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01 Nov 18. Russian Army units receive Tornado-G MLRS. The Russian Army’s Central Military District 2nd Combined Arms motorised rifle units in Samara have been armed with fifteen Tornado-G multiple launch rocket systems (MLRS), according to the Russian Ministry of Defence. Able to direct a missile to the target automatically, the Tornado-G MLRS is designed to launch strikes against enemy personnel, armoured vehicles, artillery units and command posts. With a modern communications systems and a digital control system, the system can be integrated with the Orlan UAS for reconnaissance, guidance and correction of fire. (Source: Shephard)
31 Oct 18. Malaysia tests Starstreak missiles. Malaysia conducted a firing of its Thales Starstreak Next Generation (NG) surface-to-air missiles on 25 October at the Tanjung Logok Ground-to-Air Firing Range in Johor, as part of acceptance trials for the weapon system. These trials formed part of the Army Air Defence Artillery Group’s week long Exercise Panah Jaguh, held twice a year in March and October. Occasionally open to the media, this iteration was closed likely due to Starstreak NG acceptance trials being carried out in the exercise. The Royal Malaysian Navy’s Twitter account posted a photo of the Starstreak NG being fired from a Lightweight Multiple Launcher (LML). With Starstreak RapidRover and RapidRanger variants also present at the exercise, firing from these platforms likely occurred as well. The targets used were probably the Meggitt BTT-3 Banshee drone, for which Malaysian company Aerotree has a target services contract that includes the provision and use of Banshees.
Malaysia ordered an undisclosed number of launchers in LML, RapidRover and RapidRanger configurations in 2015 in a deal worth approximately $130m. Shephard understands that six RapidRanger systems mounted on URO VAMTAC 4×4 vehicles formed part of the contract. Malaysia’s RapidRover configuration is an LML mounted on a Global Komited GKM1 4×4 vehicle.
Malaysia previously carried out firings of earlier Starstreak HVM missiles as part of initial training on the system in March 2016. As part of the contract, Malaysia’s remaining stock of Starburst missiles (the last of which were phased out in 2013) were exchanged for HVM missiles. The Starstreak NG will equip the Malaysian Army’s 32nd Royal Artillery Regiment, the Royal Malaysian Navy’s Base Air Defence Unit and the Royal Malaysian Air Force’s 401 Ground-Based Air Defence Squadron. The former is expected to operate all three configurations, while the other two services will operate RapidRover and LML configurations. (Source: Shephard)
31 Oct 18. Indonesia continues tests of R-Han 122B rocket. Indonesia carried out test firings of its indigenous 122mm rocket R-Han 122B on 23-25 October at the Indonesian Air Force range in West Java. The R-Han 122B is an improved version of the R-Han 122, with a greater range of over 20km. It is fired from Grad and RM-70 Vampir MRL launchers of the Indonesian Marine Corps, although an indigenous MRL vehicle is also being developed for it jointly by PT Prafir Jaya Abadi and the MoD.
The unnamed MRL vehicle has a 6×6 chassis mounting a 6×3 box launcher. The rocket is being developed by the National Rocket Consortium, which includes key Indonesian defence companies such as PT Dirgantara Indonesia (PTDI, acting as lead integrator), PT Pindad and PT Dahana.
PTDI signed a contract in February 2017 to produce 60 rockets for the MoD, though these were likely for testing purposes.
Indonesia’s Defence Ministry issued a press release on the trials, stating that the firing tests went smoothly without any issues. It released photos of the rockets being fired from a test-bed vehicle rather than the indigenous MRL vehicle.
The R-Han 122B’s first test firing was successfully carried out in October 2015, but previous firing trials in West Java in September 2017 and January 2018 resulted in the rockets falling short and landing in agricultural fields nearby, though no casualties were caused. The Indonesian Marine Corps operates both Grad and RM-70 Vampir MRL systems, while the Indonesian Army operates the ASTROS II MRL, which uses a different calibre rocket. The costs of obtaining foreign MRL and rocket ammunition for them, plus the size of the Indonesian Army and Marine Corps, is driving the Indonesian MoD to look for indigenous systems. (Source: Shephard)
30 Oct 18. LM’s Missile Defense Laser Concept Continues Toward Development. Laser and Beam Control System Designed to Intercept Enemy Missiles During Boost Phase. The Missile Defense Agency awarded Lockheed Martin (NYSE: LMT) a nine month, $25.5m contract extension to continue development of its Low Power Laser Demonstrator (LPLD) missile interceptor concept. This program, awarded Aug. 31, builds on a 2017 contract to develop an initial LPLD concept. Lockheed Martin’s LPLD concept consists of a fiber laser system on a high-performing, high-altitude airborne platform. LPLD is designed to engage missiles during their boost phase — the short window after launch — which is the ideal time to destroy the threat, before it can deploy multiple warheads and decoys. Over the course of this contract, Lockheed Martin will mature its LPLD concept to a tailored critical design review phase, which will bring the design to a level that can support full-scale fabrication.
