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10 Jan 19. MBDA says its Mistral missile can also blow up small boats. Eyeing another export application of its Mistral missile, European missile-maker MBDA on Wednesday announced a successful test of the weapon against a small, fast-moving surface target. The test, which the company said happened “at the end of 2018,” adds a new naval target set for the air-to-air weapon. Armies can already deploy the Mistral missile in a shoulder-fired MANPAD setup, and the weapon can be mounted on helicopters. The ability to destroy fast boats falls in line with governments’ fears of so-called asymmetric attacks. The term refers to guerilla-style tactics, employed by terrorist commandos or pirates, that prize speed and surprise over traditional firepower.
A remote-controlled, semi-rigid boat more than 3 kilometers off the coast served as a target in the demonstration. The Mistral was launched from a SIMBAD-RC automated naval turret, also made by MBDA, mounted on land for the test. Installed on a ship, the turret is remote-controlled, meaning sailors can fire the weapon without exposing themselves to danger on deck, according to the company.
MBDA said “a number of foreign delegations attended the demonstration firing,” hinting at hopes of winning new Mistral customers abroad. Roughly 30 countries already have the weapon in their inventories. (Source: Defense News)
11 Jan 19. China backs rhetoric with ‘ship killer’ missile deployment. China has mobilised its DF-26 “ship killer” missile to north-west China’s plateau and desert areas, on the back of their Vice Admiral’s threat to “sink two aircraft carriers” following a US warship passing through the Taiwan Strait and close to the Paracel Islands. The islands are claimed by China, Vietnam and Taiwan, with the USS McCampbell asserting international free passage rules, which China has chosen to ignore, insisting the nation has traditional sovereignty over the entirety of the South and East China seas. Despite an international arbitration court rejecting China’s claim over the area, the nation insist the USS McCampbell trespassed on its waters. The deployment of the D-26 missiles is in direct response to this “trespass”, according to China’s state-run media Global Times. The weapon is China’s new generation of intermediate-range ballistic missile capable of targeting medium and large ships at sea, with a reported range of 4,500 kilometres, which covers the entire South China Sea.
The government mouthpiece threatened that the DF-26’s range makes it “capable of striking targets including US naval bases in Guam in the western Pacific” and noted that the mobilisation of the missiles “is a good reminder that China is capable of safeguarding its territory”.
The missile also has the capability to carry conventional and nuclear warheads, according to the Global Times. Due to the range of the DF-26, it doesn’t need to be positioned close to the Taiwan Strait or the disputed Paracel Islands, and can be launched “deep in the country’s interior”, which a Global Times interviewed expert said is “more difficult to intercept”.
The unnamed expert also noted that “during the initial phase of a ballistic missile launch, the missile is relatively slow and not difficult to detect, making it an easier target for enemy anti-missile installations. After the missile enters a later stage, its speed is so high that chances for interception are significantly lower”.
The US has called on its international allies to continue to contest Beijing’s attempts to control shipping lanes in recent weeks, with China recently completing work on a number of fortresses on coral reefs, and then insisting nations respect the 12 nautical mile sovereign territorial claims on them.
It’s the first time the DF-26 missiles have made a close-up public appearance since coming into service with the People’s Liberation Army Rocket Force. The missile is currently attached to a brigade within the PLA Rocket Force. (Source: Defence Connect)
08 Jan 19. US Navy Quietly Fires 20 Hyper Velocity Projectiles Through Destroyer’s Deckgun. Last summer USS Dewey (DDG-105) fired 20 hyper velocity projectiles (HVP) from a standard Mk 45 5-inch deck gun in a quiet experiment that’s set to add new utility to the weapon found on almost every U.S. warship, officials familiar with the test have told USNI News. The test, conducted by the Navy and the Pentagon’s Strategic Capabilities Office as part of the Rim of the Pacific (RIMPAC) 2018 international exercise, was part of a series of studies to prove the Navy could turn the more than 40-year-old deck gun design into an effective and low-cost weapon against cruise missiles and larger unmanned aerial vehicles.
