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28 Mar 19. DoD Continues to Weigh Whether to Use Two Rocket Motor Suppliers for GBSD Program. The Pentagon continues to assess the costs and benefits of directing the two contractors building the forthcoming Ground-Based Strategic Deterrent (GBSD) to partner with the two remaining rocket builders in the country, the Air Force’s military acquisition chief said March 28. Testifying before the House Armed Services Strategic Forces Subcommittee Thursday on Capitol
Hill, Lt. Gen. Arnold Bunch said the Air Force remains in ongoing dialogues with the Departments of Defense and Energy over whether to push GBSD contractors Boeing [BA] and Northrop Grumman [NOC] to use both U.S. suppliers of solid rocket motors (SRMs) – Aerojet Rocketdyne [AJRD] and Northrop Grumman Innovation Systems, previously Orbital ATK – for the program development and production. The question came from subcommittee member Rep. Rob Bishop (R-Utah), who asked Bunch: “Would there be a benefit or programmatic challenge of doing that?”
The departments are weighing the potential impact to the program’s cost, schedule and performance, and evaluating any technical risks that could emerge from the Air Force pushing for two rocket producers, Bunch said.
“We are also weighing that against the risk to the industrial base,” he added. A 2017 Pentagon Annual Industrial Capability report to Congress laid out concerns over whether Aerojet Rocketdyne would be able to sustain itself in the future as its current orders begin to be phased out.
“Maintaining a healthy and competitive SRM industrial base is also of concern to the Department,” the report said. “In the very near future all the large SRMs for strategic missiles and space launch will be produced by OATK.” Northrop Grumman acquired Orbital ATK in June 2018 and created Northrop Grumman Innovation Systems.
Aerojet’s production lines are planned to be reduced as United Launch Alliance (ULA) – a joint launch venture between Lockheed Martin [LMT] and Boeing — selected Orbital to replace its Aerojet-made boosters on the Atlas line of rockets and future launch vehicles, the report noted. “This potentially leaves the United States with a single large SRM supplier, which can lead to cost increases due to lack of competition, decreases in internal research and development efforts, and risk of security of supply if a catastrophic accident should occur.”
Once a determination on the risks has been made at the acquisition level, Bunch will have to discuss those findings with U.S. Strategic Command Commander Air Force Gen. John Hyten, as the requirements partners for GBSD, he added.
“We have to go… explain what those risks are, both from a performance and a schedule and a cost, and how that plays out on a timeline, so that we can determine if we can meet his requirements,” Bunch said.
Bishop asked that the findings of that discussion be shared with the committee once they are available. The Pentagon expects to procure over 600 new missiles to replace the aging Boeing-made Minuteman III intercontinental ballistic missile under the GBSD program, with plans to begin fielding in the mid-2020s. Boeing and Northrop Grumman are both completing mature design reviews for the program. (Source: Defense Daily)
28 Mar 19. US Army debuts missile defense framework in move to counter drones, hypersonic threats. The U.S. Army released its new air and missile defense framework March 27 that aims to pursue multimission units and counter emerging threats like drones and hypersonic missiles, the Army’s Space and Missile Defense Command chief told Defense News in an interview just ahead of the Association of the U.S. Army’s Global Force Symposium.
Lt. Gen. James Dickinson said the strategy will chart the course for future air and missile defense forces by using capabilities already fielded and currently under development. The key tenets of the new strategy, which has been in the works for several years, are meant to ensure AMD forces can protect maneuvering ground forces and defend critical assets in theater and other areas of operation. The AMD force is intended to help “create windows of superiority” in the air so that the joint force can gain access and exploit terrain, according to a summary of the strategy obtained by Defense News.
The strategy is built around an AMD force that aligns with the Army’s wider goal to have a fully modernized force executing multidomain operations by 2028.
The strategy pursues four major efforts:
- Develop the right materiel solutions for AMD,
- Build the right force structure to fight in multidomain operations,
- Provide ready and trained AMD forces,
- Build capacity to maintain forward presence with allies and partners.
The AMD strategy cites several modernization efforts as already underway.
The strategy also sets up the Lower Tier Air and Missile Defense sensor as the replacement for the current Patriot AMD radar.
The Army will remain committed to the Indirect Fire Protection Capability, or IFPC, that will provide defense against rockets, artillery and mortars as well as against cruise missiles and drones.
Also part of the layered defense is the Army’s Maneuver—Short Range Air Defense, or M-SHORAD, system that the service rapidly developed in response to an urgent capability gap in the European theater.
Linking together all of the various defense systems will lead to the Integrated Air and Missile Defense Battle Command System, which will serve as the brains of the missile defense systems and tie them together on the battlefield.
The strategy also continues the pursuit of directed-energy systems for defense to include a Stryker-mounted laser to protect the maneuver force against rocket, artillery, mortar and drone threats — with a predicted initial operational capability in 2024 — and a larger laser mounted on an Army Common Tactical Vehicle as part of the IFPC capability expected to be fielded in 2026.
The Army intends to design its future AMD forces as multimission battalions that can mix capabilities and be tailored to the mission.
“Under the current construct you have pure Patriot battalions and [Terminal High Altitude Area Defense] THAAD batteries, and we’ve done this in the past, really this mixing of capabilities and formations, that isn’t necessarily new but we absolutely have to do it and do more of it in the future, so the multimission air and missile defense battalions will have a mix of capabilities,” Dickinson said.
The service will also create new M-SHORAD battalions. The first battalion will be fielded in 2021, and three more battalions by fiscal 2023. The desired end state is to form 18 battalions.
The Army last composed an AMD strategy in 2012, according to Dickinson. Then in 2015 it provided a one-page update.
“A lot has changed in the past four years of importance,” Dickinson said. “The operating environment has changed. We have an environment that is characterized by increasingly complex threat, increased operational tempo and great power competition.”
The threat has also rapidly matured from what was previously expected, he added. Adversaries have unmanned aerial systems, cruise missiles, and advancing ballistic missile and hypersonic technologies.
“This document, it really charts the course for future air and missile defense forces,” Dickinson said. “Air and missile defense have a tremendous deterrence factor, too … so that is really kind of what has stimulated us to draft a new road map for an Army air and missile defense enterprise.” (Source: Defense News)
28 Mar 19. U.S. Army Awards $1.13bn Contract to Lockheed Martin for Guided Multiple Launch Rocket System Production, Support Equipment. Lockheed Martin (NYSE: LMT) received a $1.13bn contract from the U.S. Army for Lot 14 production of Guided Multiple Launch Rocket System (GMLRS) rockets and associated equipment.
The contract calls for the production of more than 9,500 GMLRS Unitary and Alternative-Warhead (AW) rockets, more than 300 Low-Cost Reduced-Range Practice Rockets (RRPRs) and integrated logistics support for the U.S. Army and international customers. Work will be performed at the Lockheed Martin facilities in Camden, Ark.; Dallas and Lufkin, Texas; and Ocala, Fla., and will be completed by July 2021.
“The demand for GMLRS rounds, both domestically and internationally, continues to remain strong based on the excellent performance of the munition,” said Gaylia Campbell, vice president of Precision Fires and Combat Maneuver Systems at Lockheed Martin Missiles and Fire Control. “Our primary focus with GMLRS is to continue producing these combat-proven munitions at a rate that meets the demands of our customers.”
GMLRS is an all-weather rocket designed for fast deployment that delivers precision strike beyond the reach of most conventional weapons. The GMLRS AW was the first munition developed to service area targets without the effects of unexploded ordinance. GMLRS unitary rockets exceed the required combat reliability rate and are cost-effective. The RRPR allows users to train with realistic, full-motored rockets with limited flight range, making them ideal for smaller testing ranges.
In combat operations, each GMLRS rocket is packaged in an MLRS launch pod and is fired from the Lockheed Martin-produced HIMARS or M270 family of launchers. GMLRS was established as an international cooperative program. For more than 40 years, Lockheed Martin has been the leading designer and manufacturer of long-range, surface-to-surface precision strike solutions, providing highly reliable, combat-proven systems like MLRS, HIMARS, ATACMS and GMLRS to domestic and international customers.
