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28 Feb 19. India tests two quick reaction surface-to-air short-range missiles. India has test-fired two quick reaction surface-to-air short-range missiles (QR-SAM) from launch complex 3 of the integrated test range (ITR) at Chandipur in Balasore district, off the Odisha coast. The missiles were fired from a canister mounted on a rotatable truck-based launch unit, according to media sources.
During test firing, the missiles were tracked and monitored throughout their entire flights by radars, electro-optical systems, telemetry and other stations. Test flights were carried out to evaluate the missiles for different altitude and conditions. They were carried out amidst air strikes launched by the Indian Air Force on terrorist camps in Balakot, Pakistan. Missiles demonstrated the ‘robust control, aerodynamics, propulsion, structural performance and high manoeuvring capabilities’. They met all the mission objectives.
“The all-weather network-centric QR-SAM missile system can engage multiple threats such as aerial targets, tanks and bunkers within a strike range of 20km to 30km.”
The missile system has been jointly developed by Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) and Bharat Electronics (BEL).
Congratulating DRDO on the successful test flights, Indian Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said in a statement: “The indigenously developed state-of-the-art QRSAM will significantly boost the defence capabilities of our armed forces.”
The all-weather network-centric QR-SAM missile system can engage multiple threats such as aerial targets, tanks and bunkers within a strike range of 20km to 30km.
It is equipped with a 360° rotatable, electronic-mechanically operated, turret-based launch unit. The test firing is said to be the third developmental trial. The first was carried out in June 2017 and the second in July 2017 from the same base. (Source: army-technology.com)
28 Feb 19. Secubit, a leader in advanced weaponry readiness and maintenance enhancement, today announced at Enforce Tac 2019 that it will continue to supply the Swedish Armed Forces by providing its WeaponLogic™ Ecosystem, an AI-driven set of tools using advanced algorithms that gathers and analyzes comprehensive weapon usage data in real time. The system facilitates data-driven maintenance and smart weapon inventory management based on actual usage of data gathered by constantly reviewing each weapon and provides tactical optimization of above 99% shot accuracy. The agreement was facilitated in partnership with Sweden-based Promoteq, a leading provider of safety and medical equipment to government and law enforcement, including the Swedish Armed Forces and Swedish National Police.
WeaponLogic Ecosystem is compatible with a variety of weapons already used by the Swedish Armed Forces, and the new partnership is a continuation of a previously signed seven-year agreement to supply systems for the Swedish Defense Material Administration.
“The WeaponLogic Ecosystem will enable the Swedish Armed Forces to revolutionize its weapons arsenal maintenance procedures with a far more cost-effective, usage-based system,” said Secubit CEO Itay Weiss. “The continuation of this agreement highlights the need for sophisticated weapons maintenance systems based on preventive measures. We look forward to continuing our partnership with the Swedish Armed Forces to ensure their weapons arsenal is in optimal condition and at a lower cost.”
The contract includes the provision of shot counters integrated into the grips of a variety of weapons, and advanced readers and software installed on laptops to enable weapon maintenance systems. The agreement also contains options to equip the Swedish Armed Forces’ existing weapon arsenal with Smart Counters and standalone Smart Counters as Government Furnished Equipment for new weapon system procurements made over the contract’s seven years.
WeaponLogic Ecosystem gathers and analyses comprehensive weapon usage data to immediately show the weapon’s state and how much ammunition it has consumed. The system’s Smart Counter uses an advanced AI-driven algorithm to learn each specific weapon’s characteristics and provides analysis for tactical optimization. Light-weight and simple to operate, the Smart Counter has an information storage capacity of up to one million shots, a rapid data presentation and a rechargeable battery that can be used for up to 10 years. The Smart Counter provides the weapon operator vital information such as magazine status, muzzle velocity, and barrel temperature, and offers a detailed data breakdown with crucial alerts in real time.
Information collected by the Smart Counter is transferred via RFID technology to the Reader, which provides data on the weapon’s status in three seconds. Both the Reader and the Dashboard application provide usage data and analytics representing the weapon’s operational status with inventory management features. This information helps enable preventative and precise maintenance while maximizing armory efficiency, alerting the armorer to which weapons require service and the weapons’ supply status. The collected data is sorted and displayed in an easy to use interface with customizable features. This fully MIL-STD 810G system includes a 5″ outdoor viewable HD screen, a USB 3.0 PC interface, and a rechargeable 4300 mAh Li-lon battery with an operating life of up to ten years. The Dashboard application is integration-ready and compatible with Windows 7 and higher.
27 Feb 19. The Corps wants to boost the LAV’s firepower with precision missiles or swarming kamikaze drones. The Corps has been making steady upgrades to one of its oldest tactical vehicles ― the light armored vehicle, or LAV ― over the past several years. Now the Corps wants to boost the aging vehicle’s firepower with long-range precision fires capabilities, by using either loitering munitions or missiles that could have swarming attributes. It’s part of the Corps’ plan to provide a mounted organic precision fires capability within light armored reconnaissance, or LAR, battalions.
On Feb. 22, the Corps submitted a request for information on the government’s business opportunities website known as FedBizOpps, seeking input from industry leaders on available technologies to build the organic precision fires capability within the LAR battalions.
The Corps is relatively wide open with what it wants.
The Marines are looking for “what is out there” and “whether that be a loitering munition or that be a missile,” Lt. Col. Bradley Sams, Marine Corps Systems Command’s program manager for fires, said during a media roundtable Monday. The Marines want to see “what’s in the realm of possible.”
Sams said the Corps wants the new precision fires system’s range to go a beyond the 81mm mortar systems that already are part of the LAR company. Ranges of the new system could span between 7,000 meters to 100km, Sams explained. The Corps wants to mount the new fires system on an LAV within an LAR company to augment 81mm mortars, which will support the LAV platoons when they push out forward, according to Jeff Nebel, Marine Corps Systems Command’s fire support coordination team lead for fires.
“What we are really looking to do here is push the envelope, so to speak, and build tomorrow’s system today,” Nebel said.
And munitions could include a combination electronic or kinetic attack, Nebel explained.
Sams said that the plan to add an organic mounted precision fires system to LAR came as a result of testing and experimentation conducted by Marine Corps Warfighting Laboratory, or MCWL, over the past couple of years. MCWL has been working with a number of vendors and experimenting with controlling swarming drones.
As of July 2018, the Corps has managed to successfully test a single Marine operator controlling a swarm of six drones — the goal is to eventually manage 15 with minimal operator burden.
The Corps pushed out an anti-tank LAV version that boasts automated tube-launched, optically-tracked, wire-guided, or TOW, missile firing turret system in September 2017. That LAV variant made its European debut during the NATO-led Trident Junctureexercise hosted by Norway in fall 2018.
The Corps expects to have a contract for the new fires system by the first quarter of fiscal year 2020, and fielding could kick off by fiscal 2022, according to Nebel. (Source: Defense News Early Bird/Marine Times)
28 Feb 19. Integrated product team ensured effectiveness of air-burst detonation of general purpose bombs for over 18-year production span. Northrop Grumman Corporation (NYSE: NOC) marked a significant milestone recently with the delivery of its 200,000th DSU-33 Proximity Sensor, a technology which provides air-burst detonation of general purpose bombs for United States and allied airmen who rely on it as a force multiplier in combat.
