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16 Oct 18. The US Army Joins the Air Force, Navy in Attempt to Develop Hypersonic Weaponry. Similar to precision weapons being developed by the Air Force and Navy, the Army is developing its own unique hypersonic weapon. Col. John Rafferty, director of the Long-Range Precision Fires Cross-Functional Team, discussed the development of these new long-range precision weapons at the Association of the U.S. Army’s Annual Meeting and Exposition, Oct. 9. Rafferty said the services are collaborating on creating a common “hypersonic glide body,” to provide a means for each service to deploy their hypersonic weaponry. He said the services will work alongside each other to develop the hypersonic weapons capability.
“We’re going to support the Space and Missile Defense Command’s pursuit of the long-range hypersonic weapon and we’ll help by developing the operational concept,” Rafferty said. “But essentially what we’re going to do is make sure that Soldiers are trained and ready to man the system when fielded, and that a mission-command structure and fire-control framework is in place. In order to achieve the disintegration and penetration effect, we need to have a mix of weapons, and exquisite, very expensive, hypersonic missiles with tremendous kinetic effect that are well-suited for strategic infrastructure and hardened targets,” he said.
Hypersonic weapons move five times faster than the speed of sound and are designed to potentially deliver a precision-guided airstrike anywhere in the world within an hour. Rafferty said the hypersonic program office is currently being established, and eventually a major general will be selected as program manager. In the quest to maintain overmatch against America’s enemies, billions have been invested into the long-range precision fires, or LRPF, capability. Development of the Extended Range Cannon Artillery continues as the weapon will eventually replace the M109A6/A7. The weapon will feature a longer gun tube, a redesigned chamber, and a breech capable of surviving increased pressures that will propel the rounds up to 70 kilometers away. The precision strike missile, which will strike targets out to 499 kilometers (within the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty limit), is expected to be delivered in late 2022 or early 2023, Rafferty said.
These weapons will help offset the standoff capabilities of potential adversaries Russia and China. Rafferty equated his team’s work as fundamental to the success of multi-domain operations in accordance with the 2018 National Defense Strategy.
“What we’re charged to do is to establish overmatch at echelon that will enable us to realize multi-domain operations by knocking out the systems that are designed to create standoff — to separate us,” Rafferty said. “So, the long-range fires are the key to reducing the enemies’ capability to separate our formations.”
The pressures of shouldering the Army’s No. 1 modernization priority has not overwhelmed Rafferty since taking over the LRPF Cross-Functional Team, or CFT. Rafferty said he welcomes the pressure of leading the CFT, a component of Army Futures Command.
“The celebration of being the No. 1 priority ends pretty quickly when you’re sobered by the fact that now we need to deliver,” said Rafferty, who took over the director position this past spring. “Our nation has already invested a lot in this effort.”
Rafferty said he can lean on a military intelligence officer assigned to the LRPF CFT and a warrant officer who will serve as a targeting officer.
“For the first time … I really feel like our intelligence community beyond the Army intelligence is meeting us halfway at this,” Rafferty said. “And they are reaching out to us on ways that they can deliver targeting information much more quickly and without any intervention points.”
LRPF is the first of the Army’s six modernization priorities, the others being next generation combat vehicles, future vertical lift, the Army network, air and missile defense, and Soldier lethality. (Source: defense-aerospace.com/US Army)
24 Oct 18. The US Navy’s new ship-killer missile slated to make its fleet debut much sooner than expected. The U.S. Navy is pushing to deploy its new over-the-horizon anti-ship missile by late next year, months ahead of its original target date, according to industry executives familiar with the initiative. The service selected Kongsberg and Raytheon’s Naval Strike Missile as its first new anti-ship missile in decades earlier this year for it littoral combat ship over-the-horizon missile, giving the LCS much-needed teeth as it operates inside Russian and Chinese anti-access envelopes. With the first major deployments of the ships in years planned for 2019, the surface Navy is in a full-court press to accelerate and integrate the new missile on the ship, months ahead of its original target date.
“In that initial over-the-horizon award for LCS, the installation timeline was on a two-year delivery cycle,” said Octavio Babuca, who works on business development for NSM, during an interview at the Euronaval naval trade show in Paris. “But we are now working with the Navy to support an accelerated timeline to the deploying to littoral combat ships. That is mid-to-late 2019 time window.”
The Navy exercised a contract option on the missile that supported the accelerated integration and deployment of the missile, Babuca said.
Joe DePietro, Lockheed Martin’s vice president for small combatants and ship systems, said his company was working toward integrating the Naval Strike Missile into LCS-7, the Detroit.