28 Mar 19. Australian Defence Innovation Hub awards contract to support DMTC. Defence Industry Minister Linda Reynolds has announced the award of a new innovation contract at the Defence Materials Technology Centre (DMTC) Annual Conference to support the future capabilities of Australian soldiers. The contract, valued at $272,000, will see DMTC collaborate with Thales Australia to explore the potential benefits of networking equipment carried by soldiers, including small arms and future battle systems.
Minister Reynolds said the Commonwealth government was committed to building strong relationships within the Australian defence industry to grow local capacity and capability.
“DMTC continues to play a key role as a leader within the Australian defence industry sector. From partnering with industry to enhance joint force capability, to building international research communities, DMTC is delivering outcomes for Defence and industry,” Minister Reynolds said.
The Defence Innovation Hub is part of the government’s $1.6bn commitment to developing Defence capability through growing Australia’s defence industry and innovation sectors.
Minister Reynolds added, “The contract is an example of how the government is continuing to invest in local defence industry and developing Defence capability.”
DMTC works collaboratively with many successful and innovative Australian industry, research and government agencies to advance technologies in priority areas. Australian industry and research organisations can submit innovation proposals at any time through the Defence Innovation Portal at: www.business.gov.au/cdic. (Source: Defence Connect)
27 Mar 19. NAVAIR orders MQ-8C Fire Scout weapons studies. The US Navy’s (USN’s) aviation support arm has embarked on a series of studies examining options for the possible weaponisation of its MQ-8C Fire Scout unmanned helicopters. Naval Air Systems Command (NAVAIR) will ask Northrop Grumman Aerospace Systems to investigate the addition of unspecified anti-surface weapons together with upgrades to the mission processing unit (MPU). The integration studies will help determine “potential upgrades/alternatives to the MPU and reduce future weaponisation risk through early design work on integrating potential weapon systems into the existing air vehicle architecture”, according to a NAVAIR solicitation.
Captain Eric Soderberg, programme manager at the Multi-Mission Tactical Unmanned Aerial Systems office (PMA-266), told Jane’s on 25 March, “The navy does not have a requirement to weaponise the MQ-8C, but NAVAIR has received funding for non-recurring engineering associated with this effort. (Source: IHS Jane’s)
27 Mar 19. Extended-range cannon to get autoloader within five years. The Army is developing an Extended-Range Cannon Artillery (ERCA) system and will start building prototypes by the end of the year, but moving beyond the first iteration, the service is planning to add an autoloader starting in 2024, according to Col. John Rafferty, who is in charge of the Army’s Long-Range Precision Fires modernization programs.
The Army plans to build 8 prototypes of the ERCA cannon by 2023 with a culminating technology demonstration, Rafferty said. The service is focused on improvements to the platform, the projectile, the ammunition and propellant.
While the Army plans to first take the legacy fleet of Howitzers and give them projectiles that allow them to shoot farther.
After years of planning, the Paladin Integrated Management program aims to upgrade the Paladin howitzer with an M109A7 chassis. From there, the ERCA program will upgrade PIM’s turret with a 58 caliber, 30-foot long gun tube that is capable of shooting farther than 70 kilometers.
“That is a major improvement,” Rafferty said, but he added, “we still have a ways to go with integrating the precision guidance kit with a GPS fuze for that.”
The challenge is the muzzle blasts are so much higher, he said, so it changes the way the fuze operates.
Rafferty said the Army has shot an Excalibur round from the gun tube and hit a target at 62 kilometers. The first battalion will be fielded in FY23. The next increment beginning in 2024 will the cannon equipped with the autoloader.
“The autoloader is key to generating the volume of fire that really gives us that lethality at range,” Rafferty said, but it’s “a pretty complicated technology to develop.”
Currently, the Army relies on two cannoneers to equip a dumb projectile with smart fuzes. This is being done in Iraq, Syria and Afghanistan, Rafferty noted.
And “there is a complex fuze setting process and battery life on the fuzes, which means you can’t fuze them hours beforehand,” he explained. “You need to screw the fuzes on, then set them, and the charge lasts for a certain length of time.”
But this process is challenging for autoloaders, he said, which means the Army will have to take a different and unique approach.
While there is an internal effort to build an autoloader prototype, the service is also looking at using the Army Applications Lab at the Army Futures Command in Austin, Texas, for ideas that might approach the challenge differently, Rafferty said.
The lab is located in an innovator’s hub called the Capital Factory and is geared toward uniting Army requirements writers and developers with individuals and companies with non-traditional technology that could be applied to efforts underway within the service. (Source: Defense News Early Bird/Defense News)
26 Mar 19. NNSA Seeks $410m For South Carolina Pit Plant in FY ’20. The National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) is seeking $410m for fiscal 2020 to begin converting a canceled plutonium disposal plant in South Carolina into a factory to produce nuclear-warhead cores, the agency revealed Monday in its detailed 2020 budget request. The planned Savannah River pit plant will be called the Savannah River Plutonium Processing Facility (SRPPF), according to the full budget request from the semiautonomous Department of Energy agency.
Assuming approval from Congress, the NNSA said it will use the money for “for conceptual design and pre-Critical Decision (CD)-1 activities” that will turn the former Mixed Oxide Fuel Fabrication Facility into a factory capable of annually producing 50 plutonium “pits” by 2030.
Critical Decision 1 is the project management milestone in which DOE selects a single preferred means of meeting some goal and roughs out a cost estimate for that approach. A formal cost and schedule baseline follows at the CD-2 milestone. The NNSA did not say in its 2020 budget request when the pit plant might reach CD-2, at which point the agency will have to disclose the project’s estimated cost to Congress.
The NNSA’s detailed justification appeared publicly the day before Energy Secretary Rick Perry
testified about the request before the House Appropriations energy and water development subcommittee. Elsewhere in the budget, the NNSA requested $745m to continue building the Uranium
Processing Facility at the Y-12 National Security Complex in Oak Ridge, Tenn. That is about 6 percent, or about $40m more, than the 2019 budget of roughly $700m. The DOE branch is seeking $10m in the fiscal year that begins Oct. 1 to finish work on the low-yield W76-2 submarine-launched, ballistic-missile warhead, according to the 650-plus page congressional budget justification published online late Monday. The funding, if approved, will pay for “completion of production and delivery of all W76-2 warheads,” according to the budget request. The NNSA finished building the first W76-2, a modified version of the recently refurbished
W76-1 warhead, in February. The agency plans to deliver the first warhead to the Navy by Sept. 30. (Source: Defense Daily)
26 Mar 19. Missile incoming? The Army wants to jam its sensors. Defense contractor BAE is working on a system that protects Army vehicles from incoming missiles by scrambling their sensors and sending the projectiles off target. Around 2015, the Army began to acknowledge that rather than using missiles to shoot down enemy missiles, other methods may be available to protect tanks and ground vehicles from such attacks. This led to the Modular Active Protection System program and in October an event dubbed a soft kill “rodeo,” a demonstration of non-kinetic technological countermeasures to protect vehicles.
The Army selected BAE to participate in follow-on efforts and to continue to work on the technology, which is essentially a sensor suite mounted to a ground vehicle that can detect incoming missiles and scramble sensors to send the missile off target.
Ryan Edwards, BAE’s business development manager for soldier and vehicle electronics, told C4ISRNET in a March 19 interview that its solution, called Raven, is autonomous, meaning soldiers do not need to cue the electronic countermeasures for incoming missiles. In addition, the non-kinetic nature of these systems can be safer than actual kinetic solutions because it doesn’t risk collateral damage, Edwards said.
While declining to provide specifics regarding the range of BAE’s system, Edwards said that in tests, the incoming missiles did not get close to the targeted platform.
In conjunction with Raven, Edwards added that BAE is looking to improve a 360 degree situational awareness capability for ground vehicles through the wide field of view driving camera. In battle, soldiers will need as much situational awareness as possible and currently, there are no 360 degree tools available.
He said the soft kill rodeo proved that this sensor could also be part of a cueing system for active protection.
Currently, Edwards said the effort is focused on Bradley Fighting Vehicles. He added that there is no program of record or request for proposal for this type of capability and the Army did not immediately respond to questions about the status of prototyping and experimentation for a potential program of record. While these systems have some ability to sense the electromagnetic spectrum around them to detect and jam incoming missiles, Edwards said there are no plans to feed this information into a larger electromagnetic situational awareness capability.
