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27 Sep 18. Colombia may purchase new anti-aircraft missiles – sources. Colombia is looking into possibly buying a new system of anti-aircraft missiles as part of a bid to modernize its aerial defence, military sources said on Thursday. Three armed forces sources told Reuters that manufacturers from the United States, France and Israel were in the running to provide the system, which could cost more than $300m (229.3m pounds).
President Ivan Duque has pledged to devote most government investment to education, healthcare and food and housing help for the poorest Colombians, but said this week that defence systems must meet the country’s needs.
“The country, without getting into any kind of arms race, must have the resources that its national security requires. Colombia has historically made acquisitions of equipment and we want to make them within the needs of the country, without any bellicose motivations,” Duque told journalists during a trip to New York.
The purchase would be part of a renewal programme for Air Force equipment and arms. Despite a 2016 peace agreement with the longtime FARC rebels, Colombia’s military remains at war with the National Liberation Army (ELN) rebels, drug-trafficking crime gangs and dissident FARC who refused to demobilize under the peace deal.
In 2005 Colombia bought 25 Super Tucano A-29B planes from Brazil’s Embraer for $234.5m, its largest-ever military purchase. At the beginning of 2015 the Andean country added 32 Canadian-made armoured vehicles to a unit close to the border with Venezuela, at a cost of $84m. (Source: Reuters)
27 Sep 18. Taiwan begins work on next-generation Hsiung Feng missile. Key Points:
- Taiwan is developing a next-generation version of the Hsiung Feng III missile
- Developments aim to improve weapon’s survivability, range, and payload capacity
Taiwan’s National Chung Shan Institute of Science and Technology (NCSIST) is currently working on an improved variant of the Hsiung Feng III anti-ship and land-attack cruise missile.
A NCSIST representative who spoke to Jane’s at the Kaohsiung International Maritime and Defence Exhibition on 27 September, described the project as one that aims to improve the ship-launched version of the Hsiung Feng III’s range, survivability, and payload capacity.
Hsiung Feng III is the latest iteration in the family of missiles that was first developed by Taiwan in the 1970s. (Source: IHS Jane’s)
27 Sep 18. Russian Navy fires Bastion in the Arctic. The Northern Fleet of the Russian Navy has involved the Bastion-P SS-C-5 ‘Stooge’ mobile coastal defence missile system in an exercise in the Arctic for the first time, a military source has told Jane’s .“A Northern Fleet task force on Kotelny Island, the New Siberian Islands, has used the Bastion [missile system] during an exercise in the Arctic for the first time, striking a sea surface target 60 km away with Oniks SS-N-26 ‘Strobile’ missiles,” the source said, without disclosing the number of the Bastions involved in the exercise. The target was imitating a naval task force in the Laptev Sea, he said.The source added that the Bastion system “was delivered to Kotelny Island via sea transport”.
The Bastion-P system, the Oniks missiles of which are supersonic, has augmented the Rubezh SSC-3 ‘Styx’ coastal anti-ship missile systems operated by the Northern Fleet.
More generally the Russian Navy’s Coastal Troops are being rearmed in accordance with a new two-tier concept that comprises both the Bal SSC-6 ‘Sennight’ and Bastion mobile coastal defence missile systems. “The Bal maintains tactical defence of the coast, while the Bastion engages targets at longer ranges,” the source said. (Source: IHS Jane’s)
27 Sep 18. Kongsberg’s Hydroid hopping REMUS drone will help Marines clear mines in shallow water. The Marine Corps’ rapid capabilities office is looking for a drone that canhelp Marines clear mines in the shallows ahead of a landing, and Kongsberg’s Hydroid is hoping its REMUS 100 unmanned undersea vehicle will answer the bell. REMUS, an autonomous underwater vehicle, is already in wide use in the U.S. Navy with about 100 total used in mine clearing operations in the Middle East, and Hydroid thinks it will meet the Marines’ needs as well.
“This is something we are looking to answer the mail with for the [request for information],” said Rusty Brown, a Hydroid representative.”
As the Navy’s minesweepers in the Arabian Gulf and elsewhere have struggled to stay in working order, the service has been increasingly relying on small boats and AUVs to do its mine hunting for it. The REMUS drones have proven effective in the Gulf and other austere environments, and have even proven effective in standing up to Great White Shark attacks.
The Reemus 100 is about 85 lbs (a two-man lift) and comes equipped with side-scan sonor to find the mines and is rated up to 100 meters. The drone is also much faster than human divers, Brown said.
“It keeps the divers out of the water,” Brown said. “This thing could mow this entire area in a few minutes where as a diver could take hours,” he added, motioning to the conference floor.
The REMUS 100 is also flexible and can take on multiple sensor packages, he said.
“It’s kind of like a pickup truck, you can outfit it with anything,” Brown said. “This specific version is an expeditionary version, lightweight, for shallow water. There is a larger version that is for deeper water, big Navy.”
Marine Corps officials want three prototypes for the office to evaluate, Marine Corps Times reported September 14. They must be able to seek out and handle the ordnance at depths from less than 10 feet in the surf out to shallow water depths at the 40- to 200-foot range. The technology will help personnel identify those items from short distance, stand-off ranges to see if it’s hazardous or nonhazardous. Once it identifies the item it must then be able to render it incapable of firing or detonating. The remote-control portion can run either tethered or with radio signals. It must also accurately send back geolocation information to ‘mark’ the ordnance. (Source: Defense News)
27 Sep 18. The days of worrying about rocket launcher backblast soon may be at an end. Backblast area all clear! For ages Marines have been trained to yell before firing the Corps’ suite of shoulder-fired rocket systems. Backblast results from gaseous overpressurization that ruptures out the back when a rocket is fired. It can cause injuries, but also it limits Marines to firing the rockets in open and unconfined spaces, exposing Marines to enemy fire. But Saab Bofors Dynamics says it may have a solution for the Corps.