“We are working right now to put the Naval Strike Missile on LCS-7, he said, “in support of an upcoming deployment. That’s going to be a fleet decision but we are doing all the design work now to put the missile on the ship.”
The NSM is slated for the LCS but also will be integrated into the Navy’s future frigate, the FFG(X).
In 2016, Chief of Naval Operations Adm. John Richardson ordered the surface navy to reorganize the littoral combat ship program after a disastrous nine-month span between late 2015 and 2016 that saw mechanical breakdowns on four of the six LCS then in service, some caused by sailor errors.
Surface Navy Boss Vice Adm. Richard Brown told Defense News in August that the program was closing in on getting LCS deployed on a regular basis, and that this would begin at some point next year.
“We are on track with the 2016 [chief of naval operations] review of the LCS … and I think we will see the first deployments next year and then happening continuously after that,” said Brown, who heads Naval Surface Force Pacific. “I will have the ships through their maintenance, and the blue crews and gold crews through their basic phase to support deployments next year. So, that’s really exciting — something we’ve been driving towards for a long time.”
The deployments will be closely watched as the oft-criticized program looks to shake off years of doubts, delays and scrutiny and start performing missions that have been under-served since the last small surface combatants — the Oliver Hazard Perry-class frigates — left the service in 2015. (Source: Defense News Early Bird/Defense News)
25 Oct 18. Rheinmetall premieres new-generation remote-controlled gun. The new light naval gun system SeaSnake has made its first appearance at the Euronaval exhibition in Paris. Succeeding Rheinmetall’s MLG 27 system, the new system is designed as a primary armament for small craft or a secondary armament for larger ships. While the 27 mm Mauser BK27 cannon was again chosen because of its high accuracy and rate of fire, the rest of the mount is new.
“We have updated the system to be state-of-the-art,” a company representative told Jane’s. This includes new internals, new electronics, the option to mount an independently controlled stabilised electro-optical/infrared sensor package, and reduced radar cross-section (RCS).
The weight has also been reduced by using carbon fibre construction, according to Rheinmetall. Compared with an MLG 27 system fully loaded with 90 rounds, the SeaSnake 27 variant, with 225 rounds of ammunition, will weigh less than 600kg; the SeaSnake 30 with 135 rounds will weigh about 620kg. The SeaSnake 30 mount is fitted with a 30 mm KCE30/ABM cannon, offering greater range as well as the ability to use programmable airburst ammunition. (Source: IHS Jane’s)
25 Oct 18. Babcock performs live-firing tests with Royal Navy’s Mk8 Mod 1 gun. The British Royal Navy’s 4.5in Mk8 Mod 1 gun system has proven its capabilities during trials overseen by Defence Equipment and Support (DE&S) employees. During the tests over a five-day period, an Mk8 naval gun fired a 4.5in shell out to sea from shore to display the weapon system’s stopping power. Trials have been carried out through a £41m contract signed in May 2016 between engineering services provider Babcock International and the UK Ministry of Defence’s (MoD) International Guns, Missiles and Rockets (IGMR) project team. The five-year agreement was designed to improve the gun’s capability and extend its service life with an aim to provide the Royal Navy with an upgraded 4.5in Mk8 Mod 1 medium calibre gun programme.
Babcock Mission Systems director Martin Laity said: “The team realised a key milestone with the live firing trials.
“Establishing and delivering on a suite of well-defined key performance indicators (KPIs) will ensure the programme is set up for success as the Mk8 contract progresses towards an effective, reliable and cost-effective solution for the MoD.”
The series of live-firing tests have been conducted by Babcock International together with UK-based multinational defence technology company QinetiQ at the MoD’s Eskmeals Range in Cumbria.
DE&S IGMR Project Team service delivery manager Matthew Norris said: “DE&S is dedicated to delivering essential improvements to ensure this weapon remains available for Royal Navy operations into the future and being part of these tests was extremely rewarding.”
Integrated on to the UK Navy’s Type 23 frigates and Type 45 destroyers, the modern, semi-automatic Mk8 weapon variant can be used to rapidly fire high-explosive rounds against land and sea targets with exact accuracy. (Source: naval-technology.com)
24 Oct 18. BAE Systems looks to build on early 40mm Mk 4 gun success. Building on recent contract wins for its new 40 mm Mk 4 naval gun, BAE Systems Weapon Systems – Sweden is poised to add further sales to its order book in the coming year. Speaking to Jane’s at Euronaval 2018 in Paris, Ulf Einefors, director for marketing and sales at BAE Systems Weapon Systems – Sweden, said that a number of contract negotiations were currently under way for the new gun system that are expected to bear fruit in early 2019.