One of the Army’s long-term goals is to use sensors in the field to feed into its Electronic Warfare Planning and Management Tool – a command and control system that allows for planning of EW operations – to provide commanders a holistic picture of the electromagnetic spectrum, which is now part of a commander’s maneuver space.
Edwards said there have been discussions to feed BAE’s capabilities to these common operating pictures, but the focus is improving the capability for protection and vehicle situational awareness. (Source: C4ISR & Networks)
26 Mar 19. US Army to prioritize long-range missile capability to go after maritime targets. The U.S. Army’s future long-range missile will first focus on defeating maritime targets from land once a baseline version is established, according to Col. John Rafferty, who is in charge of the service’s long-range precision fires modernization efforts. The Army then plans to spiral in capability to increase lethality, followed by range. The service is pursuing the technology as part of its Precision Strike Missile program.
“We are in a hurry to get to the base missile so that we can follow up quickly with what we think is the first spiral of capability, which would be the cross-domain capability that gives it the ability to attack maritime targets, or anything that emits, so that could be a radar, a ship emitting as well,” Rafferty told Defense News in an interview just ahead of the Association of the U.S. Army’s Global Force Symposium in Huntsville, Alabama.
“That cross-domain capability is really critical, especially in the Pacific. There is such a demand for being able to attack maritime targets from land,” he added.
The Army has been competitively developing a missile to replace its Army Tactical Missile System for years, but historically at a slower pace. Lockheed Martin and Raytheon are each developing a version of the precision strike missile, or PrSM, with plans for prototype flight tests beginning in the fourth quarter of 2019.
Both teams are designing their missiles with room to grow, as the service is looking to spiral in more capability as time goes on and technology is refined.
The service is also funding a land-based anti-ship missile within its science and technology programs that would feed directly into that first spiral of capability in the PrSM program.
The science and technology program is developing seekers that will give PrSM the ability to go after ships and other emitting targets. Right now, according to Rafferty, the service is taking components and flying them in different missiles to see how they work, and these components would be integrated into a PrSM when it’s ready to go.
According to Rafferty, the second spiral of capability will add enhanced lethality to the PrSM weapon. “That could be a sensor fuse munition, so it could be ejected from the missile in a top-down attack,” he said.
The Army developed similar technology in cannon munitions to sense, seek and destroy enemy armor, but the service didn’t pursue a program to field the capability, Rafferty said. Yet, the service did fire some of those rounds during the invasion in Iraq, he noted, “and it worked.”
The idea of “base ejecting cannon projectiles and then dispensing missiles,” Rafferty said, “really isn’t much of a stretch. The challenge with PrSM, though, is it’s going to be going really fast, so how do you dispense in a way that it’s somewhat controlled?”
The final spiral on which the service is focusing involves accelerating the pace of technology to extend the range of the PrSM weapon. The current requirement is a range up to 499 kilometers, but that range is set by the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty, which has collapsed.
“What we’ve done in the program is provide enough space for the senior leaders to make decisions, and so what we have recommended is to get a few test flights under our belt later this year, and then we will have some more confidence in the missile,” Rafftery said.
The models for the two competitors in the PrSM program show they are capable of going farther than 499 kilometers, he said.
Rafferty added that because the Army has been limited in terms of range by the INF Treaty, the service hasn’t invested a great deal in going beyond 499 kilometers.
While there are rocket motors that could take a missile out to 700 kilometers, the technology readiness level is “pretty low,” he said, “so it’s going to take a couple of years to get there.”
The service is committed to the PrSM form factor, Rafferty added, particularly being able to put two missiles in a launch pod; in this case, the Army is using the High Mobility Artillery Rocket System launcher and the Multiple Launch Rocket System.
“It really changes the results in experimentation and war gaming — it’s twice the firepower. It really does change the outcome in a lot of scenarios, so we are really committed to maintaining that two in a pod, and so the range will come over time,” Rafferty said.
According to the Army’s fiscal 2020 budget request, which details what the service hopes to accomplish over a five-year period, the PrSM weapon should reach a full-rate production decision in the third quarter of 2024. A critical design review is due in the first quarter of FY22.
The Army is expected to choose either Lockheed or Raytheon to proceed in the third quarter of FY21 at the start of the engineering and manufacturing development phase. Rafferty said the first spiral of technology maturation to get after maritime targets would come in early to mid-2025. (Source: Defense News)
26 Mar 19. Israel – Hamas claims Gaza ceasefire in effect, IDF deploys Iron Dome air-defence units to Southern District. As of 1800Z on 26 March, international media reporting indicates that the Palestinian Hamas group has agreed to a temporary ceasefire in Gaza brokered by the Egyptian government. However, Israel has not commented on the Gaza ceasefire reports and Israel Defence Forces (IDF) in the area remain at a heightened state of alert after conducting approximately 80 airstrikes in Gaza in the past 36 hours. Approximately 70 rockets have been fired from the Gaza Strip into Israel’s Southern District since 25 March. During the same time-frame, IDF Iron Dome air-defence systems have intercepted at least 15 incoming rockets over Southern District, all ranging within 20 miles (32 km) of the border with Gaza. IDF Iron Dome air-defence systems are capable of engaging aerial targets at altitudes up to FL330 and at ranges out to 43.5 miles (70 km). While flight operations at Ben Gurion International Airport (LLBG/TLV) are currently operating normally and the likelihood of a catastrophic event affecting civil aviation is low, additional re-routing and/or restrictions of flights at the airport and/or over Israeli airspace remains a credible scenario in the near term.
The current situation coupled with similar escalations in 2019 from 14-15 March as well as in 2018 from 27 May through 3 June, 13-26 July, 8-9 August, 17-27 October and 11-13 November represents a dramatic increase in the intensity of armed conflict between the IDF and Palestinian armed groups in Gaza in comparison to 2015-2017 levels. Additional launches of projectiles, incendiary kites and/or arson balloons from Gaza into Southern District are highly likely in the near term in the wake of the 25-26 March airstrikes by the IDF. The IDF is likely to respond to any additional projectile launches from Gaza into Israel with further air and artillery strikes along with attempted intercepts via Iron Dome air-defence systems. Additional escalation; to include rocket launches from Gaza reaching areas located over 32 miles (50 km) inside Israeli territory targeting urban centres such as Tel Aviv, are likely to elicit significant IDF retaliatory airstrikes against Palestinian armed groups, similar to what occurred between 14-15 and 25-26 March. We continue to assess Gaza, along with areas inside Israel situated within 32 miles (50 km) of Gaza and the Egyptian border, to comprise a HIGH risk airspace operating environment below FL260. We continue to assess Israel and Ben Gurion International Airport to be MODERATE risk aviation operating environments. (Source: Osprey)
26 Mar 19. France proceeds with Reaper weaponization. France has begun arming its General Atomics Aeronautical Systems Inc (GA-ASI) MQ-9 Reaper unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) with a weapon integration contract awarded on 22 March. The contract for the France MQ-9 Block 1 Weapons Integration Effort was awarded to GA-ASI by the US Department of Defense (DoD) acting on behalf of the French government. According to the DoD, this initial work provides for the production and integration of weapon kits onto the French Air Force MQ-9 Block 1 aircraft. It is valued at USD8.9m and will run through to 30 September 2020.
Although the contract does not disclose the weapon types to be fitted, the Reaper’s standard weapon fit in the service of other countries comprises Lockheed Martin AGM-114 Hellfire air-to-surface missiles and Raytheon Paveway precision-guided bombs. Jane’s has previously reported that France will adopt the Hellfire missile, and that an undisclosed European weapon could be fitted later. France has five Reaper UAVs in service (one having crashed in November 2018), with six more on order for delivery in 2019. The UAVs are performing intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR) duties in the Sahel region of Africa. (Source: IHS Jane’s)
26 Mar 19. Raytheon Company (NYSE: RTN) and the U.S. Army completed a successful preliminary design review for the new DeepStrike® surface-to-surface missile, moving the weapon down the development path toward its first flight tests planned for later this year. The DeepStrike missile meets the Army’s Precision Strike Missile, or PrSM, requirement, and will replace the current missile that was designed in the 1970s and is approaching the end of its service life. During the Preliminary Design Review, the Army evaluated every aspect of the new missile’s design, from its advanced propulsion system and innovative lethality package to its guidance system.
