank guarantee.
According to an article by the Mail & Guardian on 22 August, the Egyptian government subsequently cancelled the procurement of the missiles in late 2019, which were to be used by the Egyptian Navy’s Meko A200 frigates. The news outlet quoted a Denel spokesperson as saying that “Denel generally secures bank or insurance guarantees from financial institutions for advance receipts from its clients and performance guarantees, where contractually obliged to do so, in terms of concluded contracts”.
Denel had not responded to a Janes request for comment at the time of publication.
The deal would have been one of the company’s most significant export contracts, with the company understood to have told the government that it had the potential to be worth up to ZAR6.3bn (USD370m).
The news comes as ratings agency Fitch downgraded Denel’s national long-term credit rating from B(zaf) to CC(zaf), indicating very high levels of credit risk and that a default of some kind appears probable. The company’s national short-term rating was also lowered from B(zaf) to C(zaf), indicating a “near default” status, where “a default or default-like process has begun, or the issuer is in standstill.” (Source: Jane’s)
24 Aug 20. HERMES Missile System at Army 2020. The Army-2020 Forum, which opened yesterday at the Patriot exhibition grounds, features a variety of new solutions including the HERMES missile system. Developed by the Tula-based Shipunov KBP Instrument Design Bureau (part of the High Precision Systems Holding), the system has an over-the-horizon range of up to 100km alongside an autonomous fire-and-forget guidance.
“The system features the salvo launch mode at several (up to six) scattered targets and automated synchronisation of laser guidance for striking targets with a high-precision projectile with deviation not exceeding 0.5 meters,” the company spokesman said.
The system includes a number of vehicles ranging from a command one, which employs computers, panels and controls plus communication and data transmitting equipment alongside several combat vehicles equipped with mobile launchers. Additionally, a transport-loading vehicle has an on-board stock of missiles, a crane and a reloading mechanism in addition to a reconnaissance device with a UAV to provide target detection and laser illumination round-the-clock in all weather conditions.
The missile itself is reported to have a maximum flight velocity of 1300 m/s and is equipped with a HEF type warhead weighing 28 kg. The missile caliber is 210 mm in the booster stage and 130 mm at the warhead area. It is transported in a sealed container of 3500 mm length. The container weight is 130 kg with six being deployed per vehicle.
The manufacturer also announced that the HERMES missiles can be fired from land-based, naval and aerial platforms, including strike UAVs. KPB, which is a national and world leader in a number of smart weaponry development including the Pantsir SHORADS and Kornet ATGW, used Army-2020 to show HERMES on a light trailer to demonstrate an extra variant of application. (Source: ESD Spotlight)
24 Aug 20. US Army awards air-launched effects contracts for future helicopters. The U.S. Army has awarded 10 contracts worth a total of $29.75m to companies to provide mature technologies in the realm of air-launched effects, or ALE, for future vertical lift aircraft that are expected to come online around 2030, service aviation officials have told Defense News.
Raytheon, Alliant Techsystems Operations of Northridge, California, and Area-I of Marietta, Georgia, were awarded contracts to develop air vehicles.
L3 Technologies, Rockwell Collins and Aurora Flight Services Corporation were awarded contracts to provide mission systems.
And Raytheon, Leonardo Electronics US Inc., Technology Service Corporation of Huntsville, Alabama, and Alliant Techsystems Operations LLC of Northridge, California, received contracts to provide ALE payloads.
Through ALE, the Army hopes to provide current and future vertical lift fleets with “the eyes and ears” to penetrate enemy territory while manned aircraft are able to maintain standoff out of range of enemy attack, Brig. Gen. Wally Rugen, who is in charge of the Army’s FVL modernization efforts, said in an exclusive interview with Defense News.
“To do that, that has a whole host of capabilities embedded in it, and I would say it’s not just the eyes and ears, but it’s also, what we are finding, is the mouth, so our ability to communicate by bringing mesh network capabilities, by bringing an ability to hear in the electronic spectrum, and, again, the ability to collect in that spectrum so we can find, fix and finish on pacing threats,” he added.
The Army plans to take these already technically mature capabilities through additional technology maturation, Col. Scott Anderson, the unmanned aircraft systems project manager for the Army’s Program Executive Office for Aviation, said in the same interview.
“We’re looking for high technology readiness levels, so best of breed,” he said, “that we can buy and then we don’t have to develop, spend a lot of developmental dollars getting ready to get out the door in a prototype.” The air vehicle, payloads and missions systems will all fit into a government-owned architecture by fiscal 2024.
