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04 Oct 18. Indian Air Force completes development trials of Astra BVR-AAM. The Indian Air Force (IAF) has completed development trials of the Astra beyond visual range air-to-air missile (Astra BVR-AAM). The development trials included a series of flight tests that were carried out by the airforce at the Integrated Test Range in the Balasore city of Odisha, India. Flight trials involved a combination of complex tests for engagement of pilotless target in different modes of manoeuvring, off-boresight, medium and long ranges. During the tests, the Astra BVR-AAM weapon systems were telemetered for the online performance assessment of all sub-systems, with a focus on the datalink, radio frequency seeker and proximity fuse for end-game performance. As part of the final development trials, the missile system has been tested six times under various launch conditions and at different ranges. The locally built missile engaged targets during all the tests and all mission objectives were effectively met. Astra was manufactured and integrated on to the Russia-built Sukhoi Su-30 fighter jet and other aircraft platforms by the Defence Research and Development Organisation, with the active participation of the IAF.
Hindustan Aeronautics Limited has been responsible for upgrading and modifying a number of Su-30 combat aircraft in order to support missile integration and the series of flight trials.
Currently, more than 50 private and public sector industries are involved in the development and production of different sub-systems of the Astra missile. Developed as part of the Integrated Guided Missile Development Programme of the Indian Ministry of Defence, the Astra missile is expected to be introduced into service with the IAF next year.
The 3.8m-long weapon system features high single-shot kill probability and is capable of operating under adverse weather conditions.
With a diameter of 178mm, the missile has an overall launch weight of 160kg. The airborne launcher can be used with a wide range of fighter aircraft. (Source: airforce-technology.com)
04 Oct 18. Italian CAMM-ER programme at risk. On 1 October, the Italian government’s ministerial act on the financing of the multiyear programme for the development and acquisition of the Common Anti-Air Modular Missile-Extended Range (CAMM-ER) and related air defence systems (command and control and sensors) was withdrawn, delaying or even jeopardising the programme. In September, the programme, launched in 2011 and already funded by the previous government’s 2017 budget, was submitted to the parliamentary defence and finance committees for final evaluation and parliamentary approval. According to the Chamber of Deputies website, the deadline for discussing the act was 1 October for the finance committee and 21 October for the defence committee. (Source: IHS Jane’s)
04 Oct 18. New warhead optimizes LEO fragmentation technology to address an expanded target set. Northrop Grumman Corporation (NYSE: NOC) has successfully demonstrated a new missile warhead that further optimizes fragmentation characteristics of its original Lethality Enhanced Ordnance (LEO) solution to defeat a broader range of military target sets from ground forces to light/medium vehicles and aircraft. Preliminary results indicate that the new warhead improves overall performance against area and point targets. It also adds penetration and low collateral damage mission capabilities, providing a safer alternative to some legacy munitions, which can cause unintended harm to civilians and infrastructure well after detonation. LEO warheads do not contain submunitions and eliminate the unexploded ordnance risk.
“There are very few companies that can offer a similar combination of technical expertise and schedule responsiveness as Northrop Grumman.” said Pat Nolan, vice president and general manager, missile products, Northrop Grumman. “Our deep heritage enables our team to develop innovative technologies, like the new warhead that was recently demonstrated, and make it adaptable for essentially any missile program. We are committed to ensuring that our warfighters are ready for challenges on the battlefield, and they are able to execute their missions reliably, precisely and safely.”
Northrop Grumman designed, built and validated the new warhead in less than seven months as part of its continuous research and development activities to deliver innovative solutions for emerging warfighter needs and requirements. Its LEO process uses a proven modeling optimization tool which correlates real world data to accurately predict weapon performance, thus reducing the time spent in the design phase. During the build phase, Northrop Grumman employs validated manufacturing processes which result in more affordable solutions.
04 Oct 18. US Army to test improved ghillie camouflage suit for snipers. The US Army is set to test samples of a new flame-resistant, ghillie camouflage suit for snipers at various locations next month. The new suit, known as the improved ghillie system (IGS), would replace the existing flame-resistant ghillie system (FRGS). FRGS are claimed to be traditionally bulky, uncomfortable and hot in warm weather.
Program Executive Office soldier, product Manager Soldier Clothing and Individual Equipment systems acquisition expert Debbie Williams said the IGS will feature all flame-resistant properties and soldiers will receive protection from the base layer worn under the IGS, such as the Flame Resistant Combat Uniform (FR ACU).
To be worn over the field uniform, the IGS is a modular system which allows pieces such as sleeves, leggings, a veil and cape to be added or removed as and when required. Williams further added that the cost of IGS will be lower than the FRGS, which is currently priced at $1,300, and will offer a lighter and more breathable solution than the existing suit.
Furthermore, the skeins that accompany the new suit will be made of a stiffer material, thereby making the new ghillie camouflage suit more effective at camouflaging the soldier.