Initial production of the DSU-33B/B configuration began in 2000 and the product has evolved to the present DSU-33D/B configuration. Throughout its 18-year production history, an integrated product team, including representatives from government and industry, has ensured the sensor has remained effective for U.S. and allied warfighters’ needs today and well into the future. DSU-33 Proximity Sensors have been used by the U.S. Air Force, U.S. Navy and Marine Corps, and multiple allied nations. They are currently being procured by the U.S. Army on behalf of the U.S. Air Force and foreign military users.
“The DSU-33 program illustrates collaboration and success in fielding what is truly a joint product,” said Pat Nolan, vice president, missile products, Northrop Grumman. “This level of teamwork exemplifies how we can significantly improve quality, reliability and capability, while simultaneously reducing the warfighter cost throughout the life of the program.”
Recently, members of the integrated program team including leadership from the U.S. Army’s Joint Program Executive Office for Armaments and Ammunition and the U.S. Air Force Materiel Command, visited Northrop Grumman’s Allegany Ballistics Laboratory to celebrate the milestone with past and present employees working on the program.
26 Feb 19. MBDA to offer strike systems for next-gen Aussie Air Force platforms. European missile specialist MBDA has brought out the big guns at Avalon 2019, with a suite of advanced strike systems to support the ADF’s growing aerial strike capabilities with a specific focus on AIR 7003 and the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter. Recognising the opportunities presented by Australia’s continued recapitalisation programs across Air Force, namely the acquisition of the fleet of F-35 Joint Strike Fighter and the recent AIR 7003 decision, MBDA has sought to showcase a series of advanced weapons systems designed to enhance the strike capability of the Royal Australian Air Force and its next-generation air combat capability.
Following the government’s announcement in late 2018 that General Atomics Aeronautical Systems Inc (GA-ASI) and its Reaper family of armed unmanned aerial systems (UAS) had been selected as the preferred medium-altitude, long-endurance (MALE) aircraft for the ADF, European missile and aerospace specialist MBDA has kicked off its mission to provide Australia’s fleet of UAS with a next-generation strike capability.
Russ Martin, head of TMO military advisers at MBDA, outlined the specific-capabilities on offer to the Royal Australian Air Force based on the successful development and integration of key platforms in the UK.
“The UK has been working with Australia for some time on the F-35 and we have seen success between Canada, Aus and the UK on the reprogramming facility in the US, which can be expanded to include weapons systems,” he said.
Each of the Reaper variants are operated from a common ground control station and are air-transportable by RAAF C-130 Hercules and C-17 Globemaster airlifters, or independently deployable, providing Australian expeditionary forces with a highly capable, reliable and persistent close-air-support, intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance asset, no matter the variant chosen.
“METEOR represents the next-generation of air-to-air missiles, focusing on an active seeker, a two-way data link and the heart of the step change, a change in the propulsion, from a solid rocket to a ramjet engine. The ramjet technology METEOR is able to redefine the ‘no escape’ zone of an air-to-air missile, increasing previous ‘no escape’ zones by a factor of three at least. METEOR from a joint UK/Australian perspective is available on the F-35B and the F-35A and is a truly fifth-generation weapon for a fifth-generation platform,” Martin added.
As part of MBDA’s offering, the company showcased a range of next-generation weapons systems, including:
- ASRAAM: In service with the RAAF as the principal within visual range air dominance weapon for the F/A-18 Hornet. With its large rocket motor, and clean aerodynamic design, ASRAAM has unrivalled speed and resultant aerodynamic manoeuvrability and range. ASRAAM gives it a high kinematic capability that delivers superior end-game performance for within visual range air combat, ASRAAM is also integrated onto the F-35.
- METEOR: MBDA’s ramjet powered and network-enabled beyond visual range air-to-air missile, which is widely recognised as a game changer for air combat. Key to this is METEOR’s throttleable ramjet engine, active radar seeker and datalink that combine to provide unmatched end-game speed and manoeuvrability at greatly extended ranges, resulting in its all-important ‘No-Escape Zone’ being several times greater than any other existing or planned BVR weapons. Meteor is currently being integrated onto the F-35.
- SPEAR: MBDA’s response to recent conflicts that have demonstrated the need for precision strike weapons that can operate night and day in all weather conditions against severe countermeasures and, importantly, attack moving and manoeuvring targets. Powered by a turbojet engine, SPEAR has over double the range of any glide bomb on the market, providing true beyond horizon reach to ensure that the aircraft remains safely away from hostile air defence units. Weighing under 100 kilograms and extremely compact, up to eight SPEAR missiles can be carried internally by the F-35.
- BRIMSTONE: A lightweight (50 kilograms) strike missile with an advanced dual-mode mmW/SAL seeker offering a unique capability of engaging a wide range of target types, including fast moving vehicles/vessels in both land and naval environments and in both direct and indirect modes. Operationally proven with unequalled mission success rates across multiple theatres, Brimstone has proved to be unique in its ability to perform surgical strikes in time and collateral critical missions. Brimstone is the only missile that has been proven for use from all platforms – UAVs, fast jets, helicopters, maritime and surface platforms.
- MMP: The only fifth-generation anti-tank missile in service today, and it has been designed for dismounted infantry as well as for integration on man and unmanned combat vehicles. MMP is unique in featuring both fire-and-forget and operator-above-the-loop operation, in having a selectable effects warhead, and that in being network-enabled MMP can also receive third party target designation for indirect firing scenarios.
- ENFORCER: MBDA’s answer to the need for a lightweight, high precision weapon, with stand-off capability for infantry and special forces, at an affordable cost. The disposable, shoulder-launched guided weapon system Enforcer can be used to engage a broad variety of targets at ranges beyond the capability of currently available infantry weapons, including lightly armoured static and moving targets, and threats behind cover.
“Brimstone is the heart of UK COIN operations and as such is a requirement on all UK offensive platforms. This will see Brimstone in service in the future on the UK Protector RPAS and AH-64 Apache series attack helicopters,” Martin said.
Moving to the AIR 7003 RPAS program, Chris Wells, MBDA export sales manager, told Defence Connect, “We believe that both the Protector and Brimstone package will provide a significantly capability enhancement for Australia, enabling closer collaboration and partnerships across industry and operational grounds.”
Martin expanded on these comments, saying, “The UK recently signed the integration contract to weaponise Protector with Brimstone giving the UK, the capability from 2023. With Australia’s focus in 2019 on a downselect for its RPAS requirement, the UK is keen to explore any synergies between the respective Australian and UK requirement.”
Building on this, Wells, was quick to expand on the industrial opportunities for Australian industry. He told Defence Connect, “MBDA, which currently provides the ASRAAM for the RAAF’s Hornets, maintains and services the weapons at a specialist facility on the outskirts of Sydney.”
