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13 Sep 18. Arnold Defense begins production of their FLETCHER laser guided rocket system. Arnold Defense, the St Louis based international manufacturer and supplier of 2.75-inch rocket launchers, is announcing the commencement of initial low-rate production of their “FLETCHER” land-based, 2.75-inch/70mm Weapon System. This announcement coincides with the Defence Vehicle Dynamics event (DVD) taking place in UK 19/20 September 2018. The FLETCHER system can be mounted on military vehicles as well as base defense platforms.
Arnold Defense announced in June 2018 that successful test firing had taken place. The aim of the test-firing was to prove the concept of FLETCHER when used as a ground-based weapon system and to demonstrate the capability to a range of interested specialist users from across the globe. The test firing was a huge success, achieving a 100% target hit rate at ranges between 2 km and 5 km. Following on from that, Arnold are currently working on the initial production run of the FLETCHER launcher system with the first one to be delivered shortly. However, at this stage they are unable to disclose how many are being built nor to whom they will be delivered.
The FLETCHER system is supported by a team of global defense industry companies collaborating under Arnold’s leadership to combine their complimentary expertise. Working together, the team is able to provide a full-system approach to FLETCHER ranging from design, validation, testing, manufacture and full system integration in a variety of ground-to-ground engagement scenarios.
FLETCHER is a unique design that allows for ease of operation, maintenance and sustainment in support of combat operations. FLETCHER employs an existing suite of guidance modules, rockets and warheads which are already used in well-known programs and are readily available to global forces. Working in-concert with world-class designation equipment, FLETCHER is a fully integrated weapon system that can engage targets at ranges up to 5 kilometers giving land forces capability that previously required the deployment of air assets.
Jim Hager, President and CEO of Arnold Defense said “The FLETCHER system entering production is a huge win for the team, following on from the launch of the concept at DSEI in 2017 and then the successful test-firing earlier this year”. He added: “We look forward to seeing the successful deployment of FLETCHER providing the warfighter with a new fast, smart and lethal weapon system.”
13 Sep 18. Engagement Range Over 56km. Leading Slovakian defence company MSM GROUP Ltd. embraces numerous subsidiaries and manufactures various natures of ammunition, wheeled and tracked military vehicles, radio navigation devices and special containers as well as being involved in helicopter pilot training and information technology. In the 1920s, in the western Czechoslovakian town of Plzeň, the Škoda Works enjoyed a monopoly in the production of ammunition and the decision was taken to build a “backup” factory in the east. The company was totally destroyed during World War II.
After many years of intensive rebuilding MSM Group not only produces ammunition for the Slovakian MOD, but for many countries worldwide. The company manufactures weapons as well as ammuni-tion, including 60mm mortars (with ranges between 80m and 3,100m), the Hornet anti-tank weapon – a 9km range, fibre-optic guided weapon with an 8kg tandem warhead – assorted 155mm ammunition, and the Aligator 4×4 Master light armoured vehicle using some widely proven western components such as Cummins motors and Allison gearboxes, and which is the basis for numerous variants.
From the 155mm ammunition range MSM has recently introduced its latest development, the hybrid 155mm HE-RA/BB. This round delivers its warhead out to 56.2km maximum range. The mix of rocket assistance and base bleed aerodynamic management is not new, but the MSM round extends the range of most 39, 45 and 52 calibre 155mm gun howitzers by some 10km: in effect 39 calibre gun howitzers will offer the same range as 52 calibre systems with “traditional” ERFB-BB projectiles.
It is not suggested that the 155mm HE-RA/ BB ammunition should replace existing HE artillery rounds, but it can complement existing ammunition/gun systems to give greater engagement ranges without spe-cial training or logistics. A typical 155mm HE-RA/BB engagement should see friendly assets being well beyond the range of conventional counter-battery assets, or alternatively permits greater penetration into rear-echelon areas: terminal effects (blast, fragmentation, penetration) are as for a standard round, with excellent results against structures.
Manufactured by the ZVS subsidiary of MSM Group (founded in 1927) the 155 HE-RA/BB round offers outstanding range as well as top quality and reliability, and the company offers an intriguing cost-effectiveness proposal: Eastern Europe is very well known for both properties. Since 2009 MSM Group has enjoyed the benefit of investment by the Czech conglomerate CSG, the latter’s part-ownership also providing access to an additional, equally highly qualified workforce and to a vast historical, technical documentation archive.