“Completion of Raytheon’s PrSM Preliminary Design Review helps us accelerate development and fielding of this high priority Army program,” said Col. Chris Mills, U.S. Army program manager for Precision Fires, Rocket and Missile Systems. “We are now ready to move to test and integration activities that will lead to a demonstration of PrSM’s new capabilities.”
Featuring an innovative, two-in-the-pod design and many other advancements, Raytheon’s new long-range precision strike missile will fly farther, faster and pack more punch than the current weapon. The DeepStrike missile will defeat fixed land targets 60-499 kilometers away, improve effectiveness and responsiveness compared to current systems, and restore the Army’s capability to overmatch adversaries. It will also be upgradable to keep U.S. soldiers ahead of the threat. Previous program milestones include the successful integration of DeepStrike’s new launch pod missile container into the Army’s M142 HIMARS and M270 MLRS launchers.
26 Mar 19. Army lays out USD1.5bn LTAMDS plans, eyes initial operational capability in 2022. The US Army is seeking to spend nearly USD1.5bn over the next five years to develop a new Patriot air and missile defence radar under its Lower Tier Air and Missile Defense Sensor (LTAMDS) programme, with the aim of an initial operating capability (IOC) by the end of 2022. In its fiscal year 2020 (FY 2020) budget request, the service included USD427.8m to support LTAMDS, with plans to request an additional USD1bn between FY 2021 and FY 2024.
“The [LTAMDS] satisfies the warfighter’s capability requirements in the Integrated Air and Missile Defense domain,” the service wrote. “The programme provides the required sensing capabilities in the lower-tier portion of the air and missile defence battlespace, and expands the battlespace for the Patriot Advanced Capability 3 [PAC-3] Missile Segment Enhancement [MSE] interceptor.” (Source: IHS Jane’s)
25 Mar 19. Textron Systems delivers NGSW-T prototype demonstrator to US Army. Textron Systems has delivered its Next Generation Squad Weapon-Technology (NGSW-T) prototype demonstrator that has been developed under a contract with the US Army. The automatic rifle prototype was delivered to the US Army Combat Capabilities Development Command (CCDC) Armaments Centre and Joint Services Small Arms Programme (JSSAP). Developed based on Textron’s cased-telescoped (CT) weapons and ammunition technology, the NGSW-T prototype is the first of the five weapon demonstrators that will be delivered for the JSSAP.
Textron Systems applied technologies and advanced programmes senior vice-president Wayne Prender said: “Moving from contract award to delivery of a revolutionary, next-generation weapon in just 15 months not only demonstrates the maturity of our CT technology, but also the project execution excellence our team possesses to rapidly fill critical warfighter needs on schedule.
“Our CT weapons and ammunition offer the growth path to a true next-generation small arms weapon for US warfighters, including increased lethality at longer ranges, while also delivering significant weight reductions to the warfighter.”
CT weapons and ammunition technology provides an innovative design that delivers improved weapon accuracy and manoeuvrability and decreases system weight by up to 40% without reducing lethality.
Technologies developed and demonstrated by the company under NGSW-T programme will inform the army’s formal NGSW project. These include weapon sound suppression, weapon and ammunition weight reduction and fire control integration technology.
Last year, the company received a contract from the US Army for the development of a prototype weapon for the next-generation squad automatic rifle-prototype opportunity notice programme. Weapon demonstration under the programme is scheduled for June. (Source: army-technology.com)
25 Mar 19. Rheinmetall Denel Munition enhances mortar and artillery rounds. Rheinmetall Denel Munition (RDM) is exploring several new enhancements for its mortar and artillery ammunition, including improvements to the range and lethality of its family of 81 mm and 120 mm mortars, as well as its 155 mm howitzer ammunition. The company is in the qualification stage for two new mortar rounds, one extended long-range (EL/R) 81 mm and an enhanced lethality 120 mm round. The latter is a new 120 mm Insensitive High Explosive Pre-Formed Fragmentation (IHE PFF) round that incorporates 3 mm tungsten balls, generating approximately 15,000 fragments in addition to the natural fragmentation created from the mortar’s cast iron body.
Company officials said the PFF achieves approximately double the impact on target when compared with traditional rounds. The IHE PFF provides a mean area of effect (MEA) of 2,103sq m with a burst height of 2 m, compared with 1,369sq m for the natural fragmentation version, said Frans Landsberg, mortar product manager at RDM.
Meanwhile, RDM said its new EL/R 81mm IHE round exceeds 7,100m using the Denel Land Systems M8 LR mortar system with a high pressure 1,455 mm-long barrel. Both the new 81mm and 120mm mortar rounds are expected to achieve qualification in the next 12 months.
RDM is also working to build on its 155mm howitzer ammunition, including the Joint Ballistics Memorandum of Understanding (JBMoU)-compliant Assegai family, to meet customer requirements concerning range extension, increasing accuracy and decreasing dispersion, additional multi-purpose capabilities, and reducing unit and logistics cost.
The Assegai Velocity-Enhanced Long-Range Artillery Projectile (VLAP), fired from a 155mm/52 calibre gun, can reach about 54km. The company has conducted studies and trials that look to potentially increase ranges to 100km or more. Accordingly, RDM has explored charge system improvements, including extended-range top charges for both 39 calibre and 52 calibre guns, which could improve the VLAP’s range to over 60km using the latter calibre. (Source: IHS Jane’s)
26 Mar 19. France drives MMP for EU BLOS capability. European missile consortium MBDA is continuing to develop potential opportunities for expanding the userbase of its Missile Moyenne Portée (MMP) fifth-generation man-portable land-combat missile system. Antoine Bouvier, CEO of MBDA told Jane’s, “We have an ambition to develop the MMP customer base in Europe. Maybe we are not so pleased that there is a non-European missile which is developing its position in Europe with user clubs, and so we have the ambition, with a better missile, to grow our position in Europe.” Bouvier told Jane’s that the company “also has the ambition not only to sell our product but to support initiatives that our taken by our [European] countries. (Source: IHS Jane’s)
25 Mar 19. The Portuguese army is ditching the G3 and getting a US spec ops-inspired rifle. For years, the Portuguese Army has built their infantry corps around the Gewehr 3 (G3) battle rifle, jointly developed by a team of engineers from Heckler & Koch and the Spanish CETME state-owned research group in the 1950s. Built under license in Portugal as the Espingarda m/961, this rifle has seen action in conflicts from the Portuguese Colonial War to deployments in Kosovo, East Timor and Afghanistan. According to both NATO and the country’s Ministry of National Defence, it’s now time for a drastic change and overhaul that will see the Portuguese Army jump feet first into the 21st century with a large revamp and overhaul of its small arms arsenal and individual soldier systems and kit.
When the country’s state-owned arms producer shut down just over a decade ago, it left Portugal without the means to manufacture firearms domestically, and brought about the need to source new weapons from foreign vendors. NATO’s Support and Procurement Agency was thus commissioned to find and buy new weaponry for the Portuguese military by the country’s defense apparatus.
After a relatively short and streamlined testing and evaluation period, the NSPA awarded Belgian arms giant Fabrique National (FN) Herstal an expansive USD $50.3m contract to be fulfilled by 2022.
Portuguese infantrymen will soon get their hands on FN’s SCAR platform, buying 11,000 SCAR-L (Light) STD assault rifles with 14.5 inch barrels. These will replace the m/961, shifting the standard rifle caliber of the Portuguese Army from 7.62 NATO to 5.56 NATO. Over 1,700 of these SCAR-Ls will be fitted with the FN40GL Mk 2 40mm grenade launcher, which can be used in a standalone configuration as well.
In addition to the SCAR-L, Portuguese soldiers will also take delivery of two new ranged weapons — namely 300 SCAR-H (Heavy) STD battle rifles and a 450-strong batch of SCAR-H PRs (Precision Rifle). The SCAR-H STD comes with a 16 inch barrel and will be outfitted for use as a designated marksman rifle, bolstering platoon-sized infantry elements. Snipers at the company level will be issued the SCAR-H PR, which uses a 20 inch barrel, a two-stage match trigger, and comes with an optional folding buttstock. Both the SCAR-H and the H PR are built to fire the 7.62 NATO round.
