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11 Jul 18. Lockheed to double Patriot missile production as orders explode. Lockheed Martin is planning to double its most advanced Patriot missile’s production in the coming years to deal with exploding orders of the weapon from the U.S. Army and its allies, according to a company executive. The U.S. Army has dramatically increased its Patriot Advanced Capability-3 Missile Segment Enhancement, or PAC-3 MSE, orders to not just account for full-rate production of the missile but to increase the stockpile on hand as operations overseas continue to eat up the inventory. The MSE version has a larger, dual-pulse solid-rocket motor and larger control fins that double the missile’s reach and improve performance against evolving ballistic and cruise missiles. Meanwhile, several new customers abroad have joined the ranks of Patriot air and missile defense owners to include Poland, Romania and Sweden this year. This includes the purchase of a number of the MSE missiles as part of the initial order. For example, Lockheed would build 576 PAC-3 MSEs just for the three European countries that recently signed on to buy Patriot. Romania plans to buy 168 PAC-3 MSEs for its Patriot system as part of its order. Poland wants to buy 208 of them. Sweden intends to buy 200. The reason for such an explosion in PAC-3 MSE buys is due to the proliferating threat both in the Middle East and in Europe as the U.S. and its allies remain embroiled in conflict in the Gulf region, and as European countries work to build up robust air defenses to deter Russia. A comparison of the U.S. Army’s fiscal 2018 and fiscal 2019 budget justification documents show the service drastically increased its planned buys — in some cases more than doubling — across FY18 through FY22. The Army had planned to buy roughly 95 missiles per year from FY18 through FY22, but a year later the service increased the 2018 order from 93 to 240 to include those bought with overseas contingency operations funds. In FY19, the Army asked for 240 missiles again. And the base orders for the missile in FY21 and FY22 total 160 each year. The Army’s plans to dramatically increase its PAC-3 MSE production going forward has seen unanimous congressional approval, although the final FY19 defense appropriations bill has yet to become law. House and Senate appropriators are fully funding the production of 179 MSE missiles in FY19 in the base budget. Lockheed is no longer selling its original PAC-3 missiles, but it is still producing them for one customer, according to Bob Delgado, director of international business development for integrated air and missile defense at Lockheed Martin, who spoke to Defense News in a recent interview at the defense conference Eurosatory in Paris. This means Lockheed can make room for PAC-3 MSE production, which received the go-ahead to move into full-rate production by the U.S. Army in April.
“There is a lot of interest in [PAC-3 MSE], so much so we are doubling our capacity,” which equates to up to 500 of the missiles per year, Delgado said. “This will likely mean adding an extra production line.” he added.
Lockheed is currently meeting the demand, Delgado said, “however, it is getting more difficult as more orders come in, and that is why we are foreseeing, along with the U.S. government, a point where we need to increase our capacity.”
Lockheed expects to reach this capacity level within the next few years, he said, and the company could always build out to an even higher production capacity. It also believed, according to a hint during a Raytheon earnings call earlier this year, that at least one more country that is not yet a Patriot customer will be taking steps to buy the system sometime this year, which could mean even more PAC-3 MSE orders for Lockheed. (Source: Defense News)
12 Jul 18. UK DASA seeks proposals to safely eliminate CBW munitions and IEDs. The UK Defence and Security Accelerator (DASA) is set to launch a competition to encourage new innovative solutions that would help counter munitions safely on the battlefield.