The company itself has identified several export markets for the 155 HE-RA/BB round, including Africa, where its blend of quality and price will present a compelling and challenging option. (Source: ESD Spotlight)
13 Sep 18. The JS ATAGO (DDG-177), supported by the U.S. Navy, Missile Defense Agency and Lockheed Martin (NYSE: LMT), used an upgraded Aegis Combat System, testing their Ballistic Missile Defense (BMD) capability for the first time. The Japanese Flight Test Mission-05 exercise on Sept. 11 successfully demonstrated organic engagement of a simple separating target. The JS ATAGO is now the most advanced warship in the Japanese fleet following this modernization effort. The JS ATAGO Aegis Weapon System merges BMD into an Integrated Air and Missile Defense capability using commercial-off-the-shelf and open architecture technologies including the Aegis Common Source Library (CSL). JS ATAGO is the first international ship to benefit from the CSL, which allows far greater interoperability across the fleet, reducing development training and sustainment costs. It also improves flexibility in crew assignments.
“I commend the Japan Maritime Self Defense Force for their commitment to affordability and innovation,” said Mary Keifer, director, Lockheed Martin’s Aegis International programs, Integrated Warfare Systems and Sensors. “This baseline modernization effort streamlined their lifetime support costs and provided a means to gain advanced BMD capability.”
This successful BMD test builds upon joint research investments by the United States and Japan. Lockheed Martin is developing a Baseline 9 variant computer program for deployment on Japan’s newest Aegis destroyers.
13 Sep 18. Nammo completes first live fire trials of GAU-22 gun for F-35 aircraft. Norwegian/Finnish aerospace and defence group Nordic Ammunition Company (Nammo) has concluded the maiden live fire trials of the GAU-22 Gatling gun. Developed specifically for the F-35 Lightning II, the four-barrelled GAU-22 gun was fired at Nammo’s purpose-built facility in Raufoss, Norway. The gun is currently the only weapon of its kind being used outside the US. Nammo Aircraft Ammunition programme director Anders Nyhus said: “This setup is really unique, in that allows us to do all the testing we need just minutes away from the production site.
“That again means that can cut down the time between a production lot leaving the factory, and when it is tested and ready to go to the customer. It also means we can have a much higher confidence in the quality of the products we deliver, as we are able to control every aspect of the process from beginning to end.”
The GAU-22 Gatling gun and its associated facility have been procured through an agreement with the Norwegian Defense Materiel Agency as part of the development of Nammo’s APEX-ammunition for the F-35.
The APEX is the only ammunition type that is available for the F-35 fighter jets and will enable the aircraft to use its gun effectively in any scenario.
Nammo serves as the only ammunition provider for the F-35 aircraft able to carry out a complete range of verification and acceptance testing for every production lot independently. (Source: airforce-technology.com)
12 Sep 18. Estonia eyes mid-range air defense systems to rectify NATO ‘oversight.’ Estonia’s military is prioritizing the purchase of a midrange air defense system as the country seeks to plug a capability gap its defense minister called the result of a “total oversight” by NATO.
During a Washington trip to attend Sen. John McCain’s funeral, Estonian Defence Minister Jüri Luik told Defense News that NATO made a strategic mistake in the years following the collapse of the Soviet Union by not building up air defense capabilities, outside of rotational deployments of aircraft.
“For a long time, there was no consideration that you would actively have to close the airspace at some point. So NATO countries have very weak air defense capabilities,” Luik said. “I think this is one of the priority systems, or priority areas, which every [one of the allied] countries should develop.”
“I have to say with sadness that very few NATO countries actually have proper air defense capabilities. That is one of the areas which was gravely mismanaged, or was not under any attention,” he added. “I think that was a total oversight. But, of course, it was based on the idea that the era of big power tensions is over.”
Luik hopes to put Estonia’s money where his mouth is. The country in June signed an agreementwith MBDA to purchase more Mistral short-range air defense weapons, but has its eyes on adding another layer of protection.
The country is looking at procuring a medium-range air defense system, similar to the Kongsberg network-centric air defence system, or NASAMS, purchased by Lithuania, which is also in use by Finland. While not declaring Estonia would also go after NASAMS, Luik acknowledged that regional air defense systems “should be as close as possible coordinated” with neighborhood countries.
However, such a system is “the only step which is even theoretically available to our country with our defense spending,” Luik said, even if the upcoming March elections lead to a government willing to increase defense spending to about 2.5 percent of gross domestic product. (At the worst, Luik predicts, defense spending would remain flat.)
Compounding the challenge: While NATO was laying off air-dominance investments, Russia was doubling down on that capability, with the goal of being able to close off entire chunks of airspace to NATO jets.