Currently, old versions of Saab’s AT-4 anti-tank single shot rockets are to be gradually phased out by a new confined space AT-4, according to Justin Knight, Saab’s Marine Corps representative for shoulder-fired weapon systems. That means Marines will soon be able to fire the AT-4 in confined spaces, like out of a window inside of a room without the fear of injury from backblast. The new confined space AT-4 will give Marines more tactical flexibility on the battlefield when it comes to employing shoulder fired anti-tank rockets. But that’s not all. Saab also has a confined space round for its 84mm recoilless rifle the Carl Gustaf. According to Knight, the Corps may be interested in procuring a high explosive, dual purpose confined space round for the Carl Gustaf. That means Marines could soon be firing the Gustaf from inside rooms and confined areas. So far the Marines have qualified nine different Saab rounds for the Gustaf, according to Knight. Nammo, the makers of the M-72 light assault weapon, or LAW, is also in the midst of testing a LAW that can be fired from confined spaces. The new suite of confined space shoulder fired rocket launchers will boast lethality for grunts while also affording extra protection for Marines on the battlefield. (Source: Marine Times)
27 Sep 18. IAF flight test fires Astra BVRAAM missile from Su-30 aircraft. The Indian Air Force (IAF) has successfully carried out test firing of its domestically manufactured Astra beyond visual range air-to-air missile (BVRAAM). Conducted at the IAF’s Kalaikunda Air Force Station, the air-to-air weapon system was launched from Russian-built Sukhoi Su-30 multirole fighter aircraft. During the trial, the missile successfully engaged a manoeuvring target with high precision, meeting the mission objectives. The missile was targeted against an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV), Banshi, reported the Press Trust of India (PTI). The current flight test is part of a series of final pre-induction trials. The Astra BVRAAM has to date undergone more than 20 developmental trials. Indian Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman has congratulated the efforts of the IAF and the missile manufacturer Defence Research and Development Organization (DRDO) on the successful completion of the test. The flight test strengthens India’s capability in the local design and development of advanced weapon systems. Between 11 and 14 September last year, the IAF successfully carried out a total of seven final development flight trials of the Astra weapon system over the Bay of Bengal, off the coast of Chandipur in Odisha, India, against a number of Pilotless Target Aircraft (PTA). The 3.8m-long missile system features high single-shot kill probability (SSKP) and is capable of operating under adverse weather conditions. With a diameter of 178mm, the weapon has an overall launch weight of 160kg. The airborne launcher of the system can be used with a wide range of fighter aircraft. (Source: airforce-technology.com)
26 Sep 18. Glock just released a new Glock that looks a lot like another Glock (but it’s black). GLOCK, Inc. announced a new addition to the 9X19 family of pistols featuring the latest in design and engineering seen in the 5th Generation of GLOCK pistols. The GLOCK 45 combines the fast handling of the GLOCK 19 compact-sized slide with the full-size frame as a compact Crossover. Taking on the Crossover design of the GLOCK 19X and the superior GLOCK hard-surface finish in non-reflective black, the G45 makes the ultimate service pistol.
“After the release of the G19X, we saw a strong interest from the law enforcement community for the design in a black model,” said GLOCK, Inc. VP Josh Dorsey.“ The G45 is the result of a design that meets the demanding level of reliability with distinctive Gen5 design enhancements to improve durability, accuracy and performance to those who go into harm’s way where fractions of a second matter.”
Engineered with the GLOCK perfection promise, the G45 features the Safe Action System and is backed by torture-testing that has made GLOCK a name synonymous with innovation and reliability.
The G45 incorporates elements of the 5th Generation of GLOCK pistols including a smoother trigger pull, an enhanced frame texture for sure handling, a reversible magazine catch, ambidextrous slide stop lever, the Modular Backstrap System (MBS) for individual adjustability and the incredibly accurate, match-grade GLOCK Marksman Barrel (GMB). The G45 also features front serrations which are precision-milled forward of the ejection port on both sides.
The GLOCK Compact Crossover Pistol Model G45 will make its debut at The International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP) Conference and will be available on dealer shelves beginning October 5th. (Source: Defense News Early Bird/Military Times)
26 Sep 18. US to remove several missile defense systems from the Middle East. Next month the United States will remove several Patriot air and missile defense batteries from four countries in the Middle East, according to the Wall Street Journal, citing multiple U.S. military officials. The Defense Department will remove two batteries from Kuwait, and one each from Bahrain and Jordan, as the U.S. military shifts its focus to adversaries like Russia and China, as well as Iran. The batteries will be taken offline and returned to the U.S. to be refurbished and upgraded before being relocated. According to an official, there are no plans to replace the systems. Despite this realignment, the U.S. military says it is maintaining its commitment to allies in the region.
“U.S. Central Command is strongly committed to working with our allies and partners to promote and provide regional security and stability,” said Capt. Bill Urban, a spokesman for the command. “U.S. forces remain postured to conduct operations throughout the region and to respond to any contingency.”
Patriot batteries are mobile, air-and-missile defense systems designed for point defense of a relatively small area, making Patriot ideal to defend bases and specific locations.