Under a contract, approximately 3,500 IGSs are expected to be manufactured for nearly 3,300 snipers in service with all three US Army components, in addition to soldiers deployed with the US Special Operations Command. Once all samples are produced, lab and field testing on the suit will begin. (Source: army-technology.com)
04 Oct 18. Finland’s defence forces mark 30 years of loyal service from the Crotale New Generation short-range air defence system. The Finnish armed forces held a ceremony at the Rovaniemi air base in Finland on 4 October 2018 to celebrate 30 years of operational service from their Crotale New Generation (NG) short-range air defence systems. The event was attended by Thales and local industry partners as well as numerous representatives of civil and military organisations from Finland and France. In addition to protecting Finland’s population and the territorial integrity of the nation, the Finnish armed forces serve alongside European and UN forces on many of the missions led by international organisations. For the last 30 years, Thales has been working with the country’s armed forces to provide capability sustainment and support services for their Crotale NG short-range air defence systems. This system developed by Thales is an end-to-end air defence solution, from detection to interception, designed to counter conventional air threats such as aircraft, helicopters and UAVs. It is installed on a variety of different platforms to protect forces on the move as well as sensitive civil and military sites, helping to ensure the safety of military personnel and Finland’s population at every decisive moment.
“The Finnish defence forces rely on Thales equipment to help them to keep the population safe and protect units on the ground. The Crotale NG short-range air defence system has taken part in numerous operations in Finnish theatres, demonstrating excellent performance and manoeuvrability. With its automatic data exchange functions, it is seamlessly integrated within the overall air defence system to defend Finland’s national territory,” said Seppo Lahti, who was formerly the technical chief for guided weapon systems at the Finnish Army’s procurement agency and served as Crotale NG project manager within the armed forces for eight years.
Today Thales is supporting the armed forces as they enter the digital age, helping them to better protect their personnel and enhance mobility. The Crotale NG system is an integral part of the broader trend towards battlefield digitalisation, and the latest capability upgrades will ensure that the system continues to provide an effective response to new and emerging threats until 2040.
04 Oct 18. Northrop Grumman Corporation (NYSE: NOC) announced that the Italian Air Force completed operational testing of the company’s Advanced Anti-Radiation Guided Missile (AARGM) on their Tornado Electronic Combat and Reconnaissance (ECR) aircraft at Naval Air Warfare Center, China Lake. A series of flight tests culminated with two direct hits on critical air defense threat targets confirming the operational effectiveness and suitability of AARGM on the Italian Air Force Tornado. The successful completion of operational testing allows the Italian Air Force to transition AARGM into operational squadrons.
AARGM is the most advanced anti-radar missiles available today and is able to rapidly engage traditional and advanced land- and sea-based air defense threats, as well as non-radar, time-sensitive strike targets. AARGM provides legacy High Speed Anti-Radiation Missiles with tactically significant improvements including a new guidance unit featuring global positioning system as well as an upgraded anti-radiation homing antenna and digital signal processor. AARGM is also equipped with a millimeter wave end-game terminal seeker providing substantially improved guidance.
“We are proud to have supported our Italian Air Force partner in successfully completing this critical milestone and transitioning the weapon system to operational status,” said Cary Ralston, vice president and general manager, Northrop Grumman Innovation Systems. “Congratulations to the Italian Air Force and the joint team that worked closely in achieving this critical milestone.”
Italy signed a memorandum of understanding with the United States in 2005 to cooperatively develop the AGM-88E AARGM missile. The U.S. Navy is the executive agent for the program, currently in full rate production and deployed, supporting operational requirements for the U.S. Navy and U.S. Marine Corps. The completion of operational testing on the Tornado ECR aircraft is the fourth operational platform using AARGM. Other platforms include the FA-18C/D Hornet, FA-18E/F Super Hornet and EA-18G Growler.
04 Oct 18. UVision Air Ltd. – a global pioneer of high-precision lethal loitering systems of all sizes – will present the Hero-30 launcher in its new advanced configuration, at AUSA 2018. The entire HERO family will also be on display at the event. The newly configured launcher offers reduced system weight, greater safety and ease-of-use during launch, and can be easily mounted on military platforms. Its pneumatic launch, low noise and low thermal signature make the Hero-30 an invisible, high-precision surprise and lethal attacker, providing a major asset to the fighting force. At AUSA, UVision will also highlight an advanced simulation system for the HERO family of loitering systems, for use by training forces with the HERO system and its capabilities, thus avoiding the costs, risks and constraints inherent in live fire missions. The entire HERO family will also be on display at the event.
“Both the new launcher and the simulation system have been developed with the aim of enhancing efficiency of military forces,” says Noam Levitt, CEO of UVision. “The simulation system enables training in a virtual environment in order to fully prepare soldiers for live missions. In the field, the new launcher, with its reduced weight and external compressed air canister, offers the soldier operational efficiencies and ease of use. Both the HERO system and the new launcher are already being used by forces worldwide.”
Hero-30 Lethal Loitering System
Man-pack portable, the Hero-30 is the smallest system in the UVision family of smart loitering systems. Deployable within minutes, the Hero-30 is capable of speeds of up to 100 knots and is ideal for anti-personnel and light-skinned-vehicle attack missions. The new launcher makes the system even lighter and therefore easier to operate, while also providing greater safety during launch, thanks to the external compressed air canister.
The HERO Simulator
The HERO Simulator training system provides a high-fidelity environment and mission simulation, as well as instructional capabilities, allowing users of all levels to train in a wide range of operational scenarios.