The service will first look at each major component of ALE individually, rather than as a whole system, to assess readiness, Anderson said. That will run through most of 2021. (Source: Defense News Early Bird/Defense News)
24 Aug 20. Rostec launches serial production of upgraded Mi-35P. Russian Helicopters holding company (part of Rostec State Corporation) has launched serial production of the upgraded Mi-35P attack helicopter at the Rostvertol plant. The first serial model completed its type-specific flight tests, receiving confirmation of the declared performance characteristics and implemented changes in its design.
During the tests, taking place on the premises of Rostvertol and the National Helicopter Center Мil&Kamov, Mi-35P performed a number of flights using new weapons and onboard equipment. The tests resulted into finalization of the helicopter’s design documentation, confirming the model’s readiness for mass production.
“Mi-35P was created in cooperation with Rostec’s enterprises and combines the best qualities of the legendary Mi-24 family, hardened in air combat around the world, and the latest Russian achievements in the field of avionics. Last year we demonstrated the aircraft to a number of potential customers, and today we can confidently say that the helicopter is in demand, we have launched serial production of Mi-35P under the first contract with a foreign customer”, said the Director General of Russian Helicopters Andrey Boginsky.
The upgraded Mi-35P is equipped with an upgraded target sight system with 3rd generation long-wave matrix thermal imaging, a high-resolution color TV camera and a laser rangefinder. The helicopter also comes with modern 3+ generation night vision goggles and a set of external and internal lighting equipment adapted for the use with them. New digital flight control system improves the controllability and stability of the helicopter and provides automation of piloting processes to support the pilot. In addition, a modernized targeting and computing system will increase the accuracy of target engagement.
Mi-35P is armed with a mobile 23 mm twin-barreled cannon and S-8 rockets, and can be refitted with suspended containers with 23 mm cannons, S-13 rockets, Ataka ATGM’s with a twin-channel control system, with Vikhr-1 or Vikhr-1M guided missiles.
Improved performance in combination with the improved flight and navigation systems allow Mi-35P to fly at any time of the day in simple or moderately difficult weather conditions, both under visual and instrument flying rules, in diverse geographical conditions,including over non-landmark terrain. At the same time, the helicopter retains its capability of using both guided and unguided weapons under all conditions. Mi-35P design provides the helicopter with improved combat survivability and reduces maintenance burden.
Upgraded Mi-35P will be demonstrated at the International Military-Technical Forum ARMY-2020.
JSC “Russian Helicopters”, a part of Rostec State Corporation, is a leading player in the global helicopter industry, the sole Russian designer and manufacturer of helicopters. The Holding Company was established in 2007 and is headquartered in Moscow. We operate five helicopter assembly plants, two design bureaus, component production and maintenance enterprises, aircraft repair plants and one helicopter service company providing after-sales support in Russia and abroad. The customers of the Holding Company are the Ministry of Defense, the Ministry of Home Affairs, EMERCOM of Russia, and other state customers, Gazpromavia, UTair Aviation company, large Russian and foreign companies.
State Corporation Rostec is one of the largest industrial companies in Russia. It unites more than 800 scientific and industrial organizations in 60 regions of the country. Its key areas of activity are transport engineering, electronics, medical technology, chemistry and innovative materials. Rostec holdings form three clusters: electronics, weapons and aviation. The corporation’s portfolio includes such well-known brands as AvtoVAZ, KAMAZ, Kalashnikov, Russian Helicopters, Uralvagonzavod and others. Rostec is active in the implementation of all 12 national projects. The company is a key provider of Smart City technology, it is engaged in the digitalization of public administration, industry and social sectors, and it is developing plans for the development of 5G wireless technologies, an Industrial Internet of Things, big data and blockchain systems. Rostec partners with leading world manufacturers such as Boeing, Airbus, Daimler, Pirelli and Renault. The corporation’s products are delivered to more than 100 countries worldwide. Almost a third of the company’s revenue comes from the export of high-tech products.
23 Aug 20. Maduro says Venezuela buying Iranian missiles ‘a good idea.’ Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro on Saturday said it would be a “good idea” to look into buying missiles from Iran, a day after Colombia said Venezuela was considering such a plan amid growing ties between Caracas and Tehran.