Portuguese machine gunners will also be getting a few upgrades of their own in the form of 850 FN MINIMI Mk 3 light machine guns chambered for 5.56 NATO, and a smaller order of 320 MINIMI Mk 3s chambered for the larger 7.62 NATO caliber. These new guns will likely replace the 1960s-vintage H&K HK21 and Rheinmetall MG 3 general purpose machine guns currently in service. (Source: Defense News Early Bird/https://www.militarytimes.com)
22 Mar 19. Vladimir Putin’s so-called missile with unlimited range is too expensive for the Kremlin – and has yet to fly farther than 22 miles.
- Russian President Vladimir Putin bragged that a new nuclear-powered missile had unlimited range, but it has yet to perform a successful test and is too expensive for the Kremlin to develop, according to sources with direct knowledge of a U.S. intelligence report.
- One U.S. intelligence report assesses that the Burevestnik missile will not be combat-ready for another decade, despite Putin’s claim that the “invincible” weapon has a proven capability.
- Currently, the United States does not have a defense against hypersonic weapons, which can travel at least five times the speed of sound, or about one mile per second.
Russian President Vladimir Putin bragged a year ago that his country had a new nuclear-powered missile with unlimited range. But the Kremlin will only produce a few of them because the weapon has yet to complete a successful test and is too expensive to develop, according to sources with direct knowledge of a U.S. intelligence report on the weapons program.
Russia’s cruise missile Burevestnik, referred to as “Skyfall” in American intelligence reports, was tested once earlier this year. Prior to that, the weapon was tested four times between November and February in 2018, each resulting in a crash, according to sources who spoke to CNBC on the condition of anonymity.
The U.S. assessed that the longest test flight lasted just more than two minutes, with the missile flying 22 miles before losing control and crashing. The shortest test lasted four seconds and flew for five miles. The tests showed that the nuclear-powered heart of the cruise missile failed to initiate and, therefore, the weapon was unable to achieve the indefinite flight Putin had boasted about.
The weapon, which has been in development since the early 2000s, is believed to use a gasoline-powered engine for takeoff before switching to a nuclear-powered one for flight, sources explained.
One U.S. intelligence report assesses that the Burevestnik will not be combat-ready for another decade, despite Putin’s claim that the “invincible” weapon has a proven capability.
Putin’s push to develop weapons of this caliber has sparked concerns of a budding arms race among China, the U.S. and Russia.
What’s more, the latest revelations come a little more than a year after the Russian leader touted his nation’s growing hypersonic arsenal. Of the six new weapons Putin unveiled last March, CNBC learned that two of them, a hypersonic glide vehicle and air-launched cruise missile, will be ready for war by 2020.
The hypersonic glide vehicle, dubbed Avangard, is designed to sit atop an intercontinental ballistic missile. Once launched, it uses aerodynamic forces to sail on top of the atmosphere.
One U.S. intelligence report, according to a source, noted that the hypersonic glide vehicles were mounted to Russian-made SS-19 intercontinental ballistic missiles — and one test featured a mock warhead.
Previous intelligence reports, which were curated last spring, calculate that Avangard is likely to achieve initial operational capability by 2020, a significant step that would enable the Kremlin to surpass the U.S. and China in this regard.
The hypersonic cruise missile dubbed “Kinzhal,” which means “dagger” in Russian, has been tested at least three times and was mounted and launched 12 times from a Russian MiG-31 fighter jet.
Additionally, work is underway to mount the weapon on a strategic bomber.
On Thursday, CNBC reported that nearly 20 of these Russian missiles were recently moved to a military testing site, signaling another milestone for the Kremlin’s hypersonic weapons program. Currently, the United States does not have a defense against hypersonic weapons, which can travel at least five times the speed of sound, or about one mile per second. (Source: Defense News Early Bird/CNBC)
25 Mar 19. Will Hypersonics Finally Force the Pentagon to Integrate Kinetic and Non-Kinetic Defenses? It’s long been too hard to get the U.S. military’s cyber-EW-IO operators on the same page with more traditional trigger-pullers. If the United States is to have a chance at warding off new hypersonic weapons being tested and fielded by Russia and China, its defensive framework will need to integrate cyber and other emerging “non-kinetic” capabilities. But it appears that industry and Defense Department requirements officials are focusing on creating kinetic interceptors, giving dangerously short shrift to the new capabilities. Nor does recent experience suggest that the Pentagon is integrating these new defenses tightly enough to bring them to bear on these new high-speed weapons.
Certainly, counter-hypersonics have rightfully garnered a sense of urgency within Congress, DoD, and industry. As Gen. John Hyten, commander of U.S. Strategic Command, in recent testimony to Congress: “We don’t have any defense that could deny the employment of such a weapon against us.”
A host of non-kinetic options could potentially be used to great effect against an enemy hypersonic weapon, both before it is even launched and throughout its flight profile. Each should be considered by policymakers for future funding.
Among them are cyber intrusion attacks, which could be used to disrupt the weapon’s command-and-control networks before launch, or activating self-destruction mechanisms once airborne. A related basket of electronic warfare capabilities could be used for meaconing, intrusion, jamming, or interference — often abbreviated MIJI — to disrupt the weapon’s guidance and control functions and cause it to lose control or stray off course. Another promising technology is directed energy. During last week’s Directed Energy Summit in Washington, D.C., Defense Undersecretary for Research and Engineering Mike Griffin highlighted a number of ways in which directed energy could be used against a hypersonic weapon. Although some years away from deployment, a high-energy laser – which produces a physical effect without employing a warhead or kinetic kill vehicle – could be effective against a hypersonic weapon from launch through its final phase of flight. Lasers mounted on satellites could take multiple shots to damage the incoming missile’s guidance systems and warhead, while ground-based lasers might do the same in the descent phase. A vehicle carrying a high-power microwave device could be employed against the weapon to scramble its electronics on the launch pad or during cruise, while a ground-based system could be used in a point defense role to deny the weapon hitting its intended target.
Finally, sophisticated information operations against key political or military leaders can be used to dissuade them from ordering a launch in the first place, or motivate them to activate the self-destruct system themselves and simply abort the attack if launch occurs.
None of these non-kinetic options are stand-alone capabilities, and must be fully integrated with a layered, overarching family of systems that provides for initial launch detection of the booster, tracking the hypersonic weapon through its separation from the booster and into its glide phase, and finally a complementary kinetic destruction capability.
Integrating non-kinetic and kinetic capabilities and effects has long been a challenge for the Defense Department. Multiple security and classification level issues have sometimes prevented all options from being simultaneously considered and discussed by decision-makers, thus preventing development of a holistic plan. Also, those entities responsible for the development and use of especially cyber tools routinely maintain the position that “if we use it, they’ll know we have it,” and push back against its use.
Given the gravity of, and the priority given to, countering this threat, defense against hypersonic weapons should be the challenge that finally forces DoD to resolve the issues that hinder full and complete integration of kinetic and non-kinetic capabilities and effects. In the very near future, the safety and security of our forward-deployed troops, worldwide assets, and in fact, our entire nation will depend on it. (Source: Defense One)
25 Mar 19. For the first time, the U.S. Missile Defense Agency, in partnership with the Boeing-led industry team, tested two Raytheon Company (NYSE: RTN) Exoatmospheric Kill Vehicles (EKV), which destroyed a threat representative intercontinental ballistic missile during a test of the Ground-based Midcourse Defense System, or GMD. One EKV intercepted the target and the other gathered test data in what is known as a “two-shot salvo” engagement. The EKV system protects the U.S. against long-range ballistic missile attacks by destroying incoming threats safely outside the Earth’s atmosphere. The historic test mirrored a real-life scenario where launching more than one interceptor ensured destruction of the threat far away from population centers. If the first kill vehicle makes impact, the second can divert to other material.
“The system is among the most complex, and serves as the first line of ballistic missile defense for the United States,” said Dr. Taylor W. Lawrence, Raytheon Missile Systems president.