Dubbed ‘Safely eliminating chemical and biological munitions on the battlefield ‘Don’t Blow It!’, the competition seeks proposals on how to access, disable and / or irreversibly destroy chemical and biological weapons (CBW) munitions, improvised explosive devices (IEDs) and bulk agents. Seeking participation from the private sector and academia, the competition is aimed at non-traditional defence and security innovators, particularly from the allied technology areas such as the oil and gas, mining sectors, as well as those which have experience in handling hazardous materials. The competition has been jointly funded by the UK Ministry of Defence (MoD) and the US Department of Defense (DoD) and is expected to be operated under an existing memorandum of understanding (MoU) signed between the two countries. Initially, the two defence ministries will fund £500,000 for multiple proof-of-concept proposals at low Technology Readiness Levels (TRL). An additional £1.5m is expected to be funded based on the results of the initial funding phase. The competition is slated to be officially launched during an event in London, UK, on 26 September this year. In May this year, the DASA made an open call to seek for new and innovative ideas that would allow UK improve the defence and security of the country. IED is a type of unconventional explosive weapon capable of taking any form and can be activated in different number of ways, thereby continuing to be part of the operating environment for future Nato military operations. (Source: army-technology.com)
11 Jul 18. Turkish 120mm rifled Weapon Mortar System under test. The Turkish Aselsan Alkar 120mm Weapon Mortar System (WMS) has completed initial firing trials installed in the rear of a BMC Vuran 4×4 multipurpose armoured vehicle (MPAV), Jane’s has learnt. Prior to this event, firing trials with the Alkar 120mm WMS were completed from a fixed ground platform in the second half of 2017. Both trials included a full family of 120mm high-explosive (HE), smoke, and illuminating mortar bombs. The latest series of BMC Vuran testing included a complete system trial with the computerised fire-control system. According to Aselsan, “development of the Alkar 120mm WMS will be completed by the end of July 2018”. For its new role, the Vuran 4×4 MPAV has a modified roof with two power-operated hatches that open left and right to allow the mortar to be fired. In this configuration, when travelling, the Aselsan Alkar 120mm WMS is virtually indistinguishable from the standard BMC Vuran 4×4 MPAV. The Aselsan Alkar 120mm WMS is mounted on a turntable that can be rapidly traversed through a full 360°. The mortar has powered traverse and elevation and is fitted with a computerised fire-control system for greater accuracy and reduced into-action times. The 120mm mortar is fitted with a special recoil system so no stabilisers are required to be engaged before the system comes into action. According to Aselsan, the advanced recoil system reduces the firing shock up to 235kN, about one-sixth of the firing force before recoil. The weapon has an automatic ammunition handling system to reduce crew fatigue and increase rate of fire. To operate it, a crew member places a 120 mm mortar bomb, complete with fuze and charge, on a loading tray that then takes the mortar bomb upwards and positions it over the muzzle. (Source: IHS Jane’s)
11 Jul 18. Russian developed RPG-30 defeats APS and Reactive armour. The RPG-30 was unveiled in 2008 by the State Research and Production Enterprise, Bazalt, as a modern anti-tank grenade launcher designed to address the challenge of reactive armor and active protection systems(APS) on tanks. Active protection systems such as ARENA-E, Drozd and Trophy defeat anti-armor munitions by destroying them before they reach their target. The RPG-30 is an intended response to the introduction of these systems. The RPG-30 cleared its testing program and entered service in 2012–2013 and was immediately put on the Pentagon’s list of “asymmetrical threats to the US armed forces.”
The RPG-30, like the RPG-27, is a man-portable, disposable anti-tank rocket launcher with a single shot capacity. Unlike the RPG-27 however, there is a smaller diameter precursor round in a side tube, in addition to the main round in the main tube. The precursor round is fired shortly before the main round and acts as a decoy, tricking the target’s active protection system (APS) into engaging it. The APS is not ready to engage again until 0.2–0.4 seconds later, allowing the main round time to hit the target. The PG-30 is the main round of the RPG-30. The round is a 105mm tandem shaped charge with a weight of 10.3 kg (22.7 lb) and has a range of 200 meters and a stated penetration capability in excess of 600mm (24-in) of rolled homogeneous armor (RHA), 1,500mm of reinforced concrete, 2,000 mm of brick and 3,700mm of soil. In 2012 Israel Defense reported that the Rafael military-industrial corporation has developed a defense system, “Trench Coat”, against the RPG-30, to supplement the existing Trophy. It consists of a 360-degree radar that detects all threats and launches 17 projectiles, of which one should strike the incoming missile. (Source: Wikipedia)
10 Jul 18. South Korea plans to locally develop missile for homemade future jet. South Korea’s state-funded arms development agency plans to develop an indigenous, air-launched, long-range cruise missile to be equipped with the KF-X fighter aircraft under development, according to defense officials. The Agency for Defense Development, or ADD, under the wing of the Defense Acquisition Program Administration, is scheduled to pick a local partner company no later than September for exploratory development of the missile, modeled after the Taurus KEPD 350, manufactured by the German-Swedish firm Taurus Systems.