The newest version of Patriot, the Patriot Advanced Capability-3 Missile Segment Enhancement(PAC-3 MSE), is a hit-to-kill interceptor that eliminates targets through a kinetic collision, whereas earlier variants relied on blast fragmentation warheads — which spread shrapnel over an area much like a shotgun — to destroy incoming threats.
PAC-2 and PAC-3 missiles are frequently deployed by Saudi Arabia to intercept short-range ballistic missiles launched into Saudi territory by Iran-backed Houthi rebels in Yemen. It is difficult to discern the system’s effectiveness due to conflicting media reports from Saudi and Yemeni sources. In March, video emerged that challenged claims that Saudi Patriot assets intercepted seven incoming missiles fired by Houthis toward Riyadh. Patriot systems are currently fielded by 14 countries, according to the Center for Strategic and International Studies’ Missile Defense Project. (Source: Defense News)
26 Sep 18. Kronshtadt weaponises Orion-E UAV, outlines HALE UAV development. Russia’s Kronshtadt Group, a subsidiary of Joint-Stock Financial Corporation Sistema, has unveiled a strike-capable variant of the Orion-E medium-altitude long-endurance unmanned aerial vehicle (MALE UAV). The weaponised Orion-E was showcased with a new 50kg guided missile developed by the company. “It is a demonstrator of a smart munition for the Orion, and its weight can be increased to 100 kg,” a company source told Jane’s. “Thus, a single UAV can carry four 50 kg or two 100 kg munitions. “In the baseline configuration, the UAV carries one 50kg weapon,” the source added. The Orion-E has a maximum take-off weight (MTOW) of 1,000kg and can carry a payload of 200kg. (Source: IHS Jane’s)
25 Sep 18. Denel’s RG41 8×8 adds firepower with new Modular Combat Turret. The Denel Vehicle Systems RG41 8×8 Wheeled Armoured Combat Vehicle (WACV) has been fitted with the Denel Land Systems (DLS) two-person turret that was originally developed for the South African Army’s incoming Badger 8×8 infantry fighting vehicles (IFVs). Badger is to replace the South African Army’s currently deployed Ratel 6×6 IFV. The two-person turret is referred to as the Modular Combat Turret (MCT) and is armed with a 30×173mm dual-feed cannon and a 7.62mm co-axial machine gun (MG). Either the commander or gunner can lay the weapons on target, as both can see target images and fire control information on flat panel displays at their weapon stations. Turret traverse and weapon elevation is all electric, with manual back up controls and an automatic target tracker (ATT) fitted as standard. There are other versions of the MCT, including one armed with a DLS 60mm breech-loaded mortar and another armed with two Ingwe laser-guided missiles. This family of turrets has also been adopted for some variants of Malaysia’s Gempita (AV-8) 8×8 IFV that recently entered service. A typical RG41 crew when fitted with a one person turret would consist of 11 people: driver, vehicle commander, gunner, section commander, and seven dismounts. The dismounts are seated in the rear and provided with four-point seat harness. The RG41’s gross vehicle weight (GVW) is 28,000 kg, of which 9,800kg is the payload (weapons, ammunition, crew, and fuel), according to Denel. The baseline RG41 has STANAG 4569 Level 2 ballistic protection, but is upgradable to Level 4 or 5. Mine protection is to STANAG 4569 Level 4A/3B, but upgradable to Level 4B. (Source: IHS Jane’s)
25 Sep 18. Revision Military hones power provision, management systems for dismounts. Revision Military showcased its wearable Nerv Centr power supply solutions at the DVD 2018 exhibition in September, which include a power management system, a battery, and an enhanced charger. The Nerv Centr SharePack is a Li-ion integrated power supply and management device that weighs 1.2 kg and has a nominal capacity of 10.4 Ah. It has two independent Glenair battery connectors plus a USB socket that enables it to simultaneously charge and be charged. It adapts its output according to the device it is charging. The multi-functional LCD display shows battery capacity, details of connected equipment, and available power, but if the device is used as part of a man-worn system it can be controlled using an Android app on the system’s control display. The system is compatible with the US Army’s Nett Warrior dismounted soldier system. Multiple SharePacks can be daisy-chained together so they can be recharged from a single source or provide a more sustained power supply.
Meanwhile, the smaller SoloPack is a Nett Warrior-compatible Li-ion battery that weighs 550 g, has a nominal capacity of 6.8 Ah, and provides power for 12 hours. It has a state-of-charge display, but can be integrated with the display of a dismounted system.
The Nerv Centr charger and enhanced charger are universal charging boxes that can charge the SoloPack or SharePack batteries in under three hours, and can take power direct from AC or DC sources via USB or from a solar blanket. The enhanced charger has four ports: Nett Warrior-compatible input and output ports, an AC input port, and a USB port. The SharePack and the enhanced charger can be used to harvest power from partly discharged batteries. (Source: IHS Jane’s)
25 Sep 18. US Army Body Armor May Be Too Heavy for Combat, Report Finds. The U.S. Army should authorize commanders to allow combat troops to leave the service’s heavy, over-designed body armor behind on certain missions to increase physical performance, according to a new report from the Center for a New American Security.
“Body armor provides increasingly advanced protection, but at a cost in soldier performance,” according to “The Soldier’s Heavy Load,” part of the “Super Soldiers” series of reports that Army Research Laboratory commissioned CNAS to conduct looking at soldier survivability.
“Increased soldier load not only slows movement and increases fatigue, but also has been experimentally demonstrated to decrease situational awareness and shooting response times,” the report added.