Project AIR 7003 Phase 1 is calling for a MALE UAS, colloquially known as self-piloted killer drones. Team Reaper Australia is an industrial team drawing on the expertise of companies including Cobham, Raytheon Australia, CAE Australia and Flight Data Systems, and now includes TAE Aerospace, Rockwell Collins, Ultra Electronics Australia, Airspeed and Quickstep Holdings.
Over the coming years, Australia will purchase 72 of the advanced fifth-generation fighter aircraft as part of the $17bn AIR 6000 Phase 2A/B program – which is aimed at replacing the ageing F/A-18A/B Classic Hornets that have been in service with the RAAF since 1985. The F-35A – the variant chosen by the RAAF – will have with a projected life of 30 years in service. More than 340 F-35s are operating today with partner nations, more than 700 pilots and 6,500 maintainers have been trained, and the F-35 fleet has surpassed more than 170,000 cumulative flight hours. (Source: Defence Connect)
28 Feb 19. EOS launches new turret for armoured vehicles. Minister for Defence Christopher Pyne has announced the global launch of the T2000, EOS’ new turret for armoured vehicles. The turret is result of the collaboration between EOS and Elbit Systems and adds a next-generation, medium calibre turret to EOS’ offering of weapon systems. The T2000 was designed in mind to meet a “rapidly emerging global market worth more than $4bn”.
“This latest development and successful collaboration is an example of Australia’s growing defence industry capabilities,” Minister Pyne said.
”EOS is a fantastic Australian success story, producing advanced remote weapons systems and sensors for export and use by the ADF and our friends and allies.”
EOS highlighted the key advantages the T2000 offers over other available medium calibre turret solutions.
Technology – The T2000 establishes a new technology standard for medium calibre turrets, with advanced features never previously offered collectively in a fully integrated solution:
▪ Unprecedented firepower with 30-40mm high performance cannon, 30mm lightweight cannon, and up to two 7.62mm GPMG;
▪ 21st century situational awareness, including see-through armour, laser warning and 360-degree radar;
▪ Integrated active protection;
▪ Anti-tank guided missile fully integrated and protected;
▪ UAS (unmanned aerial system) management port for UAS deployment and operation, as well as counter-UAS systems;
▪ Embedded training and crew procedural simulation;
▪ Manned version, or unmanned version with no hull penetration.
Logistics – Commonality of sensors, human-machine interfaces (HMI) and software across the EOS family offers significant logistic and maintenance savings where multiple EOS RWS and turrets are in-service.
Software and training – The T2000 uses the EOS common user interface ensuring that any operator already trained on an EOS Remote Weapon System (RWS) can directly transition to the T2000 at a much lower training burden. For organisations with military vehicle fleets comprising multiple platforms and weapon configurations, this will provide significant cost savings in training, as well as easing the on-going training and annual qualification burdens for all turret or weapon system operators.
”The T2000 has been designed from the ground up as a new platform for supporting a wide range of emerging surveillance, protection and lethality solutions from multiple vendors in a fully integrated environment. The turret uses an industry standard vehicle interface and represents the next generation of capability integration,” Dr Ben Greene, group CEO of EOS said.
”EOS will compete with this turret for the requirements of Australia’s allies and partners globally, and over $1 bn of competitive offers have already been submitted in early 2019 for award from 2020.
“EOS will manufacture the turret in Australia and its established Australian supply chain will be expanded to meet turret demand.” (Source: Defence Connect)
27 Feb 19. AFRL research targets advanced AAA weaponry. The Air Force Research Laboratory Sensors Directorate and the National Museum of the US Air Force Collection Management Division are teaming up to help address an air force requirement to automatically detect numerous mobile ground threats such as anti-aircraft guns (AAA).
The AAA weapons are used to defend high asset value targets on the ground such as surface to air missile sites, headquarters, weapons storage sites, bridges, power grids, and other vulnerable strategic targets.
The museum will provide five AAA guns, which are part of the national historical property collection at the National Museum and are preserved for research and possible use in future exhibits.
The AFRL team is planning to build three mock-ups of common AAA guns for testing. The team also plan to take radar reflectivity measurements of the museum’s guns using a portable X band radar. This data will help to determine dominant reflectors needed in their mock-ups, which will be built by their fabrication shop team.
The older version of the AAA were manually loaded, hand cranked, with crews of 6-10. The modern AAA has electro-optical/infrared sensors and radar that allows operator to know how much to lead the target. Radar gives them access to range and velocity information and all-weather capability. It has electric servos for fast slewing, auto-loaders and has a faster firing rate.
The latest AAA guns are designed specifically to shoot down swarming UAS. Some legacy AAA guns are lethal to 35,000ft.
The AFRL initiated three small business innovation research contracts, all currently in Phase I, asking companies to do some modelling and simulation. Each is $150,000 for nine months. Some will qualify for Phase IIs, which are $750,000 for two years. (Source: Shephard)
28 Feb 19. Rheinmetall presses ahead with laser weapon technology: new weapon station successfully tested. Rheinmetall continues to make steady headway in the world of laser weapons, having recently completed a successful serious of comprehensive trials with a weapon station. In combination with a laser, the weapon station demonstrated its speed and precision in tests conducted in December 2018. The weapon station can be armed with lasers in the 100 kW output power range. During the tests, which were conducted in Switzerland at the company’s Ochsenboden test centre near Zürich, drones and mortar rounds were successfully engaged at operationally relevant ranges.
The laser weapon station is the latest stage and logical continuation of the process in which Rheinmetall has transformed laser weapon technology into a fully functional weapon system. It consists of four main components: the laser source, beam director with the telescope, and coarse tracker (weapon station).
The mobile weapon station performs the task of mechanically aiming the laser toward the target. Now that a weapon station specially designed to meet the requirements of a laser weapon station has been successfully realized, Rheinmetall has all of the principal assemblies for a future laser weapon system at its own disposal.
The laser weapon station was combined with a beam director – successfully employed in multiple tests – and high-performance Rheinmetall lasers. It is also designed to be combined with a soon-to-be-available 20 kW laser source, likewise made by Rheinmetall.
Equally suitable for ground, air and naval operations, the assemblies are modular and scalable in design, and can be deployed regardless of the threat situation on military platforms of all types.
Among the laser weapon station’s outstanding performance parameters are its extremely accurate mechanical aiming function, coupled with an unlimited, 360° traversing zone and an elevation range in excess of 270°. The system architecture (EN DIN 61508) is closely oriented to the MANTIS air defence system now in service with the Bundeswehr, and thus also offers interfaces for connecting it to higher-echelon air defence systems
26 Feb 19. Turkey orders more than 50,000 additional MPT-76 infantry rifles. Turkey’s Presidency of Defence Industries (SSB) announced on Twitter on 25 February the acquisition of more than 50,000 additional MPT-76 infantry rifles. The MPT-76s are replacing ageing G3 rifles produced under licence from Heckler & Koch, and are manufactured by the state-owned Mechanical and Chemical Industry Company (MKEK) and by private company Kale Kalip, with which the weapon was jointly designed. MKEK was due to have already delivered 20,000 MPT-76s in 2018 when the SSB placed the first order. The remaining 15,000 are being produced by Kale Kalip, with about 1,500 MPT-76s delivered by June 2018. (Source: IHS Jane’s)
26 Feb 19. IGG, Valhalla Turrets team to develop 57mm Desert Spider. The United Arab Emirates’ International Golden Group (IGG) teamed with Slovenia’s Valhalla Turrets to develop a 57mm Desert Spider remote-controlled weapon system (RCWS). Now in a prototype stage, the system was designed to protect high-value targets (HVTs) such as conventional and nuclear power stations, oil fields, or forward operating bases.