Iran in May supplied gasoline to Venezuela to ease chronic shortages, triggering alarm bells in Washington as the two countries expand trade relations amid efforts to undermine aggressive U.S. sanctions programs.
“It had not occurred to me, it had not occurred to us,” Maduro said during a televised broadcast with cabinet members, instructing Defense Minister Vladimir Padrino to follow up and jokingly telling his cabinet to keep the plan a secret.
“Padrino, what a good idea, to speak with Iran to see what short, medium and long range missiles they have, and if it is possible, given the great relations we have with Iran.”
Colombian President Ivan Duque said on Thursday that Maduro is looking to buy Iranian missiles and is handing over weapons made in Russia and Belarus to Colombian armed groups, citing intelligence reports.
Weapons purchases appear relatively unlikely for Maduro, whose government is struggling to buy basic food and medicine or to provide fuel to the population due sanctions as well as chronic dysfunction of the country’s refineries. (Source: Reuters)
24 Aug 20. Next Generation Jammer Mid-Band takes to the skies for Growler flight testing. Successful first flight an important step toward Milestone C. Built by Raytheon Intelligence & Space, a Raytheon Technologies business (NYSE: RTX), the Next Generation Jammer Mid-Band flew on an EA-18G Growler – its first flight test on the aircraft. The U.S. Navy’s NGJ-MB is an advanced electronic attack system that denies, disrupts and degrades enemy technology, including communication tools and air-defense systems.
“After hundreds of hours of successful ground and chamber testing, NGJ-MB’s first Growler flight test marked a significant achievement for the program toward Milestone C and IOC,” said Annabel Flores, vice president of Electronic Warfare Systems for RI&S. “It’s a testament to the technology and the collaborative efforts of the RI&S team with the Navy’s engineering, integration and test teams.”
The first flight took place August 7, 2020, at the Naval Air Station Patuxent River, Maryland, meeting all objectives. Future mission systems flight testing will demonstrate weapons system control, power generation, and electromagnetic compatibility between jammer and aircraft, as well as the performance of NGJ-MB’s high-capacity digital waveform generation and active electronically scanned arrays in flight against a variety of targets. Data from these flight tests on the Growler will inform Milestone C – the Navy’s decision to start NGJ-MB production.
The flight follows more than 600 hours of ground testing of Engineering Development Model, or EDM, pods. At the Naval Air Stations Patuxent River and at Point Mugu, California, EDM pods underwent anechoic chamber testing – a special facility designed to absorb electromagnetic waves – to measure the jammer’s radio frequency power and beam-steering capabilities.
In addition to mission systems testing, the program is expected to begin aeromechanical flight testing shortly to assess aircraft flying qualities and performance, following previously completed ground vibration, static load, and wind tunnel testing. These tests will also evaluate the effects of the air flow environment on the pod, as well as noise and vibration behavior.
To date, RI&S has delivered 10 EDM pods: six mission systems pods and four aeromechanical pods. A total of 28 pods will be delivered under the EMD contract.
23 Aug 20. Russia and Turkey likely to sign S-400 missile deal next year – Ifax. Russia is likely to sign a contract for delivery of an additional batch of its S-400 missile systems to Turkey next year, the Interfax news agency cited Sergei Chemezov, head of state conglomerate Rostec, as saying on Sunday. Turkey bought a batch of the missile systems from Russia last year, leading to its suspension by Washington from the U.S. F-35 stealth fighter jet programme. The United States has said that Turkey risks U.S. sanctions if it deploys the Russian-made S-400s. (Source: Reuters)
21 Aug 20. Bigger and Badder. Infantry Fighting Vehicle operators want more punch from their medium calibre cannons – and onboard missiles will increase the number of blows they can deliver.
The latest generation of Infantry Fighting Vehicles (IFV) are being armed with larger calibre weapons which have increased range and fire more effective ammunition.
The main drawback of moving to a larger calibre is that less ammunition is carried but this is offset by the greater effectiveness of the ammunition. Some of these larger calibre weapons are installed in one or two person turrets while others operate in remote controlled turrets (RCT).
A computerised fire control system (FCS) is usually fitted enabling the main armament to engage threat targets when the platform is stationary or moving. The weapon, which is stabilised, is laid onto the target by the gunner and/or the commander who are normally provided with an integrated stabilised day/thermal sighting systems incorporating a laser rangefinder.