The document draws on past reports that have estimated soldiers routinely carried an average of 119 pounds apiece in Iraq and Afghanistan. As a result, one-third of medical evacuations from the battlefield between 2004 to 2007 were due to spinal, connective tissue, or musculoskeletal injuries — twice as many injuries as were sustained from combat.
The authors of the report make several recommendations to the Army, one being that the service should “clearly delegate authority to company-level commanders to modify the level of protection as needed, based on the specific threat and mission.”
“Wearing heavy body armor may not be operationally practical on a long-range multi-day patrol in mountainous terrain, such as in Afghanistan,” the report states. “In practice, the decision of which protective level to wear is usually restricted to senior leaders.”
Army researcher James Zheng added in the report that “body armor is essentially parasitic weight; it contributes nothing to the soldier’s operational effectiveness until the moment it is required to resist a potentially lethal threat.”
Paul Scharre, one of the authors of the report, told Military.com that commanders were concerned “not just that they were going to get heat from higher up, but [that] the Army is going to get dragged before Congress, saying ‘why aren’t our people wearing this body armor.'”
“We issue protective equipment, and that is great, because body armor is effective and saves lives, but it’s also extremely heavy. It takes up a significant fraction of the weight that soldiers can effectively carry,” Scharre said.
The report also recommends that the Army conduct an assessment of the feasibility of tailored body armor and potential advantages in reduced weight, increased area coverage, and improved mobility.
The report, however, only refers to the Army’s Improved Outer Tactical Vest, or IOTV, a body armor system that was first fielded in 2008. It does not mention more recent efforts by Program Executive Office Soldier to improve body armor.
PEO Soldier declined to comment on the report because it was produced for Army Research Laboratory, but pointed out that last year it announced last plans to field the Modular Scalable Vest — part of the larger Soldier Protection System, or SPS. That vest at its heaviest weighs approximately 25 pounds, which is five pounds lighter than the IOTV.
“The SPS system is modular, scalable, and tailorable,” Alton Stewart, a spokesman for PEO Soldier said in a statement. “It defeats current threat levels while also reducing weight.”
The report also relies on a graphic that provides inaccurate weights of individual soldier equipment, stating, for example, that the “Army Combat Helmet” weighs 6.5 pounds.
The Army awarded a contract to Revision Military in March 2017 worth up to $98m to make 293,870 of the Advanced Combat Helmet, Gen II, which is made of high-density polyethylene instead of the current helmet’s Kevlar.
The ACH Gen II weighs about 2.5 pounds in size large, which is about 24 percent lighter than the current ACH.
Scharre said an earlier Super Soldiers series report released in April covered these newer body armor efforts, such as how the Army in 2009 “reduced weight with the plate carrier and the Army’s current goal with the Soldier Protection System.”
The Soldier Plate Carrier System, or SPCS, which was first fielded in 2009, is about nine pounds lighter than the IOTV, which weighs a little over 30 pounds, depending on the size.
The SPCS was the result of a detailed study, conducted in 2008 by the Army’s Asymmetric Warfare Group and other Army organizations such as the Rapid Equipping Force. It involved studying how excessive soldier load in impacted dismounted soldier performance.
The study fielded combat units in Afghanistan with lightweight equipment that ranged from plate carriers to Mk 48 7.62mm machine guns, a special operations weapon that weighs just over 18 pounds, compared to 27 pounds for the Army’s M240 machine gun.
“No, we don’t talk about that; I am actually not familiar with it. I am familiar with some of those changes that have been made, but I have not seen the report,” Scharre said.
Another recommendation that Scharre stressed is that the Army should launch an authoritative study to better assess the relationship between load and combat effectiveness.
The Army didn’t have charts and tables demonstrating the relationship between weight and performance, Scharre said.
“So if you could have tables that a commander would look at [and say] ‘all right, I am sending my folks out on a foot patrol and I add another 20 pounds of gear; here is how I can see a measurable way, for an average dismounted soldier, that this affects performance,'” he said. “Things like increasing mobility, increasing performance, reducing physical and cognitive fatigue, those things make a difference and those need to be part of the equation … you’ve got to be able to look at both sides of the equation, because right now, you don’t see enough of that.”
Military.com reached out to Army Research Lab for comment on the report but did not receive a comment by press time.
Scharre said ARL officials thanked CNAS for the report, but have not provided specific feedback.
“I would not say they signed off on it [in the sense of] agreeing with the recommendations, that’s certainly not the case,” Scharre said. “In no way is this a representation of the Army’s views on the issues.”
The report is intended to examine is how much weight can soldiers effectively carry and that how protective equipment eats up “a tremendous fraction” of that fighting load, Scharre said.
“There is a cultural problem here, which is, every time you take away little bit of weight, people just pile on more stuff,” Scharre said, explaining that the fielding of a plate carrier doesn’t solve the problem.
“We are dramatically overweight; we are not nine pounds overweight. The Army should set a limit: this is the amount of equipment we should issue people. And if you want to add any new pieces of gear, something’s got to go.” (Source: Defense News Early Bird/Military.com)
25 Sep 18. Denel finalises A-Darter guided flight qualification tests. Denel Dynamics has announced that it has successfully completed the guided missile qualification test series for its A-Darter short-range imaging infrared (IIR) air-to-air missile (AAM) system. A total of four guided firings – all against Denel Skua high-speed target drones – were conducted at Denel Overberg Test Range (DOTR) in the Western Cape, South Africa. In the first test – conducted in lock-on-after-launch (LOAL) mode – the missile acquired the target late in its free-flight phase and intercepted it with a direct hit. According to Denel, this “demonstrates that long-range intercept beyond IR detection range is possible with the lock-on-after-launch capability of the A-Darter missile”. The range and altitude of the intercept were not disclosed.