“We have made great progress on our LPLD design, and in this stage we are particularly focused on maturing our technology for beam control – the ability to keep the laser beam stable and focused at operationally relevant ranges,” said Sarah Reeves, vice president for Missile Defense Programs at Lockheed Martin Space. “LPLD is one of many breakthrough capabilities the Missile Defense Agency is pursuing to stay ahead of rapidly-evolving threats, and we’re committed to bringing together Lockheed Martin’s full expertise in directed energy for this important program.”
Lockheed Martin expands on advanced technology through its laser device, beam control capabilities, and platform integration – ranging from internal research and development investments in systems like ATHENA to programs such as LANCE for the Air Force Research Laboratory. Continued LPLD development will take place at Lockheed Martin’s Sunnyvale, California campus through July 2019. As a proven world leader in systems integration and development of air and missile defense systems and technologies, Lockheed Martin delivers high-quality missile defense solutions that protect citizens, critical assets and deployed forces from current and future threats. The company’s experience spans directed energy systems development, missile design and production, hit-to-kill capabilities, infrared seekers, command and control/battle management, and communications, precision pointing and tracking optics, radar and signal processing, as well as threat-representative targets for missile defense tests. (Source: ASD Network)
30 Oct 18. New cooling system unveiled for 120mm Alakran mortars. Spanish companies Everis Aerospace and Defense and New Technologies Global Systems (NTGS) have announced a new cooling system for their Alakran light mortar carrier. The new development was in response to a customer request, Leon Bitar, Everis’ vice-president for defence systems, told Jane’s at the IQPC Future Mortars conference in London on 24 October 2018. As a result, it had been designed and then tested by firing four rounds per minute for up to 20 minutes without the barrel temperature rising above 100°C, Bitar said. Without the system, this would have resulted in a barrel temperature of over 500°C. A barrel temperature of 180°C could result in the propelling charge igniting after 15 seconds and a 220°C temperature could cause instantaneous ignition. To reduce the temperature, the new system incorporates a sleeve around the barrel that generates a mist of 100-micron water droplets that evaporate and cool the barrel at a rate of 1,000 Kcals per minute, equivalent to 0.4°C per second. Dissipating heat without the use of a cooling system can be slow, and regular firing can increase barrel temperature rapidly with firing five rounds in two minutes generally resulting in a rise of over 40°C, according to Everis’ briefing materials. The Alakran is a 120mm mortar with a range of up to 8.2km. It can be integrated onto a range of wheeled platforms that have a stated maximum payload of 1.5 tonnes without any need for structural reinforcements. (Source: IHS Jane’s)
30 Oct 18. Kraig Biocraft Laboratories selects new high performance recombinant spider silk for delivery to US Army. The Company developed a new recombinant spider silk fiber with properties targeted for protective textile applications. Kraig Biocraft Laboratories, Inc. (OTCQB: KBLB) (“Company”), the leading developer of spider silk based fibers, announces today that, working under its contract with the US ARMY (“Army”), it developed a strain of genetically engineered silkworms that better match the physical properties required for applications in protective textiles.
Tentatively called Dragon Silk 2.0; this new strain is the next evolution in the development of protective fibers, built upon the Company’s existing Dragon Silk, and is a further example of the Company’s ability to adapt and tailor the properties of its recombinant spider silk materials to meet end market performance requirements. Through the use of its fiber performance testing capabilities, paired with a select breeding program, the Company created a strain that is stronger, yet less elastic, than the original Dragon Silk.
Specifically created in response to input from the Army, based on requirements for antiballistic applications, this new strain of recombinant spider silk silkworms is the second phase of the Company’s development agreement with the Army. Kraig Labs delivered shootpack panels to the Army, earlier this summer, made of its original Dragon Silk material and those panels are awaiting testing.
