Sponsored by Control Solutions LLC.
08 Oct 18. Control Solutions showed the Editor its new Remote Fire Option (RFO). The Remote Fire Option (RFO) utilizes an intuitive user interface that incorporates a built-in high-definition display. Joystick and trigger controls are straight forward, allowing for a quick training and qualification period. It provides the option of manual turret operation, or remote operation when needed. Retaining all functionality in remote mode, engagement accuracy is improved while the ability to target threats at greater distances increases. Crew survivability is also enhanced through operations within the hull of the vehicle.
RFO is a modular upgrade to existing ITDS turrets and other platforms. It does not interfere with current armor configurations. Existing fleets can be incrementally upgraded at the Field Depot Level or Theater Storage Area (TSA) in less than 1 day. The RFO improves lethality while maximizing vehicle mission time.
- Provides the option of either traditional manned turret operation or remote turret operation, based on the threat environment.
- Allows threat engagement with greater accuracy and maximum protection.
- Remote target engagement via RFO user interface.
- View the threat environment on hi-res video display.
- Major Improvement in crew survivability and system effectiveness.
Bruce Florack of Control Solutions rtold the Editor that the Company has many thousands of systems around the world which would benefit from an upgrade to RFO and they are starting trials with a launch customer believed to be in the Middle east later this year. New additions to the system are plannewd such as a zoom facility and a night vision option.
11 Oct 18. Bill Guyan of Leonardo DRS gave the Editor an update on their Reconfigurable Integrated-Weapons Platform (RIwP).
“The Reconfigurable Integrated-weapons Platform (RIwP) is a revolutionary remote turret, providing the warfighter overmatch capability and increased survivability to exceed current and emerging threats across the full spectrum of conflict. In many configurations RIwP medium caliber precision lethality, for tactical and combat platforms, provides greater firepower than most currently fielded combat systems ensuring advantages over ground and air threats. Current configurations include the option for multiple missiles, direct fire weapons and sight combinations. All direct fire weapons feature reload under armor for increased crew protection.” Bill Guyan said.
- Optimizes crew survivability through the use of reload under armor for all direct fire weapons and at least STANAG III interior protection
- Advanced fire control architecture featuring a dual-axis, long range, independently stabilized sight for optimum on-the-move targeting and engagements
- Meets all threshold and most objective requirements for precision medium caliber lethality, C-UAS kinetic defeat, and Maneuver SHORAD
- Offers more firepower than most fielded combat systems
- Light weight for tactical platforms
- Stationary and on-the-move capability against both ground and fixed wing, rotary wing and Group 1 – 5 Unmanned Aerial Systems
- Commonality of base system elements maximizes the efficiency of training, logistics and spares management, saving time and money
In June Leonardo DRS, Inc. was down-selected by the U.S. Army, and will begin negotiations, to provide its mission equipment package for the service’s accelerated Initial Maneuver Short-Range Air Defense (IM-SHORAD) effort. The mission equipment package includes kinetic and non-kinetic defeat capabilities and an on-board radar.
- The Leonardo DRS system, when integrated on the Stryker A1 platform, will provide maneuver Brigade Combat Teams with a full “detect-identify-track-defeat” capability required to defeat UAS, rotary-wing and fixed-wing threats. Leonardo DRS expects to receive the prototype contract in August of this year.
The system, developed by Leonardo DRS’s Land Systems business unit, integrates mature technologies from industry teammates and partners, including Moog’s Reconfigurable Integrated-weapons Platform (RIwP), Raytheon’s Stinger missiles and 4x Rada’s Multi-mission Hemispheric Radar mounted on the Stryker hull. The IM-SHORAD solution provides both hard and soft kill capabilities to the warfighter while minimizing impacts on the mobility of the Stryker.
“We are very excited about the opportunity to work with the Army to deliver this critically important capability to our soldiers. We understand the challenges associated with an accelerated acquisition strategy and will leverage our recent successes with counter-UAS to meet the Army’s schedule,” Bill Guyan said. “Our long term investments and continuous work with the user-community to create a multi-mission turret for the soldier has been successful.
The unique RIwP turret supports multiple weapon configurations to give tactical commanders flexibility in various combat scenarios. The Leonardo DRS solution has the mobility, firepower and soldier protection required to fight forward at the lowest tactical levels. When fielded, this IM-SHORAD capability will provide tactical level commands the precision ground-to-ground and ground-to-air lethality necessary to fight and win across a multi-domain battlefield.
This down-select decision is part of the Army’s IM-SHORAD effort to deliver prototypes in 2019.
10 Oct 18. Lockheed Martin plans ER GMLRS flight for mid-2019. Lockheed Martin plans in mid-2019 to conduct the first engineering development flights of its extended-range Guided Multiple Launch Rocket System (ER GMLRS), a company spokesperson told reporters on 10 October at the Association of the United States Army’s (AUSA’s) annual conference. ER GMLRS’ qualification flights are expected in 2020 and production could start in 2021, the spokesperson said. The extended-range variant increased the motor size (with an increased diameter for more propellant volume), has a 15m minimum range, 150 km max range, and a redesigned tail for manoeuvrability, the spokesperson said. The legacy GMLRS reaches out to 70km. (Source: IHS Jane’s)
10 Oct 18. BAE Systems develops next-generation Smart D2 countermeasures dispenser. Key Points:
- BAE Systems has developed a new programmable countermeasures dispenser
- Smart D is designed to counter advanced threats
BAE Systems has developed a next-generation programmable aircraft countermeasures dispenser that is able to deploy smart, expendable countermeasures.
The Smart D 2 system can dispense countermeasures including multishot flares, active radio frequency (RF) decoys, and kinetic interceptors. The system provides two-way communication between the dispenser and the aircraft using the NATO-standard Smart Stores Communication Interface (SSCI), providing crews with critical inventory and the ability to program expendable, active decoys in real time, according to a company statement.
Smart D 2 improves survivability against advanced threats because the system monitors the quantity, location, age, and carriage life of each expendable on the aircraft. (Source: IHS Jane’s)
10 Oct 18. Denel launches new RCG30 remotely operated turret. The Mechatronics business unit of South Africa’s Denel Vehicle Systems has developed a remotely operated turret armed with the Denel Land Systems 30×173 mm GI-30 cam-operated cannon and a coaxial 7.62mm machine gun. The RCG30 provides full day/night operation, is fully stabilised for firing on the move, and can be reloaded and serviced by the crew from inside the vehicle. The cannon has an effective range of 3 km and has demonstrated its accuracy in the Denel Land Systems two-crew Modular Combat Turret fitted to the South African Army’s new Badger infantry fighting vehicle (IFV) and the Malaysian Army’s Pars IFV. The RCG30 weighs approximately 2,000 kg depending on the protection level, which is scalable, and the subsystems that are fitted. It does not protrude inside the vehicle, has a height of no more than 950mm, and is less than 1.8m wide. It can elevate its weapons from -10° to 30°. The cannon’s dual-feed ammunition system holds 15+25 rounds and takes less than three minutes to reload. The machine gun has 800 rounds of ready-use ammunition. The gunner station is inside the hull of the vehicle and comprises a hand controller, a control panel, and a display for the sight picture, which is integrated with the ballistic computer. The fire-control system has back-up power in the event of the vehicle’s main power supply failing. The RCG30 uses the Denel-Thales Above-Armour Panoramic Gunner Sight (AAPGS), which provides a day video image, a thermal video image, and a laser rangefinder. Both the day and thermal cameras have continuous zoom from a field-of-view of 22.5° to 1.25° and allow target identification at ranges of 4,000m and 3,100m respectively. The rangefinder is effective out to 15,000m. (Source: IHS Jane’s)
11 Oct 18. Defence Innovation Hub showcases maritime counter-IED tech. The Defence Innovation Hub and Queensland-based EPE showcased the performance and functionality of a maritime Portable Raman Improvised Explosive Detector (PRIED) prototype at HMAS Coonawarra in Darwin.
EPE signed a $1m contract with the Defence Innovation Hub in February 2018 to further develop the baseline PRIED system to enable its deployment in the maritime environment.
Warwick Penrose, director of EPE said at the time: “We’re proud to be working closely with Defence to develop this next-generation force protection capability for those members of the Royal Australian Navy performing hazardous boarding operations. This innovation has the potential to deliver a new paradigm in boarding operations enabling stand-off detection prior to boarding.”
The maritime PRIED prototype’s objective is to provide increased awareness and protection through a ‘stand-off’ detection capability. This detection is for explosives, chemical warfare agents, narcotics and gases.
“The PRIED project recognises EPE’s long-term commitment and investment in building and developing sovereign force protection capabilities that help take Australian servicemen out of the danger zone. Our team delivers a broad spectrum of innovative force protection capabilities that are in service today with the ADF, NZDF as well as local and federal police and first responders,” Penrose explained.
The technology was developed through a partnership between Queensland-based EPE and the Defence Innovation Hub.