“We have in excess of 15 guns under contract right now between our first three customers,” he said. “Looking ahead, we have a number of campaigns and contract negotiations under way right now, so we will see the number go up shortly. (Source: IHS Jane’s)
25 Oct 18. Confirmed: US Army Ditching 5.56mm for 6.8mm in New Weapon Systems. After months of rumors, the U.S. Army confirmed its Next Generation Squad Weapons (NGSW) will adopt the 6.8mm. The caliber switch from the current 5.56mm applies to the upcoming M4 carbine and M249 Squad Automatic Weapon replacements.
Details on the 6.8mm Switch
In a Prototype Opportunity Notice posted on Fed Biz Opps, U.S. Army Contracting Command calls for “two weapon variants and a common cartridge for both weapons, utilizing Government provided 6.8 millimeter projectiles.”
Again, those two variants apply to both replacements in the ongoing NGSW program. The first replacement is the NGSW-Rifle (NGSW-R), which will succeed the current M4/M4A1 Carbine.
The second variant refers to the NGSW-Automatic Rifle (NGSAR), a replacement for the M249 Squad Automatic Weapon (SAW) in the Automatic Rifleman Role in Brigade Combat Teams (BCT).
This is a change from the initial plan, which, according to the Army Times, “was to first develop the NGSAR and then allow its advancements to inform the development of the M4 replacement, the NGSW-R.”
Posted on Oct. 4, the PON notes a 27-month development period, suggesting a winner could be selected at some point in 2021.
Various reports state the U.S. Army had been looking for an “intermediate caliber” in between the 5.56mm and 7.62mm.
Ultimately, the decision comes down to effectiveness in the field.
“We’re looking to reach out around 600 meters and have lethal effects even if the target is protected by body armor,” Col. Geoffrey A. Norman, force development division chief at Army HQ, told Task & Purpose in May 2017. “We need to have lethal effects against protected targets and we need to have requirements for long-range lethality in places like Afghanistan, where you’re fighting from mountaintop to mountaintop over extended ranges.”
NGSAR Candidates Confirmed
The U.S. Army confirmed in July that five companies have already been selected to produce six prototypes for the NGSAR program. The companies include SIG Sauer, FN America, Textron Systems, General Dynamics and PCP Tactical. FN is submitting two variants.
24 Oct 18. IAI wins USD777m contract to supply additional Barak-8 LRSAM systems for Indian Navy. Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) has secured a contract from Indian state-owned company Bharat Electronics Limited (BEL) for the supply of additional air- and missile-defence systems for the Indian Navy (IN).
The USD777m contract will see Barak-8 long-range surface-to-air missile (LRSAM) systems being provided for seven IN vessels, the company announced on 24 October.
IAI’s statement comes after BEL announced on 5 September that it had been awarded orders worth INR92bn (USD1.28bn) from two Indian shipyards to supply seven Barak-8 (also known as Barak LR) systems to be fitted onto an equal number of frigates currently under construction for the IN.
BEL pointed out at the time that the orders were placed by Mazagaon Dock Shipbuilder Limited (MDL) and Garden Reach Shipbuilders and Engineers (GRSE).
Approval for the construction of the indigenously designed Project 17A frigates that will receive the LRSAM systems was granted by India’s Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS) in February 2015, with four of the multi-mission vessels set to be built by MDL and the remaining three by GRSE.
As Jane’s previously reported, deliveries of the frigates are slated to commence with a pair of MDL-built hulls in August 2022 and February 2023, followed by hulls alternating from GRSE and MDL at six-month intervals until the last one is delivered by GRSE in August 2025.
In May 2017 BEL and IAI had signed a USD630m deal for four LRSAM systems that are expected to arm the IN’s three Project 15A guided-missile destroyers and eventually INS Vikramaditya, the IN’s 44,750-tonne modified Kiev (Project 11430)-class aircraft carrier. Each platform is likely to be armed with 32 LRSAM missiles. (Source: IHS Jane’s)
24 Oct 18. Interest soars for modular rifle stock. The company behind a versatile rifle stock that enables operatives to shoulder their firearms while wearing a ballistic helmet with the visor fully lowered has received orders and a high level of interest from law enforcement agencies worldwide since production was launched in September.
Riot and ballistic face shields are essential for law enforcement officers in active shooter and riot control scenarios. The problem with these face shields is that once fully lowered they interfere with the assault rifles and/or less-lethal baton round guns that armed officers are equipped with.