According to a spokesperson, “We are currently at Technology Readiness Level 6 [TRL 6] but working to achieve TRL 8 in the future and with funding permitting.” The five-tonne Desert Spider is mounted on four extendable arms that can be adjusted to suit the terrain.
Its main armament comprises the 5mm L/76.6 rifled weapon from Russia’s S-60 towed anti-aircraft gun (AAG) that is fitted with a pepper pot muzzle brake and mounts the Russian 14.5mm KPV heavy machine gun (HMG) co-axially. Heavier targets would be engaged using with the 57mm gun, and lighter protected targets or dismounted infantry with the 14.5mm HMG. The standard Russian S-60 57mm AAG is fed with clips of four rounds of ammunition from the left side, with the empty cartridge cases ejected to the right.
For the Desert Spider application, a chain-driven mechanical ammunition handling system was developed. It holds 92 rounds of 57×348mm ready-use ammunition. The weapon’s maximum range is being quoted as 6,000m, and its maximum cyclic rate of fire is 120rds/min. Types of 57mm ammunition that could be fired include the BR-281 series of armour piercing high-explosive – tracer (APHE-T) with a muzzle velocity of 1,000m/s, which could penetrate 96 mm of steel armour at a range of 1,000m. (Source: IHS Jane’s)
26 Feb 19. Light UAV-Mounted Grenade Launcher. UAE-based International Golden Group, in conjunction with the South African defence company Rippel Effect Systems, has developed a battlefield solution to safely and accurately launch 40mm grenades from a light UAV.
According to IGG deputy executive officer Khalifa Al Balooshi, its long-standing collaboration with Rippel Effect has led them to collaboration on the development and manufacture of the innovative 40mm DLP3 (pictured) and DLP6 drone launcher platform, with three and six fixed barrels respectively. The 40mm drone-mounted multi shot grenade launcher (MGL) provides small tactical teams with the ability to accurately engage out-of-sight targets.
“This configuration is a sensible adaptation from Rippel’s proven and successful flagship 40mm handheld launcher, designed for a specifically identified tactical requirement,” he explained. “Mounted vertically underneath the drone, and fitted with an electronic trigger mechanism, the DLP3 or DLP6 enables the device to be fired with ease, accurately and safely, with maximum effect on the target. The DLP3 or DLP6 can be mounted on various drone platforms.”
Rippel Effect undertook the design and development of the 40mm launcher, which IGG will then integrate and commission in its UAE facilities.
Each of the removable barrels has one round of 40x46mm low velocity or less-lethal ammunition and can be fired individually, in sequence or together. (Source: UAS VISION/Jane’s 360
27 Feb 19. Rheinmetall launches F-35-specific munition. A new high quality munition product designed specifically for the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) has been launched by Rheinmetall Defence Australia. The 25mm frangible armour piercing (FAP) ammunition “possesses superior lethality against enemy vehicles in air-to-ground engagement and enemy aircraft in air-to-air engagements” and is already in service with the United States Air Force.
“The 25mm FAP is a true all-purpose munition for the 21st century,” said Rheinmetall Defence Australia managing director Gary Stewart. “Importantly, the FAP technology contains no explosives, ensuring maximum safety in the aircraft or in storage and transportation, as well as enabling it to be used in training.”
The FAP round was developed by Rheinmetall to “provide the F-35 a non-DU and non-HE cartridge with superior lethality against modern infantry fighting vehicles (IFVs) at extreme slant ranges while still remaining deadly against enemy aircraft in air-to-air engagements”, with each round fitted with a heavy metal alloy penetrator that disintegrates into multiple fragments.
As those fragments move deeper within the target, the number of fragments increase, which turns “into a cascade of heavy metal”.
This means it is “highly effective” at neutralising armoured targets on the ground and in the air, according to Rheinmetall.
This design also never ricochets, due to the projectile core disintegrating upon impact, which is unlike conventional aircraft ammunition. The round was developed for and in conjunction with NATO air forces. Rheinmetall is the largest supplier of military vehicles to the Australian Defence Force, and recently announced the establishment of a $60m 155mm artillery shell forging facility in Maryborough, Queensland, alongside munitions partner NIOA. (Source: Defence Connect)
25 Feb 19. Testing begins this summer on ‘soft kill,’ ‘hard kill’ systems to protect ground vehicles. The Army will combine a suite of missiles and an electronic jammer on a Bradley this summer as it searches for new ways to keep its vehicle fleet alive in an era of near-peer combat. In mid-February the Army announced that the BAE Systems RAVEN countermeasure beat out competitors in a “soft kill” rodeo that consisted of a six-week evaluation where the Army fired anti-tank missiles at the systems to see which system provided the best protection.
But it wasn’t the attention-grabbing missiles being evaluated, part of the well known portion of the Active Protection Systems. It was another layer of protection — using electronic jammers to confuse missile systems, making them stray off course or cease functioning.
Last year, the Army chose Trophy APS for its Abrams tanks, as did the Marine Corps. The Army expects to equip four armored brigade combat teams by late 2020.
It picked the Iron Fist APS for the Bradley and is still searching for an effective system to mount on the Stryker, according to a Pentagon report.
But those are the traditional, missile-on-missile methods. The problem is that vehicles can hold only so many of those shots to counter incoming rounds. The soft kill option helps by providing a deeper magazine, allowing crews to take out between half and three-quarters of most threats before having to reach into their hard-kill ammo stores.
The recent “soft-kill rodeo” gave researchers and officials a way to evaluate the other method in the real world.
“The rodeo proved the high potential of soft kill countermeasures to protect our soldiers and platforms from broadly proliferated and lethal threats,” said Jason Morse, Electronic Defeat team leader for the Army research center.
The event also showed a few firsts for the Modular Active Protection Systems program: “the first field test of the entire MAPS Base Kit; the first full, end-to-end cue, slew and defeat for multiple MAPS APS instantiations; and the first time subsystems from three different vendors were integrated into a single system.”
The RAVEN Multifunction Countermeasure beat out Northrop Grumman’s Multifunction Electro-Optical System (MEOS) and the Color Light Operational Unit for Deflection (CLOUD) developed by Ariel Photonics Group in Israel and modified for use in the United States by Lockheed Martin, according to the Army release.
But the RAVEN system isn’t necessarily brand new to the Army. It’s actually a system used on aircraft that’s being adapted to the more cluttered, sometimes confusing, ground fight.