The demonstration is a display of collaboration, with Australian innovators and ADF personnel working together in an effort to deliver the best innovation in defence capability.
Minister for Defence Industry Steven Ciobo said, “The coalition government is delivering the largest modernisation of the Australian Defence Force since the Second World War. We are investing $200bn in our capabilities to not only keep Australia safe but to continue to grow our industry and economy.”
The PRIED is based upon proven technology that until recently was only available as a vehicle mounted capability. The evolution of this into a man-portable version will enable lightweight, portable stand-off detection that is able to provide early warning and covert identification of explosive compounds in varying scenarios such as check points, venues, area, buildings and targets of interest.
Key features of the PRIED system include:
- Stand-off detection – get farther away from the threat toxic chemicals or blast;
- Speed – detect faster, farther and safer;
- Eye-safe- certified as zero-meter eye and skin hazard without eye protection;
- Exploitation – classification and real-time specific identification;
- Counter-explosives/force protection – military, commercial, and home made explosives;
- Counter-weapons of mass destruction/CBRN – chemical warfare agents, nuclear weapon processing & disablement;
- Counter-narcotics – heroin, cocaine, meth manufacturing;
- Solid, liquid and some gas detection; and
- Not ITAR restricted and ready for export.
EPE specialises in counter-IED, EOD, ECM and CBRN defence; counter-drone, intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance technology; and also supports broader force protection, security and threat mitigation requirements. (Source: Defence Connect)
10 Oct 18. US Army Extended Range Cannon Artillery programme eyes 130km range. The US Army aims, via its Extended Range Cannon Artillery (ERCA) programme, for howitzers to reach out to 130 km or farther in range, and several technology solutions are now emerging.
The army’s Long-Range Precision Fires (LRPF) Cross-Functional Team recently conducted a ‘deep dive’ into the service’s LRPF portfolio to evaluate all the investments for the next five-year funding plan, Colonel John Rafferty, director of the LRPF Cross-Functional Team, told reporters on 10 October at the Association of the United States Army’s (AUSA’s) annual conference. That exercise is now informing recommendations that Col Rafferty’s team will make for, among other things, how the army can get 155 mm artillery to reach the 130 km range. “I think that’s entirely doable”, he said, but the service is still exploring timelines and how much risk it wants to take.
“I think there are a couple of technologies out there that allow us to get to 120-130 [km],” Col Rafferty said.
“Ramjet is one,” he said, referring to air-breathing jet engines to assist the artillery shells in reaching longer ranges. South Korea’s Poongsan and Norway’s Nammo, for example, have each recently revealed 155 mm solid-fuel ramjet propelled artillery shells.
The army may also explore trading off payload and lethality for longer ranges, an army official said, but noted that the service is still exploring what targets it would need to strike at that range and what trade-offs it might be willing to make.
The ERCA is a wider and longer-term effort to improve howitzers, and aside from range it will also consider technologies gleaned through the army’s 155 mm Cannon-Delivered Area Effects Munition (C-DAEM) project.
C-DAEM is taking an incremental approach to new development, “focused on rapidly fielding disruptive capabilities while fully replacing the utility of the DPCIM”, Peter Burke, deputy project manager for combat ammunition systems within the US Army’s Program Executive Office for Ammunition, told Jane’s in May. (Source: IHS Jane’s)
10 Oct 18. Check out the upgrades on the way for this 7.62 mm machine gun. An upgraded version of the mainstay of machine gun power in the Army’s dismounted formations just got a few new tweaks. The FN Mk 48 Mod 2 was on display at the Association of the United States Army’s annual meeting. The Mk 48 itself was a project begun in 2002 to find ways to improve the Army’s 7.62mm M240 machine gun. The new version has a buttstock adjustable to five settings that can shorten down for transport and quickly push out for the right fit. It has a wheel adjuster rather than the push-button style on the M4 carbine. That buttstock also has an adjustable cheek weld or comb to give the shooter a better eye level for optics use.
In addition, feed claws on the feed tray were added to eliminate the age-old belt-fed ammo problem of the first round not seating and then not firing, a problem that required another cycling to get going.
The gun also got a new charging handle that has a release button to give it more purchase when racking, and FN has beefed up the feed tray cover to better hold it up vertically when loading so it doesn’t smack down on the shooter, especially when holding heavier optics.
The machine gun now includes 3-, 6-, and 9-inch rails for mounting lasers, range finders or a vertical grip.
A double notch sear adds another safety layer to help prevent a “runaway gun scenario.” (Source: Defense News Early Bird/Army Times)
11 Oct 18. Polish Military University of Land Forces Expands Their Laser Based Training capability. Saab has received an order from the General Tadeusz Kosciuszko Military University of Land Forces (AWL), located in Wroclaw, Poland, to expand its fully-instrumented, GAMER laser-based training capability (LSS). With the new system – the Laser Tactical Simulator (LTS), AWL is going to grow the number of participants in exercises and functionalities of their current GAMER live training system. The significant new functionality is the addition of the BT46 – the world-leading ballistic simulator that replicates weapon and ammunition parameters, time of flight, velocity, trajectory and impact point of a simulated projectile. The BT46 system is well-known also to Polish Leopard 2 MBT crews.
“We are proud that GAMER live training system has met the requirements of the Polish Military University of Land Forces for new advanced capabilities that require real-time ballistic simulation. The BT46 has been proven in NATO and we are confident it will support in developing gunnery and combat skills of AWL students”, says Jyrki Kujansuu, President Saab Technologies Poland, VP and Head of Country Unit Poland & Baltic States.
In the course of a competitive procurement procedure, Saab had to demonstrate key technologies and capabilities to prove maturity of the offered solution, for example laser transmitter accuracy and instrumentation features according to AWL’s test specification.
“The tests Saab underwent during the AWL procurement process follow the global trend of purchasing organizations implementing mandatory capability demonstrations for suppliers. Saab has observed over time such tests always benefit the purchasing organization in evaluating existing systems, mitigating risks and identifying technologies and solutions that would meet their training requirements best”, says Åsa Thegström, head of Training & Simulation at Saab´s business area Dynamics.
AWL acquired the first GAMER system in 2016 and has successfully used it to train future officers of Land Forces and Territorial Defense Forces. Both the existing LSS and the new LST systems offer AWL full interoperability with key training partners of Poland in NATO using a number of laser and radio interfaces.
10 Oct 18. Challenger 2 LEP – Size matters. Sources at AUSA suggested to the Editor that the two contractors bidding for the expected smooth bore requirement for the Challenger 2 LEP may encounter problems on two fronts, size of the turret and stowed kills. BATTLESPACE commented two years ago about the perceived need for an autoloader, given the one piece round vs. the current two piece. Both contractors stated that this problem, given space constraints, could be overcome. One solution is to use the L-55 gun with two muzzle breaks to limit the recoil into the turret. However, a problem that will be difficult to overcome is the stowed kill numbers as the one piece round has to fit within the turret ring and height is a problem; this could be overcome by the addition of a bustle. The proposed solution doing the rounds at DVD was t retrofit the M1A2 SEP v3 turret into the Challenger 2 turret ring. This would reduce risk and give the British Army commonality with the US and the best technology available. The expected Request for smooth bore in October will undoubtedly delay the Programme until well into 2019, which would suit current budget restraints. This delay may also prompt further debate on whether 3rd Gen FLIRs and advanced displays to give the best target resolution should be included in the bid package. Companies such as Leonardo DRS and Excelitas Qioptiq showed anew advanced 3rd Gen FLIRs at AUSA. We hope to have several papers on the subject at Owning The Night.
10 Oct 18. Up close with the 50mm super gun. While visitors to this week’s AUSA annual meeting and exposition were limited to a glimpse of a 50mm cannon elevated to 85 degrees on the GDLS Griffin 3 demonstrator platform, Shephard can unveil the first images of the breech and loading system for one of four prototype 50mm chain guns currently in development. Both Northrop Grumman and the US Army’s Armament Research and Development Command are developing the 50mm to evaluate an ‘upgunned’ capability for possible integration on future combat platforms. (Source: Shephard)
BATTLESPACE Comment: As BATTLESPACE predicted many years ago, the case for 40mm CTA or standard round was not made at the time or now as sales have shown. Now that Northrop and ARDEC are testing 6 50mm canons with GDOS rounds, the window for 40mm has passed in the US in spite of BAE’s efforts to press the canon’s credentials to the US Army. This means that France, the UK, Saudi and Qatar may be the only users of the CT40 system which means a very expensive costs per round
09 Oct 18. The U.S. Army is adding BAE Systems’ Bofors 155mm BONUS ammunition to its arsenal, through a contract with the NSPA (NATO Support and Procurement Agency). Already qualified by the Army, the latest version of BONUS defeats heavily armored targets and can be fired from any 155-millimeter artillery system, including M777 lightweight towed howitzers and the M109 self-propelled howitzer family of vehicles.