While the HVP was originally designed to be the projectile for the electromagnetic railgun, the Navy and the Pentagon see the potential for a new missile defense weapon that can launch a guided round at near-hypersonic speeds.
Currently, the fleet uses a combination of missiles – like the Evolved Seasparrow Missile, the Rolling Airframe Missile and the Standard Missile 2 – to ward off cruise missile threats. The missiles are effective but also expensive, Bryan Clark with the Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments told USNI News on Monday.
In 2016, guided-missile destroyer USS Mason (DDG-87) fired three missiles to ward off two suspected Iranian cruise missiles fired from Houthi rebels in the Red Sea, in what amounted to a multi-million dollar engagement.
“So if you think about the kinds of threats you might face in the Middle East, the lower-end cruise missiles or a larger UAV, now you have a way to shoot them down that doesn’t require you use a $2 million ESSM or $1m RAM because a hyper velocity projectile – even in the highest-end estimates have it in the $75,000 to $100,000 range, and that’s for the fanciest version of it with an onboard seeker,” he said. (Source: defense-aerospace.com/US Naval Institute News)
10 Jan 19. Russian MoD completes testing of Udav pistol. Russia’s state-owned TASS news agency quoted a representative of the Russian Ministry of Defence (MoD) on 5 January as saying that military “state tests of the Udav [boa constrictor] pistol have been completed; it is recommended for introduction into the [military] arms inventory”. The MoD added, “The military rated the new weapon highly.” The Udav was designed and developed by the TsNIITochMash small arms design bureau based in the Russian city of Podolsk. The Russian MoD trialed the pistol in August-December 2018 at the TsNIITochMash test facility and ministry test sites located in the Western and Central Military Districts. The TASS report also quoted a TsNIITochMash representative stating that the Udav underwent a series of ballistic, endurance, and ‘harsh climate’ tests, performing satisfactorily within the 50 to -70⁰C temperature range. The representative concluded, “Presently, the test results of the pistol are being reviewed by the state commission.ˮ Chambered for the 9×21 cartridge, the Udav has a 50m sighting range and is fed from a double-stack magazine that holds 18 rounds. (Source: IHS Jane’s)
09 Jan 19. Domestic Software to Give Turkey Full Control Over Missile Systems Purchased from Abroad. In order to exercise full control of missile systems Turkey purchased from abroad, the country has been working on developing stand-alone controller systems, particularly for the S-400 missile system that Ankara has agreed to purchase from Russia. With the goal of expanding its missile system capacity, Turkey aimed to meet its needs by purchasing Russia’s S-400 system because the country’s NATO ally, the U.S., failed to provide the Patriot system. However, Turkey’s decision to buy the Russian-developed system caused tension with the U.S., which even went as far as blocking the delivery of F-35 jets to Turkey.
“The arguments over the coexistence of F-35 jets and the S-400 missile system in the same military inventory have not been substantiated. Turkey has taken some precautions to develop its own stand-alone systems and still continues to work with EUROSAM.
“We have called upon our U.S. partners to elaborate on their arguments, but so far have received no compelling answers. Therefore, we have invited them to Ankara to negotiate the process,” Defense Industry President İsmail Demir said yesterday at a meeting in the Turkish capital Ankara. “The U.S. delegation will visit Ankara in the upcoming days,” Demir said.
Turkey had been trying to purchase the air defense system from the U.S. for some time but was never able to get a commitment from Washington when it was needed most. As the U.S. failed to meet the defense needs of Turkey and risked losing its NATO ally, Turkey turned to Russia and decided to purchase Russia’s S-400 missile system in 2017, which caused a major political impasse between the two countries.
Stand-alone software systems to be deployed on the S-400s enable Turkey to navigate and differentiate friend/enemy targets while the systems operate fully under the country’s control.