BAE Executive Ryan Edwards told Breaking Defense that there is work to be done but the system could be ready in about two years.
“We have a pretty well known and deep history of aircraft platform protection and the RAVEN countermeasure is our attempt to adapt some of that … at a price point … that make it more relevant for ground combat vehicles,” Edwards told Breaking Defense. “We’re still working closely with the customer to determine what is the best way to ruggedize that capability and make it reliable enough for a combat vehicle.” (Source: C4ISR & Networks)
26 Feb 19. SIG SAUER, Inc. announced the newest addition to the MCX family, the MCX Rattler Canebrake is now shipping and available in retail stores. The MCX Rattler Canebrake comes as a suppressor ready platform with an SD handguard and inert training device that mimics the size and weight of the SIGSRD762 suppressor, and assures all muzzle flash is past the shooter’s hand when reaching out on the handguard during operation without a functional suppressor installed. With the MCX Rattler Canebrake there’s no need for the purchase of a shorter barrel kit and SD Handguard to have a suppressed MCX system, simply unthread the inert training device, install your suppressor, and select the appropriate gas setting for your ammunition. Additional features of the MCX Rattler Canebrake include a 2-stage flat-blade match trigger, Cerakote E190 finished upper and lower, a folding coyote-tan PCB, and comes with one 30-round polymer 300blk Magpul™ magazine.
25 Feb 19. RAF Typhoons Use Brimstone Capability for the First Time. The Royal Air Force’s Brimstone missile capability has been deployed from a Typhoon jet for the first time, in the fight against Daesh. Strikes have decreased in regularity this month, with the terrorists confined to a tiny enclave of territory where there is a significant number of civilians, who are being transported to safety by Syrian Democratic Forces.
However, a Typhoon was deployed to the River Euphrates on 19 February, where a boat used by Daesh had been identified and was destroyed using the Brimstone missile. The RAF also destroyed two Daesh strong-points, including a heavy machine-gun position, on 11 February using Paveway IV.
The Brimstone was one of three weapons upgrades fitted onto the Typhoon last month under ‘Project Centurion’, worth £425m over the past three years. This project not only enhanced the Typhoon with the precision attack missile Brimstone, but the aircraft also now has deep strike cruise missile Storm Shadow and air-to-air missile Meteor at its disposal. It means the jets have boosted capabilities to intercept airborne missiles and strike ground based targets, seamlessly taking over from the Tornado’s attack role as it nears retirement.
- Monday 11 February – Typhoons supported the Syrian Democratic Forces east of Abu Kamal in Syria, striking two Daesh strong-points, including a heavy machine-gun position.
- Tuesday 19 February – Typhoons used a Brimstone 2 missile to destroy a boat used by Daesh on the Euphrates.
As the Syrian Democratic Forces have continued their operations to clear the last small remaining pocket of Daesh-held territory that has been identified in eastern Syria, Royal Air Force aircraft have maintained daily armed reconnaissance support, delivering air attacks if needed by the SDF on the ground. On Monday 11 February, the SDF encountered two Daesh strong-points on the eastern bank of the Euphrates, across the river from Abu Kamal. These strong-points were directing fire, including from a heavy machine-gun, at close range against the SDF, so assistance was requested from two RAF Typhoon FGR4s, supported by a Voyager air refuelling tanker. The Typhoons conducted an accurate simultaneous attack on both strong-points, hitting each with a Paveway IV guided bomb, and successfully eliminated the threat to the SDF.
A further pair of Typhoons patrolled the Euphrates valley on Tuesday 19 February; a boat had been identified as being used by Daesh, and was found by the Typhoons to be moored on the river bank due south of Baghuz Fawqani. A Brimstone 2 missile was employed to deny the terrorists use of the craft, whether to bring in supplies or allow them to set up operations elsewhere. This was the first operational firing of a Brimstone 2 from a Typhoon FGR4, following the aircraft’s recent upgrade. (Source: ASD Network)
26 Feb 19. Croatian Army conducts live firing of 122mm MRL battery. The Croatian Army has conducted live firing of the 122mm multiple rocket launcher system (MLRS) at the Eugen Kvaternik training range near Slunj. The live firing was carried out as part of Exercise Vulkan 19/1, which evaluated the combat readiness of the Artillery Missile Regiment of the Croatian Army. The regiment is the main component of Croatia’s 4th HRVCON, which is preparing to deploy with the US-led battlegroup to Nato’s Enhanced Forward Presence in Poland in April. The exercise tested the contingent’s plans and personnel and logistics readiness. It also involved in-field assessment of the tactics, techniques and procedures in real life scenarios. During testing, tasks such as operation order production, planning documents, command and control element set up, preparation for combat operations and fire support were displayed.
Additional capabilities demonstrated include force protection, maintenance, transport, medical support, as well as establishment and operation of CIS systems.
General Staff Evaluator Team head colonel Mijo Kožić said: “The evaluation featured a thorough implementation of Nato Combat Readiness Evaluation system, by the Croatian Army’s Evaluator Team reinforced by evaluators of the support command and of the military police regiment.
“The evaluation has demonstrated the compatibility of the Croatian Armed Forces’ system with the ACO’s standards. Our commendations go to the certified CREVAL evaluators for the hard work done, all documents have been properly prepared, in accordance with Nato regulations for the deployment of units to Enhanced Forward Presence.”
According to Croatian Army Training and Doctrine Command Evaluator Team head lieutenant colonel Karlo Krešić, personnel of the components of the 4th HRVCON to EFP BG-USA are combat ready.
Krešić said: “The contingent members have displayed high professionalism and commitment completing the tasks and shown they will dignifiedly represent the Republic of Croatia and its Armed Forces within the battlegroup in Poland.” (Source: army-technology.com)
22 Feb 19. DoD Wants Help To Spot — & Kill — Mobile Missiles. The Pentagon has quietly asked defense contractors for ways to spot enemy missile launchers — so the US can destroy them before they even fire. Three weeks from today, defense contractors will submit proposals for spotting hidden missile launchers — so the US military can destroy them before they ever fire. The winning entries could go on to flight demonstrators in just two years, a meteoric pace for the Pentagon.
It’s the first concrete step towards implementing the much-debated Missile Defense Review released last month, which called for an ambitious and expensive array of high-tech countermeasures, not just to usual suspects Iran and North Korea, but to the much larger arsenals of Russia and China.
Outlined in a document blandly titled “Time-Sensitive Target Mission Payloads Demonstration” that was posted without fanfare on the federal government’s main contracting website Feb. 15, the plan describes acquiring a variety of satellites and surveillance assets to find and track often hard-to-find mobile missile launchers that can be hit before they pop off their first missile. The solicitation released to the defense industry invites US nationals (no foreigners allowed) to an industry day briefing March 1st, with initial proposals due March 15 and flight demonstrations by 2021.
Much of the language in the solicitation comes directly from the Missile Defense Review, which called for the US to build up its abilities to conduct “attack operations” to “degrade, disrupt, or destroy an adversary’s missiles before they are launched.”