BONUS is significantly more capable than traditional munitions because it carries two smart munitions that employ advanced sensors, enabling each to independently seek out and destroy separate targets within a radius of 32,000 square meters. Because each BONUS shell carries two smart munitions, its mission success per round is significantly better than with traditional ammunition.
“The proven reliability and mission success of BONUS make it an ideal solution for the U.S. Army as it continues to invest in advanced technological capabilities for its forces,” said Lena Gillström, managing director for BAE Systems’ Weapon Systems business in Sweden. “This contract furthers our position at the forefront of innovation in delivering smart munitions to the current and future battle space. The U.S. Army is now joining a number of international counterparts deploying this munition, as interest in BONUS continues to grow worldwide.”
Developed and produced in cooperation by BAE Systems in Sweden and Nexter in France, BONUS is produced at the BAE Systems facility in Karlskoga, Sweden, with significant component deliveries from Nexter. The NATO Support and Procurement Agency provides integrated multi-national logistics and procurement support solutions under a single organization for NATO allies and partners.
Work under this contract will begin immediately, with deliveries scheduled to take place through 2020. In addition to the United States, several other countries operate BONUS, including Finland, France, and Norway, and Sweden. (Source: BUSINESS WIRE)
09 Oct 18. Raytheon Company (NYSE: RTN) and the U.S. Army completed development of a revolutionary capability for cannon artillery by upgrading the combat-proven Excalibur® precision-guided projectile. The Excalibur Shaped Trajectory, or EST, variant will enable soldiers to eliminate targets in hard-to-reach locations by selecting the projectile’s terminal or final phase attack angle. With the Excalibur EST munition, soldiers can attack a bunker positioned on the opposite side of a mountain slope, target a multi-story building from the side rather than the top or defeat enemy assets positioned under highway overpasses.
“This new version of Excalibur represents a major leap forward in capability for this already advanced guided projectile,” said Kim Ernzen, Raytheon Land Warfare Systems vice president. “With these enhancements, enemy forces can no longer hide from the long arm of Excalibur.”
The EST variant was successfully demonstrated in August 2018 at the U.S. Army Yuma Proving Ground, Arizona, and is now being deployed to U.S. forces. This capability will be made available to allies approved to procure the Excalibur projectile through foreign military sales.
With more than 1,400 rounds fired in combat, Excalibur is the revolutionary, extended-range, precision munition for the U.S. and international artillery forces. The weapon is fully qualified in multiple systems, including the M777, M109 series, M198, the Archer and PzH2000. It’s also been tested in the AS90, K9 and G6 howitzers, with plans to integrate it with other mobile artillery systems.
In addition to the Excalibur EST variant, Raytheon has developed Excalibur S, a laser-guided version of the projectile. The company has also developed a 5-inch sea-based variant, the Excalibur N5 munition. It’s expected to more than double the maximum range of conventional 5-inch munitions and will provide the same accuracy as the land-based version.
10 Oct 18. IDF to test Iron Fist APS. Israel Military Industries’ (IMI) Iron Fist Light Configuration (IF-LC) active protection system (APS) is taking part in tests for the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) ground vehicles, including the Eitan wheeled armoured personnel carrier (APC), bulldozers, and trucks, Jane’s has learned. The Israeli cabinet approved the acquisition of hundreds of Eitans in March and these will have an APS. The type has not been selected yet, although the IDF’s heavier Namer tracked APCs are being fitted with Rafael’s Trophy system. The IF-LC has already been selected by the Netherlands for its CV90 infantry fighting vehicles (IFVs), making it the first NATO platform with an APS. In addition to being a candidate APS for the Eitan, it is also competing in the Australian Army’s LAND 400 Phase 2 programme, and will be tested by the US Army as part of its APS NDI programme for the Bradley IFV.
For the latter programme, IMI is working with Lockheed Martin and Raytheon, the developers of the IFV’s central computer and software to integrate IF-LC into a Modular Active Protection System (MAPS), as well as General Dynamics Ordnance and Tactical Systems. A version called the Iron Fist – Light Decoupled (IF-LD) was displayed on an Oshkosh Defense JLTV vehicle during the Association of the United States Army (AUSA) defence exhibition, held from 8–10 October in Washington, DC.
“We are under various contracts. There are testing contracts,” Avinoam Zafir, corporate marketing vice-president at IMI, said.
Iron Fist uses both radar and infrared sensors to detect the launch and/or flight of incoming threats to a vehicle. It then launches a small interceptor from a rotating turret to achieve a ‘hard kill’ of the threat at a safe distance from the vehicle. IMI said it can intercept short-range rocket-propelled grenades, anti-tank missiles, and shells from non-recoilless guns. (Source: IHS Jane’s)
10 Oct 18. The US Army wants to direct energy and information in more powerful ways. The director of the U.S. Army Space and Missile Defense Command (SMDC) Technical Center outlined the organization’s broad technological priorities during an Oct. 10 appearance at the 2018 Association of the U.S. Army Conference in Washington, D.C.
Thomas Webber listed three high-priority areas where the Technical Center is currently focusing its efforts: high-energy lasers, small satellites and advanced hypersonic weapons.
Webber also stressed from the outset of his presentation the command’s commitment to innovation serves to deliver new capabilities with one goal in mind.
“At the end of the day, everything that we are doing is about enabling the war fighter to have the tools that they need,” Webber said. “If we’re not getting capability to the hands of the war fighter, we’re just doing cool science stuff.”
Webber spoke with excitement about the Technical Center’s ongoing experimentation with high-energy laser technology, a research field led by SMDC for the Army.
“I’m here to tell you we are within five years,” Webber said.
According to Webber, the Technical Center is currently testing a 60-kilowatt electric laser integrated with a beam control system on a large tactical vehicle.
Webber said these experiments are providing valuable information to SMDC researchers as they move closer to their goal of a installing a fully capable 100 kilowatt laser — generally considered military strength — able to execute “a directed energy, non-kinetic kill” onto a smaller tactical truck.
At the same time, the Technical Center has been experimenting with maneuvering and firing exercises using a smaller, 10 kilowatt laser integrated onto a striker vehicle in an effort to develop tactics, techniques and practices for a future with high-powered laser technology on the battlefield.
Recognizing the importance of strategy as well as force, the Army sees low-cost small satellites as a potential game changer in the age-old challenge of speeding up the information delivery process on the battlefield.
“Right now it may be days, weeks, or never before soldiers get information,” Webber said. “We’re trying to figure out a way in which we can use [low-Earth orbit] space … to basically provide much more global situational awareness coverage.”
Webber described small satellite technology as possessing several advantages, including low-cost acquisition, resilience and frequent technology refresh.
“When you’re doing these things fairly affordably … and they last three years or so, well now you’re taking advantage of that technology refresh,” Webber said. “Computational speeds improve, more and more capable systems are developed, and you leverage that.”
Yet another benefit of small satellites is enhanced responsiveness, according to Webber.
“The commercial industry is helping to get to more of a cookie cutter, assembly line process for launching rockets,” Webber said. “This starts to give you the flexibility to put them where you need them, and when, to deliver that capability.”
Touching on one final innovation, Webber said the Technical Center is working on mastering guidance, navigation and missile control for hypersonic missiles.
“Hypersonics is an absolute hot topic right now,” Webber said of the prospective missiles that would travel at least 5 times the speed of sound.
“It’s got to be able to be maneuverable and it’s got to be able to maintain its orientation,” Webber said. “Those are the key areas to enable us to develop this capability and get it into the hands of the war fighter.” (Source: C4ISR & Networks)
10 Oct 18. This new helmet offers greater protection, options at a lighter weight. A new helmet by 3M offers high-level protection and lightweight durability similar to the helmets worn by special operations troops. The Minnesota-based company unveiled the new ballistic helmet F70 at the Association of the United States Army’s annual meeting.
The F70 comes in both high- and mid-cut versions. Each offers more protection than the company’s Ultra-Light Weight Ballistic Bump Helmet but also can be used as a lighter, modular option to the heavier Combat II Ballistic Helmet.
Terry Griffith, defense business manager for 3M, told Army Times that there’s been more than a year’s development on the current version, and the company is already taking orders. The helmet works for both military and law enforcement applications.
The Ultra-Light Weight helmet comes in at 1.73 pounds but only offers protection for 17 grain, .22 caliber projectiles at 2,200 feet per second. The F70 protects against those size projectiles at higher velocities as well as against 9mm-sized projectiles at 1,400 feet per second.
The legacy Combat II helmet does offer more protection, up to projectiles in the 7.62mm range, but it comes at a heavier weight, 3.31 pounds.