163 year old survival equipment manufacturers, BCB International Ltd, have brought to market the FRAMM®; an adjustable and foldable stock that allows firearms officers to comfortably shoulder, aim and discharge their firearms in all firing positions.
BCB International’s FRAMM® Project Manager, Philippe Minchin, said: “Since production was launched, orders have been received from elite tactical units for the FRAMM® and it is being evaluated by various law enforcement agencies. There are multiple variants of the stock to fit onto most in service firearms.
“The FRAMM® is not your typical helmet rifle butt stock. It offers multiple position settings to conform to any body and ballistic visor shapes. It removes the need for both non-visored and visored officers to have to alternate between butt stocks to fit the situation they are faced with. At a press of a button, the FRAMM® enables an officer to switch from a classic straight alignment to a lowered setting of their choosing thereby eliminating the risk of their helmet visors or respirator masks interfering with the shouldering, aiming and firing of their weapon. The FRAMM® is the modular stock to suit all their mission requirements.”
Production has been launched for the H&K G36, B&T 40×46 and HK-UMP variants of the stock.
Production of FRAMM variants for the following firearms is planned in the near future: FN HERSTAL-SCAR, HK-MP5 A2, BERETTA-ARX 160, HK-MP5K-PDW, REMINGTON-ACR, CZ-805 A1 BREN, SIG SAUER-550/551, SIG SAUER MCX, B&T-APC556. BCB International Ltd are seeking dealers and distributors for the FRAMM® stock. To find out how you can become a FRAMM® dealer please e-mail: email@example.com
23 Oct 18. Northrop Grumman unveils Surface-Launched AARGM. Northrop Grumman is pursuing the development of a surface-launched stand-off derivative of the AGM-88E Block 1 Advanced Anti‑Radiation Guided Missile (AARGM) to address, in the first instance, US Army long-range precision fire requirements.
Designed to engage traditional and advanced land and maritime air-defence threats, as well as non-radar time-sensitive strike targets, the current AGM-88E Block 1 AARGM features an advanced digital anti-radiation homing sensor, millimetre-wave (MMW) radar terminal seeker (developed by Northrop Grumman with subcomponents supplied by MBDA in Italy), Digital Terrain Elevation Database-aided GPS/INS guidance, a weapons datalink for co-operative weapon engagements, and a counter-emitter shutdown capability through active MMW-radar terminal guidance. Block 1 AARGM leverages the legacy AGM-88 High-Speed, Anti-Radiation Missile WAU-7/B warhead section – which comprises the WDU-21/B warhead, FMU-111/B fuze, and MK 44 MOD 1 booster – and rocket motor. The current Block 1 has a stated range of 60+ n miles and an engagement speed of Mach 2+.
The SLAARGM (Surface-Launched AARGM) concept provides for a spiral development of the AGM-88E Block 1 as a high technical readiness level stand-off supersonic, surface-to-surface strike weapon to engage land and maritime targets in complex Anti Access/Area Denial (A2/AD) environments, through GPS/INS point-to-point or point-to-MMW-terminal guidance.
Northrop Grumman is currently entering the Lot 7 full-rate production of the AGM-88E Block 1 (through a recent USD171m contract from the US Navy, which also provides for AARGM deliveries to the Italian Air Force and the Royal Australian Air Force) and will leverage this to mature the SLAARGM concept, Yakov Krimberg, SLAARGM programme manager, Northrop Grumman told Jane’s. “This approach significantly mitigates development costs,” he said. (Source: IHS Jane’s)
23 Oct 18. US Army’s Precision Strike Missile moves ahead, as US-Russia INF Treaty falters. Tests are upcoming in 2019 for Raytheon and Lockheed Martin systems competing for the US Army’s Precision Strike Missile (PrSM) programme, a top acquisition priority to replace the legacy Army Tactical Missile System (ATACMS). PrSM and similar projects could assume extra urgency as the United States has suggested it will withdraw from an intermediate-range weapons treaty with Russia.
PrSM was formerly called the long-range precision fires (LRPF) munition. The army is now using the LRPF term for an overall ‘cross-functional team’ that is looking to develop specific programmes prioritised by army leadership: an Extended Range Cannon Artillery (ERCA) for howitzers, PrSM, and a strategic-range strike system that could utilise hypersonics or hypervelocity weapons.
PrSM, the mid-range of those three, could see prototypes fly in fiscal year 2019 (FY 2019) and a first missile could be delivered in FY 2022 or early FY 2023. That early model would be the ‘bus’, the basis for the army to spiral out new capabilities.