“We agreed with Russia that it would be national system when we purchased it. So, we think the system is adequate and compatible with other systems,” Demir said. (Source: defense-aerospace.com/Daily Sabah)
09 Jan 19. MBDA successfully demonstrates the anti-surface capabilities of the Mistral missile. At the end of 2018, MBDA successfully demonstrated the use of the Mistral missile against fast boats such as FIACs (Fast Inshore Attack Craft). A number of foreign delegations attended the demonstration firing that was performed from a SIMBAD-RC automated naval turret firing from the land against a fast moving remotely-controlled semi-rigid boat more than 3 kilometres off the coast. The scenario was intended to be representative of the self-protection of a vessel against an asymmetric threat (commando or terrorist attack).
In its latest version currently in service with the French armed forces, the Mistral is an air defence missile equipped with an imaging infrared seeker with advanced image processing capabilities that allow it to engage low thermal signature targets from a long distance (such targets include UAVs, missiles and fast boats), whilst at the same time offering excellent resistance to countermeasures.
The SIMBAD-RC is a remotely-controlled very short range naval air defence system that provides highly efficient capacities against a wide range of threats, from combat aircraft through anti-ship missiles to small-sized threats such as UAVs.
The system is easy to install and thus provides small units or support vessels with a true self-defence capacity, or can even ensure reinforced defence for the other types of surface vessels. Each turret supports two ready-to-fire Mistral missiles. The turret is remotely-operated, allowing the operator to remain under cover in the vessel’s operation centre, and thus ensures longer operational availability in case of a combat alert.
“MBDA is constantly striving to help armed forces make optimum use of their investments in our products”, said MBDA CEO Antoine Bouvier. “The demonstration of the SIMBAD-RC Mistral combination against surface targets reflects our policy of giving our systems additional capacities to supplement those they were originally designed to provide”.
08 Jan 19. PLAGF units in Tibet fielding new vehicle-mounted howitzer. Units of the People’s Liberation Army Ground Force (PLAGF) stationed in Tibet have been equipped with a new vehicle-mounted howitzer to boost their combat capability and improve border security, the Chinese state-owned Global Times newspaper reported on 8 January. The paper referred to the new system as the ‘PLC-181’, claiming that it had already been deployed by an artillery brigade in Tibet during a 72-day-long stand-off in 2017 between the PLAGF and the Indian Army at the Doklam tri-junction, which is situated along the disputed borders between India, China, and Bhutan.
The paper posted a PLAGF photograph showing what appear to be several units of the new howitzer system in a mountainous area. The platforms are similar in appearance to the Norinco SH-15 155 mm self-propelled artillery system, a prototype of which was shown at the Airshow China 2018 exhibition in Zhuhai. (Source: IHS Jane’s)
08 Jan 19. Leonardo DRS, Inc. has been awarded an undefinitized contract action initially worth $79.6m to provide the U.S. Army and Marine Corps with additional TROPHY active protection systems. This brings the total funded value of the program to over $200m. Developed by long-time partner Rafael Advanced Defense Systems Ltd. of Israel, TROPHY provides combat-proven protection against anti-armor rocket and missile threats, while at the same time locating and reporting the origin of the hostile fire for immediate response.
“Leonardo DRS is proud of the confidence shown by the Army in deciding to field TROPHY to even more US combat brigades,” said Aaron Hankins, Vice President and General Manager of the Leonardo DRS Land Systems division. “Together with our Rafael partners, we are fully committed to meeting our customers’ demands and are working in parallel to further address the urgent protection needs of other US platforms.”
The DRS and RAFAEL team led a successful demonstration featuring a new, lighter “TROPHY VPS” variant on a Bradley Fighting Vehicle in Israel during August 2018. The team will also be participating in the Army’s Stryker Expedited APS demonstration “rodeo” in February.
“Rafael does not stand still. TROPHY VPS provides the same capabilities and performance as TROPHY in a significantly smaller package,” said Moshe Elazar, Executive Vice President and Head of Rafael’s Land and Naval Division. “We are also leveraging our global leadership in both active protection (close to 1,500 TROPHY systems) and medium-caliber remote weapons systems (over 1,000 systems), to offer the mature, reliable, lightweight Samson turret, which combines both capabilities. Given our wide customer base and existing production lines for both, Samson is a capable, affordable, low risk solution for the U.S. Army’s Next Generation Combat Vehicles, other programs in Israel and other markets.”