The F70 weighs just 2.21 pounds for the high rise and 2.44 pounds on the mid-rise version. And, Griffith noted, the “no thru-hole” design maintains better protection because standard bolts put into the helmet shell for items such as night vision devices can weaken the structure and lessen the protection. The Air Force Test Parachute Program performed an evaluation of the 3M Ballistic Helmet F70 and determined it to be suitable for Air Force static line and military free fall operations, according to a 3M release. Each F70 helmet comes with reverse dovetail rails that accept common industry accessories. Optional accessories designed for the helmet include ballistic mandibles, visors, helmet covers, over ear ballistic protection and counterweights. Also, the helmet works with 3M PELTOR communications and hearing protection solutions. (Source: Defense News)
10 Oct 18. US Army nearing strategy on way ahead for Indirect Fire Protection Capability. The Army is nearing the completion of a strategy on the way head for an Indirect Fire Protection Capability that could include a solution to address cruise missile threats in the near term, according to the service’s Air-and-Missile Defense modernization lead.
“I think by the end of the month, we will have a strategy that should be known,” Brig. Gen. Randall McIntire, told Defense News in an interview just before the Association of the United States Army’s annual meeting.
Congress had mandated that the Army turn in a strategy for the IFPC program by Oct. 31 in its fiscal 2019 appropriations bill, which passed last month, giving the service just 30 days to turn in its homework.
IFPC is being designed to defend against rockets, artillery and mortars as well as unmanned aircraft systems and cruise missiles.
The Army has already decided to delay moving forward into the engineering and manufacturing development phase of the IFPC Increment 2 program because of a need to reprioritize and focus on countering cruise missiles and UAS ahead of developing a capability against RAM threats.
The Army’s AMD Cross-Functional Team, led by McIntire, was also tasked by Army leadership to look into the possibility of bringing into the program a non-developmental interim cruise missile defense capability, after the service previously denied the need.
In McIntire’s view, the Army has been tasked by Congress to determine how to solve a gap in cruise missile capability in the short term, while also coming up with a long-term plan.
It’s possible the Army’s strategy will contain two different paths, one that offers the best possible short-term solution that allows the Army to move quickly, and the best solution for the Army’s long-term benefit, according to McIntire.
“We’ve spent the last couple of weeks really honing in on the pros and cons of each one of those things,” McIntire said. “It’s all pre-decisional, quite frankly. It’s pretty close. I don’t know which way it could go.”
For the short-term interim capability, McIntire said, “we are looking at a variety of candidates, to include our current Multi-Mission Launcher,” which is under development by the Army internally, and “we are looking at some foreign systems.”
McIntire added that the service is examining those solutions’ different performance measures as well as weighing them against cost and affordability factors.
Among some of the things being hashed out as the Army formulates a strategy for Congress is the possibility of renaming IFPC, which, “is a terrible name,” McIntire said. “We are actually coming up with a better name for it as we come up with a strategy.”
Also part of the Army’s plan in the near term is to qualify a second interceptor for the system. Lockheed Martin, Raytheon and a Raytheon and Rafael team were awarded competitive contracts to mature possible second interceptors.
The Army has already qualified the AIM-9X interceptor and requested $173.2m in its FY19 budget for the munitions and multi-mission launcher components. According to an industry source, it’s possible the Army has decided to eliminate the AIM-9X as the baseline interceptor, which leaves the service with near-term choices that could include what is being developed for the second interceptor — Lockheed’s Miniature Hit-to-Kill missile, Raytheon’s SkyHunter, otherwise known as the Tamir interceptor in Israel, or even the already fielded Advanced Medium Range Air-to-Air Missile. Israeli company Rafael and its U.S. partner Raytheon have been vocal about using Rafael’s full-up Iron Dome system as an interim cruise missile defense capability.
“While we have had multiple conversations with the Army about Iron Dome and its capabilities, we have not been informed of a specific Army plan to acquire an interim IFPC solution,” Ed Roesly, Raytheon’s senior director of Israeli cooperative programs, told Defense News recently.
But he added that Army Space and Missile Defense Command “is conducting research about the impact of integrating a current Iron Dome battery into the Army’s air defense systems. We are confident that the integration is low risk.”
Roesly noted that Iron Dome is a combat proven solution — used frequently in Israel — and is not a developmental solution.
Rafael and Raytheon have already demonstrated Iron Dome in the U.S. at two formal tests at White Sands Missile Range in September 2017 and October 2016.
The system — which includes a battery with a command and control radar, and the first of six launchers — is in the U.S. at a secure facility, Roesly said, and would be available to provide additional tests or demonstrations.
“We continue to offer to deliver that battery with missiles in less than 10 months,” Roesly said. (Source: Defense News)
10 Oct 18. Pakistan tests its Hatf-V ballistic missile — but why bother when more capable alternatives exist? Pakistan has conducted a training launch using its Hatf-V/Ghauri I medium-range ballistic missile that, according to a statement from the military’s ISPR media branch, was “aimed at testing the operational and technical readiness of Army Strategic Forces Command.”
An accompanying compilation clip of Monday’s test was unusual in that it showed the inert re-entry vehicle striking the target area, an aspect not always shown in such tests.
Ghauri I is a liquid-fueled missile with a range of 1,300 kilometers, and despite being described as able to carry nuclear or conventional warheads, analysts agree that the system, which has a mixed reliability record, has essentially been relegated to a training role.
Author, analyst and former Australian defense attache to Islamabad, Brian Cloughley, was attached to an MGR-1 Honest John Regiment when he served with the British Army in Germany from 1967-1969. The MGR-1 was a nuclear capable rocket widely used by NATO forces at the time. He says such tests as the one carried out on Monday must be regularly conducted.
“It’s good training, basically, even with a first-generation system, and the missiles are always there for a final emergency. One of the best aspects of training is the exercising of command and control in real time. That is always most valuable,” he said.
Using the stock of cheaper, less advanced Ghauri missiles for such test purposes leaves the more capable Shaheen series of solid-fuel missiles to be used operationally.
Unlike the Ghauri, the Shaheen series of missiles do not require a large logistics train for carrying fuel, or potentially up to two hours to prepare the missile for launch, and can instead be launched within a matter of minutes.
Even if used operationally, the Ghauri may have some limited operational value, according to Mansoor Ahmed, a former research fellow at the Harvard Kennedy School’s Belfer Centre and an associate with the Project on Managing the Atom at Belfer from 2018 2019.
“[They] are cheaper, can be used for saturated attacks to overwhelm [ballistic missile defense] systems,” said Ahmed, who specializes in Pakistan’s nuclear deterrent and delivery systems.
In this context, however, he highlighted Pakistan’s latest missile development program, the “MIRV-capable Ababeel” to combat BMD systems, which is more credible than the mass use of Ghauri missiles.
Nevertheless, despite the ISPR news release claiming “the launch consolidates Pakistan’s nuclear capability, which is aimed at peace and stability through a credible deterrence regime,” Ahmed believes Pakistan’s missile program needs to shift up a gear.
“Pakistan should be working on supersonic and hypersonic cruise missile systems” due to Indian missile developments, he said. “The growing imbalance will lead to deterrence failure.” (Source: glstrade.com/Defense News)
10 Oct 18. UTC Aerospace unveils LBPS for CH-47 Chinook cargo loading system. UTC Aerospace Systems has unveiled a new lightweight ballistic protection system (LBPS) for the CH-47 Chinook cargo system.
The LBPS will be integrated into the cargo on / off-loading systems (COOLS) used for the CH-47 Chinook heavy-lift helicopters.
The UTC system will be able to provide operators with up to 20% weight savings based on the selected protection levels.
This will help increase the aircraft’s fuel efficiency and will enable operators to add weight elsewhere on the platform.
Furthermore, the ballistic protection system is completely qualified and interchangeable with the helicopter’s existing COOLS under floor ballistic protection system.
The cargo loading system, whether in-flight or on-ground, will enable the CH-47 operators to convert from a flat floor for the troop transport to a cargo floor with rollers in less than 15 minutes, according to the company.
This provides operators with the ability to quickly respond to mission changes without returning to base for conversion while allowing them to load and unload troops and cargo in an efficient manner.
UTC Aerospace Systems Interiors vice-president Cheryl Gorman said: “COOLS continues to be a success story for the warfighter.
“With more than 500 systems delivered, US and foreign military customers alike depend on COOLS for its game-changing enhancements to troop and cargo transport. Now, with our new LBPS, operators can also achieve significant weight savings without sacrificing performance.”
The COOLS solution is equipped with transport rollers and a pallet locking system, which accommodates combinations of small and large pallets. It is standard on the CH-47F and is available as an upgrade on the CH-47D helicopters. (Source: army-technology.com)
09 Oct 18. Rostec developing correctable artillery projectile. Rostec subsidiary Techmash is developing a new 152mm correctable, high-precision artillery projectile. The project is currently in the design specification phase. The key feature of the system will be trajectory correction in the final stage of flight, meaning that immediately after firing the ammunition piece will move ballistically like a conventional projectile, but in the vicinity of the target it will use its own control system to correct its trajectory.