It is to reach out to 499 km and travel 1.5 times faster than the ATACMS. Two are to fit in a High Mobility Artillery Rocket System (HIMARS) launcher pod (versus one ATACMS in that launcher). PrSM’s 499 km range is to keep the munition in line with the US-Russia 1987 Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty that bars ground-launched ballistic and cruise missiles with ranges of 500-5,500km. On 20 October, however, US President Donald Trump suggested the United States would withdraw from that treaty, which the United States first accused Russia of violating in 2014.
Future capabilities for PrSM could include hitting multi-domain moving targets – hitting ships from land, or moving targets on land from a ship. It could also serve as a loitering intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance asset, could home-in on specific signal emitters, and could be used against heavily armoured targets, Brigadier General Stephen Maranian, who leads the army’s LRPF cross-functional team, told Jane’s. (Source: IHS Jane’s)
23 Oct 18. Ukroboronprom develops BМ-21 UМ Berest. Ukroboronprom has developed a new 122mm multiple launch rocket system (MLRS) combat vehicle, the BМ-21 Berest. Based on the Kraz 4X4 off-road cabover chassis, the BМ-21 Berest will replace the 122mm BМ-21 Grad vehicle in service with the Ukrainian Army. The new MLRS provides more firepower, improved fire precision, new digital control and guidance systems, advanced mobility and shortened ready to fire time compared to the Grad.
The system’s digital fire control system allows the crew to perform artillery survey without leaving the cab. It offers increased an firepower of 50 rounds, and can receive precise enemy positions in real time from networked UAS, counter-battery radar and other surveillance systems. The vehicle has wide tyres and a tyre inflation system for rugged terrains. Two fuel tanks of 165 litres each provide range of up to 600km. The vehicle can travel at a speed exceeding 90km/h. (Source: Shephard)
23 Oct 18. Black Scorpion mini torpedo due for completion in 2021. Leonardo’s Black Scorpion miniature torpedo is expected to be operational by 2021, Leonardo has confirmed to Jane’s. The weapon is being developed to tackle small submarine threats with short-range engagements in littoral waters. The Black Scorpion concept, which was unveiled in 2014, has evolved out of concerns over the growing numbers of coastal and midget submarine operators in highly cluttered littoral and shallow waters. According to the company, the technical specifications address requirements issued by the Italian Navy for a weapon capable of behaving and emitting as a lightweight torpedo launched by an airborne platform, in an attempt to panic and force an opposing submarine to react to the threat. (Source: IHS Jane’s)
23 Oct 18. Babcock International, the highly-skilled engineering services provider, has reached a milestone in its five year contract with the Ministry of Defence’s (MOD) International Guns, Missiles and Rockets (IGMR) project team to deliver a rejuvenated 4.5” Mk8 Mod 1 Medium Calibre Gun programme for the UK’s Royal Navy. Over the course of the contract, which will implement general performance improvements and address equipment obsolescence, Babcock will drive an increase in reliability and availability of weapons systems. Benefitting from significant investment, the Mk8 equipment is planned for utilisation across numerous Royal Navy platforms with the potential for deployment on future MOD contracts. Highlighting a significant milestone for the programme, Babcock – working in collaboration with BAE Systems – has delivered a number of design interventions ahead of successfully completing a series of live firing trials with QinetiQ at MOD’s Eskmeals Range in Cumbria. These trials mark the first land based firing of a fully turreted 4.5” gun since the closure of HMS Cambridge in 2001. Conducted over a five-day period and utilising multiple land and sea sites, various range, accuracy and altitudes were successfully tested. Results will now be applied to the programme as the contract progresses.
23 Oct 18. Terma, as a market leader in ship defensive systems, and Chemring Countermeasures, as a world leader in 130mm naval countermeasures, team up to develop a complete soft-kill solution for surface unit defense. By integrating Terma’s C-Guard Defensive Aid Suite and Chemring’s CENTURION fully trainable 130mm launcher, both capable of deploying a range of off-board expendable decoys, a scalable system has been developed to offer a step change in the Anti-Ship Missile Defense (ASMD) capability. This scalable system offers the maritime commander greater operational awareness and survivability in the contemporary battle space.
“The combined system solution offered by Terma and Chemring enhances soft-kill capabilities through refined and dynamic threat evaluation followed by accurate payload placement to maximize the decoy effect, providing the maritime commander with a balanced response by deploying the right decoy in the right position at the right time”, Terma director naval sales Mogens Nørregaard Cramer explains.
Terma has more than 25 years of experience protecting naval platforms from above and below water threats and offers the C-Guard system for effective protection against coordinated multi-threat / multi-directional attacks by missiles and torpedoes.