Luik points to “massive” buildups of weapons and equipment in Leningrad, Pskov and especially the Kaliningrad regions, including long-range standoff weapons like the Iskander missile, as a dangerous sign that the Baltics cannot afford to ignore.
“Any Russian threat depends on what we do. Because if we are firm, if we are clear, if we are strong, then the likelihood of Russian threat goes down immediately,” he said. “If we are weak, if we show hesitation, then the Russia threat goes up.
“We cannot change what Russia does. But we can be sure that what we do really corresponds to the needs of the Western alliance and to the security of the Western allies.” (Source: Defense News Early Bird/Defense News)
12 Sep 18. The Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force and the United States Missile Defense Agency completed a successful intercept flight test in cooperation with the U.S. Navy off the coast of Kauai in Hawaii. A Raytheon Company (NYSE: RTN) SM-3® Block IB missile intercepted a ballistic missile target, marking the first time Japan has tested the sophisticated interceptor as announced by MDA. The target missile was launched from the Pacific Missile Range Facility in Hawaii, and the interceptor was launched from the Japanese ship JS Atago (DDG-177), verifying the newest ballistic missile defense engagement capability of the upgraded destroyer. The flight test mission is a significant milestone in missile defense cooperation between Japan and the U.S. Japan currently employs the SM-3 Block IA interceptor, but the IB variant’s improved two-color seeker and upgraded throttling divert and attitude control system enables engagements with a larger set of threats.
“The Standard Missile-3 family consistently demonstrates capability against sophisticated threats, both on land and at sea,” said Dr. Taylor W. Lawrence, Raytheon Missile Systems president. “This test underlines the importance of allied ballistic missile defense interoperability and the powerful results we generate when we work together with our allies.”
The SM-3 is produced at Raytheon’s Space Factory in Tucson, Arizona, and the company’s integration facility in Huntsville, Alabama.
12 Sep 18. Iran claims successful ballistic missile intercept test. The Bavar-373 long-range air defence system that Iran is developing has successfully passed ballistic missile interception tests, Iranian news agencies reported the country’s deputy air defence commander as saying on 10 September. Fars News Agency cited Brigadier General Mahmoud Ebrahiminejad as saying “a positive and very good test was conducted” last year.
Fars also reported that the deputy commander said that Iran is working on its own version of the Russian Pantsyr air defence system, which is armed with both missiles and 30 mm guns and is designed to protect high-value targets by destroying incoming guided weapons. Tasnim News Agency quoted Brig Gen Ebrahiminejad as saying the Bavar-373 is “more powerful and reliable” than the S-300PMU2 systems Iran received in 2016, although the brigadier general added that its primary advantage over the Russian system is that it is entirely made in Iran. (Source: IHS Jane’s)
12 Sep 18. IBCS simulates tracking and engagement of aircraft and cruise missile targets using networked sensors and missile launchers during three-week exercise. The Northrop Grumman Corporation (NYSE: NOC) Integrated Air and Missile Defense (IAMD) Battle Command System (IBCS) successfully detected, tracked and simulated engagements of air targets during recent testing at the White Sands Missile Range in New Mexico.
The “plug-and-fight” architecture of Northrop Grumman’s Integrated Air and Missile Defense (IAMD) Battle Command System (IBCS) enables “any-sensor, best-shooter” operations with a greatly expanded single integrated air picture.
During three weeks of U.S. Army-led testing in April and May, IBCS continued to validate its enterprise-level approach to air and missile defense by digesting complex information to target a series of representative aerial threats. This demonstration built upon the earlier multi-node distributed test, another successful soldier checkout event conducted over five weeks in March and April. In that soldier checkout event, IBCS showed that it can scale up and network across long distances.
In the live air test, IBCS demonstrated its ability to combine data from sensors and multiple information sources to accomplish simulated engagements of both real and simulated fixed-wing, rotary-wing, cruise missile and tactical ballistic missile targets.
Military aircraft such as F-15 and F-16 fighters and the slower-moving C-12 turboprop were used as surrogates, replicating the flight patterns of adversary threats along a flight corridor of the White Sands Missile Range.
The test was designed to evaluate various hardware and software functions of the Army’s future IAMD “system of systems,” of which Northrop Grumman’s IBCS is the centerpiece. Twenty major IBCS components were involved in the trial, including IBCS engagement operations centers and integrated fire control network relays.
The test had a number of key objectives, including: the exercise of launcher and sensor controls in a live environment; conduction of simultaneous simulated engagements of multiple aerial targets; integration with the Link 16 tactical data and Automatic Dependent Surveillance-Broadcast (ADS-B) air traffic management networks; and contribution to the joint single integrated air picture.