08 Jan 19. China conducts first JL-3 SLBM launch. The Chinese People’s Liberation Army Navy (PLAN) has carried out a first flight test of the new JL-3 submarine-launched intercontinental ballistic missile (SLBM). During the test, which was conducted on 24 November 2018, a JL-3 missile was launched from the sole Type 032 Qing-class auxiliary submarine in Bohai Bay. Reports suggest that the missile did not fly to its maximum range during the test, which was most likely focused on proving the launch tube ejection, broach, and ignition stages. The JL-3 SLBM is intended to arm the next-generation Type 096 nuclear-powered ballistic missile submarine (SSBN) class, the first of which is expected to enter service in the late 2020s. (Source: IHS Jane’s)
08 Jan 19. Algeria displays new Chinese self-propelled mortars. The Algerian National Army has acquired 120mm SM4 self-propelled mortars made by the Chinese company Norinco. The acquisition was revealed when the Algerian Ministry of National Defence (MND) released photographs and footage showing a visit to the 2nd Military Region by Chief of Staff Lieutenant-General Ahmed Gaïd Salah on 7 January.
Six SM4s were seen firing during an exercise that the MND said was carried out in Sidi Bel Abbès province and involved units from the 36th Motorised Infantry Brigade and 8th Armoured Division.
The SM4 is a modified version of the WZ551 6×6 wheeled armoured personnel carrier fitted with a muzzle-loaded 120mm mortar with a range of 7,500 m when using standard high-explosive ammunition. (Source: IHS Jane’s)
08 Jan 19. Pakistan Army inducts locally developed artillery rocket. The Pakistan Army’s (PA’s) artillery corps has inducted a locally developed rocket for use with its multiple rocket launchers (MRLs).
“With [a range of] over 100km the rocket is a highly effective and potent [weapon] for interdiction that can effectively disrupt enemy’s mobilisation and assembly,” the Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR), the media wing of the Pakistani military, announced in a 4 January statement.
Pakistan’s chief of army staff, General Qamar Javed Bajwa, was quoted in the statement as saying that the new “A-100 Rocket” shall “augment the existing conventional fire-power capabilities of [the] Pakistan Army”. He also emphasised the army’s resolve to “strengthen conventional forces to meet challenges of full spectrum threat”. (Source: IHS Jane’s)
07 Jan 19. These AR-style rifles are about to win a major Indian military contract. The Indian Army is in the process of spending major dough, to the tune of USD $503m, on a new service rifle for its frontline infantry troops. And a pair of AR-style carbines have emerged as the top choices for the highly lucrative contract. In a bid to partially replace the problematic and incredibly controversial 1B1 INSAS, the Indian Army’s current standard-issue assault rifle, the Indian Ministry of Defence will soon enter a three-month negotiation period with US-based arms giant SIG Sauer Inc. to procure over 72,000 SIG 716 battle rifles.
Marking a shift from 5.56 NATO with the 1B1 to the larger-caliber 7.62 NATO with the 716, the Indian Army hopes to give its troops a more reliable weapon which it currently sorely lacks. Complaints of untimely stoppages and mechanism failures have marred what the Indian MoD had originally hoped would be a long and storied career for its (at-the-time) next-generation gun.
SIG’s 716 uses a short stroke piston-driven operating system with a heavier pushrod than its smaller brother, the 516 (chambered for 5.56 NATO), and a 16 inch hammer-forged free floating barrel. An ambidextrous mag release, tons of rail space for electronics and optics, plus a telescoping Magpul stock round out the features on the rifle.
The second part of the multi-million dollar contract will ultimately go towards Caracal International LLC, a UAE-based defense contractor offering their CAR816, a carbine analogous to the M4, firing the 5.56 NATO round. Similar to the SIG 516 and the 716, the CAR816 uses a short-stroke pushrod gas piston design, and comes with a 16 inch barrel.