C-Guard relies on combat proven 130mm decoy rounds. Rapid response and constant threat evaluation is key in building a multi layered 360° defense to stepwise defeat multiple coordinated attacks. C-Guard is integrated with major Combat Management Systems, and more than 200 C-Guard systems are currently in operation worldwide.
“Extending C-Guard with the Chemring CENTURION fully trainable 130mm launcher provides both existing and new C-Guard customers with an upgrade path to the benefits offered by a trainable launcher capability,” states Andy Hogben, Business Director, Chemring Countermeasures.
This capability is realized to the full in larger platforms where the 130mm round in combination with the trainable launcher provides fast and accurate deployment of countermeasure rounds matched to offer platform protection against the anti-ship missile threat.
C-Guard may be deployed on naval platforms using any combination of the existing fixed launchers and/or the CENTURION fully trainable launcher. The trainable capability optimizes missile countermeasure performance in the anti-air warfare domain, whilst also offering a hard point for launching a range of off-board expendables to provide capability in anti-surface warfare, anti-submarine warfare, anti-air warfare, and C4ISR disciplines. The combination of fixed and trainable launchers offers increased capability and flexibility to the maritime commander enabling prioritization of decoy load out to maximize platform protection.
23 Oct 18. Chemring, IHI Aerospace team on TORERO corner reflector decoy round. UK-based Chemring Countermeasures has revealed the joint development of an advanced 130mm radio frequency (RF) seduction decoy with IHI Aerospace of Japan. Given the name TORERO, the new round is based on an airborne corner reflector developed by IHI. The use of a corner reflector payload is designed to overcome the chaff discrimination techniques embodied in the latest anti-ship missile seekers and to provide an effective response to radar seekers operating in the I, J, and K bands.
The mortar-fired TORERO cartridge adopts the same form factor as a standard Mk 36/Mk 214 RF seduction chaff round. On burst, the round deploys a single broadband corner reflector payload, which rapidly inflates to full size and descends slowly beneath a parachute. Radar cross section (RCS) is typically in excess of 10,000 m2. Initial proof firings – both single and dual rounds – were undertaken at the UK Ministry of Defence’s Pendine range in April in the presence of representatives from several NATO nations. According to Chemring, measurements “gave confidence in the [RCS] performance expected of the corner reflector payload”. (Source: IHS Jane’s)
23 Oct 18. MBDA Introduces Naval Versions of the 5th MMP. Generation Missiles System. MBDA has unveiled its new naval offering based on the 5th generation MMP ground combat missile at Euronaval. This decision follows the operational evaluation campaign carried out at the end of the summer by the French armed forces in Djibouti to confirm the reliability and operational performance of the MMP system in a hot environment, both from the ground and also from a rigid hulled inflatable boat (RHIB) moving at high speed. A total of nine MMP missiles were fired with all reaching their target. Two of these shots were fired by the maritime force of marines and commandos from a ECUME RHIB. A first firing from the sea-to- land and the second from sea-to-sea have demonstrated the ease of use of the MMP. The success of this evaluation allows MBDA to extend the integration perspectives of the MMP system and to propose it on fast attack craft or semi-rigid boats for missions against hostile ships, coastal defenses or armored vehicles, especially in support of a landing of small units or Special Forces.
At Euronaval, the MMP system (firing post and missile) is presented on the Zodiac Milpro booth, installed on a Hurricane type RHIB. On fast patrol boats, the MMP will be fired from a stabilised turret carrying four ready-to-fire ammunitions installed in launchers protecting the missiles from the maritime environment. The turret can be controlled from a dedicated console or from a multifunction console in the ship’s operations center.
Antoine Bouvier, CEO of MBDA, said: “Today’s launch of a family of naval systems based on the MMP missile is aligned with the trajectory we initiated with the French armies at the launch of the MMP program in 2011. By deciding at that time to introduce the most modern technologies of guidance and propulsion together with a multi-effect warhead, we laid the foundations of a family of weapons capable of meeting the most demanding constraints the armed forces may encounter in the field, in terms of tactical effects, in terms of mobility, as well as in environmental terms. The MMP family sees today the advent of naval versions. I have no doubt that the MMP will give birth to other more powerful versions in the near future.”
23 Oct 18. Five Raytheon Company (NYSE: RTN)-built SM-2 surface-to-air missiles successfully completed five test flights in back-to-back summer exercises conducted at sea by the Republic of Korea Navy, or ROKN. ROKN fired two Block IIIA missiles in an initial exercise to test the missiles’ advanced semi-active radar seeker technology. During a second exercise, the navy destroyed three aerial threats using the Block IIIB variant. The SM-2 missile gives navies the capability to defend against anti-ship missiles and aircraft out to 90 nautical miles.