“As part of offset deals to buy Taurus missiles for the past years, South Korea received some part of the Taurus KEPD 350 technologies,” an ADD official said, speaking on condition of anonymity due to the sensitivity of the missile program. “Based on the transferred Taurus technology, we’ll develop our own air-to-ground, long-range missile to be integrated into the KF-X fighter jet, which is expected to be operational by 2026.”
At least 120 KF-X jets are to be produced after 2026 to replace the aging fleet of F-4s and F-5s. At least 50 units are to be manufactured in Indonesia, the sole KF-X partner obliged to burden 20 percent of the development costs for the 4.5-generation KF-X jet. Hanwha Corporation and LIG Nex1 are competing for the air-to-air missile project worth some $730m. Both companies have unveiled the concept designs of their 3,000-pound Taurus-class missile with a range of 400 kilometers.
“We have long and successful track records of developing indigenous cruise missiles with guidance systems, including ship-launched Haeseong-series cruise missiles,” an LIG Nex1 official said, speaking on condition of anonymity. “We’ve accumulated enough know-how and technology to develop an air-launched cruise missile.”
Hanwha, which has merged multiple defense companies to become South Korea’s largest defense manufacturer, showed confident about the missile competition.
“It’s true we’re the second mover in the guided-missile field, but we’ve made substantial progress in developing precision-striking missiles with the concentration of budgets and human resources,” a Hanwha public affairs official said.
Ahn Seung-beom, military analyst and publisher of The Defense Times in South Korea, said the air-launched missile project marks South Korea’s first-ever effort of its kind.
“This is the first meaningful step forward developing South Korea’s own air-launched missiles, which were largely imported from U.S. and European nations,” Ahn said. “Beginning this air-to-ground missile development program, more air-launched missile projects are to begin.”
He referred to efforts to modify the Shingung short-range, surface-to-air missile into an air-to-air missile modeled after Raytheon’s AIM-9X, and plans to develop the ship-to-air Haegung missile into a long-range, air-to-ground one as potential projects to be materialized. Both Shingung and Haegung missiles were co-developed by ADD and LIG Nex1. On June 29, the Defense Acquisition Program Administration unveiled the preliminary design of the KF-X. The design, code-named C-109, revealed the KF-X would be armed with European air-to-air missile systems. In the disclosed photos of the KF-X design, four Meteor long-range, air-to-air missiles developed by MBDA are shown to be nestled under the fuselage, while two IRIS-T short-range, guided, air-to-air missiles are mounted on respective wingtip launchers. The arms procurement agency originally preferred fitting the KF-X aircraft with U.S. weapons systems, such as Raytheon-built AIM-120 and AIM-9 Sidewinder missiles, but the U.S. government has yet to approve the export license of the missiles. (Source: Defense News)
10 Jul 18. ESSM Block II successfully intercepts target in test. The Evolved SeaSparrow Missile (ESSM) Block II successfully intercepted a BQM-74E aerial target during a recent flight test, the US Navy (USN) has confirmed. The test, conducted by the NATO Seasparrow Project Office, was the first ESSM flight test to use the new Block II active guidance seeker head, the USN said on 5 July. ESSM Block II will employ both semi-active and active guidance to meet current and anticipated future threats. As noted by the Center for Strategic and International Studies’ (CSIS’) Missile Defense Project, the active guidance system will reduce the ESSM’s dependence on ship-based illuminator guidance systems, such as the USN’s SPG-62 radar, to bounce electromagnetic signals off targets to provide terminal guidance for the interceptor. (Source: IHS Jane’s)
10 Jul 18. Rafael reportedly completes tests of Iron Dome defence system. Rafael Advanced Defense Systems, in partnership with Israel’s Defence Ministry, has reportedly completed a series of tests for the Iron Dome anti-missile defence system. Participants in the testing include the Israeli Air Force and Navy, as well as Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI), and mPrest Systems. The tests were carried out at the Palmachim air base, south of Tel Aviv.