The second test was conducted in a Chase Air Combat Manoeuvre mode at close range to prove the high off-boresight launch capability of the missile under high G-forces. The missile performed a hard 180° manoeuvring turn after launch to successfully intercept the target, demonstrating the IIR seeker’s wide field-of-view (FOV), the agility of the airframe in high-G manoeuvring, and the performance of the missile’s thrust vector control system. The intercept ranges for both tests – which were conducted in November 2017 – were not disclosed.
Two additional tests were conducted in a ‘blow-through’ air combat manoeuvre mode using the missile’s multi-mode electronic countermeasures suite. Designed by Denel Dynamics, and evolved under a joint development agreement with Brazil’s Ministry of Defence and Brazilian Air Force (Forca Aerea Brasileira: FAB), A-Darter is now a co-development programme between Denel Dynamics of South Africa and Brazil’s Mectron, Avibras, and Opto Eletrônica. A-Darter is a body-lift missile with thrust vector control for a high angle of attack capability and agility. Weighing 93.5kg, 166mm in diameter, and just less than 3m in length, the missile has four fixed delta control fins at the rear and two strakes along the sides. (Source: IHS Jane’s)
25 Sep 18. India to undertake validation trials of Spike ATGW. The Indian Army (IA) is to conduct validation trials of the Rafael Advanced Defense Systems Spike anti-tank guided weapon (ATGW) ahead of deciding whether to procure the system via an inter-governmental agreement (IGA) in 2019–20. Official sources told Jane’s on 17 September that the IA is set to test-fire the ATGW in the summer of 2019 in India’s western Rajasthan desert region to validate its infrared seeker. They said the ATGW had reportedly not met the IA’s operational qualitative requirements in previous trials undertaken in searing summer temperatures in the desert where a large proportion of the systems would eventually be deployed. (Source: IHS Jane’s)
25 Sep 18. The USMC ditched the 120mm mortar, but this might replace it. The Corps has ditched the 120mm Expeditionary Fire Support System, but now it needs a flexible and portable system that can match its range and lethality. Loitering munitions or suicide drones may offer the Corps the solution it’s looking for, affording Marines portability, range and a variety of payloads for either electronic attack or kinetic strikes. One Maryland-based company called Mistral Group could provide the Corps with a suite of suicide drones varying in size and payload that melds with its expeditionary and sea-based nature. Mistral’s series of loitering munitions could aid the Corps on the battlefield by providing it a top-down attack capability. The modern battlefield has become littered with a host of shoulder-fired and ground-based anti-tank systems from BGM-71 TOWs to Russian Kornet portable guided missile systems, Yossi Gez the vice president of marketing for Mistral Inc., told Marine Corps Times. It’s all about ensuring the Corps maintains an unfair advantage on the battlefield, Gez said. Mistral’s Univision Hero 120 drone could be a suitable replacement for the Corps’ 120mm mortar.
The drone is man-portable, air launched and features a Javelin multipurpose warhead, meaning a squad of Marines could dispatch the system to take out enemy troops or armored vehicles. The Hero 120 also has a flight time of one hour and a 40-km range, making it an attractive option to replace the cumbersome 120mm mortar system. Mistral also offers a much larger suicide drone that packs extended range for the Corps’ deep attack needs. The Hero 400 EC could aid the Corps in sea based or land-based missions. The Hero 400 EC boasts a 100-km range with an additional 30 minutes of loiter time. It packs a 22-pound warhead and has the ability to carry a variety of payloads for lethal strikes or electronic attack. The Corps has been increasingly interested in loitering munitions.
So far the Marines have successfully tested six suicide drones controlled as a swarm by a single operator, and eventually wants to increase that number to 15. And in April, the Corps posted a request for information to industry leaders for a man-portable, tube-launched loitering munition with a range of 40-60km. But one concern the Corps has about fielding its future loitering munitions is the potential of reduced battlefield situation awareness if a drone operator is glued to his controller screen. Because of this, the Corps want its systems to come with “minimal operator burden,” Capt. Matt Cornachio, a fires project officer with Marine Corps Warfighting Laboratory, said during a media roundtable in July.
Mistral says its suite of loitering munitions do just that. An operator on the ground who has control of the munition doesn’t actually need to pilot the system, Gez explained. Multiple Mistral munitions could loiter overhead while a ground operator need only to select and identify a target for it to destroy, Gez said. This would allow Marines to stay focused on the battlefield. Mistral also offers a smaller suicide drone called the Hero 30 that can take out troops and light skinned vehicles. (Source: Defense News)
24 Sep 18. The USAF Wants Adjustable Bombs That Can Unleash a Lot of Hell—or Just a Little. “Dial-a-yield” tech borrowed from nuclear weapons could make tomorrow’s weapons more adaptable to any sized battle. Today’s bombs are fairly straightforward, in that a 500-pound bomb pretty much explodes the same way, every time. But tomorrow’s bombs will unleash only as much hell as they have to. The Air Force wants conventional bombs to have a “dial a yield” mechanism, borrowed from nuclear weapons, that allows a bomb to explode with full force, something less than full force, or to not explode at all. Sometimes a small explosion is a better explosion, because it would allow the military to bomb targets in closer proximity to civilians without killing them.