“These successful flight tests add to SM-2’s impressive legacy of more than 2,700 successful firings,” said Mitch Stevison, Raytheon Air and Missile Defense Systems vice president. “As we begin to produce a new generation of SM-2s, the missile will be in the inventories of navies worldwide for decades to come.”
Raytheon restarted the SM-2 missile line in 2017 to meet global demands from international customers, which include eight international countries. New deliveries are scheduled to begin in 2020 and will include more than 280 SM-2 Block IIIA and IIIB missiles.
23 Oct 18. Raytheon Company (NYSE: RTN) has delivered a RAM launcher to the Mexican government as part of the long-range off-shore patrol vessel (Patrulla Oceánica de Largo Alcance, or POLA) program, marking the first delivery of a RAM product to a Latin American country. The Mexican Navy will use the RAM Block 2 supersonic, quick reaction, fire-and-forget missile to counter enemy anti-ship missiles. This latest version features a larger rocket motor, advanced control section and an enhanced radio frequency receiver.
“RAM Block 2 protects ships against a long list of constantly evolving threats,” said Mitch Stevison, Raytheon Air and Missile Defense Systems vice president. “With RAM protecting its frigate, Mexico not only enhances its maritime posture, but they also expand their naval support of national security and defense of critical sea lanes.”
The RAM system is the world’s most modern ship self-defense weapon and protects ships of all sizes. It’s deployed on more than 165 ships in eight countries, ranging from 500-ton fast attack craft to 95,000-ton aircraft carriers.
22 Oct 18. Syria – UK DfT issues new advice to UK carriers for the vicinity of Syrian airspace. On 22 October, the UK’s Department for Transport (DfT) issued new advice to UK air carriers due to the “hazardous situation in the vicinity” of Syrian airspace, (FIR Damascus (OSTT)). The new advice states there is a “potential risk to aviation” operating up to 200 miles (322 km) outside FIR Damascus (OSTT) from “anti-aircraft Weaponry” (NOTAM EGTT V0016/18) . This echoes similar advice from the US FAA, which in April issued an updated conflict zone notice and background information for Syria outlining the risk posed to civil aviation within 200 miles (322km) of the country, due to increased military activity, GPS disruption and errant missile launches (NOTAM KICZ A0009/18). In addition, EASA issued an extension of its information bulletin on 18 October for the airspace at all altitudes over Syria through 18 April 2019 due to the enduring conflict zone environment in the country (CZIB-2017-03R3). The US, UK, German and French civil aviation authorities have also issued strict guidance to operators within the past year, advising all flights be deferred to airports in the country and within the airspace over Syria. Aviation operators should monitor airport/airspace-specific NOTAMs, bulletins, circulars, publications, advisories, prohibitions and restrictions prior to departure to avoid flight schedule disruption.
We assess the new advice is in response to the continuing military activity in Syria and the surrounding airspace controlled by neighbouring countries and over the Eastern Mediterranean Sea. On 17 September, a Syrian military Russian-made S-200 Vega (SA-5 GAMMON) conventional surface-to-air missile (SAM) system was responsible for the accidental shoot down of a Russian Air Force IL-20 COOT special mission aircraft over the Eastern Mediterranean Sea within FIR Nicosia (LCCC). At the time, Assad-regime military air defences were attempting to repel Israeli Air Force airstrikes targeting sites in Syria’s Latakia and Tartus governorates. The SA-5 has the capability to engage aircraft at altitudes well above FL900 and at ranges out to 190 miles (300 km). In addition, Russia supplied the Assad-regime with multiple Russian-made S-300 Favorit (SA-20 GARGOYLE) conventional SAM systems during early-October which will be deployed in northwest Syria for strategic air defence coverage of the airspace over the Eastern Mediterranean Sea. The most capable variants of the SA-20 have the ability to engage aircraft at altitudes well above FL800 and at ranges out to 120 miles (193km). Operators are advised to ensure crews with planned flights within 200 miles (322km) of Syria conduct operational risk-based identification of divert and alternate airports for schedules with routing in airspace controlled by Cyprus, Egypt, Israel, Lebanon, Turkey, Jordan and Iraq. We continue to assess Syria to be an EXTREME risk airspace environment at all altitudes. (Source: Osprey)
22 Oct 18. HMS Queen Elizabeth’s F-35s drop first Paveway II test bombs. The UK’s F-35B Lightning II fighter jets have dropped the first Paveway II test bombs during trials on HMS Queen Elizabeth aircraft carrier off the US east coast. Dropping the 500lb inert GBU-12 Paveway II laser-guided precision bombs carrying no explosives represents another key in the carrier’s trials. Through the exercise, the trials teams could gather crucial test data and assess how the jets perform when carrying various weights. The US-made bombs comprise a head, containing the bomb’s computer, the tail and a concrete warhead.