Alexander Kochkin, deputy CEO of Techmash, said: ‘It is a new 152mm correctable projectile for artillery of that calibre. It is difficult to build a control system into ammunition of this type due to the high dynamic loads that the projectile undergoes at the moment of firing, while it is spinning within the barrel bore and during the flight.
‘At a spin rate as high as 30,000 revolutions per second, optics do not work — the picture is blurred. We are considering several ways to correct the projectile trajectory in the final stage, including aerodynamic surfaces on the fuse and mini jet engines.’ (Source: Shephard)
09 Oct 18. Plans in place to manufacture 6.8-calibre bullets for US Army’s next-gen rifle. US Army plans are in place to produce a 6.8-calibre bullets for the army’s Next Generation Squad Weapons-Rifle (NGSW-R), according the head of the Futures Command General John Murray.
Speaking with Jane’s at the Association of the United States Army (AUSA) exhibition held from 8 to 10 October in Washington, DC, Gen Murray said the Lake City Army Ammunition Plant has the capacity to begin producing the a 6.8-calibre bullets by early 2020.
“The money is laid in to go to the new line at the existing facility,” the four-star general added.
Gen Murray is overseeing the development of the service’s six modernisation priorities: Long-Range Precision Fires, Next-Generation Combat Vehicle (NGCV), Future Vertical Lift (FVL), networking, air and missile defence, and soldier lethality. (Source: IHS Jane’s)
09 Oct 18. Development Of U.S. LTAMDS. Raytheon is advancing in the U.S. Army’s Lower Tier Air and Missile Defense Sensor, or LTAMDS, competition and now enters the Technology Maturation and Risk Reduction (TMRR) phase of the programme, the company announced. During TMRR, Raytheon will demonstrate LTAMDS performance through multiple technology demonstrations, using a fully operational array and later an integrated radar prototype, to prove the maturity of the Raytheon design. Within the LTAMDS programme Raytheon will have to develop key prototyping that reduces risk and further matures the technology, deliver detailed designs that prove capability and production readiness, and deliver a support plan to the Army’s testing for mobility and sustainability.
Raytheon’s prototype technology test bed in New Hampshire continually tests several systems planned for LTAMDS. The testing environment allows the programme team to determine key requirements including optimal frequency band, prime power capacity, 360° surveillance and fire control, resiliency in contested environments, and reliability and maintainability. (Source: ESD Spotlight)
09 Oct 18. One-month trial demonstrates IBCS’ ability to communicate and share single integrated air picture across secure military networks. The Northrop Grumman Corporation (NYSE: NOC) Integrated Air and Missile Defense (IAMD) Battle Command System (IBCS) demonstrated increasingly high levels of performance and interoperability during a recent communications systems test led by the U.S. Army.
With Northrop Grumman’s Integrated Air and Missile Defense (IAMD) Battle Command System (IBCS), commanders can orchestrate forces over extensive distances using whatever means of communications that are available.
In May and June, the external communications test demonstrated the voice and data communications systems of IBCS using a combination of live and simulated air and missile defense assets. This demonstration built upon the successful multi-node and live air soldier checkout events conducted from March-April and April-May, respectively.
This networking and communications exercise further validated the capability of IBCS to form and share a high-quality single integrated air picture across the Army’s IAMD enterprise as well as with higher-echelon military components of the joint force. Voice and data information was exchanged across various secure military networks, including the Link 16 tactical data link network.
A variety of Army IAMD assets – including five Northrop Grumman-built IBCS engagement operations centers and five IBCS integrated fire control network relays – supported the testing across three geographically dispersed areas: the White Sands Missile Range in New Mexico, Tobin Wells Training Area Tactical Systems Integration Lab in Fort Bliss, Texas, and the Government System Integration Laboratory at Redstone Arsenal, Alabama.
During the test, the IBCS combined information from various sources into the single integrated air picture and published it on the IBCS integrated fire control network. That same high-quality air picture was pushed out over Link 16 to other Link 16 network participants from the U.S. Navy, U.S. Marine Corps and legacy U.S. Army systems. There were also information exchanges with an air battle management aircraft.
The formation and sharing of a single integrated air picture vastly improves the battlefield situational awareness available to warfighters, enabling them to make time-critical decisions to defeat air and missile threats.
“The ability to fight as a networked team is of paramount importance on the modern battlefield,” said Dan Verwiel, vice president and general manager, missile defense and protective systems, Northrop Grumman. “The technology we have developed for establishing, controlling and protecting the air and missile defense network is groundbreaking for our customer.
“Test after test, IBCS continues to demonstrate high levels of interoperability, reliability and performance and is proving its immense value as the central command-and-control architecture of the future for our nation’s air defenders.”
IBCS is the Army’s open, net-enabled command and control system of the future for joint, multi-domain air and missile defense operations. It introduces a vastly expanded single integrated air picture and reduces integration times for new systems, particularly sensors and interceptor launchers.
“On today’s battlefield, threats can come from any direction. IBCS brings together different types of sensors and other sources of information and stitches them together into a high quality and actionable air picture, which is key to defending our critical military assets and formations,” said Bill Lamb, director, integrated air and missile defense, Northrop Grumman. “We are eager to get this game-changing air and missile defense technology into the hands of the warfighter.”
In addition to the U.S. Army, IBCS is the air and missile defense command-and-control solution of choice for Poland. In March, Poland signed a Letter of Offer and Acceptance with the U.S. government to purchase IBCS and become the first international operator.
09 Oct 18. Israel’s Smart Shooter offering rifle-mounted C-UAS fire-control system. Israel’s Smart Shooter is expanding its line of SMASH rifle fire-control systems and has demonstrated the devices for US military personnel, company officials said at the annual Association of the United States Army conference, held from 8 to 10 October in Washington, DC. SMASH uses image processing to automatically acquire a target from the sight’s field of view, and then displays a box around the target in the shooter’s reflex sight. A switch on the weapon’s forestock enables the shooter to select and lock on to a target. SMASH will then only fire when the sight is aligned to hit the target – and this includes ‘leading’ a moving target. (Source: IHS Jane’s)
09 Oct 18. Raytheon Company (NYSE: RTN) completed a significant milestone in the development of its long-range DeepStrike™ missile to meet the U.S. Army’s Precision Strike Missile, or PrSM, requirement. The company has integrated its new launch pod missile container into the Army’s M142 HIMARS and M270 MLRS launchers.
The launch pod missile container integration took place at Fort Sill, Oklahoma, in July. During the integration, Raytheon technicians worked side-by-side with soldiers and Marines on operational launchers to ensure proper fit and functionality.
“Raytheon is responding to the U.S. Army’s desire to accelerate its PrSM program,” said Dr. Thomas Bussing, Raytheon Advanced Missile Systems vice president. “We are on a fast track to deliver an advanced surface-to-surface missile that exceeds the Army’s requirements by doubling the firepower while reducing the cost.”
Featuring an innovative, two-in-the-pod design and an advanced guidance system, Raytheon’s new long-range precision strike missile will fly farther, faster and pack more punch than the current weapon, which is approaching the end of its service life.
As the next-generation surface-to-surface weapon for the Army, the DeepStrike missile will defeat fixed land targets 60-499 kilometers away, improve lethality and responsiveness compared to current systems, and restore the Army’s capability to overmatch the threat.
09 Oct 18. US Army completes qualification testing for new Stinger missile proximity fuze. The U.S. Army has completed qualification testing for a new proximity fuze that significantly enhances the combat-proven Stinger® missile produced by Raytheon Company (NYSE: RTN). During recent testing at Eglin Air Force Base in Florida, the upgraded weapon system scored a perfect 100 percent hit rate against a variety of targets. The missiles were shoulder- and vehicle-launched.
The new proximity fuze enables the lightweight, self-contained air defense system to destroy a wider array of battlefield threats such as enemy unmanned aircraft systems by detonating the missile’s warhead near the target, while maintaining its hit-to-kill capability.
“Equipped with a new proximity fuze, Stinger is an affordable, near-term and proven solution for countering emerging threats in the battlespace,” said Kim Ernzen, Raytheon Land Warfare Systems vice president. “Together with the Army, we are putting the most capable Stinger yet into the hands of our brave men and women on the battlefield.”
With qualification testing complete, the Army can move toward a near-term fielding under an Urgent Materiel Release. Plans call for the new proximity fuze to be integrated into Stinger missiles as part of a Service Life Extension Program to be conducted at the Army’s ammunition plant in McAlester, Oklahoma.
Combat proven, the Stinger missile has more than 270 fixed- and rotary-wing intercepts to its credit. It’s deployed in more than 18 nations and with all four U.S. military services. The weapon can be rapidly deployed by ground troops and on military platforms, and has been integrated for use on the Apache Attack Helicopter.