For years, U.S. nuclear weapons have had a “dial a yield” capability that allows the operator to select the weapon’s explosive power. The B61-12 nuclear gravity bomb, for example, can be set to explode with the power of 300 tons, 1,500 tons, 10,000 tons, or 50,000 tons of TNT. This gives the operator great flexibility, scaling the bomb’s power down to attack a formation of enemy tanks or up to devastate a large complex. In the case on conventional wars, bombs need to be ever larger and more destructive. But the irregular wars in Afghanistan, Syria, Iraq, Libya, and elsewhere have flipped this notion on its head. What’s needed is not more power, but the ability to place smaller bombs more accurately to minimize harm to civilians and other noncombatants.
On the face of it, the answer sounds simple: just send planes with smaller bombs. But some targets require big bombs and some require small bombs. Carrying only one kind of weapon prevents a jet from engaging targets that require the other. But what if the Air Force could carry one high-yield bomb that could be dialed down to explode with less force? What if a 2,000-lb. bomb could explode with full force or not even explode at all, using only kinetic energy and the bomb’s sheer mass to take out a single, small target?
Breaking Defense says the service is now looking for adjustable yields for conventional high explosive bombs. The new Dialable Effects Munition (DEM) is a 2,000-lb. bomb that can explode with full force or something short of that. A technology demonstrator, DEM probably won’t see combat. Following that will be the Selectable Effects Munition (SEM), a 250-lb. bomb whose explosive yield pilots can adjust from the cockpit. It’s possible that eventually, the entire U.S. military bomb inventory could be composed of dial-a-yield bombs.
The technology, BD explains, involves using 3D printing to manufacture a warhead with multiple built-in fuzes. This method allows the operator to explode part or all of the high explosive contained in the bomb casing. Different parts of the bomb can also be set off in different sequences to change the shape of the blast, focusing it in on direction as opposed to all directions. The result is a bomb that can take out a tank in the middle of a field or a terrorist vehicle nearby a crowded street in the same mission. (Source: Defense News Early Bird/Popular Mechanics)
24 Sep 18. Rafael to demo lighter active protection capability on Stryker in 2019. Israeli company Rafael will demonstrate its lighter active protection capability on a U.S. Army Stryker combat vehicle in the United States in early 2019, according to an industry source with knowledge of the activity. Rafael is already supplying its heavier Trophy Active Protection System (APS) for four brigade sets of M1 Abrams main battle tanks. But the company has also developed a lighter version it is calling the Trophy Vehicle Protection System (VPS) and recently demonstrated its capability in a test over a six-week period in July and August this year. The demonstration used the same standards the U.S. used in testing the current model of Trophy for the Abrams in order to qualify key components of the lighter system.
Trophy VPS has the same radar, main computer, countermeasure and algorithms as the Trophy system on Abrams. The main difference between the two is that the size and weight of the components, such as the launcher, have been minimized in a way that is said not to affect the performance of the system.
Leonardo DRS will manufacture over half of the heavier version of Trophy for integration onto Abrams in the U.S., but could also handle the same for a lighter version that could go on other combat vehicles.
The Army has been evaluating other APS systems on Bradley Fighting Vehicles and Strykers as interim solutions before its vehicle protection suite is available for vehicles down the road. The service recently decided not to move forward with Virginia-based Artis’ Iron Curtain system for Stryker, citing issues with its maturity.
The Army plans to move forward with evaluating other systems on Stryker in a rodeo in November this year that will likely include Rheinmetall’s Active Defense System (ADS). It’s unclear if Trophy VPS is the other system being evaluated or if there are other companies that will bring systems not already evaluated.
The Army is also behind its process to characterize Israeli company IMI’s Iron Fist on a Bradley, but is expected to make a decision on the way forward soon. According to the industry source, the Trophy VPS demonstration on Bradley replicated as closely as possible the scenarios encountered during previous Trophy demonstrations on Abrams to include testing against rocket propelled grenades and anti-tank guided missiles and also was tested against counter-APS tactics. The demonstration additionally tested hostile fire detection capability and situational awareness. The source reported the six-week test was successful and validated the performance of the system. Key Army leadership was in attendance to include the operational and research and development communities, material developers and Army staff, but there was also broad international representation. (Source: Defense News)
24 Sep 18. Leonardo DRS, Inc. and partner Rafael Advanced Defense Systems Ltd. of Israel announced today that they have successfully completed a lengthy live-fire qualification process for key elements of the lighter weight TROPHY Vehicle Protection System (VPS). Leveraging material and component upgrades, as well as lessons learned over twenty-plus years of development, TROPHY VPS achieves up to 40% weight reduction and improved power management, depending on how it is integrated on a platform. The updated system retains its proven ability to protect against the full range of direct fire, anti-armor rocket and missile threats, with performance equal to TROPHY systems currently in the field.
“Leonardo DRS and our Rafael partner have listened closely to our customers and these achievements represent our continuing investment in meeting their needs,” said Aaron Hankins, Vice President and General Manager of the DRS Land Systems division. “We are leaning forward to bring added capabilities to TROPHY for the Army’s Vehicle Protection System program.”
Conducted at an official test range in Israel, the recent round of testing was monitored by subject matter experts and program officials from the US, NATO and other allied nations. It included over 250 live scenarios challenging key aspects of the system’s upgraded hard-kill defeat mechanism, bringing the total number of live tests of TROPHY to over 4000 since the start of the program. Threat defeat performance was in excess of 95% and demonstrated TROPHY’s automatic networked Fire Source Location ability. Integrated on a Bradley Fighting Vehicle for this test campaign to highlight its immediate relevance for that platform, TROPHY VPS will next be demonstrated in the US on the Stryker platform at the request of the Stryker program office. Meanwhile, DRS and Rafael are continuing a parallel effort to bring about TROPHY’s compliance with the US Modular APS standard.