As part of the cooperation between the UK and the US, the bombs are being built on-board by Royal Navy air engineers, under the supervision of US Navy ordnance ratings from the US aircraft carrier USS Dwight D Eisenhower.
HMS Queen Elizabeth air engineering department head commander Neil Mathieson said: “It makes me excited about operational trials next year with the UK’s F-35 Lightning squadrons when we will see live Paveways being dropped. These trials are an important pathway to that point.”
Due to the carrier’s automated technology, around 40 people are enough to make an F-35 Lightning jet ready for combat operations.
HMS Queen Elizabeth is currently progressing with flying trials on a deployment called Westlant 18. The carrier is expected to be ready for global operations from 2021.
Meanwhile, construction work is nearing completion on the Royal Navy’s other new aircraft carrier HMS Prince of Wales at the Rosyth Dockyard.
The new aircraft carriers will be deployed for humanitarian assistance and disaster relief operations. In addition, they will be used to support British Armed Forces deployed worldwide. (Source: naval-technology.com)
19 Oct 18. Rostec develops potential Makarov replacement. Rostec’s Central Scientific Research Institute of Precision Engineering (TSNIITOCHMASH) has developed a 9x21mm pistol for the Russian Ministry of Defence and law enforcement services, Rostec announced on 16 October. The new pistol, currently in testing, has been developed as a replacement for the Makarov handgun which has been deployed by Russian military forces since the 1950s. The decision as to whether it will be supplied to Russian forces will be made when testing completes in December 2018.
Sergey Abramov, conventional armament, ammunition and special chemistry cluster industrial director of Rostec, said: ‘This project proves again that Russia has all knowledge and capabilities that are necessary to create high-quality small arms, including short arms. Such a product requires a wide range of expertise from basic sciences to metallurgy. Many countries with developed machine industries can’t afford to develop their own pistols. There is no doubt that the project of our specialists will be noticed on the market.’ (Source: Shephard)
19 Oct 18. Long-range missile accepted for service with Russia’s S-400. The 40N6 long-range missile for the S-400 Triumf air-defence system has been accepted for Russian service, the Tass news agency reported on 18 October. TASS quoted a source in the domestic defence industry who said the missile had been accepted for service and that the Ministry of Defence had started purchasing missiles in September after signing all the necessary documents.
“More than a thousand 40N6 missiles are planned to be purchased under the state armament programme through to 2027 to provide newly formed and rearm existing S-400 regiments of the aerospace forces with them,” the source said. “A total of 56 S-400 battalions are planned to be established in the aerospace forces under this programme”.(Source: IHS Jane’s)
18 Oct 18. Unitech Composites to provide weapon pylons for Afghan Black Hawk helos. Unitech Composites, a subsidiary of Unitech Aerospace, has been awarded a contract to provide its Lightweight Armament Support Structure (LASS) weapon pylons for fitment onto several of the Sikorsky UH-60A Black Hawk multirole helicopters the United States is supplying to the Afghan government, the company announced on 16 October. The initial contract is for three LASS shipsets, with the first scheduled to be delivered in the fourth quarter of 2018, the company said, adding that published programme requirements call for 58 of these weaponised Black Hawks. The pylons will be installed on UH-60A Black Hawks with fixed-forward-firing weapons, and are set to be operated by the Afghan Air Force (AAF) and the special operations-dedicated Special Mission Wing (SMW). The US Army’s Engineering Directorate (AED) is expected to issue an airworthiness release (AWR) prior to the Black Hawks being deployed in Afghanistan in late 2019.
The announcement comes as the AAF is transitioning from the Russian-built Mil Mi-17 ‘Hip’ helicopter to the UH-60A Black Hawk. The AAF currently has about 47 Mi-17s in its inventory, while its SMW operates an additional 33. So far the AAF has received at least 16 of a total of 159 Black Hawks set to be handed over by the United States by 2023.
According to the US Department of Defense, the transition is being driven by a requirement for additional rotary-wing lift capabilities and airborne firepower as well as by a Congressional directive to switch to US-made rotary-wing aircraft rather than spending more from the Afghanistan Security Forces Fund (ASFF) on buying helicopters from Russia.
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