The system is based on proprietary software that runs on the HERO Operator Control Unit (OCU). It includes 3D training databases, and computer-generations of forces and 3D objects. Its control hardware utilizes real flight and wind tunnel data, as well as the actual Loitering Munition (LM) autopilot and video tracking, to create a realistic environment. The Windows-based simulator is fully compliant and completely integrated with the actual autopilot flight control system. Recording and debriefing modes deliver clear and constructive feedback to trainees. New features can be added on demand, making the HERO Simulator the ideal tool both for training new operators and mission rehearsal for units in the field.
About the HERO Family
The HERO family is comprised of seven loitering munitions systems (Hero-30, Hero-70, Hero-120, Hero-250, Hero-400EC, Hero-900, Hero-1250), designed for different missions at various ranges. HERO systems enable high-speed transit flight and low-speed loitering, depending on the tactical or strategic needs of the mission – handling moving targets; moving light-duty vehicles, tanks and other strategic objectives. Enabling precision attacks on targets, using warheads of various types and weights, the systems may also be provided in ISR configuration, enabling the use of the platform as a means of gathering intelligence.
The HERO family can carry out pinpoint strikes in urban areas or remote locations, with minimal collateral damage. In cases where an attack is aborted, the systems can be recalled and another target selected. With extremely low noise and thermal signature, these systems integrate highly-advanced, stabilized electro-optic day/night cameras, and are ideal for deployment from air, land and sea.
03 Oct 18. Chinese armed drones now flying over Mideast battlefields. Here’s why they’re gaining on US drones. High above Yemen’s rebel-held city of Hodeida, a drone controlled by Emirati forces hovered as an SUV carrying a top Shiite Houthi rebel official turned onto a small street and stopped, waiting for another vehicle in its convoy to catch up. Seconds later, the SUV exploded in flames, killing Saleh al-Samad, a top political figure. The drone that fired that missile in April was not one of the many American aircraft that have been buzzing across the skies of Yemen, Iraq and Afghanistan since Sept. 11, 2001. It was Chinese.
Across the Middle East, countries locked out of purchasing U.S.-made drones due to rules over excessive civilian casualties are being wooed by Chinese arms dealers, who are world’s main distributor of armed drones.
“The Chinese product now doesn’t lack technology, it only lacks market share,” said Song Zhongping, a Chinese military analyst and former lecturer at the People’s Liberation Army Rocket Force University of Engineering. “And the United States restricting its arms exports is precisely what gives China a great opportunity.”
The sales are helping expand Chinese influence across a region vital to American security interests.
“It’s a hedging strategy and the Chinese will look to benefit from that,” said Douglas Barrie, an airpower specialist at the International Institute for Strategic Studies. “I think the Chinese are far less liable to be swayed by concerns over civilian casualties,” he said.
At the start of the year, a satellite passing over southern Saudi Arabia photographed U.S.-made surveillance drones at an airfield, alongside Chinese-manufactured armed ones.
According to the Center for the Study of the Drone at New York’s Bard College, that was the first documented example of the two drone systems being used in the war in Yemen. The country has emerged as a “sort of a testing ground for these strike-capable drones,” said Dan Gettinger, the co-director of the Center for the Study of the Drone. “There’s a rapid turnaround from delivery to deployment.”
U.S. drones were first used in Yemen to kill suspected al-Qaida militants in 2002.
One of the biggest Chinese exports is the Cai-Hong, or Rainbow, series made by the state-owned China Aerospace Science and Technology Corp., or CASC, the largest contractor for the Chinese space program.
CASC’s CH-4 and CH-5 models are on a par with San Diego-based General Atomics’ Predator and Reaper drones, and much cheaper. Independent analysts say the Chinese models lag behind their American counterparts but the technology is good enough to justify the price tag, which might be half or less.
A CASC executive, who spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to talk to journalists, said cutting-edge U.S. models like Boeing Co.’s Stingray, introduced this year for the U.S. Navy, still hold a technological advantage.
And while price is an advantage, so too is a more relaxed attitude toward how drones are used, said Ulrike Franke, an expert on drones and policy fellow at the European Council on Foreign Relations
Since 2014, China has sold more than 30 CH-4’s to countries including Saudi Arabia and Iraq in deals worth over $700m, according to CASC. Ten countries are currently in negotiations to purchase the CH-4, according to the firm.
Last year, China sold to the UAE the Wing Loong II, an armed unmanned aerial vehicle roughly equivalent to the American MQ-9 Reaper.
“In recent years, all types of drones have proven their value and importance through a high degree of use in warfare, and the military has noticed,” said the top CASC executive. “Many countries are now speeding up the development for these weapons systems, including China.”
During President Xi Jinping’s five years in power, China has stepped up spending on stealth fighters and aircraft carriers for its own military, while boosting sales of advanced equipment such as attack submarines to close allies like Pakistan.
China still lags behind the U.S., Russia, France, and Germany in total arms sales but it’s catching up. Chinese arms exports rose by 38 percent between 2008-12 and 2013-17, according to the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute, which tracks the global arms trade.
Mounting criticism over the rising civilian death toll in Yemen prompted the U.S. to impose restrictions on drone sales, forcing foreign countries to go through the U.S. government to buy armed drones, including those with laser-guidance systems.