“IBCS continues to show high levels of performance and reliability,” said Dan Verwiel, vice president and general manager, missile defense and protective systems, Northrop Grumman. “As the command-and-control backbone of the Army’s future air and missile defense enterprise, IBCS will undergo increasingly complex tests as it works through development and prepares for operational fielding in the future.”
“In a dynamic and changing environment, taking advantage of the open, non-proprietary, configurable nature of an IAMD enterprise is imperative for enabling warfighter capabilities to outpace threats and allowing for the addition of capabilities not previously planned at a much reduced cost,” added Bill Lamb, director, integrated air and missile defense, Northrop Grumman. “IBCS makes legacy systems relevant for today, and provides a path for the next-generation of IAMD that is affordable. Continued testing with Army soldiers in realistic environments is the best way to ensure IBCS and the wider Army IAMD architecture is ready to meet the operational needs of the warfighter.”
Information gathered through this type of soldier checkout testing builds confidence in IBCS with the warfighter and enables the Army to consider early capability spin-out. The open, non-proprietary nature of the software allows for quick turnarounds for improvements, as informed by rigorous testing.
The “plug and fight” architecture of IBCS provides a highly integrated next-generation air and missile defense solution to the Army. It enables “any-sensor, best-shooter” operations with a greatly expanded single integrated air picture. IBCS is also the air and missile defense command-and-control solution of choice for Poland, which signed a Letter of Offer and Acceptance with the U.S. government in March to purchase the system. Poland will become the first international operator.
12 Sep 18. Modular rifle stock production launched. The production of a versatile rifle stock that enables operatives to discharge their firearms while wearing a ballistic helmet with the visor fully lowered has been launched. 164 year old survival equipment manufacturers, BCB International Ltd, first unveiled the FRAMM® modular stock at DSEI 2017. The FRAMM® is an adjustable and foldable stock that allows firearms officers to comfortably discharge their firearms in all firing positions.
BCB International’s FRAMM® Project Manager, Philippe Minchin, confirmed that the stock is now in production: “Production has been launched for the H&K G36, B&T 40×46 and HK-UMP variants of the stock. In the near future we plan to start the production of FRAMM variants for: FN HERSTAL-SCAR, HK-MP5 A2, HK-MP5K-PDW, BERETTA-ARX 160, REMINGTON-ACR, CZ-805 A1 BREN, SIG SAUER-550/551, SIG SAUER MCX, B&T-APC556. The FRAMM® is good news for law enforcement professionals because it removes the inconvenience for both non-visored and visored officers of having to alternate between different buttstocks to fit the situations they are faced with.
“At a press of a button, the FRAMM® enables a firearms officer to switch from a classic straight stock alignment to a lowered setting of their choosing; thereby eliminating the risk of their helmet visors or gas respirator masks interfering with the shouldering, aiming and firing of their weapon. Whether it is in crowd control, close quarters battle or CBRN situations, the FRAMM® stock suits all mission requirements. “
BCB International Ltd are seeking dealers and distributors for the FRAMM® stock.
11 Sep 18. Blast Tube Tests at Sandia Simulate Shock Wave Conditions Nuclear Weapons Could Face. You can learn a lot from a blast tube. You can learn more when you couple blast experiments with computer modeling. Sandia National Laboratories researchers are using a blast tube configurable to 120 feet to demonstrate how well nuclear weapons could survive the shock wave of a blast from an enemy weapon and to help validate the modeling. Sandia recently completed a two-year series of blast tube tests for one nuclear weapon program and started tests for another. Each series requires instrumentation, explosives, high-speed cameras and computer modeling. Tests simulate part of the environment a weapon re-entering the Earth’s atmosphere would face if another nuclear weapon went off nearby, said test director Nathan Glenn.
Each series starts with calibration shots that allow team members to verify blast wave parameters and at the same time validate the computer model. The team hangs an explosive charge at one end of the 6-foot diameter tube and places pressure transducers along its length. Transducers sense the strength of the blast pressure moving through the tube — higher pressure closer to the charge, falling off farther away.
Modeler Greg Tipton, who helped design the series, said tests validate the computer models of the structural dynamics of the system. “We can then use the models to simulate real environments we can’t actually test to,” he said.
Figuring out how to conduct testing
It’s complex just to analyze how to conduct a test, Tipton said. The pressure drives how big a charge is needed and how the test article is positioned in the tube, and that determines the loading, or the amount of force applied to the test unit. In turn, the loading determines the structural response of the test article. “So, the team does end-to-end calculations to simulate the explosive going off, the shock wave through the tube, the shock propagation over the test unit and then the structural response to the shock wave. All of that data is used to determine the right orientation, the right shock level, to validate the models,” Tipton said.