A statement by Israel Defense Ministry was quoted by media sources as saying: “As part of the tests, several different types of threats were launched, simulating the threats developing in the arena. The Homa (missile defence) directorate will continue to develop the Iron Dome system to ‘counter the emerging threats in the region’.”
As well as Iron Dome, medium-range Magic Wand and long-range Arrow 3 systems were also subjected to testing at the air base, the ministry statement noted. With ranges of up to 70km, the truck-towed mobile air defence system Iron Dome has the ability to intercept very short-range rockets and artillery shell threats. Featuring a detection and tracking radar, battle management and weapon control system (BMC) and a missile firing unit (MFU), the Iron Dome is capable of operating in all weather conditions. The Iron Dome MFU launches Tamir interceptor missiles while the system’s special warhead allows it to detonate any target in the air. (Source: army-technology.com)
11 Jul 18. Raytheon laser technology makes US patent history. Raytheon has received a US patent for technology to obtain real-time readings on speed and distance from the data stream created by laser radars. The patent marks the 10 millionth US patent issued. The technology, invented by Joe Marron, an optical engineer for Raytheon, improves the ability of laser radars to identify and track objects. Laser radars use reflected light to measure speed and distance.
“This invention allows us to measure the amplitude and phase of light, and it is particularly useful with laser systems,” Morton told Jane’s. “By measuring the amplitude and phase, we can infer speed and distance, and that is very useful for many current applications.” (Source: Defense News Early Bird/IHS Jane’s)
10 Jul 18. Cobham Displays Innovative Mine Clearing Technologies. HALO Trust are the largest Humanitarian Mine Action charity, which Cobham has been working with in Cambodia since 2012. Today, we were with HALO talking to Penny Mordaunt, Secretary of State for International Development in the United Kingdom, to talk about how we have been supporting the HALO Trust, creating more efficient and effective ways of clearing mines and reducing human risk in minefield operations – helping to realise their Land Mine Free 2025 vision. This included discussion on automation of mine clearance and ways to digitally map these operations, which reduces the risk to human operators and offering the potential to operate where and when humans can’t. Minehound, designed and manufactured in partnership with Vallon GmbH, has sold over 10,000 systems to military and humanitarian customers and been in used by HALO since 2012 in Cambodia. Minehound allows HALO to reduce the amount of metal clutter that would otherwise need to be removed by hand. It reduces the False Alarm Rate by >95%, ensuring a quicker, more efficient minefield clearance operation. Innovating for the future, Minehound lite has been designed and developed to provide Ground Penetrating Radar at a commercial build standard, meaning a physically lighter detector with a more cost effective proposition to humanitarian deminers. Our Amulet Robot allows remote mine detection, when the risk of deploying a de-miner it too high. For example, it can be used during the night or in inclement weather conditions. Whilst it operates, the system makes a map of the minefield, reporting it in real-time.
Amulet UAS deploys the same Ground Penetrating Radar [GPR] on a small Unmanned Aerial System. In the future this will allow the deployment of GPR remotely from the operation, providing them the ability to search a minefield that would be otherwise too high risk or inaccessible for a human de-miner. It provides secondary support in conditions which would prevent a tracked robot from operating. The system creates a map of the minefield as it operates, reporting in real-time. This airborne automation will reduce the reliance on human operators, minimising risks and offering increased rate of clearance in conditions where humans or ground robots are unable to support. (Source: ASD Network)
10 Jul 18. Canadian tactical manufacturer TRG expands to European market. Canadian tactical and air-soft garments and accessories manufacturer The Requirements Group (TRG) has launched its European headquarters in the Netherlands in an effort to expand to the European market. The company intends to stand out as a supplier of ‘premium Canadian grade’ products in the tactical and outdoors equipment market, which according to TRG is inundated with low grade, unreliable products. According to the company, its products have been designed and tested by active and veteran tactical police, military and search & rescue (SAR) operators. The products have been created to cater to the requirements of tactical and special forces operators.