The Washington-based New America Foundation estimates more than 240 drone strikes in Yemen have killed more than 1,300 people, including at least 111 civilians. (Source: Defense News)
03 Oct 18. Robonic delivers third-generation KONTIO launcher to Leonardo. Robonic Ltd Oy, subsidiary of Safran Electronics & Defense has delivered a third-generation KONTIO pneumatic launcher to Leonardo. Designed to launch tactical unmanned air systems and target drones, this high-pressure pneumatic launcher is capable of catapulting several types of aerial target drones. This Robonic’ success broadens its customer base and further proves its position as the world leading supplier of pneumatic zero-point launchers. The KONTIO launcher is a highly transportable universal launcher with a large mass and speed envelope which makes it highly suitable for several types of targets or tactical unmanned aerial vehicle. It is designed to launch air vehicles of up to 140kg with a 70m/s exit velocity or alternatively 500 kg at 37 m/s.
“Delivery of our KONTIO launcher to Leonardo and Italy is a major milestone to develop our market and the advanced solutions to meet the demands of the target drone market,” said Juha Moisio, Managing Director of Robonic. “We are extremely proud of this delivery to Leonardo. This is a culmination of years of cooperation. We look forward to further strengthening our relationship with Leonardo.”
With its launchers delivered worldwide, Robonic has more than three decades of operational experience in supporting the evolving requirements of the global UAS industry and UAS end-users.
03 Oct 18. Double Shoot – a pioneer in advanced systems for zeroing high accuracy weapons and scoring systems – presents for the first time a unique and innovative smartphone application for zeroing weapons, scoring, and comparison. The versatile application can be used with a variety of assault rifles and machine guns. Double Shoot’s unique application is a response to the manual weapon zeroing process currently being used by armies and security forces around the world. This manual process is slow and requires a great deal of ammunition, making it expensive while not delivering a high level of accuracy. The new application developed by Double Shoot streamlines the zeroing process, making it significantly more efficient by saving 30-50% in training time and ammunition. Optimizing the entire process of shooter training, the application turns every shooting range into a smart shooting range.
Double Shoot utilizes data-based analysis within a restricted web interface in order to provide a wide spectrum of reports, not only to individuals and instructors, but to entire units, HQ and the staff levels. The system, intended for both military and police forces, works even when the smartphone is in airplane mode, and can be installed on both Android and iOS phones.
The company has been awarded a Certificate of Patent in Israel and has filed an international patent application.
According to BG (ret) Oren Avman, CO & CEO, “We are pleased to present our unique weapon zeroing solution at AUSA 2018. Designed for the military and law enforcement, this application – utilizing today’s most advanced technologies – is smart and easy to use. It reduces the amount of time and ammunition needed to properly zero weaponry by 30-50%, significantly lowering the costs and manpower required at shooting ranges, and immediately creating a smart shooting range out of any shooting range.”
Double Shoot is a pioneer in the development of advanced systems for zeroing high accuracy weapons and scoring systems, leveraging a combination of their extensive combat capabilities with cutting-edge technology. Using a sophisticated image processing system deployed via a smartphone, the company’s solutions utilize data-based analysis within a web interface to provide comprehensive reports for individuals and instructors as well as entire units, HQs and staff levels.
02 Oct 18. China conducts further tests with hypersonic vehicles. China carried out atmospheric tests with three hypersonic vehicle models at the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Centre on 21 September, with state-owned television channel CCTV 7 reporting a week later that the tests were completed successfully. China conducted atmospheric tests with three hypersonic vehicle models at the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Centre on 21 September. (Via CCTV 7). The three test vehicles were lofted to a high altitude beneath a balloon before being released and free-falling back to Earth at speeds in excess of Mach 1.
The vehicle models reflected different aerodynamic configurations: one with a delta form and single vertical tail fin; another with twin tail fins and the third with the vehicle body underslung beneath the wing.
The scale models, which were about 2m long with a wingspan of about 1.5m, were designated D18-1S, D18-2S, and D18-3S. They are believed to have been developed by the Institute of Mechanics of the Chinese Academy of Sciences.
The test vehicles are unlikely to have achieved hypersonic speeds, but reports in Chinese media outlets suggest that the tests were intended to gather comparative data on the vehicles’ performance at speeds around the sound barrier. China has an extensive research and development (R&D) programme for the development hypersonic vehicles. Flight tests on an unpowered hypersonic glide vehicle (HGV), known alternatively as DF-ZF or WU-14, commenced in 2014, with at least 7 tests conducted to date. The DF-ZF HGV is assessed to be capable of attaining speeds in the region of Mach 5 to Mach 10. In November 2017 two test flights of a ballistic missile, known as DF-17, functioning as a launch vehicle for a HGV were conducted from Jiuquan. This development is seen as a step towards an operational weapon, which some sources suggest could enter service by 2020. In early August, China tested a powered wave-rider hypersonic vehicle named Xing Kong-2 (Starry Sky-2), which flew for more than 400 secs, attaining a maximum speed of Mach 6 and a flight ceiling of 30km (98,425km/h), after separation from a booster rocket. (Source: IHS Jane’s)
02 Oct 18. French Navy set to receive MM40 Block 3C Exocet. The French Navy is to start receiving an upgraded version of the MBDA MM40 Block 3 Exocet anti-ship missile from 2019, Jane’s has learned. Known as MM40 Block 3C, the latest marque introduces a new coherent active radio frequency (RF) seeker as the centrepiece of a ‘digitised’ guidance and navigation package. Coherent radar brings significant improvements in target selectivity and electronic counter-countermeasures performance. Beginning deliveries in the late 2000s, the MM40 Block 3 variant of Exocet introduced air-breathing propulsion to increase range out to 200km (the Safran Microturbo TR-40/263 turbojet replacing the solid-rocket sustainer used previously), GPS-aided navigation, and a new launch and mission planning infrastructure. (Source: IHS Jane’s)
03 Oct 18. Colombia will delay purchase of anti-aircraft missile system – minister. Colombia has no immediate plans to buy an anti-aircraft missile defence system to modernize its air force due to budget constraints, the defence minister said on Tuesday. Military sources said last week the country was looking into the possibility of acquiring a system, though President Ivan Duque said the eventual purchase of equipment would not be part of an arms race.