One software program simulates the explosive going off and the shock wave moving through the tube. A second calculates the shock moving over the test unit. A third computes the unit’s response to shock and vibration. The fourth simulates how the unit will fly from the tube so the team can estimate where it’s going, how fast it’s moving and how they’re going to catch it safely. Each software package has the dual purpose of computing the response of the system to validate the models and of helping design the test, Tipton said.
Software that simulates the explosive going off, for example, helps determine the size of the charge. “They do a number of shots in the tube to calibrate that. You know a charge weight and a pressure at some target location,” he said. “As you up the charge weight, you’re going to up the pressure, and if you do a handful of those tests and a whole bunch of simulations to fill in the blanks, you establish a calibration curve that tells you how much explosive you need to achieve a target pressure.”
Wil Holzmann, who helps analyze test data, said more than a hundred channels of data might be collected on pressures, strains and acceleration responses. Analysts process experimental data using embedded information and use identical signal processing methods to the experimental and analysis data and compare responses to assess the credibility of the model.
“The objective is to develop validated analytic models for predicting responses to blast loads with a high degree of confidence,” Holzmann said. Researchers can use the validated model to help qualify a weapon to withstand harsh conditions, such as a nuclear blast, that cannot be directly simulated with ground-level blast tube tests.
Planning takes much longer than test itself
Instrumentation is critical. Tests that last mere milliseconds require months of planning.
“Communication and technical excellence is crucial to success,” and there’s only one chance at getting data from the extreme environment of a blast, said John Griffin of Measurement Science and Engineering. “Simplicity in the design, protection of the hardware, redundancy of critical elements and thorough verification of connections are key to ensuring that we get the data in that one opportunity.”
Over the past three years, Sandia developed a new mobile instrumentation unit, a large-data acquisition system designed to self-check the accuracy and “health” of connections before and after testing. A hardened trailer encloses the system so it can be placed near a blast test. The system can store up to 16 million samples per channel and record about 1 gigabyte per second at the maximum sample rate, Griffin said. For comparison, he said, this equates to more than 70 hours of digital music or about 1,100 songs.
Glenn said it’s more of an art than a science to measure pressure pulses. “If you don’t have it set up right and mounted right, the data is worthless,” he said. “There are racks and racks of instrumentation with wires coming at you. It makes your head dizzy just looking at it.”
Specialty high-speed imaging employed
High-speed imaging that measures pressure changes also helps assess a shock wave’s impact. In the past, researchers used streak cameras that viewed images through a quarter-inch by 6-inch slit. Streak cameras are similar to document scanners, imaging a column of pixels and generating an image by the object moving rapidly past the scan.
Now, a photographic technique called synthetic schlieren, implemented for harsh environments by optical engineer Anthony Tanbakuchi, enables a much larger view. Synthetic schlieren detects changes in optical index induced by changes in pressure, temperature and density. The schlieren effect is comparable to seeing ripples from heat on a road. Regular schlieren (a German word that means streak in the singular) techniques require large optics, special lighting and other complex, sensitive optical configurations that aren’t practical for large-scale tests, Tanbakuchi said. Synthetic schlieren doesn’t require any special setup other than an optional background and has no size limit because it looks for subpixel shifts in the background to detect optical index changes.
The team combines synthetic imaging algorithms with image stabilization codes Tanbakuchi developed to image a blast wave front. Sandia’s 50-year history of extreme testing means it has a huge code base to solve these problems. Synthetic schlieren can be used for everything from pressure to temperature imaging. “But the most value comes when we also combine it with the data fusion techniques we’ve developed so you can see the pressure wave fronts with instrumentation data and model data,” Tanbakuchi said. “That’s when the full picture really emerges.” (Source: ASD Network)
11 Sep 18. Rafael positions Australian JV for expansion. Israel’s Rafael Advanced Defense Systems is looking to support the development of its Australian joint venture (JV) to enable the new company to head up a range of local missile manufacturing programmes and lead efforts to secure exports. The JV was established earlier in 2018 through an investment partnership with Australian company Varley and will initially be focused on producing Rafael’s Spike LR2 anti-tank guided missile (ATGM) for the Australian Army under Land 400 Phase 2. In this project, the Spike will be fitted onto the Rheinmetall Boxer 8×8 armoured vehicle, 211 units of which were formally ordered by the Australian Department of Defence (DoD) in August. (Source: IHS Jane’s)
10 Sep 18. EOD Group 2 Cuts Ribbon on New EOD Operations Facility. Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD) Group 2 marked a milestone in ongoing construction projects with a ribbon-cutting for a new EOD operations facility at Joint Expeditionary Base Little Creek, Sept. 5. The new building, which will house EOD Mobile Unit 2, EOD Mobile Unit 12 and EOD Expeditionary Support Unit 2, is part of a $39.2m project that was developed in support of the EOD consolidation initiative. The EOD consolidation initiative is aimed at streamlining training and consolidating the EOD mobile units to its two main geographic hubs while maintaining forward-deployed forces.