09 Oct 18. Aerojet tests DMRJ engine to support hypersonic aircraft development. Aerospace and defence company Aerojet Rocketdyne has successfully tested a dual-mode ramjet/scramjet (DMRJ) engine that would support the development of new hypersonic aircraft. The series of tests were carried out as part of an on-going partnership of the company with the US Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), Nasa, and the US Air Force (USAF) to develop hypersonic propulsion technologies. The propulsion technologies will help develop the advanced hypersonic aircraft, which would be capable of performing conventional take-off and landing.
Aerojet Rocketdyne chief executive officer and president Eileen Drake said: “Developing hypersonic capabilities has recently been cited by the Department of Defense officials as the ‘highest technical priority’ for our nation.
“Aerojet Rocketdyne is well-positioned to support this call to action, as we have been developing hypersonic propulsion technologies for more than 30 years.
“Our scramjet engine powered the record-setting test flights of the X-51A WaveRider, and we have accelerated our development efforts since then.
“That progress, when combined with the advances we’ve made in additive manufacturing, has enabled this next generation of hypersonic propulsion systems.”
The DMRJ engine, when combined with a gas turbine engine as part of a turbine-based combined cycle propulsion (TBCC) system, would have the capability to propel an aircraft from a halted position into the hypersonic flight regime of 5mach or higher and back again.
Conducted over a wider operating range than previously demonstrated, the tests also helped validate an advanced analytical tool set developed by the company that facilitates precise simulation of complex DMRJ flow fields across a broad variety of applications. (Source: airforce-technology.com)
08 Oct 18. Beyond line of sight: Army precision fires tackle targeting at long ranges. It is the Army’s No. 1 priority to develop long-range precision fires that ultimately can exceed 10,000 nautical miles. And while enhanced projectiles can get a munition well out beyond the line of sight, ensuring accuracy and effective targeting will depend on other technologies and operational tactics.
The Army’s Long-Range Precision Fires Cross-Functional Team, which was formed earlier this year as part of Army Futures Command, is now looking at taking on the targeting challenge as it develops technology across the board.
“People who challenge what we are doing, in a positive way, will say, ‘Hey, how are you going to acquire? How are going to find the targets for systems at these ranges? Are you going to be able to shoot farther than you can see?’” Col. John Rafferty, director of the Long-Range Precision Fires Cross-Functional Team, told Defense News in an interview ahead of the Association of the United States Army’s annual conference.
For more coverage from the AUSA annual meeting, click here.
The initial answer is no, he said. But by working with targeting and intelligence communities as the CFT advances in its own prototyping efforts, and working to refine fires procedures and the sensor and shooter architecture, the Army hopes to get there, Rafferty said.
The capability is not historically inherent in artillery.
Rafferty said he’s recently brought to his team an Army military intelligence officer with an “enormous” amount of experience with joint intelligence surveillance, reconnaissance and targeting, and a senior chief warrant officer who was an Army target officer.
The aim was to “not just introduce our systems to the targeting and intelligence communities, but also to work on refining our procedures, refining our sensor and shooter architecture,” he said.
Part of the challenge is shoring up the time between communicating with the observer and sending targeting information to the gun, Rafferty said. While it’s part of the procedural process for artillery now, the challenge grows at longer distances, especially as the joint force will be required in the future to react more quickly than ever before.
A key to that is making sure the systems developed within Long-Range Precision Fires are fully understood by not just the combatant commanders, but joint and and allied partners as well, Rafferty said. This way they are truly an integrated part of a network of sensors and shooters on the battlefield.
One of the fundamental issues that Long-Range Precision Fires addresses when considering the Army’s future operations is ensuring joint access, Rafferty said.
“How do we penetrate the enemy’s A2AD [anti-access, area denial] networks? … That is a pacing threat,” he said. “This Army strategic fires, the purpose of that, is to create windows of opportunity for exploitation by the joint force.”
The systems the Long-Range Precision Fires CFT is now focused on for strategic distances reside in the realm of hypersonics and drastically extending the range of cannon artillery using state-of-the-art technology, Rafferty said.
The CFT is watching closely an effort to demonstrate a hypersonic capability through the Army’s Space and Missile Defense Command.
But those are “exquisite munitions, very expensive, incredibly sophisticated and travel long, long distances,” Rafferty said.
These systems will address the delivery of “incredible kinetic energy” that would destroy an adversary’s strategic infrastructure and hardened targets.
To address the need of more distributed targets, the Army’s CFT is also focused on developing a strategic cannon that would also fire at “very, very” long ranges, but within a larger volume of more affordable projectiles, Rafferty said, “that would enable us to create more of ‘mass of volume’ of fires effects.”
“You need traditional artillery area fire, but just at much greater ranges,” he said. “And then there would be enough room in the warhead to be able to put in sensor fuse munitions and sensors that would enable you to track moving targets in multiple domains.”
Rafferty said the Army is on a path toward a technology demonstrator to address the need in the next couple of years and then will pursue small units of capability for different theaters. (Source: Defense News Early Bird/Defense News)
08 Oct 18. Leonardo DRS and RAFAEL Test Lighter TROPHY Vehicle Protection System for Smaller Platforms. 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 –yet equally performing – 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 – with no reduction in its proven ability to protect against the full range of direct fire, anti-armor rocket and missile threats.
“DRS and our Rafael partner have listened closely to our customers and these activities 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 300 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 well over 95% and demonstrated Trophy’s automatic networked Fire Source Location ability. Integrated on a Bradley Fighting Vehicle for this test campaign to demonstrate its immediate relevance for that platform, Trophy VPS will next be demonstrated in the US on the Stryker platform to the Stryker program office. Meanwhile, DRS and Rafael are continuing a parallel effort to demonstrate 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, etc.”
08 Oct 18. USMC connect F-35 jet to HIMARS rocket shot for first time. The Corps has been experimenting with an innovative slew of ways to use its rocket precision artillery system known as HIMARS.
And just recently, the Corps set another historic milestone: destroying a target by connecting an F-35B with a HIMARS rocket shot for the first time, according to Lt,. Gen. Steven R. Rudder, deputy commandant for aviation.
“We were able to connect the F-35 to a HIMARS, to a rocket shot … and we were able to target a particular conex box,” Rudder told audience members Friday at an aviation readiness discussion at the Center for Strategic & International Studies, or CSIS.
The shot was all done through data link, according to Rudder. The F-35 used sensors and pushed data about the location of the target that was then fed to a HIMARS system. The HIMARS unit then destroyed the target. (Source: Defense News Early Bird/Marine Times)
08 Oct 18. Raytheon Company (NYSE: RTN) is advancing in the U.S. Army’s Lower Tier Air and Missile Defense Sensor, or LTAMDS, competition and now enters the Technology Maturation and Risk Reduction phase of the program. During TMRR, Raytheon will demonstrate LTAMDS performance through multiple technology demonstrations, using a fully operational array and later an integrated radar prototype, to prove the maturity of the Raytheon design.
“We’ve worked with the U.S. Army for decades to address advancing threats with the latest technology,” said Tom Laliberty, vice president of Integrated Air and Missile Defense at Raytheon’s Integrated Defense Systems business. “Our expertise in the lower tier air and missile defense domain, combined with our Gallium Nitride based sensor technology, allows us to offer the U.S. Army the radar they need, when they need it.”
As the LTAMDS program progresses, Raytheon will:
- Develop key prototyping that reduces risk and further matures the technology
- Deliver detailed designs that prove capability and production readiness
- Deliver a support plan to the Army’s testing for mobility and sustainability
07 Oct 18. Here are some of the big gear upgrades coming soon from PEO Soldier Program Executive Office Soldier is the center of all things soldier, from eyewear and boots to body armor and individual weapons.
Brig. Gen. Anthony Potts, who assumed duties as Program Executive Officer Soldier in January, and his staff are making both incremental improvements to time-tested gear while also aiming to bring leap-ahead capabilities to the single soldier.
All of this work is being strongly backed by a new approach at the highest levels of the Pentagon to improve soldiers’ squad-level protection and performance as the military prepares for a potential near-peer adversary that is much better equipped and trained than its recent opponents.
Here’s a look at some highlights:
1) Squad Designated Marksman Rifle: A lot of effort has been put behind making individual squads more lethal. One way to do that is to put longer range rifles and better trained marksmen in the ranks.
The unofficial slogan of PEO Soldier is “Every Bullet Counts, Every Ounce Matters.” The first part of that means hitting the target. Recently, 117 SDMRs were fielded to the 82nd Airborne Division, and advanced training will begin on that weapon in November, Potts said.
This doesn’t give each squad a sniper, but it does give each squad more lethal reach. Soldiers selected for the training will carry the Heckler and Koch G28E-110 Compact Semi-Automatic Sniper System, or CSASS. And it goes beyond infantry. Soldiers in scout and engineer squads will also go through the training.
Most M4s max out at near 300 meters, but the CSASS will allow squads to reach out as far as 600 meters. The new rifle can fire both the M80A1 Enhanced Performance Round and the XM1158 Advanced Armor Piercing Round. It has a different buttstock and barrel twist than previous CSASS models, comes in just under 10 pounds and uses a Sig Sauer Tango 6 variable 1×6 power scope.