“When the Army chose to award the second phase of this project we knew that we were given a great opportunity to prove the power of our technology and our approach using silkworms,” said COO, Jon Rice. “Today we’re thrilled to announce that our work was a success and that we now have a line of silkworms that produce a recombinant spider silk better matched for the demands of protective textile applications. We expect this new strain will play a critical role in our expansion and commercialization of spider silk far beyond the market for bullet proof vests.”
Over the next several months Kraig Labs plans to scale up the production of this new recombinant spider silk fiber at the Company’s domestic facility, in order to fulfill the second phase deliverables to the Army.
About Kraig Biocraft Laboratories, Inc.
Kraig Biocraft Laboratories, Inc. (www.KraigLabs.com), a reporting biotechnology company is the leading developer of genetically engineered spider silk based fiber technologies. The Company has achieved a series of scientific breakthroughs in the area of spider silk technology with implications for the global textile industry. (Source: BUSINESS WIRE)
30 Oct 18. Yemeni rebels unveil new missile. The Yemeni rebel group Ansar Allah (Houthis) unveiled a guided version of its Badr-1 artillery rocket on 28 October, potentially giving it a weapon system that can carry out precision strikes on Saudi Arabia. The group released a video showing a spokesman holding a press conference while standing in front of the new Badr-1P. He said it was developed from the Badr-1, has a range of 150km, and an accuracy of 3m. The presentation included footage of what was said to be a Badr-1P being launched against a disused military facility in a test and then on 27 October against a camp on Yemen’s Red Sea coast purportedly used by Sudanese troops serving with the Saudi-led coalition that the rebels are fighting. Both targets were seen being hit in aerial footage. The latter location could be identified as one 14.5 km south of the port of Al-Hudaydah. Satellite imagery indicates the attack happened recently as the position was not occupied until 16 October and there was no sign that it had been hit before 23 October. Ansar Allah unveiled the Badr-1 in March and has released footage of a large artillery rocket with a diameter of approximately 300-350 mm and fixed rear fins that require it being launched from a metal frame – rather than a tube – that spins the projectile. Ansar Allah has repeatedly reported using Badr-1s against Saudi Arabia, although the level of damage caused by these attacks remains unclear. (Source: IHS Jane’s)
30 Oct 18. SEA, the UK’s defence systems and integration specialist, is leading the physical and technical software integration of soldier personal area networks with the British Army’s current body armour and load carrying systems, as part of the Ministry of Defence’s (MoD) research and development. On behalf of the Soldier, Training and Special Projects team from the MoD’s Defence Equipment and Support (DE&S) agency, SEA will be delivering the experimental capability to the MoD’s Defence Science and Technology Laboratory for experimentation. Under the contract, SEA will work alongside Blacktree Technology Limited, BAE Technology, Black Diamond Advanced Technology and Ultra Electronics to deliver a truly integrated solution to demonstrate how armed services professionals may benefit from a seamless communication experience.
Steve Hill, Managing Director of SEA, said “This project is a clear demonstration of SEA’s excellence and expertise in the research and development of integrated solutions for the Ministry of Defence.
“Following a competitive bidding process, we are delighted to be leading on this project and are looking forward to working alongside industry partners as well as our sister company, Marlborough Communications Ltd (MCL), to deliver a solution that can take soldiers’ personal area networks in a new and revolutionary direction.”
Incorporating three different systems, the integrated solution will allow for seamless communication between devices and enhance the performance of the system by, for example, extending battery life. The intelligent personal area network will make communication simpler and easier for soldiers in the field, while producing a more standardised system.
29 Oct 18. US Army moves out with Modular Active Protection Systems testing. While the US Army continues onward with plans to equip land vehicles with currently available Active Protection Systems (APS), it is also pressing forward with the development of a longer-term Modular Active Protection Systems (MAPS) to shoot down incoming threats. On 29 October, the army’s Research Development and Engineering Command (RDECOM) announced that it had completed a series of four virtual soft-kill demonstrations using MAPS base kit components with “various combinations of vendor-supplied sensors and countermeasures”.
“Through this series of tests, we were able to validate the ability of the MAC [Modular APS Controller] to control various sensors and countermeasures that comply with the MAF [the Modular APS Framework],” said Bill Beyer, the MAPS Virtual Demonstrator lead. “The tests also proved that using a controller built on government- and industry-approved open standards and common interfaces allows integration of disparate components into a full system.”
During the four virtual soft-kill tests, Tank Automotive Research, Development and Engineering Center (TARDEC) said that the MAC controlled a “unique configuration of sensors and countermeasures” during each test series.