“This has been a long time coming,” said Capt. Josh Jackson, commander, EOD Group 2. “This project was first visualized years ago as a way to get our Sailors in one place. Today, it is going to provide our force a more centralized location to prepare our warfighters to go down range.”
The building, which has both office spaces and platoon spaces, broke ground in 2016 and will serve as a more centralized location, keeping EOD technicians and support personnel together to better accomplish their challenging mission. Navy EOD technicians are the world’s premier combat force for countering explosive hazards in any terrain and are the only EOD force that conducts underwater mine countermeasures, exploitation and attribution of underwater ordnance.
“This ribbon-cutting means that we are putting Sailors in a facility worthy of their contribution on the battlefield,” Jackson said.
Following his remarks, Jackson cut the ribbon being held by two bomb disposal robots. Instead of using a ceremonial pair of scissors, he cut the ribbon with a zero-point hook knife attached to a pulley, a system used to remotely conduct EOD procedures.
EOD Group 2, headquartered at Joint Expeditionary Base Little Creek-Fort Story (JEBLCFS), oversees all East Coast-based Navy EOD mobile units, including one forward-deployed mobile unit in Spain, as well as EOD Expeditionary Support Unit 2, EOD Training and Evaluation Unit 2, and the only East Coast-based mobile diving and salvage unit, Mobile Diving and Salvage Unit 2. (Source: ASD Network/US Navy)
11 Sep 18. Australian SME partners with advanced manufacturers to develop small arms in Adelaide. South Australian business Lightforce has linked with companies across the world to form vertically-integrated small arms firm Force Ordnance in answer to Australia’s defence build up. Announced at last week’s Land Forces 2018 conference in Adelaide, South Australia, the advanced manufacturing joint venture aims to strengthen Australia’s front line defence capabilities by developing small arms and light weapons systems.
Force Ordnance CEO Monika Leniger-Sherratt said the time was right for a local small arms company to set up in Australia to meet the requirements of the military, law enforcement and government.
The Lightforce Australia Group of Companies includes Lightforce Australia, Nightforce Optics, EuroOptic Australia and Horus Vision Reticle Systems. It has two manufacturing facilities, one in South Australia and one in the United States. The US business manufactures rifle optics while the Lightforce head office in Adelaide manufactures and exports driving lights and sporting lights.
Started by Dr Ray Dennis, a dentist from Cleve on South Australia’s Eyre Peninsula more than 35 years ago, Leniger-Sherratt said it was only now that the time was right to manufacture weapons in Australia.
“He (Dr Dennis) has invested a lot of time, energy and IP over in the US because the Australian climate has never really been ready for firearms related or defence related development,” Leniger-Sherratt said.
“Now over the last few years obviously we have seen the government do quite a lot of work in terms of opening up the defence space which has now, strategically, allowed us to think about setting up a division purely focussed on providing small arms solutions in line with the Land Projects, and in line with the export Whitepaper the government came out with.”
The Australian government approved the Integrated Soldier Systems project last week to enhance and continuously improve the equipment used by the Australian Defence Force.
Australian Minister for Defence Christopher Pyne said the project was valued at up to AU$1bn over its 13-year life cycle and would deliver a range of items of equipment.
“This investment under LAND 125 Phase 4 will ensure our soldiers have the mobility and protection to deploy quickly and achieve their mission as an integral component of the ADF,” Minister Pyne said.
In a bid to win some of this work, Force Ordnance has partnered with US-based military weapons manufacturer Lewis Machine & Tool as well as SilencerCo. and Cadex Defence rifles to build their base models. These will then be modified according to feedback from clients.
“What we want to do differently is get the feedback from the end users and if there are some tweaks required, because we have the facility here in South Australia we will be able to change them over very, very quickly,” Leniger-Sherratt said.
To achieve this quick turnaround, Force Ordnance has also partnered with TAUV Intelligent Armour Systems and its associate Titomic, a startup that cold-sprays titanium or titanium alloy to quickly form hardwearing parts in a patented process called Titomic Kinetic Fusion technology.