While there is some standardisation in members of NATO on larger calibre tank (120mm smooth bore) and artillery (155mm) ammunition there is a complete lack of standardisation in medium calibre weapons in NATO with calibres of 20mm, 25mm, 30mm, 35mm and 40mm currently being deployed.
The opposite is the case for the Russian Army and former members of the Warsaw Pact who use the 30mm 2A42 dual feed cannon. Typical installations including the BMP-2 infantry fighting vehicle (IFV), BMD-2 and BMD-3 airborne assault vehicles (AAV) and many others.
While the main thrust of this article is on the actual weapon, development of ammunition is always on going with medium calibre weapons now firing armour piercing fin stabilised discarding sabot (APFSDS) and air-burst munitions (ABM). The latter are more expensive but are highly effective against dug in infantry.
The British and French armies are standardising on the CTAI 40mm Cased Telescoped Armament System (CTAT). CTAI is a joint venture company between Nexter Systems of France and BAE Systems of the UK with the main weapon production facility at Bourges in France, but ammunition production is undertaken in both countries.
Two British Army platforms are being armed with the 40mm CTAS which are the General Dynamics Land Systems UK Ajax reconnaissance vehicle and the Lockheed Martin UK Warrior Capability Sustainment Programme (WCSP). In both cases the weapon is installed in a two person turret which is also armed with a 7.62mm co-axial machine gun (MG) and in both cases the 40mm CTAS and 7.62mm MG is provided as Government Furnished Equipment (GFE) as it the refurbished 7.62mm MG.
The one French Army platform fitted with 40mm CTAS is the Nexter/Arquus Jaguar (6×6) reconnaissance vehicle which is the replacement for the currently deployed AMX-10RCR (105mm) and Sagaie (90mm) 6×6 armoured cars.
The 40mm CTAS can fire a complete family of ammunition including APFSDS-T, Kinetic Energy Airburst (KE-AB), General Purpose Round – Airburst- Tracer (GPR-AB-T), General Purpose Round – Point Detonating – Tracer (GPRPD-T), General Purpose Round – Kinetic Energy – Tracer (GPR-KE-T) and associated training rounds.
The Nexter 25mm Model 811 dual feed cannon is still being marketed by the company and this is already installed in 520 VBCI (8×8) deployed by the French Army. Export sales of the 25mm M811 have been made to Singapore for the AMX-10P Marines amphibious vehicle and Turkey for some of the FNSS Savunma Sistemleri Turkish Infantry Fighting Vehicle (TIFV).
Marder 1 is slowly being replaced by the Puma IFV which is fitted with an RCT turret armed with the Mauser 30mm MK 30-2 ABM dual feed cannon with a 5.56mm co-axial MG which will be replaced by a 7.62mm MG. A pod of two MELLS anti-tank missiles (ATM) are to be installed on the left side of the turret.
Australia has ordered the Boxer (8×8) to replace its LAV-25 (8×8) reconnaissance vehicles and one version will be armed with the latest Rheinmetall Lance two person turret armed with Mauser MK 30-2 and7.62 mm co-axial MG.
The original Mauser 30mm MK 30 dual feed cannon is installed in the General Dynamics European Land Systems Ulan (Austria) and Pizarro (Spain) IFV and the Rheinmetall Lance turret installed on four Piranha III (8×8) for the Spanish Marines.
While the Mauser 30mm MK 30 dual feed cannon is gas operated, Mauser has also been working on the Wotan 30mm cannon which is electrically powered.
The BAE Systems Hagglunds CV9040 is the standard IFV of the Swedish Army and is fitted with a two person turret armed with a Bofors 40mm L/70 cannon which is fed from a magazine below holding 24 rounds of ready use ammunition and with the empty cartridge cases ejected through the turret roof.
Export customers for the CV90 IFV have always opted for a different weapon including Denmark (35mm), Finland (30mm), Estonia (35mm), Norway (30mm), Netherlands (35mm) and Switzerland (30mm) with these supplied by the now Northrop Grumman, Armament systems.
While the ideal solution is to have a common medium calibre weapon across the whole AFV fleet, this is not always achieved.
Malaysia, for example, is taking delivery of a complete fleet of Turkish FNSS Savunma Sistemleri Pars (8×8) family of vehicles with production now undertaken in Malaysia by DefTech under the local name of the AV8 Gemita.