Finding and hitting mobile missile launchers has long been a major concern for the Pentagon for at least three decades, ever since a massive “Scud Hunt” by aircraft and commandos largely failed to find Saddam Hussein’s crude truck-mounted missile launchers in the Iraqi desert. More sophisticated foes in more difficult terrain — Russian forests, Korean mountains and Chinese tunnels — would only be harder to hunt down.
Scud hunting matters because a good offense is arguably the best missile defense. For at least three years, senior officials and academics alike have worried publicly that, if you don’t find and destroy at least some of the enemy missiles before they fire — what the military calls “left of launch” — then an adversary might be able to overwhelm US missile defenses by sheer numbers. The ballistic missile defense system protecting the US from North Korea, for example, has only 44 Ground Based Interceptor (GBI) missiles installed (20 more are planned), and in testing, half of them miss — so flooding the zone might take just 23 incoming missiles.
North Korea in particular has been a top concern, and Congress has allocated more than $700m to develop capabilities to quickly find and destroy Kim Jong Un’s mobile missiles over the past two years.
But as the missile review made clear, the Pentagon is no longer concerned only by North Korean and Iranian missiles. Both China and Russia have also built up sizable stockpiles of advanced systems that can move and shoot.
On Wednesday, Russian President Vladimir Putin warned that in the wake of Washington’s pending withdrawal from the INF missile treaty, he’s preparing for a Cuban missile crisis-style confrontation with the West.
The Russian leader said his forces can shoot long-range missiles from a variety of platforms, including “submarines or surface ships. And we can put them, given the speed and range [of Russian missiles] in neutral waters. Plus they are not stationary. They move and they will have to find them.”
American and NATO officials have all charged Russia with violating the INF treaty by developing and fielding the road-mobile 9M729 missile, which can reach targets between 300 and 3,200 miles away — ranges banned by the treaty.
But that threat pales in comparison to the Chinese arsenal of ballistic missiles, about 90 percent of which, according to US intelligence officials, falls within the INF-banned range. China, of course, was never a signatory to the agreement. Most recently, Beijing has made quite a bit of noise over its road mobile DF-26intermediate-range ballistic missile, which some observers have dubbed the “carrier killer.”
The new Pentagon study program is looking for new ways to counter these moves, and is asking the defense industry to help answer a few key questions. In particular, the Broad Agency Announcement (BAA) asks what kinds of commercial technologies can be used directly, or adapted through rapid prototyping initiatives, to “enable low latency persistent global ISR, navigation, and / or communications to enable this military mission and reduce the kill chain timeline.” The Pentagon is also looking for cost and survivability estimates in a white paper due next month.
Winners will be asked to participate in a 25-month effort to demonstrate their concepts, with flight testing to begin in 2021.
Exactly what the Pentagon is looking for isn’t spelled out directly in the publicly-available documents. That suggests Griffin’s office is giving industry some room to experiment and come up with a diverse set of ideas. But the two-year timeline to start putting things in the air and on orbit means this won’t be a typical, decades-long Pentagon acquisition project.
There is also no mention of how the military plans on hitting these mobile launchers once they’re found and identified. Griffin has talked a lot over the past year about space-based lasers, which he worked on as a young scientist on Reagan’s Star Wars program. Some of the studies spelled out in the Missile Defense Review suggest the DoD is looking not only at Intelligence, Surveillance, & Reconnaissance (ISR) systems to spot the threat, but also at offensive action, from jamming or hacking missiles’ guidance systems to shooting them down, to destroying them on the launchpad.
Recent budgets have offered few chances to fund a new generation of satellites, weapons and ISR technologies, but Griffin has consistently sounded confident DoD can get it done. Late last year, he called for a “proliferation” of new sensors in low-earth orbit in order to track hypersonic threats from China and Russia.
“I don’t want to be in any one orbit,” Griffin said. “I want us to be as widely distributed in as many areas of the orbital regime that we can. We are not as prevalent in LEO [low earth orbit] as I would like us to be and I would like to see us proliferate there.” The smart money thinks he’s referring to so-called satellite swarms, large numbers of cubesats dispersed over a large area in low earth orbit.
Budgetary and technological hurdles aside, one thing is clear. Since taking office, Griffin has prioritized speed above almost all else, telling Senators last spring that “in a world where pretty much everyone today has equal access to technology, innovation is important…but speed becomes the differentiating factor.” And he doesn’t mean just brainstorming fast, but actually building stuff ASAP: “It is not about speed of discovery, it is about speed of delivery to the field.” (Source: glstrade.com/Breaking Defense.com)
21 Feb 19. Heckler & Koch fined €3.7m over illegal arms sales to Mexico. Two former staff members at the weapons manufacturer were given suspended sentences for violating Germany’s War Weapons Control Act for their involvement in the delivery of machine guns to Mexico. The 10-month trial of former employees of Germany’s biggest gun-maker, Heckler & Koch, ended in disappointment for arms trade opponents as former CEOs were acquitted for their part in the illegal sale of G36 assault rifles to Mexico between 2006 and 2009. Meanwhile, Marianne B. and Ingo S., employees with largely administrative duties, were found guilty.
A few boos rang out in the courtroom as Judge Frank Maurer read the verdict, especially as Peter B., a former CEO, was found not guilty. The executive, who was also H&K’s main contact with government export authorities, was the most powerful of the defendants, none of whom showed a reaction as the verdict was read.
The company Heckler & Koch was fined €3.7m ($4.2m), the approximate value of the guns at the time of their sale. That came as a welcome surprise to veteran anti-arms trade activist Jürgen Grässlin, who had initially pressed the charges and had expected a fine based only on the profits from the illegal sale. He said afterwards that the fine could exacerbate H&K’s financial troubles.
In response to the verdict, H&K released a statement saying that the company would carefully assess the court’s decision. “We can however not understand the Court’s decision that we should not only forfeit the profit generated on the Mexico business [deal] but instead forfeit the entire sales price, despite the fact that none of the directors committed an offence,” the statement read, before adding that the company had undergone a “rigorous transformation process” in the past years and “established new ethical standards.”
Decision-makers let off
In his two-hour reading of the verdict, the judge repeatedly underlined that the court was not there to judge the German arms industry itself, nor how the weapons were used in Mexico. “Whether an arms export is permitted is exclusively a political decision, not a legal one,” he said.
The judge’s narrow legal focus drew outrage from the gallery. After he dismissed what he called the “populist” argument that the small “executioners” were being condemned while the big decision-makers were being let go, Grässlin called out, “That’s exactly how it is!” Afterwards, Grässlin called the verdict an example of “two-class justice,” and said the trial had revealed how ineffective Germany’s arms export controls are.
“From this verdict we see what a problem it is that in Germany we have no way of prosecuting a company,” said former Left party MP Jan van Aken, who had kept a protocol of most of the trial. “So it’s in the nature of the process that the bosses never leave a paper trail. It will also be very difficult to prosecute CEOs.”