Leniger-Sherratt said that being able to use Titomic’s technology would allow their systems to be easily adaptable and much lighter.
“With Federal Defence wanting to lean out the weight of all of the equipment that our soldiers use, titanium kinetic fusion will certainly go a long way in terms of being able to provide stable, strong options other than steel and aluminium,” she said.
“We are looking to use that particular technology with Titomic and TAUV to see how quickly we can turn around prototypes, how quickly we can turn around ideas associated with our small arms platform.
“There are so many variables and so many different options that we can utilise that particular technology in that we are just starting to scratch the surface.”
11 Sep 18. Australian industry achieves world first practical detector of homemade explosives. Modern explosives sensors are effective at detecting commercial and military explosives but less so when it comes to homemade explosives, and that’s where Australian industry has stepped in.
Defence Minister Christopher Pyne said Australian industry had developed a unique device capable of rapidly detecting homemade explosives and that would arm security agencies with a powerful tool against terrorism.
Minister Pyne launched a prototype of the GreyScan explosive detection device while visiting the Grey Innovation Group facilities in Melbourne.
“I commend Grey Innovation Group on this pioneering product which will help make Australians safer. It is yet another example of Australian innovation delivering critical capability,” the minister said. “This is an exciting technology which addresses the growing need for detection capabilities at high risk locations such as Defence and police facilities, cargo handling facilities, entry and exit points for large events and, of course, in the aviation market.”
The GreyScan technology identifies trace amounts of inorganic explosives commonly found in homemade explosives. It can do that within 60 seconds.
“The accurate, consistent and rapid identification of these explosives is a first for any explosive trace detection system worldwide,” Grey Innovation says on its websites.
GreyScan technology was developed by the University of Tasmania’s Australian Centre for Research on Separation Science (ACROSS), with Grey Innovation as the industry partner in development of the proof-of-concept demonstrator.
That underwent extensive bench and field testing, which showed it could consistently and accurately detect inorganics from common background ions, from a solid surface in 60 seconds.
This technology was further developed with funding from the National Security Science and Technology Centre, now part of Defence Science and Technology (DST).
Minister Pyne said the US Transport Security Administration (TSA) is planning to trial the technology as part of its aviation security measures, recognising that inorganic explosives trace detection is a capability gap that the GreyScan technology fills.
With access to conventional commercial or military explosives tightly controlled, terrorists have increasingly resorted to homemade explosives, using instructions found on the internet and household and industrial chemicals, often sold over the counter.
That’s a highly risky practice as kitchen production processes are dangerous and resulting explosives highly unstable. However, a number of significant terror attacks have involved home produced explosives.
Australian industry has proved highly innovative at developing practical technologies to detect and defeat improvised explosive devices.
In May, L3 Micreo delivered the first batch of the new Silvershield vehicle-mounted counter-IED systems to the Australian Department of Defence. The production order was awarded to L3 in March under the Redwing program, with the initial contract valued at $27m for 13,000 units to be delivered in 2018. These systems jam radio signals used by insurgents to initiate IEDs and proved highly effective in Afghanistan. (Source: Defence Connect)
10 Sep 18. Australian Government launches project for new soldier field equipment. The government has given the go-ahead for a project to enhance and continuously improve equipment used by Australian soldiers. New Defence Minister Christopher Pyne said the Integrated Soldier Systems project, worth up to $1bn over its 13-year life cycle, would deliver a range of items of equipment to the ADF. The first tranche will deliver supplements to the basic equipment used by soldiers including body armour, helmets, hearing and eye protection, and load carriage equipment, as well as field equipment like water purifiers, helmet torches, storage bags, cooking gear, and sleeping bags.
“We’re taking a flexible approach here, investing up to $240m between now and 2023, with the flexibility to update and change things as technology develops into the future,” the minister said.
Minister Pyne said this project would deliver a broad range of equipment to ensure ADF personnel continue to meet emerging threats, are less detectable, less susceptible to enemy attacks and able to fight longer and more effectively in challenging conditions.
In the future, the project will continue to enhance the basic equipment used by soldiers to keep it up to date.
It will also consider new and emerging technology, such as hand-held language translators, portable unmanned aerial vehicles and exoskeletons or ‘mule’ unmanned vehicles to help soldiers carry their equipment.
“This investment under LAND 125 Phase 4 will ensure our soldiers have the mobility and protection to deploy quickly and achieve their mission as an integral component of the ADF,” Minister Pyne said. “Delivery of the subsequent tranches will be subject to a range of variables centred on incorporating emerging technologies, some yet to be fully developed, to ensure our soldiers continue to have the best capabilities available.”