The Requirements Group co-founder Glen Turpin said, “Unlike other manufacturers who start off in regular outerwear and then see an opportunity in the tactical and air-soft world, we stick to what has been second nature to us for the past 80 plus years in combined experience. It would not be fair to the end user to have the products manufactured in a factory that one day produces load bearing tactical vests, and the next day dolls or nail clippers. This is why we invested so much into building our own factory where our dedicated expert workers and engineers focus on tactical kit every single day.”
The company will introduce its two brands in the Netherlands, Shadow Elite and Shadow Strategic, to cater to both agency and civilian markets. As the owner of a factory, TRG sources and manufactures products in tune with its needs. The company also noted that the factory will allow it to have stringent quality control and keep production costs under control. It also offers customised uniforms and equipment with specific technical and camouflage pattern requirements. (Source: army-technology.com)
10 Jul 18. Polish Armed Forces receive final Beryl rifles. Poland’s Ministry of Defence has announced that small-arms manufacturer Fabryka Broni Łucznik-Radom (FBLR) has delivered the final 2,131 wz. 96C Beryl rifles to the Polish Armed Forces. This will be followed in August by the final 1,800wz. 96C Mini Beryl carbines to be handed over to the military, FBLR told Jane’s. This fulfils the four-year (2016-19) PLN156m (USD42.5m) deal signed in May 2016 for 26,021 Beryl-family weapons: 17,621 rifles and 8,400 carbines. The weapons are being delivered ahead of schedule to clear FBLR production lines for 53,000 modular MSBS (Grot) rifles ordered in September 2017 for PLN500m. (Source: IHS Jane’s)
09 Jul 18. Larsen & Toubro expands BrahMos production. Indian company Larsen & Toubro (L&T) has inaugurated a new production line to support the BrahMos (PJ-10) supersonic cruise missile, the company announced on 7 July. The facility, which is based in Vadodara in the western state of state of Gujarat, manufactures two different types of canisters to store, transport, and launch the BrahMos missile system, said L&T.
The new production line is L&T’s second BrahMos facility. The company also produces composite airframes for the missile system at its site in Vadodara. In addition, L&T has been involved in developing and producing BrahMos launchers and fire-control systems and is investing in developing another composites facility in the southern city of Coimbatore, which will also support the BrahMos missile. In May L&T also announced that it had developed a new launcher prototype for the BrahMos. The company said its Quadruple Canisterised Inclined Launcher (QCIL) has been developed to launch up to four BrahMos missiles in an inclined configuration in single or salvo mode. Developed by L&T in collaboration with the manufacturer of the missile, BrahMos Aerospace, the QCIL is designed to be fitted on warships unable to accommodate a vertical-launch module system due to space constraints, said the company. BrahMos Aerospace is a joint venture between India’s Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) and Russia’s NPO Mashinostroyenia (NPOM). The company was established through an inter-government agreement signed in 1998. First tested in mid-2001, the BrahMos has been designed to be launched from land-based mobile platforms, ships, aircraft, and submarines. (Source: IHS Jane’s)
09 Jul 18. US Army selects companies to deliver manoeuvrable, survivable SHORAD. Key Points:
- US Army leaders have identified short-range air defence as a key deficiency
- The service is looking to field an ‘IM-SHORAD’ capability by 2020
The US Army, which is preparing itself for a potential conflict with a near-peer adversary, has selected vendors for participation in its effort to field an Initial Maneuver Short-Range Air Defense (IM-SHORAD) capability by 2020. The service’s existing capability is limited to the Avenger system, which is mounted on a high-mobility multipurpose wheeled vehicle and employs the Stinger surface-to-air missile. Ultimately, the goal is to provide a more survivable system employing the same Stryker vehicles that would be used in a manoeuvre formation. (Source: IHS Jane’s)
09 Jul 18. Strategic partnership for next-gen fire support drone system. Australian companies Cyborg Dynamics and Skyborne Technologies have signed a strategic partnership to develop the world’s most capable armed tactical micro-drone, the Cerberus UAV, with DefendTex to provide the armament technology. Named after the three headed dog that guards access to the underworld in Greek mythology, Cerberus is the lightest, most efficient drone of its type in the world, able to provide direct fire support while remaining man portable, providing operators with a tactical edge on today’s battlefield.