“We are not going to invest 1.1trn pesos ($367.4m) in anti-aircraft defence for the time being, because among other reasons, we do not have the budget,” Defense Minister Guillermo Botero said during an appearance before Congress.
Sources told Reuters last week that manufacturers from the United States, France and Israel were in the running to provide the system. Before the global fall in oil prices, Colombia made some 20 percent of its national income from crude sales. The economy is still recovering from the fall. 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 armored vehicles to a unit close to the border with Venezuela, at a cost of $84m. ($1 = 2,993.74 Colombian pesos)(Source: Reuters)
02 Oct 18. MALD-N programme transitions into TMRR phase, splits off jammer payload. The US Naval Air Systems Command (NAVAIR) has funded Raytheon Missile Systems for technical maturation and risk reduction (TMRR) of the Miniature Air-Launched Decoy-Navy (MALD-N) air vehicle, but is keeping options open on the final choice of electronic attack (EA) payload. The ADM-160B MALD was originally developed for the US Air Force (USAF) as a low-cost, programmable air vehicle able to accurately emulate the combat-flight profiles and signatures of US and allied aircraft. The enhanced ADM-160C MALD-J introduced an EA payload to enable stand-in jamming. MALD-N, which evolved from the MALD-J system and will benefit from the recent MALD-X capability demonstrator programme, is intended to meet US Navy’s (USN’s) needs for a network-enabled stand-in jammer to support suppression of enemy air defences. (Source: IHS Jane’s)
02 Oct 18. Mattis says US-France in talks about loosening export limits on cruise missile. U.S. defense officials are in detailed talks with French counterparts on a request for the sale of American components built into French cruise missiles, U.S. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis said. Asked by a French journalist about Washington blocking the sale of the Scalp long-range weapon to Egypt and Qatar, Mattis said American and French staff were meeting on that very issue even as a press conference was being held.
“We discussed this,” he said. “We also have our staffs meeting. We have an invitation out to France to answer two final questions. The meetings are going on as we speak.”
Mattis, on his first visit to Paris as defense secretary, was speaking at a joint press conference with his French counterpart, Armed Forces Minister Florence Parly, held at Brienne House.
The two issues to be resolved target “certain technologies” that the United States only shares with its closest allies, including France, and whether that technology can be further transferred, and how France can protect that technology, he said.
“Right now we don’t have a final answer but it is all going in the right direction,” he said. “And it was a very fruitful discussion today. Our staffs are working this forward right now.”
The conundrum stems from the French sale to Egypt and Qatar of Scalp cruise missiles to arm Dassault Rafale fighter jets. The weapons include U.S. parts, leading Washington to evoke the International Traffic in Arms Regulations regime.
Parly, meanwhile, thanked Mattis, for help in gaining U.S. authorization for arming French Reaper drones, cleared for fitting by the end of the year.
U.S. President Donald Trump plans to come to Paris to mark the Nov. 11 Armistice Day, she said.
That date is highly significant for France, marking the end of World War I, in which millions of troops died in the trenches.
Mattis said he was not concerned about a drive by France and Germany to build a stronger European defense, as there were some issues which were “of interest only to Europeans.” As long as the European drive would not duplicate NATO or compete for alliance forces, “we see this in a positive direction,” he said. (Source: Defense News)
Mattis earlier met French President Emmanuel Macron and would go on to Brussels for a NATO ministerial meeting.