After receiving tracking and targeting data from Raytheon’s Sea-Based X-band radar and AN/TPY-2 radar, the EKV identified the threat, discriminated between the target and countermeasures, maneuvered into the target’s path and destroyed it using “hit-to-kill” technology. Both radars play critical roles in supporting the GMD system. It was the eleventh intercept for the GMD program overall, and the second intercept of an ICBM. The Raytheon kill vehicle family has a combined record of over 40 successful space intercepts.
25 Mar 19. In an unprecedented display of accuracy, Northrop Grumman Corporation, (NYSE: NOC) as the strategic partner to prime contractor, Boeing, successfully provided the weapon task plans for the Ground-based Midcourse Defense (GMD) system Ground Based Interceptors (GBI) during the first dual interceptor mission against an Intercontinental Ballistic Missile (ICBM) target for the U.S. Missile Defense Agency (MDA).
“This critical test of the nation’s defense shield showcases Northrop Grumman’s launch vehicles and our battlefield management and fire control capabilities,” said Dan Verwiel, vice president and general manager, missile defense and protective systems, Northrop Grumman. “We are proud to play an integral role on a system that is so vital to the security of our country. This was a very challenging test and I congratulate the MDA and the entire team on their excellent performance.”
During the GMD flight test, known as FTG-11, a Northrop Grumman-produced ICBM target threat was fired from a launch complex at Ronald Reagan Ballistic Missile Defense Test Site in the Marshall Islands. Northrop Grumman’s ground systems integrated data from a space sensor with data from land and sea-based radars, created a battle plan, communicated with the silos to launch two ground-based interceptors powered by the company’s boost vehicles, and guided the interceptors to the target where the kill vehicles destroyed the threat.
“Today’s mission was the most complex GMD test conducted thus far,” said Rich Straka, vice president and general manager, launch vehicles, Northrop Grumman. “This was the first time Northrop Grumman had three rockets operating at the same time; two interceptors launched against our target, and the systems worked as planned.”
As the strategic partner of The Boeing Company for the MDA’s GMD program, Northrop Grumman provides the deputy program director and is responsible for the development, integration, operations and sustainment of the ground systems and interceptor boost vehicle. Under contract directly to MDA, Northrop Grumman designs, builds and launches the ICBM target rocket.
Northrop Grumman personnel in Huntsville, Alabama, and Colorado Springs, Colorado, develop the GMD ground systems products. The company’s missile defense interceptors and related target vehicles are primarily produced at the company’s engineering and manufacturing facility in Chandler, Arizona, with solid rocket motor propulsion manufactured in Magna, Utah, and rocket cases in Clearfield, Utah. Final assembly and integration of the interceptor and targets occur at the company’s facilities at Vandenberg Air Force Base and Huntsville. Also, the company provides the kill vehicle’s inertial measurement unit produced in Woodland Hills, California, and Salt Lake City, Utah.
25 Mar 19. Today the U.S. Missile Defense Agency and Boeing [NYSE:BA] for the first time launched two Ground-based Midcourse Defense system interceptors to destroy a threat-representative target, validating the fielded system protects the United States from intercontinental ballistic missiles. In the test, one interceptor struck the target in space. The second interceptor observed that intercept before destroying additional debris to ensure missile destruction. The test is known as a “two-shot salvo” engagement. The target launched from Kwajalein Atoll in the Pacific Ocean while the interceptors launched from Vandenberg Air Force Base, California.
“The data collected from this test will enhance missile defense for years to come and solidify confidence in the system,” said Paul Smith, Boeing vice president and program director, Ground-based Midcourse Defense. “We continue to increase the system’s reliability as the U.S. government plans to expand the number of interceptors protecting the country.”
GMD interceptors are located at Vandenberg Air Force Base and Alaska’s Fort Greely. The system is an integral part of America’s layered ballistic missile defense architecture. Boeing has been the GMD prime contractor since 2001.
24 Mar 19. US to award AARGM integration contract for German Tornados. Seen in front of a Eurofighter Typhoon, the AARGM anti-radiation missile is to be integrated onto the Luftwaffe’s Tornado ECR fleet. Germany is moving ahead with plans to integrate the AGM-88E Advanced Anti-Radiation Guided Missile (AARGM) onto its fleet of Panavia Tornado combat aircraft, with a software development contract disclosed by the US Department of Defense (DoD) on 21 March. The contract to be awarded by the US Naval Air Systems Command (NAVAIR) will see Alliant Techsystems Operations LLC develop the Block 1 software for the Luftwaffe Tornado AARGM configuration in support of a Foreign Military Sales (FMS) case between the US and Germany.
NAVAIR did not disclose how much the contract would be worth, or when it might be awarded and completed. Jane’s has previously reported, however, that the AARGM integration is being undertaken as part of the Tornado ASSTA-4.2 effort, which could mean that the missile will be available from 2023.
The Luftwaffe requires the AARGM to replace its current stock of the Raytheon AGM-88B/C High-Speed Anti-Radiation Missile (HARM), which are used in the suppression of enemy air defences (SEAD) role against ground-based air-defence radar sites.
The AARGM significantly improves on the HARM with an enhanced field-of-view that affords the missile sharper target-detection capabilities. The addition of a millimetric wave (MMW) radar enables radar imagery to be tracked and recorded, while GPS/INS navigation allows for missile tracking to continue in the event of the enemy radar being shut down. Further to being more capable, the AARGM will be easier to support as the US Navy (USN) replaces its own HARM stocks with the newer missile.
As with those missiles employed by the Italian Air Force, those supplied to Germany will be carried by the Electronic Combat Reconnaissance (ECR) variant of the Tornado used in the SEAD role. The Luftwaffe fields 22 ECRs as part of a wider Tornado force that includes a further 68 Interdiction Strike (IDS) aircraft. (Source: IHS Jane’s)
22 Mar 19. Incoming: Can Aircraft Carriers Survive Hypersonic Weapons? A Chinese bomber flying over the Western Pacific launches hypersonic anti-ship missiles. The weapons quickly surpass a speed of Mach 5 and maneuver unpredictably toward their target. Overwhelming U.S. defensive systems, they slam into the hull of the USS Gerald R. Ford, disabling the aircraft carrier and sending its crew scrambling for their lives. That is a potential scenario the Navy could face in the coming years as Washington and Beijing are locked in great power competition in the Indo-Pacific and beyond. Aircraft carriers are viewed by many as the Navy’s crown jewels.
“Naval aviation has grown during the last century into the primary offensive arm of the U.S. Navy and the centerpiece of the American fleet,” noted a recent report by the Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments titled, “Regaining the High Ground at Sea: Transforming the U.S. Navy’s Carrier Air Wing for Great Power Competition.”
Carrier battle groups include ships equipped with advanced air-and-missile defense systems such as Aegis. But hypersonics pose a unique threat compared to traditional ballistic and cruise missiles, analysts say.
Although today’s ballistic missiles can achieve hypersonic speeds, they tend to follow a predictable flight path that is easier to track.
“The big difference between a traditional ballistic missile and these hypersonic boost glides is the trajectory and the ability to maneuver,” said Tom Callender, senior research fellow for naval warfare and advanced technologies at the Heritage Foundation and a former Navy officer.
“You can’t predict from its initial boost necessarily where it’s going,” he added. “In theory, you … can maneuver off its initial ballistic track potentially several hundred miles, [and come in] a different way” than defenders are expecting.
Traditional cruise missiles can be highly maneuverable, but the air-breathing systems typically fly at subsonic speeds — a small fraction of the velocity that hypersonic boost glide and scramjet missiles could achieve. Defenders would therefore have much less time to intercept incoming hypersonic weapons, Callender noted.
The CSBA report warned that the new missiles would significantly lower or negate the effectiveness of U.S. air defenses even if the carrier strike group were operating as far as 1,000 nautical miles from the launch site. Anti-ship weapons may be able to speed past interceptors, while their flight paths could exploit seams between current high- and low-altitude U.S. air-and-missile defense systems, it explained.
Chief of Naval Operations Adm. John Richardson has downplayed the threat.
“Rather than talking about the vulnerability of the aircraft carrier … we should think about it as perhaps the most survivable airfield in the region,” he said at a recent Brookings Institution event when National Defense asked him about the new Chinese weapons and how the Navy plans to counter them.