“We are five times lighter than the nearest re-loadable armed small UAS – the Duke Robotics TIKAD. It comes in at 20-plus kilograms. That unit is not something I would want to carry around as a soldier. The Cerberus GL on the other hand is looking at coming in at around 6kg. If the armament is something the soldier is going to carry anyway, like anM72 LAW, then our platform is only 4kg,” said Dr Michael Creagh, Chief Executive Officer of Skyborne Technologies.
Most tactical-level aerial fire support is ‘fire and forget’ (AeroVironment’s $80,000 Switchblade, guided mortars etc), expensive and single-use. To the war fighter, damage assessments are crucial in tight situations to know whether the threat has been neutralised or re-engagement is required. Cerberus GL has the ability to fire three 40mm grenades, 6 shotgun rounds at an enemy UAV or even a anti-vehicle rocket whilst performing ISR tasks before, during and after its fire mission, then return to the soldier for re-loading and a battery swap. All this in a package under 6 kilograms and with an endurance of over 15 minutes.
Cyborg Dynamics CEO and Army Reserves Infantry Platoon Commander, Stephen Bornstein provided valuable insight from the operator’s perspective saying “this UAV can engage light skinned vehicles, enemy UAV’s, provide direct fire support, new vantage points to use primary weapon systems and conduct battle damage assessments, and all at man portable size. It is literally the lightest, most capable and most efficient UAV of it’s class in the world. We look forward to working with Skyborne to make the Cerberus mission ready.”
DefendTex which provides the lightweight, electronically-fired grenade and shotgun armaments for the UAV are based on the famous Metal Storm systems and are “ideal for use on a UAV because they are so simple and light-weight.” Electronic ignition removes heavy mechanical reloading mechanisms.
The strategic partnership will allow for the development of new gimbals for optics and fire control as well as enhanced payloads and improved international military engagement. Australia is a potential customer with positive operator feedback, and there has also been interest from US research labs along with a number of allied nations.
As Army sub-contractors working for one of the companies looking at the Wasp SUAS replacement, working on the guidance, navigation and control systems, Dr Creagh said “naturally we are hoping to gain the support of Australian Defence. Skyborne has had interest from overseas already, but given the choice we’d stay and develop Cerberus in Australia to help grow the sovereign aerospace capability.”
06 Jul 18. Finnish Navy to acquire Gabriel anti-ship missile. The Finnish Ministry of Defence (MoD) has authorised the Finnish Defence Force’s Logistic Command to proceed with an acquisition of the Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) Gabriel anti-ship missile to equip the Finnish Navy’s Squadron 2000 Hamina-class missile fast attack craft and future Squadron 2020 Class multirole corvettes. The Gabriel surface-to-surface missile (SSM) – to be designated SSM2020 in Finnish Navy service – will replace the current MT085M (Saab RBS-15 SF) anti-ship missile when it reaches its end of life service in the early 2020s. Information on this Gabriel variant, however, was not disclosed. IAI is understood to be developing a new Gabriel variant – the Gabriel V advanced naval attack missile – equipped with a new active radar seeker and designed to operate in congested naval environments and to defeat sophisticated hard and soft kill naval defence systems but further information has not been disclosed. (Source: IHS Jane’s)
06 Jul 18. Indian Navy destroyer INS Delhi receives extensive combat systems makeover during MLU. The Indian Navy’s Project 15 destroyer INS Delhi is receiving a major combat system upgrade as part of its ongoing mid-life upgrade (MLU). Imagery analysis suggests Delhi had entered its MLU cycle at Naval Dockyard Mumbai by May 2017 and work is currently ongoing. Under the destroyer’s MLU programme, a significant portion of legacy Russian-origin combat systems are being replaced by indigenously sourced kit, in addition to other ship system and habitability upgrades. The KH 35E Uran anti-ship missile system, including the Garpun-Bal missile targeting radar, is being replaced by the Brahmos missile system and an unspecified surface surveillance radar (SSR). (Source: IHS Jane’s)
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