01 Oct 18. China developing new 8×8 self-propelled howitzer. Images have emerged on Chinese online forums showing what appears to be a new large-calibre 8×8 self-propelled howitzer (SPH) under development by the China North Industries Corporation (NORINCO). Citing an article published by Chinese magazine Modern Weapons, the Weixin website reported on 27 September that the platform, which is reportedly known as the SH11, features a “fully automatic 155mm gun”, weighs 36 tonnes, and is operated by a crew of three. The platform also has a newly designed manned turret fitted to a hull that is based on the VN1 wheeled infantry fighting vehicle, which is the export variant of the ZBL-08 (Type 08). (Source: IHS Jane’s)
01 Oct 18. Russia’s MiG-31 Spotted With Possible Anti-Satellite Missile. The Kremlin knows it needs to be able to shoot down enemy satellites and replace its own destroyed sats in any future war. A mysterious fighter with a new, large missile suspended underneath could be a Russian anti-satellite weapon. The MiG-31 “Foxhound” interceptor was spotted last month at an aircraft test site near Moscow carrying a missile that could be used as an anti-satellite weapon or a means of quickly placing small satellites in orbit. According to Aviation Week & Space Technology, an experimental MiG-31 flew its first flight in September at the Zhukovsky aviation research center southeast of Moscow. Suspended under the MiG was a humongous missile previously unseen on the MiG-31 platform. The MiG/missile combo is reportedly part of a restart of Russia’s anti-satellite weapon system. The original system, known as “Kontakt” (Contact), started in 1984 and involved a MiG-31D and the Fakel design bureau’s 79M6 missile. Later the MiG-31DM paired with the Fakel 95M6 missile. The 79M6 missile weighed 10,031 pounds and was launched by a MiG flying at Mach 2.55, traveling at 72,000 feet. The missile was guided by radar from the ground to its target, whereupon it detonated a small 4olb. warhead.
The Kontakt system was never tested against a satellite. Work on the system ended in 1991 with the dissolution of the Soviet Union, but there have been a number of calls to restart the program.
The United States Air Force tested a similar weapon, the ASM-135 ASAT (Anti-SATellite Weapon), in 1985. Launched from a modified F-15 Eagle, the ASAT was designed to destroy enemy satellites by colliding with them at speeds of nearly five miles per second. The U.S ran five ASAT test shots with one downing a NASA satellite. The program was shuttered after the satellite downing, and ASAT never became a fully operational weapon.
Another possible use for the new weapon would be a rapid reaction booster rocket capable of quickly launching small satellites into orbit. In 2001, MiG unveiled its concept for a modified MiG-31, known as MiG-31S (“S” for “space”, maybe). The MiG-31S would carry a large rocket, also designed by Fakel, capable of delivering a 220-lb. payload into low earth orbit or a 154-lb. payload to an altitude of 154 miles. This new weapon system (if it is indeed real) would be useful to the Russian military in a wartime scenario. In any future conflict between great powers, military communications and navigation satellites will become prime targets, and Russia would need the ability to both shoot down enemy satellites and quickly replace its own losses. A system capable of handling both missions is the most economical option. (Source: Defense News Early Bird/www.popularmechanics.com)
01 Oct 18. Blame a Spark Plug for U.S.-Japan Missile Failure, Pentagon Says. A device that’s like a spark plug, not a design flaw, was behind the high-profile failure of a U.S.-Japanese missile interceptor built by Raytheon Co. in a test launch in January, a Pentagon review board has found. The “failure review board” confirmed that the “most likely cause” of the failure was a component in the third, or uppermost, stage of the Standard Missile-3 Block IIA model, according to a Missile Defense Agency summary obtained by Bloomberg News. The missile is being developed by Waltham, Massachusetts-based Raytheon and Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Ltd. of Minato-Ku, Japan. Japan is buying the missile to bolster its onshore defenses against North Korea. It’s also the centerpiece of U.S.-European missile defense programs and is to be installed in Poland. The State Department in December approved Japan to buy four of the missile interceptors for as much as $133m.
The “Hybrid Arm and Fire Device” that failed sets off the third-stage rocket motor that boosts the warhead into flight. The agency “was able to determine the kill vehicle attempted to complete the intercept” of a dummy incoming target but without the third-stage rocket motor propulsion, “the intercept failed,” according to a missile agency summary of the report produced in August. The component had worked in previous tests of the missile.
The agency released a statement Monday confirming the findings.
The agency said it was “instituting appropriate corrective actions to include removing, procuring new, and replacing” arming devices on existing test missiles “in order to avoid a recurrence” of the failure.
Asked whether Raytheon or a subcontractor was responsible for the failure, company spokesman Mike Doble referred all comments to the Missile Defense Agency. Mark Wright, an agency spokesman, had no immediate comment.
While the intercept failed, the Jan. 31 test demonstrated a capability called “Engage on Remote.” A ground sensor tracked the target and remotely provided data to a ground-based version of the Navy’s Aegis anti-missile system for the first-time launch of the missile from that platform, the missile agency said.
Air Force Lieutenant General Sam Greaves, head of the Missile Defense Agency, said in May before the review was finished that the emerging results gave him enough confidence that he sought and received approval from Pentagon acquisition officials to award Raytheon a $387m contract modification to buy hard-to-make parts for the missile that weren’t related to the failure.
“Suffice it to say that” the device is “important insofar as its failure can cause an interceptor to fail in-flight,” Cristina Chaplain, a U.S. Government Accountability Office missile defense director, said in an email. Pentagon acquisition officials required the agency to hold off a full-production decision of the missile until the cause of the January failure could be identified and remedied, she said.
The failed component is “a very fine-tuned device that has to have a very high degree of durability and reliability,” she said, but “it’s basically a spark plug.” Source: Defense News Early Bird/Bloomberg)
01 Oct 18. SIG SAUER, Inc. introduced the M400 TREAD, a premium entry-level rifle, accompanied by a full-line of TREAD branded accessories that gives the consumer the freedom to grow.