“Rafael is encouraged by the extensive presence of US and international visitors at the tests,” said Moshe Elazar, Executive Vice President and Head of Rafael’s Land and Naval Division. “It shows the growing understanding that system maturity is not just a phrase. We are guaranteeing lower programmatic risk to our customers by leveraging proven performance and broad integration experience on main battle tanks, IFVs, 8X8s, and other platforms.”
24 Sep 18. Spain opts for ESSM Block 2 for future F-110 frigates. Spain has opted for Raytheon’s Evolved SeaSparrow Missile (ESSM) Block 2 missile as the primary ship self-defence system for its five new F-110 frigates. The decision was confirmed to Jane’s by Spain’s Ministry of Defence (MoD) on 20 September. The long-awaited decision – which means ESSM Block 2 has edged out MBDA’s rival Sea Ceptor system – was the last significant equipment down selection ahead of the official go-ahead for the F-110 project. Defence minister Margarita Robles announced earlier in September that she hoped the programme for the building of the vessels, by the state-owned Navantia shipyards, would get under way in the next few months. (Source: IHS Jane’s)
24 Sep 18. Paramount and Leonardo to develop weaponised M-345 jet trainer. Paramount Group has signed a Letter of Intent with Leonardo to jointly develop a weaponised configuration of the M-345 military trainer aircraft. Under the deal, the two companies intend to build an operational configuration of the jet trainer to be marketed in the African market. The agreement will also include the possible involvement of Paramount Group in the Italy-built SF-260 light trainer aircraft programme, in addition to its logistic support services.
Paramount Advanced Technologies chief executive officer Ralph Mills said: “We are very excited to launch and demonstrate our Smart Weapons Integration on Fast-Jet Trainers (SWIFT) mission system alongside the African debut of Leonardo’s M-345 jet trainer. “SWIFT is focused on current threats and current customer requirements. It offers low acquisition and operation costs and is suitable for non-conventional or asymmetric warfare. It addresses the customer’s growing need for multi-role configuration to adapt to different mission roles without major re-configuration and extended time delay.
“The platform can be described as short timeframe, light combat and surveillance solution utilising the best of the best in the defence industry.”
Developed by Leonardo’s Aircraft Division, the Aermacchi M-345 aircraft has been designed for the basic-advanced phases of the training syllabus, offering low acquisition and operating costs. The trainer is capable of performing operational roles with a high-speed manoeuvring capability in high altitudes, modern avionics systems, and high load capacity and performance. The aircraft helps reduce training times and allows trainees to use a platform with higher performance flight characteristics than other basic or advanced training aircraft currently used across the world. (Source: airforce-technology.com)
21 Sep 18. Russia’s advanced military helicopters to get new rocket pods. New Russian combat and military transport helicopters will be armed with the 9-A-5013 80mm rocket pods developed by JSC Zaslon, a source from the company told Jane’s. “The 9-A-5013 pod has been developed for the Mil Mi-28NM combat helicopter. It features modular design and can be supplied in 10-, 15-, 20-, or 25-tube configuration, with the 20-tube pod being the basic for combat rotary-wing aircraft,” the source said. The armament suite of the newest Russian Mi-8/17 family of military transport helicopters has been reinforced with the pods. “The 9-A-5013 has been integrated onto the Mil Mil-171Sh-VN air assault helicopter in the 25-tube configuration,” the source said. (Source: IHS Jane’s)
21 Sep 18. Indian Army test launches Prahaar short-range ballistic missile. The Indian Army has successfully test-fired its surface-to-surface short-range tactical ballistic missile Prahaar from Chandipur, Odisha. Fired from Launch Complex-III at the Integrated Test Range (ITR) in Balasore, range stations and electro-optical systems tracked the indigenously built weapon system throughout its journey during testing. The missile was reported to have travelled a range of 200km before hitting its simulated target, thereby successfully achieving all mission objectives, reported PTI. Developed by the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO), the Prahar missile is a contemporary weapon system capable of carrying a number of different warheads, nuclear, high-explosives (HE) and submunitions. In addition, the Indian Army weapon is capable of engaging and successfully neutralising a wide range of targets in different directions.
Congratulating DRDO, the Indian Army, local industries and other team members for the successful completion of the test-launch, Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said that the “indigenously developed Prahaar will further strengthen our defence capabilities.”
The 7.3m-long Prahaar weapon system has a body diameter of 0.42m, a launch weight of 1,280kg and is capable of carrying a payload of 200kg with planned nuclear, HE and submunition options, according to data by the Center for Strategic and International Studies. According to official sources, the missile has been designed and developed to replace the short-range Prithvi-1 weapon system. Propelled by a single-stage solid propellant engine, Prahaar is carried by the TATRA Transporter-Erector-Launcher vehicle, each of which can accommodate six missiles. (Source: army-technology.com)
20 Sep 18. The USMC has already started fielding the new Mk13 sniper rifle. Marines are already getting their hands on the deadly new Mk13 sniper rifle, just months after the Corps announced it was finally replacing the Vietnam War era M40 rifle. The new Mk 13 Mod 7 sniper rifle is now finding its way into the inventories of 1st Marine Expeditionary Force as of the week of Sept. 17, according to Barbara Hamby, a spokeswoman with Marine Corps Systems Command.