The vessels are less vulnerable now than they have been since World War II, he said, noting the threat posed by the Soviet Union’s submarine fleet during the Cold War.
Richardson declined to go into specifics about how the Navy might thwart enemy hypersonics.
“As you can imagine, it gets very highly classified,” he said.
Through a combination of operational concepts and defensive systems “those carriers are able to have a big impact on the operational space and continue to survive,” he added.
But other Pentagon leaders are sounding the alarm.
The threat posed by hypersonics featured prominently in the Trump administration’s missile defense review that was released in January, and Undersecretary of Defense for Research and Engineering Michael Griffin has warned repeatedly that the Chinese weapons could hold carrier battle groups at risk.
The systems have already achieved initial operating capability, he said at a breakfast hosted by the National Defense Industrial Association. “We need to be able to defend against the threat,” he told reporters after the breakfast.
Callender said faster interceptors might be needed. The Pentagon is already exploring options.
The Missile Defense Agency has completed an analysis of alternatives for hypersonic defense, Air Force Lt. Gen. Samuel Greaves, the director of the agency, said during a recent Q&A session at the Center for Strategic and International Studies.
The study is “essentially assessing the current suite of available interceptors to see if they are fast enough to get to the target and win the tail chase, as you might say,” Greaves said.
The analysis is in final review within the Defense Department and should be released soon, he said in February.
“We have worked with industry to assess available interceptors as well as potential new interceptors to execute that mission,” Greaves said. “If it is determined after that coordinated review that the current suite will not meet the need, … we will need to develop something else.”
Directed energy weapons are another option being looked at, he noted.
Meanwhile, the Navy has been pursuing hypervelocity projectiles that could be launched from electromagnetic railguns or powder guns. They are smaller and cheaper than interceptor missiles, and a ship could carry more of them, Callender noted. The projectiles could contribute to point defense and increase the carrier battle group’s capacity to handle thick salvos of enemy hypersonic weapons, he said.
The CSBA report said shipboard lasers, high-powered microwaves and electronic warfare systems could also potentially contribute to the mission.
Callender said the military could use electronic jamming, decoys or other methods of spoofing to complicate the task of enemy shooters.
“You have to be able to target and find that aircraft carrier … thousands of miles away,” he explained. In a high threat environment, the vessel would be maneuvering and changing its course and speed, he noted.
“You can be doing things to jam [enemy] comms so they can’t get that information back to the mainland, or wherever those launchers are,” he added. “Anything I can do to create doubt in or interrupt his being able to find, fix, target … increases my ability to survive any potential attack.”
The CSBA report said Navy aircraft performing combat air patrols could potentially shoot down incoming missiles before they reach the carrier strike group.
“Hypersonic [anti-ship cruise missile] intercepts will be challenging, but may be possible … using high-performance [air-to-air missiles] designed to intercept supersonic aircraft,” the report said.
However, interceptors are useless without sensors that can track threats and provide targeting information. That’s why defense officials are keen on developing a more robust sensor layer, including in space.
“With the newer threats, the maneuvering threats, the hypersonic threats, we need birth-to-death tracking,” Greaves said during a briefing with reporters at the Pentagon when the missile defense review was released.
“We need to know where it originated, where it’s going, what maneuvers it’s making so that we can position our intercept capability to interdict the target and defeat it,” he noted.
Griffin said Chinese and Russian regional hypersonic capabilities pose unique challenges in this regard.
“These are dimmer targets, more difficult to see,” he said. “We have to be closer to the action in order to do a good job of it. We also have to have a much broader range of coverage.
“In order to do that, we think the best approach is a network of satellites.”
How many spacecraft would be needed and what orbit they would be stationed in are still to be determined, he added.
Funding for the technology will be included in the fiscal year 2020 budget request, he noted.
Griffin said countering hypersonic weapons is a top priority and the Pentagon hopes to have a “workable” defensive capability by the mid-2020s.
But sometimes the best defense is a good offense, analysts noted.
“The most effective contribution [carrier-based] aircraft could make would be to destroy some or all enemy weapons platforms before they launch their weapons,” the CSBA report said. The tactic would be the modern day equivalent of “attacking the archers before they launch their arrows.”
To address the threat, carrier strike groups could implement a new “outer air battle” operating concept, which would use carrier air wings and escort ships to attack enemy vessels and bombers before they were able to fire their anti-ship missiles, the report said.
Callender said the Navy could use its own hypersonic weapons in the future to preemptively take out enemy systems including mobile launchers.
“Another advantage of hypersonics over a traditional cruise missile is I can get there much faster … if I don’t have much time to react,” he said.
If “I see the launcher, it’s setting up to be getting ready to shoot, I may not have an hour-plus that it would take a Tomahawk to get there” depending on the target distance, he added. “But if I can get a hypersonic missile there in … 10, 15, 20 minutes, that may be sufficient.”
The Navy — as well as the Air Force and Army — is already pursuing its own offensive hypersonics capability.
In January, Naval Air Systems Command put out a solicitation to industry for potential sources to upgrade and redesign the existing test complex at China Lake, California, to support air launch testing for a “conventional prompt strike” weapons program.
There is also a requirement for conceptual design and operation of an underwater test complex, the solicitation noted.
The air-launch and underwater-launch test complex “will not only aid in the conceptual design of a new weapons system through qualification of hardware, various components and systems, but will also provide risk mitigation for the testing of the new weapons system on a ship, submarine, aircraft and land to achieve the hypersonic capability,” the solicitation said.
Industry responses were due Jan. 30.
In addition to acquiring new missiles, the Navy also needs to adapt its carrier air wing to better protect its ships and operate more effectively in anti-access environments against peer adversaries, analysts say.
The Navy plans to deploy new unmanned MQ-25 Stingrays on carriers in the coming years, but their mission will be focused on aerial refueling. The service also needs survivable, long-endurance carrier-launched drones that can perform a variety of tasks including intelligence, surveillance, reconnaissance, targeting and combat air patrols, the CSBA report said. The unmanned aerial vehicles should have payloads on par with existing attack aircraft, it noted.
“If the Navy is unable to transform its [carrier air wings], Navy leaders should reconsider whether to continue investing in carrier aviation or shift the fleet’s resources to more relevant capabilities,” the report said.
However, Callender expects carrier battle groups and air wings to adapt to the emerging hypersonic threat, just as they did to Japanese kamikazes in World War II and Soviet bombers equipped with anti-ship missiles during the Cold War.
“I don’t think this is the end of the carrier,” he said.
“I don’t want people to throw in the towel … with China or Russia saying, ‘Oh, that’s it. Game over. We’re done,’” he added. “It makes the problem a little harder, but it’s not insurmountable and we’re already working ahead to adapt and overcome and regain advantages in there. It’s not going to be easy … but it’s not the doomsday that I think some people will have you believe.” (Source: glstrade.com/National Defense)
23 Mar 19. Plan would double artillery upgrades in US Army arsenal over the next five years. The US Army is about a third of the way toward its goal to acquire an upgraded fleet of nearly 700 tracked, mobile artillery cannons but will nearly double its inventory over the next five years if a recent budget request is approved. More than six years ago, the Army began a program to improve the M109A6 Paladin self-propelled 155mm artillery cannon, which was fielded in 1994. Since the improvement program began then, they’ve been able to put more than 200 of the weapons into their arsenal and more than 200 more are on the way over the next five years, with an ultimate goal of having 689 Paladins in stock over the next decade, according to recently released Army budget request documents. When the program started, initial goals were for 580 upgraded Paladins. Strategic concerns about Russian and Chinese fires modernization has pushed that number up by more than 100 in recent years. Those improvements and procurement will keep the currently quarter-century-old mobile cannon blasting away until 2050.
Last year soldiers with the 1st Battalion, 5th Field Artillery Regiment, 1st Armored Brigade Combat Team, 1st Infantry Division out of Fort Riley, Kansas, did first-stage test fires of the M109A7 Paladin.
Soldiers with the unit’s “Bone crusher” Battery fired hundreds of artillery rounds each day for two straight weeks to test the durability, reliability and ease of use of the advanced system.