Read more: Mexico fighting endless wars against cartels
The court found that Peter B. was neither aware of the illegal nature of the sales, nor did he exert improper influence on the content of the government’s export permits by advising the company to exclude the four states that the government had human rights concerns about.
Testimony from the trial raises plenty of suspicion that officials from the Ministry of Economic Affairs advised the company on what it should and shouldn’t put in the end-use declarations to get the exports approved. As van Aken put it: “All the witnesses said, ‘We didn’t suggest anything.’ The firm said, ‘The ministry suggested it.’ The ministry said, ‘The suggestion did not come from us.’ I think they said, ‘This and this and this can’t be in there, bring us another end-use declaration.'”
The Economic Affairs Ministry official Claus W., called as a witness last July, said the ministry sees its basic role as supporting German firms. Claus W. admitted, in what van Aken said was the “key moment” of the trial, that once weapons leave the country, the government has little control over who they’re used by, or for what. “As soon as an export has happened, you can’t guarantee anything anymore,” he testified. “Gone is gone.”
Indeed, Claus W. even testified that the ministry deemed protecting H&K to be in the government’s interest, since the company also supplies the German military. “To make sure the company can survive, export orders have to fill the gaps,” he said.
Read more: Germany: Arms exports approvals down a quarter
Much of the judge’s verdict was concerned with a Post-it note that read, “Guerrero has to be taken out” – attached to a printed email – apparently advising the company to take the state of Guerrero off the end-use declaration. Since the note was written by the secretary who was convicted, but apparently at the behest of CEO Peter B., the prosecution argued that this showed that B knew the state of Mexico was not allowed on the list.
The Iguala 43
The fact that the G36s were used in the Mexican states forbidden by the government is no longer disputed. Before the trial, a vigil was held outside the court for the victims of the 2014 massacre in Iguala, Guerrero. At least six teaching students were murdered by corrupt local police and mafia members, though 43 others disappeared and are thought to have executed during the night. Their bodies have never been found, and are thought to have been burned nearby.
During Thursday’s demonstration, Carola Hausotter of a German-based Mexican human rights organization, read out a letter by Leonel Gutierrez Solano, brother of Aldo Gutierrez Solano, a student who has been in a coma since September 2014 after being shot in the head during the Iguala killings.
Last year, the court denied an application by Solano’s family to testify as co-plaintiffs in the trial, “to show what consequences the sale of the weapons had.” He also pointed out that no one in Mexico has been put on trial for the illegal sale of the weapons.
“We hope that the verdict will play a role in making sure that there will be no more violations of the law of this kind, and that weapons will no longer be exported to places where they’re not meant to be,” Solano wrote. (Source: glstrade.com/https://www.dw.com)
22 Feb 19. Portugal advances its soldier modernisation programme. The Portuguese Army is implementing an ambitious effort worth EUR90m (USD102m) to equip dismounted soldiers with new equipment meant to boost their firepower, mobility, protection, and command and control. The new systems, developed under the Sistemas de Combate do Soldado (SCS) programme, are meant to replace legacy gear while adding new capabilities, Lieutenant Colonel Simão Sousa, a member of the Army High-Staff, told Jane’s. To implement SCS, the army established a ‘lethality’ project that comprises light armament, and sensors and sighting auxiliaries subprojects; a C4I project; and a survivability project that is divided into clothing and loading systems, and protection equipment subprojects. (Source: IHS Jane’s)
22 Feb 19. Saudi Arabian company reveals GBDF shot-detection system. Saudi Arabia’s Warning and Defence for Electronics Industries Co (WDEI) has developed a new shot-detection system – the Gun Blast Direction Finder (GBDF) – and displayed it at the IDEX 2019 exhibition in Abu Dhabi in February.
The GBDF is an acoustic system for detecting and locating the origin of small arms fire, using embedded algorithms to compute a shot source in horizontal and vertical planes. It provides 360° coverage horizontal and -15° to 45° vertical, with an accuracy of up to ±3° and a detection range of 2,400 m. The response time is “in milliseconds”, according to WDEI. The system consists of a four-microphone array with an aerodynamic design that a WDEI representative told Jane’s was specifically intended to make it suitable for mounting on civilian transport, such as VIP limousines, or on armoured fighting vehicles. (Source: IHS Jane’s)
21 Feb 19. Surface-to-Air Missile System for Pohjanmaa-Class Corvettes. Minister of Defence Jussi Niinistö authorised, on 21 February 2019, the Finnish Defence Forces Logistics Command to procure a surface-to-air missile system (ITO20) for the Pohjanmaa-class corvettes of the Squadron 2020 project. The ITO20 system will consist of Evolved SeaSparrow Missiles (ESSM), launcher units, spare parts, required supplementary parts, and the related software package.
The ITO20 system will be installed in all four Pohjanmaa-class vessels. The number of missiles to be procured is not public information. The entire system will cost EUR 83m, without value added tax, and it will be procured from the United States defence administration through a government-to-government agreement.
The ITO20 system is an integral part of the combat system in the corvettes; surface-to-air missiles protect the vessels’ own operations and make it possible to protect other sites or operation of troops. The ITO20 system improves the Navy’s capability to participate more effectively in national air defence and protect important sites. A Gabriel surface-to-surface missile system and a torpedo weapon system have already been procured for the corvettes.
Squadron 2020 project contract
The four modern corvettes designed for Finland’s conditions will replace the seven surface combatants that will be decommissioned. The Pohjanmaa-class corvettes will be constructed in Finland for reasons of security of supply. The combat system, in other words the weapons and sensors, will be procured from overseas through a separate tendering process.
There are on-going negotiations on contracts for the Pohjanmaa-class shipbuilding and combat systems. The process of completing an extensive contract with a number of parties has required special diligence and has therefore also taken more time than expected. (Source: defense-aerospace.com/Finnish Ministry of Defence)
22 Feb 19. DRDO details short-range MPATGM. India’s Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) has provided details of its man-portable anti-tank guided missile (MPATGM) during the 20–24 February Aero India 2019 exhibition in Bangalore.
“The missile is in development and guided flight tests are scheduled by mid-2019,” a Defence Research and Development Laboratory (DRDL) official told Jane’s. Two test-firings were conducted in September last year.
The MPATGM is described by DRDL, which is the nodal agency for the development, as a “third-generation” anti-tank missile, measuring 1,300mm in length and 120mm in diameter, with a weight of 14.5kg. The command launch unit (CLU) weighs 14.25kg. (Source: IHS Jane’s)
22 Feb 19. Indian Nag ATGM to enter production by end-2019. The Nag anti-tank guided missile (ATGM) is finally set to enter production by the end of 2019 as confirmed by India’s Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) at Aero India 2019. The system will undergo final summer user trials in May-June this year after it successfully completed its winter user trials in December 2018. The user trials commenced after a protracted period of validation tests, in part due to the performance of the imaging infrared (IIR) seeker head.