“Based on the approved fielding plan, the MK13 Mod 7 is being fielded to units to include infantry and reconnaissance battalions and scout sniper schoolhouses,” Hamby said in an emailed statement to Marine Corps Times.
The new .300 Winchester Magnum, or Win Mag round, sniper rifle is a big improvement over its predecessor the M40A6 and boasts the ability to hit targets with precision at more than 1,000 yards. Snipers who served in Iraq and Afghanistan have long complained of the need to hit targets beyond the range of the M40. After the Corps identified a capability gap in the max effective range of its sniper rifle it set out to test and evaluate potential suitable replacements. The Mk13 Mod 7, which is already the primary sniper rifle of the Marine Raiders, was eventually selected and announced by Corps officials this spring. The Corps says the new Mk 13 will increase the range of scout snipers by roughly 300 meters. Snipers in the community are also excited about the heavier grain .300 Win Mag round.
“The .300 Winchester Magnum round will perform better than the current 7.62 NATO ammo in flight, increasing the Marine Sniper’s first round probability of hit,” Chief Warrant Officer 3 Tony Palzkill, Battalion Gunner for Infantry Training Battalion, said in a command release. “This upgrade is an incredible win and will allow snipers to engage targets at greater distances.”
While Marines have carried some version of the M40 since 1966, it’s still going to remain in the Corps’ schoolhouses and operational forces for training.
The new Mk 13 Mod 7 is also equipped with a very powerful day optic known as the Nightforce Advanced Tactical Riflescope.
The new scope uses the Tremor3 reticle, which allows a user to rapidly gauge windage options and rapidly acquire and engage multiple targets at far distances.
“The new day optic allows for positive identification of enemies at greater distances, and it has a grid-style reticle that allows for rapid re-engagement without having to dial adjustments or ‘hold’ without a reference point,” Sgt. Randy Robles, Quantico Scout Sniper School instructor, said in a command release. “With this type of weapon in the fleet, we will increase our lethality and be able to conceal our location because we are creating a buffer between us and the enemy.”
Fielding of the Mk 13 will continue through 2019, to units at II MEF and III MEF, according to Hamby. (Source: Defense News Early Bird/Marine Times)
20 Sep 18. US Army Finds Fix for Dangerous Glitch in M4 and M4A1 Service Rifles. U.S. Army weapons officials have figured out the cause and ginned up a fix for a dangerous glitch in the selector switch of M4 and M4A1 carbines that could cause the weapon to fire unintentionally. In June, Military.com reported that about 3,000 Army M4 and M4A1s had failed new safety inspections begun after the service’s Tank-automotive and Armaments Command sent out a safety-of-use message in March to all branches of the U.S. military, advising units to perform an updated functions check on all variants of M16s and M4s after a soldier experienced an unexplained, unintended discharge. After more than 50,000 weapons were checked, TACOM officials discovered the cause of the glitch and halted the inspections, TACOM spokesman R. Slade Walters told Military.com.
“After receiving a significant number of reports from the field and an average failure rate of about 6 percent of the weapons inspected, we ended the inspections and have determined that the cause of the problem is a tolerance stack of the internal firing components,” he said in an email. “The problem is fixed by modifying the selector to remove the tolerance issue and the fault. TACOM is working on an Army-wide directive to repair weapons with the issue that will be released when it is approved at the appropriate levels.”
During a follow-up phone interview, Walters said, “Each individual part conforms to the tolerance requirements, but when the multiple parts get stuck together in 6 to 9 percent of the weapons, depending on which models you are looking at … those tolerances create that condition.”
“So in some weapons it’s not a problem and in others it is,” he said, explaining that the lower receiver’s internal parts need “some machining and or grinding to slightly modify the internal components.”
“When they do that, it fixes the problem … and when they have done it and repeated it, they have been able to correct the problem in weapons showing the issue,” he added.
Most failures occurred in M4A1s. The M4A1s that had been converted from M4s suffered 2,070 failures out of 23,000 inspected, a 9 percent failure rate. Out of about 16,000 original M4A1s inspected, 960 suffered failures, a 6 percent failure rate.
Less than one percent of the 4,000 M4s checked failed the updated functions check. And less than one percent of the 8,500 M16A2s checked failed the test as well. About 500 M16A4s were also checked, but no failures were reported. The Marine Corps also uses the M4 carbine, but the service said in June that its weapons were passing the new functions check. The glitch-testing started when a Fort Knox soldier’s M4A1 selector switch became stuck in-between the semi and auto settings. When the soldier pulled the trigger, the weapon failed to fire. The soldier then moved the selector switch and the weapon fired, the TACOM message states.
The M4A1 is now the Army’s primary individual weapon. The service is converting M4 carbines to M4A1s through the M4 Product Improvement program. The M4A1 has been used by special operations forces for about two decades. It features a heavier barrel and a full-automatic setting instead of the three-round burst setting on standard M4s.
The Army said that all new M4A1s being issued are being checked for the selector glitch and corrected as needed, Walters said.
“Anybody who has gotten a new weapon in the last month or two has gotten weapons free of this error,” he said. “It’s not a small number; it’s like several thousand. It has already been implemented in the supply chain.”
It’s unclear if TACOM will have unit armorers fix the weapons that showed the glitch or if TACOM technicians will do the work, Walters said. He added that “this is still pre-decisional.”
TACOM officials also could not explain why the glitch had not shown up in the past.
“It was just a weird fluke,” Walters said. “In the number of rounds that have gone through those models in the number of years those models have been available, it’s like a winning-the-lottery kind of fluke. And the fact that we discovered it is just one of those things.” (Source: Military.com)
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