Minister Pyne said the 2016 Defence White Paper made it clear that the government would invest in a program for continuously improving personal equipment soldiers use.
The open request for tender to establish a prime vendor for the supply of ADF field equipment will be released to market through AusTender. Industry are encouraged to register with AusTender, which will provide access to all tender documentation and ensure you receive any additional updates on the project. Personal equipment has much improved since the early years of the Afghanistan deployment when soldiers patrolled in stifling heat in body armour that provided a high level of protection, but which was so heavy that ability to fight against a nimble foe was affected. That resulted in new lighter body armour, which provided a high degree of protection, as well as a range of other equipment. The Army’s Diggerworks organisation oversees development and introduction to service of new and improved kit, surveying soldiers for ideas and to assess what works and what doesn’t. (Source: Defence Connect)
10 Sep 18. UK looks to automate indirect fire comms. There is a growing demand for multinational interoperability in indirect fire support, fuelling a requirement for increased automation in communications, according to CGI, a UK-based supplier in the area. In mid-August CGI announced it had won a £17m contract to provide a mid-life upgrade for the UK Ministry of Defence’s Fire Control Battlefield Information (FC BISA) application, a software system used for communications in indirect fire support. CGI will update FC BISA, digitising the current practice of voice communications and automating much of the process: this will allow the UK to implement NATO’s Artillery Systems Cooperation Activities (ACSA) capability, which allows for interoperability in indirect fire support among alliance members. The increased appetite for interoperability and open architectures is linked to ‘the importance of widespread situational awareness in an increasingly complex battlespace environment, and the need for optimisation and innovation to achieve it’, said Colin Sanderson, CGI’s VP for defence operational systems.
Maintaining this interoperability places communications systems under an increasingly heavy load, Sanderson added, driving ‘the need for solutions to offer increased automation and machine-to-machine communication to reduce operator workload and maintain effectiveness under battlefield conditions’. CGI supplies the British Armed Forces with other systems related to indirect fire support, including its Fire Control Application (FCA), a handheld device used to plan and execute fire missions.
FCA has been in service with the Royal Artillery, army infantry and the Royal Marines since 2003. While the latest contract is only associated with FC BISA, CGI continues to provide in-service support for FCA, Sanderson said, and discusses potential opportunities and upgrades with the UK MoD. For example, there could be opportunities to consolidate FC BISA, FCA and other technologies related to indirect fire support into a single software product, he said.
An interesting aspect of the ASCA work is the fact that it will see CGI employees working with the MoD and other allied nations at trials, exercises and technical conferences, said Sanderson. He believes this could produce new opportunities for the company in the coming years.
‘Through successful delivery and exploitation of FC BISA’s diverse capabilities, we expect this to lead to a range of opportunities.’ (Source: Shephard)
10 Sep 18. Robotic Research to expand US Army’s AUSTC for counter-WMD mission. The US Army has awarded a new contract to Robotic Research to expand work on its Autonomous Unmanned Systems Teaming and Collaboration (AUSTC) for the counter weapons of mass destruction (Counter-WMD) mission. Valued at $50m, the contract has been awarded by the US Army’s Armament Research, Development and Engineering Center (ARDEC) for a period of five years.
Robotic Research president Alberto Lacaze said: “It is a great honour to expand our work for the US Army, the Defense Threat Reduction Agency (DTRA), and the Special Forces community on the family-of-systems for autonomous collaborative robotic teaming in support of challenging subterranean missions.
“The Robotic Research team shares the army leadership’s commitment to rapidly fielding effective autonomous counter-WMD solutions for our nation’s warfighters.”
The AUSTC effort is designed based on prior and ongoing Robotic Research’s small business innovative research contracts in support of the Mobile Autonomous Counter-WMD System, Increment B (MACS-B) programme. The MACS-B programme offers a wide range of subterranean mission objectives such as mapping and reconnaissance; location and characterisation of WMD materials, relay of intelligence and situational awareness to ground forces and commanders to make informed decisions in support of military operations; and autonomous teaming and collaborative operations to include unmanned ground and air vehicles. The AUSTC focuses on increasing autonomy, 3D / 4D mapping, localisation, target ID, tracking, collective 3D visualisation, weapons system integration of unmanned autonomous systems and subterranean communications. The AUSTC and MACS-B programmes have been designed to improve autonomous unmanned systems teaming and collaboration capabilities in subterranean environments for the US Army and Special Forces units. (Source: army-technology.com)
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