“Each of these demonstrator efforts focused on a different aspect of modularity. The first two tests focused on soft-kill countermeasure modularity while the third and fourth demonstrators showcased cueing sensor modularity,” TARDEC said. “These demonstrations emphasise how, with minimal configuration changes, subsystems that are MAF-compliant can be integrated with one another to accommodate specific platform and mission needs.”
Moving forward, TARDEC is planning to conduct a fifth demonstrator to test “cueing sensor modularity” and determine if the sensors and effectors are adaptable across a range of APS subsystems. Then in December, the service will begin testing MAPS hard-kill capabilities through virtual demonstrations. Down the road, the service will do further demonstrations where it will layer “a hard-kill on a soft-kill defeat system onto the same platform”, according to Colonel Glenn Dean, the army’s project manager for Stryker Brigade Combat Team and APS acquisition. (Source: IHS Jane’s)
25 Oct 18. A Never-Before-Seen Russian Missile Is Identified As An Anti-Satellite Weapon and Will Be Ready for Warfare by 2022. A never-before-seen missile photographed last month on a Russian MiG-31 interceptor is believed to be a mock-up of an anti-satellite weapon that will be ready for warfare by 2022, three sources with direct knowledge of a U.S. intelligence report say. The Russian anti-satellite weapon, which is attached to a space launch vehicle, is expected to target communication and imagery satellites in low Earth orbit, according to one source, who spoke on condition of anonymity. For reference, the International Space Station and the Hubble Space Telescope travel in low Earth orbit. Images of the mysterious missile on a modified Russian MiG-31, a supersonic near-space interceptor, appeared in mid-September. Initial testing of the mock system began in September and is slated to run through Wednesday, according to one of the sources. The tests, which are referred to as a “captive carry tests,” are designed to evaluate the mock weapon during flight, according to the source.
“These are the types of tests you do first in order to gain confidence that the weapon and air frame are going to work together during flight,” a source explained to CNBC, adding that the next testing milestone will occur in 2019.
The Russians are expected to conduct weapon releases tests next year, when the mock system is to be launched from the belly of the aircraft. What’s more, sources with direct knowledge of the U.S. intelligence report expect the weapon to join the Kremlin’s arsenal by 2022. (Source: defense-aerospace.com/CNBC)
29 Oct 18. Spain looking for new mounted mortar. The Spanish Army is to announce a requirement for a new mounted mortar system in 2020, Jane’s has learnt. Speaking at the IQPC Future Mortars Conference in London on 24 October, Lieutenant Colonel Fernando Cano Artero of the Spanish Army told Jane’s the service will be looking for a 120 mm mounted system to replace its Elbit Cardom systems. Current modernisation plans will see a decision being taken in 2020, with both the Alakran system from Everis Aerospace/NTGS and the EIMOS system produced by Expal expected to be in contention (although the EIMOS is currently only configured for 81mm mortars). (Source: IHS Jane’s)
29 Oct 18. Northrop Grumman tests new LEO warhead for hypersonic missiles. Northrop Grumman recently completed series testing of a new 50 lb-class warhead designed to equip future US air-to-surface and surface-to-surface hypersonic weapons to defeat a broader range of target sets, from ground forces to light/medium vehicles and aircraft.
The new warhead leverages the company’s Lethality Enhanced Ordnance (LEO) technology: a scalable fragmentation/penetration warhead solution developed by Northrop Grumman in response to a US Department of Defense (DoD) requirement that by 2019 cluster munitions containing submunitions do not result in more than 1% unexploded ordnance (UXO) after arming. Unlike submunitions, LEO technology uses a thinned out shell casing supplemented with an inner fragmentation layer that can be scaled according to the required target set. (Source: IHS Jane’s)
29 Oct 18. Saab Gripen E test fighter concludes external payload launch tests. The first of the Saab-built Gripen E test aircraft has completed the maiden series of tests in order to validate its ability to release and launch external payloads. Carried out at Vidsel Test Range in the north of Sweden, the tests comprised jettisoning one external fuel drop tank and one firing of an infra-red imaging system tail / thrust vector controlled (IRIS-T) air-to-air missile. Designated 39-8, the first test jet performed the trials as part of the latest steps taken in the Gripen E flight test programme preceded by the carriage tests in July and forms part of the weapon integration work. Saab experimental Gripen test pilot Marcus Wandt said: “This test was also used to evaluate the effect on the aircraft when releasing and launching the stores. The highlight was, of course, to pull the trigger and watch the missile fire away.