“SIG SAUER has created a premium rifle, at a moderate price point, that is packed with innovation and flexibility, and does not sacrifice the quality that our consumers demand from SIG,” began Tom Taylor, Chief Marketing Officer and Executive Vice President SIG SAUER, Inc. “The base model of the TREAD is loaded with features that would be considered costly upgrades from our competitors base model. At this price point, most rifles are equipped with a barrel mounted sight post that blocks your field of view when using optics. Right out of the box, the TREAD features a factory-installed, aluminum, free floating M-LOK™ handguard for improved accuracy, and can be easily removed with two hex screws to change out to the TREAD accessory option.”
The M400 TREAD is an optics ready, aluminum frame rifle. TREAD features a 16” stainless steel barrel with a free-floating M-LOK handguard, a single-stage polished/hard-coat trigger, ambidextrous controls, a Magpul™ SL-K 6 position telescoping stock, a mid-length gas system, and is available in 5.56 NATO.
“It was important to us that TREAD owners had the freedom to easily, and affordably, tailor their rifle for their preferences. With this launch, we have created a full line of TREAD branded accessories that gives our consumers the freedom to grow, and customize their TREAD rifle. The TREAD accessories are premium interchangeable parts that require no specialty tools or armorer training, and are available for purchase with the TREAD rifle in stores today,” continued Taylor. “This rifle, combined with the accessories, both premium SIG SAUER products offered at a budget-friendly price, will set a new standard for the industry, and our entire TREAD brand can best be defined as the new face of freedom.”
The TREAD branded accessories include: an M-LOK handguard with lightening cuts to reduce weight, available in 13” and 15” lengths; a 3 chamber compensator; an ambidextrous charging handle made of aircraft grade aluminum and a dual roll pin design; a ROMEO5 optic featuring a 2MOA dot with ten illumination settings, MOTAC, and 50k battery life; flip-up front and rear iron sights that are easy to install, adjustable, and deploy quickly; an M-LOK front sight adapter with co-witness height made of lightweight aluminum; multiple configurations of M-LOK grip kits made of high strength polymer; and a factory upgraded flat blade, single stage trigger.
M400 TREAD Rifle Specs:
- Total Length: 30.8”
- Barrel Length: 16”
- Weight (incl. magazine): 7lbs
- Height: 7.5”
- Width: 2.5”
- Barrel Twist: 1:8”
M400 TREAD Branded Accessories Specs (all prices MSRP):
- M-LOK Handguard 15”: $149.00
- M-LOK Handguard 13”: $149.00
- ROMEO 5 Optic: $149.00
- Adjustable Flip-Up Sights: $149.00
- Single-Stage Trigger: $119.99
- Ambidextrous Charging Handle: $49.00
- 3 Chamber Compensator: $49.00
- M-LOK Front Sight Adapter: $29.00
- M-LOK Hand-Stop Kit: $29.00
- M-LOK Vertical Grip Kit: $29.00
A full series of high resolution M400 TREAD rifle photos and TREAD Accessories are available for download here.
The M400 TREAD and TREAD accessories is available in retail stores. The full-line of TREAD rifle accessories and TREAD branded apparel can also be purchased at sigsauer.com.
01 Oct 18. The U.S. Army has awarded Northrop Grumman Corporation (NYSE: NOC) a $289m contract to continue system design and development toward fielding of the Integrated Air and Missile Defense (IAMD) Battle Command System (IBCS).
“IBCS creates a paradigm shift for IAMD, and we have proven many transformational capabilities that will be game-changers on the battlefield. IBCS maximizes the combat potential of sensors and weapons while allowing future modernization at lower overall lifecycle costs,” said Dan Verwiel, vice president and general manager, missile defense and protective systems, Northrop Grumman. “From integrating weapons developed decades ago with capabilities still in development, to rapidly adding protection against emerging threats and enabling seamless multi-domain operations, through logistics, training and lifecycle support, IBCS is solving some of the most difficult defense challenges confronting our nation and allies today. We are honored to continue working shoulder-to-shoulder with the Army to get next-generation IAMD to the warfighter.”
Under the contract, Northrop Grumman will upgrade IBCS engagement operations centers and integrated fire control network relays to enhance performance, reliability and maintainability. Northrop Grumman will also develop and deliver IBCS software version 4.5 that integrates Patriot system updates and incorporates updates for evolving threats. Among other contract deliverables, the company will provide logistics, training and support for tests, including a flight test planned for late 2019.
Recent joint warfighting exercises and soldier checkout events under dynamic, stressing threat conditions have already confirmed IBCS’ ability to: integrate radars and weapons over a vast area and efficiently and effectively maintain voice and data connectivity; consistently deliver integrated air pictures and target information with unprecedented accuracy and contribute to a Link 16 network with Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps and Army participants; enable resilient, net-centric operations as counter to electronic attacks; and provide much higher success and effectiveness handling multiple and complex engagements than existing legacy systems.
IBCS has also successfully completed flight tests and defeated live targets, having conducted an intercept on its inaugural flight test and a more difficult “engage-on-remote” on its second flight test. During its third flight test, IBCS simultaneously intercepted two threat types with two interceptor types, demonstrating command-and-control for sensors and weapons not designed to work with each other. Two more successful flight tests were conducted with Sidewinder and Longbow Hellfire missiles to support the Indirect Fire Protection Capability, validating missile integration within a few short months. By proving disparate radars and weapons can operate as nodes in a far more effective IAMD enterprise, IBCS offers the advantages of expanded sensor and effector combinations and a component-based acquisition approach. IBCS is the cornerstone of the Army’s IAMD modernization program. The program is managed by the Army Program Executive Office for Missiles and Space, Redstone Arsenal, Alabama.