MSR Prasad, Director General of Missiles and Strategic Systems (MSS) DRDO, told Jane’s, “We have completed a series of developmental trials in the past three years under PROSPINA (Product Support and Product Improvement and Induction of Nag) mission mode project. (Source: IHS Jane’s)
21 Feb 19. MBDA Deutschland eyes HELWS opportunity with German Navy. The German Federal Office of Bundeswehr Equipment, Information Technology, and In-Service Support (BAAINBw) is expected to release a statement of work, and a subsequent request for proposals later this year for integration of a high-energy laser weapon system (HELWS) demonstrator on board a German Navy corvette. The navy requirement provides for integrating a HELWS on a German Navy K130 Braunschweig-class corvette in the 2020-21 timeframe, and includes a series of engagement trials against an unspecified target set.
This opportunity, and a prospective follow-on contract, could effectively mark a commercial breakthrough for MBDA Deutschland’s HELWS demonstrator programme, with the realistic potential of matching its laser weapon solution to a specific German Navy capability requirement. The company’s high-energy laser development activities are partly funded internally and partly by the German government.
“This will be a 10 kW to 20 kW laser effector, so not yet optimised to engage missile threats; however, the target catalogue will ultimately be defined by the customer,” Doris Laarmann, MBDA Deutschland’s senior advisor for lasers, told Jane’s.
Jane’s understands that the HELWS demonstrator for this opportunity will be optimised for counter-unmanned aircraft system (C-UAS) missions, including addressing UAS, mini-UAS, and micro-UAS.
MBDA Deutschland has incrementally evolved its laser demonstrator solution since a series of initial proof of concept and vulnerability studies in 2008, when it switched from chemical to fibre laser technology. The company initially exploited geometric coupling technology – where a number of individual high-energy fibre laser sources are combined together using one common beam director telescope – coupled with the mirror optic beam forming technology. (Source: IHS Jane’s)
21 Feb 19. Israeli firm UVision opens US subsidiary, with eye toward kamikaze drones market. UVision, a maker of loitering munitions, is seeking to expand its business in the U.S. with the launch of UVision USA, a fully owned subsidiary of UVision Air in Israel. The company has developed a family of lethal loitering munitions, including the Hero-30, the man-packable, canister-launched system. U.S.-based Raytheon signed an agreement in 2016 to work on the Hero-30. These munition types will be part of the future battlespace because they offer a lightweight precision-strike munition alongside the ability to reduce collateral damage, as there is a man in the loop at all times, according to UVision USA CEO Jim Truxel.
Israel has been a pioneer in these kinds of munitions, often called “suicide” or “kamikaze” drones, including Elbit Systems’ SkyStriker, IAI’s Harop and Harpy, and Aeronautics’ Orbiter 1K. These tend to consist of a UAV with a warhead so that the system can behave like a drone but strike a target like a cruise missile. The Hero family has warheads ranging from 0.5 kilograms to 30 kilograms (1.1 pounds to 66 pounds).
Militaries see applications for these weapons against air defense radar and other UAVs. The U.S. military has been looking at loitering munitions for more than a decade, but has struggled to integrate them. It fielded a munition called Switchblade in Afghanistan and Syria, and a munition called Coyote in 2018. Its ally the U.K. has explored using a loitering weapon called Fire Shadow.
UVision says its family of munitions brings flexible features to the battlefield. With a cruciform wing design, it has an abort capability that Truxel says can be activated up to the last seconds of impact.
“It’s designed to take that G-force when you do an abort, so it can maneuver quickly and go back to the loiter, and that’s unique.” Truxel said.
The UAV can be deployed by air, land or canister. It has real-time intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance capabilities, and the smaller versions provide infantry or special forces with a way to launch the munition and fly it up to 30 kilometers, while seeing through a camera on the drone.
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“The nature of the battlespace is ever-changing, and the next battle may not be in an open area, or non-open area, with the need to strike different angles in different close confinements, so I see these types of munitions being widespread,” Truxel said.
With the U.S. Defense Department focusing on technologies for the future battlefield, Truxel is hopeful. The new U.S.-based company will “greatly increase our ability to interact with partners and customers to meet the developing needs, and then long term we will eventually establish engineering, field service, simulation and manufacturing with U.S. employees, so it’s not just strategic, it’s also looking to support and getting closer to our customers,” he said.
Truxel added that UVision is actively involved in American programs that are evaluating these munitions, but would not go into detail. (Source: C4ISR & Networks)
21 Feb 19. This ATV is an unmanned answer to cheap drones. There is no single moment more loaded with symbolism for the drone age than the March 2017 news that a U.S. ally used a Patriot missile to shoot down a quadcopter. The venerable surface-to-air missile, which has a unit price of around $2m to $3m, was built for an age of expensive targets and suddenly found itself employed against a hobbyist quadcopter that cost no more than a few hundred dollars. Existing anti-air weapons, while available, simply aren’t designed to an era of cheap flying robots. Enter Russia’s new counterdrone vehicle, the SAMUM.
SAMUM stands for Super-mobile Modernized Multi-purpose Artillery Station. It’s a specially built 4×4 all-terrain vehicle with an anti-aircraft turret on the back, featuring a Zu-23-2 23mm anti-aircraft gun. The first iteration of the SAMUM was simply the turret on the truck, and recently got some shiny new upgrades that transform it into a much more useful anti-air platform.
“[The SAMUM] received “new brains” in the form of an automated fire control system, multichannel sightings, and its power was augmented by two ‘Igla’ anti-aircraft missiles,” says Samuel Bendett, an adviser at the Center for Naval Analyses. “Targeting and firing from the installation is carried out in three modes: remotely from the armored cab; via electric drives from the gunner’s seat; and via traditional vertical and horizontal mechanical flywheels. In the first two modes, the targeting happens much faster; the third, ‘old school’ mode is ‘just in case.’”
The SAMUM resembles nothing so much as a deliberately designed “technical,” the catch-all term for trucks and other vehicles armed with scavenged weapons and turned into light armored cavalry by irregular forces across the globe. For countries interested in a more budget-friendly alternative to existing 30mm or missile-dependent anti-air weapons — especially against small, inexpensive drones — the SAMUM is built to use the smaller and cheaper 23mm shells. The reach of the SAMUM’s weapons ranges from targeting nearly a mile high and at a horizontal distance of 1.5 miles to using Igla missiles that can hit targets at altitudes of up to 2 miles high and 3.7 miles away horizontally.
Testing of the SAMUM is expected later this year, with the possibility of the vehicle entering service and foreign sales by late 2022. Should the turret prove effective at its counterdrone mission, it could also be installed on other platforms besides its existing truck-like base. Given Russia’s experience in Syria against lots of cheap insurgent-operated drones, having a cheap and flexible counterdrone vehicle wouldn’t just be a novelty, it would be meeting a real military need.
“Today, Russian designers are working on a range of unmanned ‘gun turrets’ of all kinds. Installing and using such ‘automated firing points’ can be simple and more effective than using larger manned vehicles, tanks or artillery systems,” says Bendett. “This is also due to the improvements in automated targeting and combat situational analysis, something the Russian military has been working on since its Syrian campaign.“ (Source: C4ISR & Networks)
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