“It also brings us closer to making the aircraft ready for its operational use.”
The Gripen E can be equipped with weapons for all types of missions such as stand-off precision strike using guided glide bombs, heavy anti-ship and deep strike missiles, and long-range and agile air-to-air missiles such as Meteor.
The multi-role fighter aircraft also has the capability to carry pods and sensors for reconnaissance and special missions. Designed as an upgraded version of the Gripen C/D multi-role aircraft, Gripen E features an overall length of 15.2m, a wingspan of 8.6m and maximum take-off weight of 16,500kg. The single-seat combat jet has a maximum speed of Mach 2 at high altitude and 1,400km/h at low altitude. The Gripen E programme has been designed to deliver the jets to Swedish and Brazilian customers, said Saab Aeronautics senior vice-president and head Jonas Hjelm. (Source: airforce-technology.com)
26 Oct 18. The latest evolution of the Aegis Combat System, Baseline 9.C2 (BMD5.1) successfully supported an MDA-led at-sea Ballistic Missile Defense System test event. During the test, the Lockheed Martin (NYSE:LMT)-built Aegis Weapon System detected, tracked, engaged and launched a missile to intercept a Medium Range Ballistic Missile (MRBM) target. The test, called Flight Test Standard Missile–45, demonstrated the integrated capabilities of the Aegis Weapon System and how it has continually evolved to counter advanced threats. This test demonstrated the new engagement assessment functionality, bi-directional missile communications and sensor improvement algorithms.
“This test authenticates the strengthening global security of the United States and its allies as we deepen the defense capabilities with the Aegis Ballistic Missile Defense System,” said Paul Klammer, director, Aegis BMD. “This exercise showed that Aegis is the most advanced combat system and the proven choice for a layered defense.”
This test builds upon joint research investments by the United States and Japan and comes on the heels of a successful test with the JS ATAGO (DDG 177) in September. Lockheed Martin is developing a Baseline 9/BMD 5.1 variant computer program, for deployment on Japan’s Aegis destroyers.
26 Oct 18. The U.S. Navy and Missile Defense Agency completed the second successful intercept of a ballistic missile target by a Raytheon Company (NYSE: RTN) SM-3® Block IIA missile, the next-gen variant that defeats missile threats outside the earth’s atmosphere. USS John Finn (DDG-113) crew members launched the SM-3 IIA missile, which engaged and destroyed a land-launched target resembling an advanced ballistic missile. The primary objective was a successful intercept, and the mission also evaluated the system’s overall performance.
“This second intercept for the SM-3 Block IIA is a success we share with the Missile Defense Agency and the country of Japan, our cooperative development partners,” said Dr. Taylor W. Lawrence, Raytheon Missile Systems president. “Together, we are building the most advanced solutions for ballistic missile defense.”
The IIA variant has larger rocket motors and a bigger kinetic warhead, raising its effectiveness against evolving threats. SM-3 is the only ballistic missile interceptor that can be launched at sea and on land.
29 Oct 18. USAF’s 86th MUNS receives ordnance shipment at German air base. The US Air Force’s (USAF) 86th Airlift Wing’s Munitions Squadron (86th MUNS) has taken the delivery of its largest shipment of ordnance since the late 20th century. Stationed at Ramstein Air Base in Germany, the 86th MUNS received approximately 100 containers filled with a wide range of munitions in October. USAF 86th MUNS munitions operations section chief master sergeant David Head said: “This is the largest shipment of its kind since Operation Allied Force, which took place in 1999.
“The munitions that we received will be used for future theatre operations and the evolving US European Command presence.”
In a statement, the 86th MUNS munitions flight chief master sergeant Arthur Myrick said that the range of ordnance would be used to support NATO’s European Deterrence Initiative (EDI), along with increasing the USAF’s war reserve materiel in Europe. According to USAF officials, EDI has been designed to improve responsiveness and readiness by pre-positioning ammunition, fuel and equipment. This will help enhance the US Department of Defense’s ability to ensure a rapid response against threats made by aggressive enemies.
Myrick said: “We’re a major airlift hub for US Air Forces in Europe – Air Forces Africa, so our main job is to get munitions where they need to be on time. These are real-world munitions to fulfil real-world objectives. That’s the reason we are downloading these things: to make sure we have the capability to move the fight forward if need be.” (Source: airforce-technology.com)
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