The CAR816 will be used as a close quarters battle (CQB) weapon, replacing the substantially smaller caliber 9mm Sterling, a side-loaded submachine gun which traces its origins back to the 1940s.
Both the 716 and the CAR816 are manufactured in the United States.
Indian soldiers will also be armed, in the not-so-distant future, with newer homegrown indigenously-manufactured gun, and a license-built derivative of the Russian AK-103 assault rifle. (Source: Defense News Early Bird/www.militarytimes.com)
07 Jan 19. USN eyes ‘energy magazine’ for directed energy weapons. The US Navy (USN) has kicked off efforts to develop an electrical ‘energy magazine’ to serve high-power shipborne directed energy weapon (DEW) systems. Releasing a request for information (RFI) for Multi-Application Shipboard Energy Magazine Requirements Development on 2 January, the US Naval Sea Systems Command (NAVSEA) said it was seeing inputs from electrical equipment manufacturers, systems integrators, and academia for a “common, modular, scalable intermediate power system that could be used across multiple mission systems and ship installations”. A full request for proposals for development and production is planned to follow.
The USN is planning to introduce DEW systems into its surface fleet, notably a first generation of high-energy laser weapons. (Source: IHS Jane’s)
07 Jan 19. US Army seeking contractor to build 155 mm smoke projectiles. The US Army is asking contractors to step forward with their proposals to build 155 mm M116A1 and M825A1 smoke projectiles to obscure opponents’ vision. In a recent solicitation posted on the Federal Business Opportunities website, the service asked contractors to submit their bids by 4 February for a contract valued up to USD99m to build the smoke weapons. The M116A1 is a 155mm smoke canister projectile body with a curved exterior that is made from hot forged carbon steel, weighs approximately 60lb (27.2kg), and is 24 inches long (610m). After the contract is awarded, the vendor will have 330 days to deliver First Article Test (FAT) samples. (Source: IHS Jane’s)
07 Jan 19. Russian missile units to be rearmed with Iskander-M systems. The Russian Armed Forces intends to complete the rearmament of its missile units of the Land Forces with the Iskander-M operational-tactical missile system. As per the state defence order, the operational-tactical systems will be transferred to the missile brigade of the Western Military District by the manufacturer this year. The brigade set comprises more than 50 units of equipment, which include transporting-charging machines, command post vehicles, launchers, maintenance vehicles, and life-support vehicles. Also known as SS-26 Stone, the missile can engage targets with an operational range of up to 500km. The Iskander-M is an upgraded version of the Russian Army’s 9K720 Iskander mobile-theatre ballistic missile system. It features inertial and optical-guidance systems for improved firing accuracy and an electro-optical seeker for self-homing capabilities. It comprises two kinds of missiles: ballistic and cruising. The complex is intended to attack enemy missile launchers, anti-missile and air defence systems, aircraft at airfields, command posts and infrastructure.
According to the Ministry of the Defence of the Russian Federation, the Iskander-M is considered to be ‘the best missile system in its class’ that can ‘overwhelm any missile defence’. Enterprises of the military-industrial complex of the Russian Federation are undertaking modernisation to boost their combat and operational characteristics. Russian Land Forces will receive more than 1,850 pieces of automotive and special equipment this year. Defence industry enterprises will provide modern automobile vehicles for the Russian Defence Ministry. Samples have already indicated that they can efficiently operate in various climatic zones. Troops will also receive Typhoon-K and Typhoon-U armoured vehicles. RKhM-8 chemical reconnaissance vehicles will also be supplied to the Russian Land Forces. The ministry’s intelligence units will be reinforced by Tigr-M armoured vehicles featuring the Arbalet-DM combat module with remote control, Aistenok portable radar and Fara-VR. Signal troops will secure more than 60 modern R-441LM and R-444NL satellite communication stations. (Source: army-technology.com)
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