2) Integrated Helmet Protection System: The newest helmet, featuring stronger materials and an additional protective layer, is headed to theater with the 2nd Security Force Assistance Brigade. The IHPS gives rifle-level protection; past versions could only promise handgun-level safety.
The medium-sized helmet weighs about 3 pounds, cutting about 2 percent of the weight from the previous version but adding 15 percent more protection. The IHPS also has an additional applique layer that can give soldiers even greater protection, though it does add another 2 pounds.
Promising research is underway with a new material that is even harder and lighter, Potts said. That material could, within the next two years, offer soldiers the enhanced IHPS, with applique protection, at a weight of 3 pounds instead of the 5 pounds it weighs now.
3) Modular Handgun System light/laser combination: The fielding in late 2017 of the newest service-wide sidearm in decades flooded gun channels.
The military-grade version of the Sig Sauer P320 was selected in early 2017. Paired with a Safariland drop holster and specially developed rounds, the M17 — and the compact M18 — fulfilled the Modular Handgun System needs of the Army.
But the system isn’t done yet. Testing and selection is underway for a light/aiming laser combination device to mount on the sidearm for specific missions and units. In July, Daryl Easlick, the small arms deputy with the Lethality Branch of the Maneuver Center of Excellence, told Army Times that the device will need to have a white light function, such as those in use by military police. But it also must be compatible with night vision goggles that infantry and scouts use when they need both an infrared pointer and illuminator.
The juggling act is to get the battery power to run the white light in a small enough package so it does not affect the balance of the pistol. The enhancer must run for up to 90 minutes. Based on budget priorities, testing and requirements, the new device is expected to field next summer. Simultaneously, the Army will evaluate a different kind of holster to accommodate pistols fitted with the new device.
4) Modular Scalable Vest 2.0 and beyond: Last year, PEO Soldier showcased advancements in body armor in the form of the Modular Scalable Vest, which is nearly pounds lighter that the legacy 30-pound Improved Outer Tactical Vest, when configured for the highest threat level.
And while that system is deploying with the Army’s SFAB in the next round of deployments, the Army is already re-evaluating even that new piece of gear.
PEO Soldier held an “innovation sprint” that brought more than 30 personnel from PEO Soldier, the Maneuver Center of Excellence, Special Operations Command and the Marine Corps to hack the MSV to make it more mobile.
The result was new cuts to the armor plates that allow for better rifle manipulation and marksmanship, and a closer fit to the body for better mobility in combat. Those cuts also shaved another pound off the system, Potts said.
The new redesign was run by the vast classified database of shot patterns and body armor hits that’s kept at PEO Soldier. The analysis runs the potential exposure points by the historic shot placement and wounding data. Then, developers built a prototype and ran it through a combat obstacle course and shooting range test called the Load Effects Assessment Program-A.
The newest design, or MSV 2.0, is being evaluated by members of the Army’s soldier lethality cross-functional team for potential approval.
But advancements don’t end there, Potts said. A combination of new materials and a new manufacturing method being tested now at Natick Soldier Research, Development and Engineering Center, could maintain or increase current body armor strength while also reducing weight by more than a third.
Potts said it is possible that if such work proves out, soldiers could be wearing body armor with the same level of protection now available at the highest threat levels that weighs as little as 11 pounds in the next five to seven years.
5) Enhanced Night Vision Goggle-Binocular: A top fielding priority from the secretary of the Army, the ENVG-B is now on contract as a directed requirement. In laymen’s terms, that means there’s money behind it, to the tune of about $104m. The advancement provided by the ENVG-B goes beyond seeing better at night. Work at PEO Soldier and associated programs not only gives soldiers better night vision, but new software would also integrate Rapid Target Acquisition capabilities, meaning soldiers can use their weapon as a camera to shoot around corners, adjust views for shooting options and even see through smoke. It can also display navigational and unit data when paired with other systems.
With funding and tech advances, the ENVG-B could be in soldiers’ hands, at least for testing and evaluation, in the next year, with a focus on first equipping close combat ground units. (Source: Defense News Early Bird/Army Times)
05 Oct 18. The U.S. Army awarded Raytheon Company (NYSE: RTN) a $21m contract to develop a new propulsion system for the venerable TOW® missile. The contract funds a three-year effort to make performance improvements to the tube-launched, optically tracked TOW missile.
The TOW system is a long-range, heavy assault-precision anti-armor, anti-fortification and anti-amphibious landing weapon system used throughout the world today. The radio frequency-guided TOW missile enables ground forces to achieve overmatch against adversary armored and wheeled systems, regardless of the environment or conditions.
“Improving TOW’s propulsion system will increase range and deliver enhanced protection for ground troops while providing them with more capability,” said Kim Ernzen, Raytheon Land Warfare Systems vice president. “Raytheon and the Army have consistently upgraded the TOW weapon system to keep it relevant for today’s fight, and help our soldiers preserve their overmatch advantage on the battlefield.”
The new contract builds on other development activities. Performance improvements will be integrated into all TOW missile variants, including the top and direct attack 2B, direct attack 2A and Bunker Buster missiles.
The TOW weapon system is deployed with more than 20 international armed forces and integrated on over 15,000 ground, vehicle and helicopter platforms. It’s also a preferred system for NATO, coalition, United Nations and peacekeeping operations worldwide.
TOW will remain in the Army’s inventory until at least 2050. Raytheon has delivered more than 690,000 TOW weapon systems to U.S. and allied warfighters.
07 Oct 18. Iraq – Germany extends conflict zone notice for airspace below FL260 over the country to 3 January 2019. On 5 October, Germany issued an extension of its notice for the airspace over Iraq through 3 January 2019 regarding the threat posed to civil aviation over the country below FL260 due to the enduring conflict zone environment (EDGG B1386/18). In addition to Germany; EASA along with the US, UK and French civil aviation authorities have each issued similar guidance in the past year to operators regarding overflight of the country and operations to locations in Iraq. The primary threats posed to civil aviation activity over Iraq stem from anti-aircraft artillery, anti-tank weapons, anti-tank guided missiles, rocket-propelled grenades and man-portable air defence systems (MANPADS) in possession of violent non-state actor (VNSA) groups. According to the US FAA, the most capable variants of MANPADS can be effective at altitudes up to 25,000 feet AGL.
The extremist Islamic State (IS) VNSA group continues to exude a documented capability and historical intent to conduct attacks against air assets operating over Iraq. Since the start of 2016, our analysis has identified 21 MANPADS-related occurrences across the country. Security forces in Iraq have recovered eight separate weapons caches containing MANPADS during raids against VNSA groups since the start of September 2017. On 28 September, Iraqi security forces in Nimrud District of Nineveh Province recovered a weapons cache from IS militants. The cache contained two Russian-made 9K32 Strela-2 (SA-7 GRAIL) MANPADS tubes, though no batteries or grip-stocks for the anti-aircraft weapons were depicted in images released by the Iraqi military. On 8 May, when security forces in Salah ad-Din Province recovered three MANPADS tubes of unidentified type and associated components in a weapons cache from IS militants. Of note, security forces in the city of Hawija in Kirkuk Province released a video of a large weapons cache recovered from IS group VNSA militants containing over 20 Russian-made SA-7 MANPADS tubes and associated components on 17 January. We continue to assess Iraq to be a HIGH risk airspace environment at all altitudes, including below FL260.
Risk area recommendation: Comprehensive risk mitigation measures
- Flights below FL260 not advised; essential flights over FL260 via measures below
- Defer diverting from flight plan with the exception of life threatening situations
- Security and operational risk-based identification of pre-planned divert airports
- Reliable and redundant communications with an established communications plan
- Fully-coordinated and robust emergency response plan supplemented by asset tracking
Approvals: Operators are advised to ensure flight plans are correctly filed, attain proper special approvals for flight operations to sensitive locations and obtain relevant overflight permits prior to departure. In addition, ensure crews scheduled to operate to or over the country in the near term are fully aware of the latest security situation.
Military Air Activity: Increased military air operations; to include airstrikes, have the potential to cause airspace congestion and impact the safety of civil aviation flights. Any significant increase in the amount of air operations over the country may impact the availability of airports along with access to the airspace. Aviation operators should monitor airport/airspace-specific airspace-specific notices, bulletins, circulars, advisories, prohibitions and restrictions prior to departure to avoid flight schedule disruption.
Weapons Trafficking: Poor provisions of security through porous borders and an influx of weapons; including anti-aircraft systems, has facilitated a resurgence in VNSA activity in recent years. The country has historically been a hub of VNSA activity and a key route for arms-smuggling given its remoteness and anti-government sentiment due to the lack of economic opportunities. The presence of large, relatively unpoliced areas of the country are also vulnerable to security and or terrorism threats due to instability and porous borders, where VNSA groups are present. (Source: Osprey)
05 Oct 18. The Army’s SAW and M4 replacements will both fire this more accurate and deadly round. Textron Systems has created a new kind of cartridge and weapons to lighten the load and reduce recoil on machine guns and rifles. Military Times ground combat reporter Todd South breaks it down. The Army has selected 6.8mm as the new common round for both its Squad Automatic Weapon and M4 replacement.