30 Sep 18. This laser could help Marines knock down drones on the FOB or on the move. A counter-drone laser in use by the Army was on display here this week, giving Marines a glimpse at how they might melt drones soon.
The Compact Laser Weapon System, or CLWS, is already part of the Army’s Mobile Expeditionary High Energy Laser program. It’s deployed on Stryker vehicle in Europe and has been used in field experiments.
The Boeing creation is a 5 kilowatt laser that can be used in a range of methods, including counter-drone, counter-sniper, breaching obstacles, setting of unexploded ordnance, denying enemy landing zones and to defend ports or airfields.
Ron Dauk, program manager, Laser & Electro-Optical Systems, spoke with Marine Corps Times about the system for Boeing. They have developed 2-, 5-, and 10 kilowatt versions. The first 2 kilowatt version was tested at the Army’s annual Maneuver Fires Integrated Experiment in 2016. The next year the brought the 5 kilowatt now in use.
This coming year will be a 10 kilowatt version.
The laser can be mounted atop a vehicle, such as it was on the Joint Light Tactical Vehicle at the Oshkosh Defense booth. Or it can be put on a tripod and hooked to a generator to knock down threats at a medium-sized Forward Operating Base or at the perimeter of a larger installation. The JLTV configuration showcased at the Modern Day Marine military expo in Quantico, Virginia, was the first time they’d put those two items together publicly, Dauk said. Though they’re doubling the power with the next version, that’s likely the right range for now, he said.
“For CLWS, that product we think the 2- to 10- kilowwatt range is the optimal power level,” Dauk said. “It’s designed for short range, low cost.”
At that power level, the CLWS has a “deep magazine” and can strike down 10 or more targets in a matter of minutes, depending on the size of the configuration, such as a smaller drone swarm.
The power comes from the vehicle or generator, so there’s no need to reload.
“It’s able to operate as long as there’s gas in the tank,” he said.
Boeing does have larger projects in the works. The Army wants a 100 kilowatt laser for more demanding projectiles such as mortars, artillery and missiles. (Source: C4ISR & Networks)
01 Oct 18. KDF to receive new MD 530F Cayuse Warrior aircraft. The Kenya Defence Force (KDF) is set to receive six armed MD 530F Cayuse Warrior attack helicopters from US-based aerospace company MD Helicopters. The new order has been placed under the five-year light-scout-attack helicopter indefinite delivery/indefinite quantity (IDIQ) contract valued at $1.4bn. The second delivery order was awarded through the US Army Contracting Command, Redstone Arsenal, Alabama.
MD Helicopters chief executive officer Lynn Tilton said: “This aircraft will be an exceptional addition to the KDF fleet. It is effective, efficient, and a proven performer in combat operations. It is gratifying to see this iconic airframe rise, once again, to be the standard for light-scout-attack helicopter operations worldwide.”
In addition to the delivery of the six aircraft, the current firm, fixed-price award includes the provision for initial logistics support (ILS) for the aircraft, aircraft systems and ground support equipment.
Initial deliveries are slated to be carried out in April next year, while the entire aircraft fleet is scheduled for delivery prior to the contract completion date in August next year.
The KDF’s new MD 530F Cayuse Warrior helicopter fleet will be fitted with advanced equipment and technology such as a weapons management system, mission configurable armament system (MCAS), fixed-forward sighting system, in addition to an enhanced communication system which includes the Harris RF-7850A tactical radio and the Rockwell Collins HF-9000D. To be delivered with a full US Army-awarded Airworthiness Release (AWR), the armed aircraft variant will also be fitted with a 62mm ballistic armour protection, 0.50 calibre HMP 400 machine gun pods and M260 7-shot rocket pods. (Source: army-technology.com)
28 Sep 18. NEMO Container completes on-the-move firing trials. Patria has completed on-the-move firing trials for its NEMO Container 120 mm mortar system, with system testing to shortly move on to the shipboard trials. Patria officials told Jane’s that the system fired over 300 rounds during a week of testing, with the container mounted on a Sisu E13 TP 8×8 vehicle. The officials noted only a small reduction in the rate of fire between the static and on-the-move tests, due to the adjusting of the barrel into the firing gate while moving. The next round of testing will be undertaken from a fast supply vessel in early October. The company will also be testing the system on other truck chassis types in the future once the main trials are completed. The NEMO Container features a single-barrel 120 mm mortar in a turret that is then mounted on a standard-sized 20 ft ISO container, which allows for increased flexibility in the transportation and mounting of the system on maritime platforms. The system weighs 10 tonnes when empty and has the capacity to carry 100 mortar bombs. It is crewed by three – two loaders and a gunner – with the latter doubling as the commander. The mortar elevates from –3° to +85° and can engage targets up to 10km away. The system has a rate of fire of up to 10rds/min, and has the capability to undertake direct and indirect fire missions as well as to perform multiple-round simultaneous-impact fires. (Source: IHS Jane’s)
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