The IFV version is fitted with an FNSS Savunma Sistemleri Sharpshooter one person turret armed with a Northrop Grumman, Armament Systems stabilised 25mm M242 dual feed cannon and a 7.62mm coaxial MG while the Armoured Infantry Fighting Vehicle has South African Denel Land Systems LCT 30 two person turret armed with a stabilised 30mm GI-30 dual feed cannon and 7.62mm coaxial MG.
The now Northrop Grumman, Armament Systems ‘Chain Gun’ family of weapons are by far the most widely deployed of any medium calibre cannon in the West and many other parts of the world.
By March 2020 total ‘Chain Gun’ production was rapidly approaching 20,000 weapons, in all calibres, for the home and export markets for air, land and sea applications.
These include the 25mm M242, 30mm M230 (for Apache attack helicopter), 30mm MK44, 35mm Bushmaster III, 50 XM913 and 7.62mm MK52.
The most widely used is the 25mm M242 dual feed cannon which is installed in the US Army Bradley IFV, US Marine Corps LAV (8×8), Canadian Light Armour Vehicle (8×8) as well as many export customers.
The Northrop Grumman, Armament Systems, family of Chain Guns includes, from top to bottom M242 25 x 137mm, M230 30 x 113mm, MK44 can be chambered to fire 30 x 173mm or 40 x 180mm with the latest weapon being the XM913 50 x 228mm.
Export customers have moved to the 30mm MK44 dual feed cannon and so far well over 20 countries have adopted this for a variety of applications with typical examples being the Bionix II deployed by Singapore and CV9030 deployed by Finland, Norway and Switzerland and Poland for their locally built Patria Armoured Modular Vehicle (AMV) called the Rosomak (Wolverine).
To meet a US Army Urgent Needs Requirement a batch of 83 production General Dynamics Land Systems Stryker LAV (8×8) have been fitted with a Norwegian Kongsberg MCT RCT armed with an 30mm XM813 dual feed cannon that in addition to firing conventional natures of ammunition can also fire the 30mm MK310 Programmable ABM round. This version is called the Dragoon and is only deployed in Europe.
For the US Army’s Next Generation Combat Vehicle (NGCV) the company is developing, in co-operation with the US Army the 50mm XM913 which is based on their proven Bushmaster III 35/50 mm weapon.
For this weapon the company is developing a family of 50mm ammunition which will include armour penetrating, high explosive and a programmable ABM.
As previously mentioned the 30mm 2A42 and to a lesser extent the 30mm 2A72 are the standard Russian medium calibre weapon, but Russi has developed a 57mm calibre weapon which is expected to be deployed in the future. This has been shown in a number of applications including the AU-220M for trials purposes this has been fitted to a BMP-3 IFV and T-15 heavy IFV platform.
To enable targets to be engaged beyond range of the main armament of IFV, some platforms are also armed with ATM.
The US Army BAE Systems M2 Bradley, IFV for example, has a pod of two Raytheon TOW ATM installed on the left side enabling targets to be engaged out to a range of 3,750m, with more recent TOW versions having a longer range.
The German Marder 1 series IFV had a pintle mounted MBDA MILAN ATM with a maximum range of 2,000m but this is now being replaced by the Eurospike LR ATM which is called the MELLS by the German Army.
The latest French Jaguar (6×6) has a pod of two MBDA MMP ATGM in the right side of the turret which are raised prior to being launched and enable targets to be engaged at a range of some 4,000m. The standard infantry version of the MMP has been already been deployed by the French Army as the replacement for the MILAN ATM.
The Russian Army fitted pintle mounted ATM to its BMP-2 IFV while the BMP-3 IFV has a two person turret armed with a 100mm 2A70 gun which can also fire a laser guided projectile (LGP) and this also has a 30mm 2A72 co-axial dual feed cannon and a 7.62mm co-axial MG.
The United Arab Emirates deploy a large number of BMP-3 IFV and some of these turrets have been installed on a batch of Patria Armoured Modular Vehicle 8x8L which still retains its amphibious capabilities.
The latest Russian T-15 heavy IFV has the same turret as that fitted to new Bumerang (8×8) IFV which in addition to being armed with 30mm 2A42 dual feed cannon and 7.62mm co-axial MG also has a pod of two Kornet laser guided ATM ether side.
Early ATM had a single high-explosive anti-tank (HEAT) warhead but latest models have a tandem HEAT warhead to neutralise threat targets fitted with explosive reactive armour (ERA) but for some ATGW alternative warheads are available including high-explosive fragmentation and thermobaric. (Source: AMR)
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.