A Prototype Opportunity Notice posted on the government website fbo.gov is going to give three companies the chance to submit their versions of the new individual service rifle, the Next Generation Squad Weapon, chambered in 6.8mm, the same round that developers are using for the Next Generation Squad Automatic Rifle program.
Until recently, officials would only say that developers were being encouraged to look at requirements in the intermediate caliber range, somewhere between the existing 5.56mm and 7.62mm rounds common to individual, sniper and machine guns in the Army’s inventory.
Until recently, the goal was to first develop the NGSAR and then allow its advancements to inform the development of the M4 replacement, the NGSW-Rifle.
But, Brig. Gen. Anthony Potts, who leads Program Executive Office Soldier, recently told Army Times that the new approach is to develop both along the same path, with the same round, so that designers can find the best fit for ammo in both weapons, much like existing M4s and Squad Automatic Weapons both fire the 5.56mm.
The NGSAR program selected five companies this summer to produce six prototypes. Those are expected for delivery by June, according to officials.
Those companies are:
- AAI Corporation Textron Systems.
- FN America LLC.
- General Dynamics-OTS Inc.
- PCP Tactical, LLC.
- Sig Sauer, Inc.
Each will submit one prototype for the NGSAR, except for FN, which has been allowed to submit two variants.
That program continues so far, but the new notice will mean the three companies selected will deliver both the rifle and machine gun in 6.8mm for testing and a potential contract.
This week’s posting expects about a 27-month period for development, meaning production could begin as soon as 2021.
And once that production begins, companies are expected to produce at least 200 weapons per month. Within six months of the award, they need to pump out 2,000 weapons a month within three years for a potential total order of 250,000 weapons systems, both NGSW-R and NGSAR, over a 10-year period. That cashes out to $10m the first year and an estimated $150m a year for the higher production rate years. During the coming two-plus years, companies will have to provide 50 NGSW-R weapons, 850,000 rounds of ammunition, spare parts and test barrels.
The ammunition will be a 6.8mm general purpose, or GP, round that’s not tailored to one specific shooting scenario but is instead an all-purpose round suitable to combat, limited training and basic qualification.
But they also must deliver both a High Pressure Test Round, loaded 20 percent higher than normal pressure. That is to stress the gun barrel and breech during firing.
For other functional tests such as weapon chambering, clearing and maintenance tasks, they must also include a Drilled Dummy Inert cartridge. The companies will have to provide a testable prototype within a year for initial testing. The prototype 6.8mm NGSW-R will include a sling, flash hider, suppressor, cleaning kit, flash hider/suppressor removal tool, and quantities of magazines required to provide a minimum of 210 stowed rounds.
The prototype 6.8mm NGSAR will include bi-pod, sling, flash hider, suppressor, cleaning kit, flash hider/suppressor removal tool, and quantities of magazines/drums/belts/other required to provide a minimum of 210 stowed rounds.
And, of course, both will need to have rails capable of mounting a variety of rifle optics, aiming lasers and the Family of Weapon Sights-Individual.
The FWS-I is an all-in-one optic under development by Army researchers that pairs a rifle-mounted camera with Night Vision Goggles and Heads Up Display to allow the weapon sight to be displayed in the optic through a range of obscurants. (Source: Army Times)
05 Oct 18. Saab and Raytheon to Demonstrate new Carl-Gustaf Munition for the U.S. Army. Saab has, in collaboration with Raytheon, received a contract from the U.S. Army to demonstrate a guided munition for the Carl-Gustaf® system, with three all-up-round test firings against threat-representative targets. In 2017, Saab announced its partnership with Raytheon to develop new weapons for infantry forces. The new munition answers a U.S. Special Operations Command requirement and is designed to increase the capability of the combat proven, shoulder-launched, multi-role weapon system Carl-Gustaf built by Saab. The new munition is guided which will provide for increased precision against moving targets.
“Collaborating with Raytheon, utilizing their technical and product excellence in combination with our innovative technology solutions, will enhance the already world-leading Carl-Gustaf and AT4 weapon systems with additional capabilities that will further increase the operational benefit for the end user”, says Görgen Johansson, Senior Vice President and Head of Saab business area Dynamics.
“Paired with the Carl-Gustaf weapon system, this new guided munition will give U.S. and coalition dismounted forces additional overmatch capabilities against enemy threats on the battlefield”, says Kim Ernzen, Raytheon Land Warfare Systems vice president. “The munition is intended to enable ground troops to engage multiple targets precisely at distances up to 2,000 meters, including moving targets”.
The munition’s advanced warhead is designed to penetrate light armor, bunkers and concrete structures while decreasing collateral damage. With increased range, the new munition will offer greater protection for ground troops by enabling them to fire at targets from inside structures or buildings.
04 Oct 18. Italy stalls on missile program as budget cuts loom. Italy’s new populist government has halted plans for a new missile defense system amid reports it will reduce defense procurements in 2019 to help fund welfare spending and tax cuts. This week, the defense ministry withdrew a request it had sent to parliament for permission to acquire the CAMM-ER missile system, built by European missile house MBDA and due to cost €545m, or $626m.
The surprise U-turn on the program comes as Rome searches for funds to support a program of cash benefits for the poor and the jobless, pension boosts and tax cuts promised when the government took office in June.
“There are real fears for procurement spending, with some predicting that €1bn will be trimmed from procurements next year,” said an Italian defense-industry source who asked not to be named.
Italy’s defense procurement spending stood at €4.7bn ($5.4bn) in 2017, combining €2.1bn from defense ministry coffers and €2.6bn from Italy’s Ministry for Economic Development.
After inconclusive elections in March, the Five Star and League parties combined to form Italy’s first populist government in June and announced their 2019 budget last week. It includes €10bn for a so-called “citizen’s wage,” which Reuters reported amounts to a €780-per-month subsidy for the poorest Italians.
The generous budget will push Italy’s budget deficit up to 2.4 percent, arousing the wrath of European Union officials given the country’s €2.4trn debt pile.
Italian daily Corriere della Sera reported that during budget talks the head of the Five Star party warned Defense Minister Elisabetta Trenta that he would not agree on the launch of the CAMM-ER program this year. The report was denied by the government, but on Oct. 1 the request to parliament for approval of the purchase, which had been submitted on Aug. 10, was withdrawn, leaving it unclear whether it would be resubmitted.
The Common Anti-air Modular Missile – Extended Range, to give it its full name, is a surface-to-air, short-and medium-range missile defense system. It is a variant of a similar weapon sold by manufacturer MBDA to the UK.
Another sign of uncertainty hanging over Italy’s defense spending is the absence so far this year of a three-year budget plan.
Usually, in the spring, Italy’s defense ministry publishes details of the current year’s budget, with amounts listed per program, as well as budget predictions for the next two years.
That document has yet to be published this year, suggesting a delay in calculating what funds can be made available in the coming years.
The total government budget is now being nailed down for 2019, which will contain the top-line defense spending for next year. As such, next year’s defense allocation may be discussed in parliament as early as next week.
Meanwhile, the government has given conflicting signals about its commitments to the F-35 program, with defense minister Trenta suggesting Italy would stick to its order of 90 aircraft, before hinting the order would be cut.
In a recent blog post, deputy prime minister Luigi Di Maio listed the F-35 as one of the projects the former Italian government had wasted money on.
The new government so far has not formally telegraphed its interest in the UK’s new plan for a fighter program, dubbed Tempest, despite the role to be played in that effort by Italy’s Leonardo. The company operates facilities in the UK.
However, last week, junior defense minister Angelo Tofalo said Italy “needed to enter the program immediately.”
On Wednesday he told Defense News it was important that Italy took a leading role in international programs it joined. “The approach taken in the past has not allowed our country to acquire the know-how required to develop the most advanced technology autonomously. That is what happened, for example, on the F-35,” he said. (Source: Defense News Early Bird/Defense News)
08 Oct 18. Naval Group and ECA Group offer an innovative mine hunting solution to Belgium and the Netherlands. Naval Group and ECA Group recently established a technological and commercial partnership in the field of unmanned mine warfare. The first practical application was completed as part of the response to the consultation launched by Belgium for a Belgian-Dutch cooperation for the supply of 12 mine hunters. Mine hunting practices are being revolutionized through the massive use of unmanned systems operating on the surface, in the air and in the sea. This paradigm shift will lead to transformations that will affect naval forces as a whole. The future mine warfare capability should be established, and then develop, based on threats and technological progress in the areas of staff, equipment, interoperability and organization, concepts and doctrine, infrastructures and logistics.
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