The variant being tested included interior upgrades to accommodate the crew and hold more rounds. Developers also increased armor protection, which one soldier said dampened the noise and reduced blast over pressure — the shock wave produced by firing the 155 mm round.
Key upgrades from the previous version are digital displays and a 70-kilowatt, 600-volt on-board power system.
Improvements allow a crew of four soldiers — driver, gunner, commander and loader — to operate the vehicle to fire a round in under 60 seconds.
But other than comforts and soldier protection, the operationally significant upgrade comes in allowing the Paladin to shoot farther with more accurate and deadly rounds being developed, tested and fielded.
One such round is the XM1113, which could be available to units within the next two and a half years, Brig. Gen. Stephen Maranian told Defense News, an Army Times sister publication, in March.
The Extended Cannon Range Artillery round would push fires out to the 24-mile range, be safer for soldiers and more precise for targeting.
The specific descriptors are XM1113 Insensitive Munition High Explosive Rocket Assisted Projectile, or XM1113 Rocket Assisted Projectile, according to Army officials.
That’s designed to be compatible with the existing Precision Guidance Kit, or PGK, which lets soldiers turn traditionally “dumb” artillery rounds into “smart” precision rounds.
The additional distance happens through a rocket assist inherent in the design of the XM1113. Limited production of the round is scheduled for late 2021. (Source: Defense News Early Bird/Army Times)
25 Mar 19. Australian-first facility to support Army and industry development. Defence Minister Christopher Pyne has officially confirmed a major milestone for the Army’s $2.5bn inner tier air and missile defence system. Defence Connect can confirm that Defence Minister Christopher Pyne was joined by South Australian Premier, Steven Marshall, Norwegian ambassador Paul Gulleik Larsen, Chief of Army, Major General Rick Burr, and other senior Defence and industry executives to announce that the National Advanced Surface to Air Missile System (NASAMS) has been selected for the Australian government’s Short Range Ground Based Air Defence program, known as LAND 19 Phase 7B.
Minister Pyne and Minister for Defence Industry Linda Reynolds said the government is committed to providing the Australian Defence Force with the best capability to protect Australia’s national interests.
“This new air defence capability combines world leading Australian radar technology with a highly effective air defence system that will contribute to the protection of our service men and women from modern airborne threats,” Minister Pyne said.
The NASAMS acquisition brings transformational change to the Army’s existing force protection capability, including a progression from man-portable GBAD capability to a fully networked and distributed system, these advancements allow the Army to counter complex air threats beyond visual range and significantly increases protection coverage for Australian soldiers.
Minister Pyne added, “Australia’s version of NASAMS will use advanced radars designed and manufactured by Canberra-based company CEA Technologies. The CEA radar that has been so successful on our ships will now be integrated into an Australian designed and built vehicle, the Thales Hawkei.”
Michael Ward, managing director of Raytheon Australia, said, “NASAMS and Raytheon’s unique EO/IR passive sensor gives Australia one of the most advanced short-range ground-based defence systems in the world.”
System integration and final assembly will take place in the new, $50m Raytheon Australia Centre for Joint Integration, which will be built in the defence industry precinct of Mawson Lakes.
“This centre is a $50m investment by Raytheon Australia and will incorporate an office block and a specialised integration facility. Importantly this facility will be a change in strategy for Raytheon Australia, the facility will be our first production facility in country and it will become one of the major NASAMS production and support facilities outside the US,” Ward told Defence Connect.
At the ground breaking earlier today, Ward thanked the South Australian Premier for providing support from the government of SA for the facility.
Raytheon Australia anticipated the creation of about 200 jobs over the next year during the construction of the building and an estimated 300 additional jobs in the coming years for those working on LAND 19 and other integrated air and missile defence projects, including the combat system upgrades to the Hobart Class destroyers.
Minister Reynolds said Australian industry will play a vital role in the $2.5bn project to buy and sustain the short-range air defence capability, which will replace the Army’s current ageing RBS-70 man-portable air defence system.
“This project is further proof of the government’s determination to build a sovereign and sustainable defence industrial base as a national strategic asset, and is another example of Australian industry playing an integral part in developing world-class capability for the Australian Defence Force,” Minister Reynolds said.
Raytheon Australia and partner Kongsberg are building sovereign capability in this area, as evidenced by their national industry roadshow where the companies engaged with almost 200 local firms. Additionally, Raytheon Australia has ambitions to export elements of the system from the new Adelaide facility.
Eirik Lie, President Kongsberg Defence & Aerospace AS welcomed the announcement saying, “This announcement lays the foundation for further expansion in Australia and the region. Kongsberg sees more significant opportunities in Australia and have been a partner to the Australian Defence Force for 30 years starting with the Penguin anti-ship missile program. We opened an office in Canberra last year and is increasing our staff in the country.”
“LAND 19 will provide the inner tier of the air and missile defence capability with the Hobart Class providing the outer tier of the national air and missile defence. As a result of this, Raytheon can say that the integration centre will be focused on force protection with a focus on supporting Australian industry content and we are proud to say that our solution for LAND 19 will incorporate at least 50 per cent Australian industry content,” Ward added.
NASAMS is a short to medium range air defence system owned by nine countries and has been integrated into the US National Capital Region’s air defence system since 2005. In addition to the US, Norway, Finland, Spain, the Netherlands, Oman, Lithuania, Indonesia and one undisclosed country have chosen to depend on NASAMS for homeland defence and the defence of critical assets.
Raytheon is a technology and innovation leader specialising in defence, civil government and cyber security solutions. With a history of innovation spanning 97 years, Raytheon provides state-of-the-art electronics, mission systems integration, C5I products and services, sensing, effects and mission support for customers in more than 80 countries. (Source: Defence Connect)
22 Mar 19. Brazil launches the second locally developed anti-ship missile. The Brazilian Navy successfully launched the second prototype of the MANSUP (Míssil Antinavio Nacional de Superfície) surface-to-surface anti-ship missile from Niterói-class frigate Independência (F44) on 20 March. The corvette Barroso (V34) launched the first MANSUP on 27 November 2018. The Brazilian frigate <I>Independência</I> launches the second prototype of MANSUP anti-ship missiles. (Brazilian Navy)
Independência launched its missile off the coast between Rio de Janeiro and Cabo Frio. The test was used to further test navigation, control, and guidance of MANSUP. The fire-and-forget and sea-skimming 5,780 mm-long, 860 kg MANSUP was developed by Avibras Indústria Aeroespacial, Omnisys Engenharia, Fundação Ezute, SIATT Engenharia, and Indústria e Comércio together with the Brazilian Navy as part of the so-called programme Esporão. (Source: IHS Jane’s)
22 Mar 19. Denel looking for T5-52 howitzer sale in Asia. Denel Land Systems is in negotiations with an Asian country to purchase the company’s latest T5-52 wheeled self-propelled artillery system, a company source told Jane’s. The source said negotiations with the undisclosed country were ongoing and that other countries had also shown interest. Exact quantities or a potential contract value were not disclosed. The source also noted that trials had recently taken place in Pakistan.
The 155mm/52 calibre howitzer was demonstrated to international delegates, including Jane’s, at Denel’s Overberg Test Range on 19–20 March. The South African National Defence Force (SANDF) is still undecided whether it will order a substantial number of T5-52s or upgrade its legacy G6 self-propelled howitzers. (Source: IHS Jane’s)
22 Mar 19. Pakistan Amraams Can Be Made Ineffective, US Assured Manohar Parrikar. The United States had assured India that Pakistan won’t use F16s and Amraams (advanced medium range air-to-air missiles) for offensive purposes as the US had an effective end-user monitoring process and the systems could be made ineffective if they were misused. The assurances were made in 2015 when then defence minister Manohar Parrikar strongly raised the issue of supply of Amraams and fighter jets to Pakistan with his US counterpart Ashton Carter, top government sources told ET. India had lobbied hard against the sale of eight additional advanced versions of F16s to Pakistan and had succeeded in blocking the sale after the US senate voted against subsidising the procurement using taxpayer’s money. The sources have told ET that the offensive use of F16s on February 27 when the Pakistani air force attempted to strike military targets in Nowshera has been raised strongly with Washington, in the light of assurances given in 2015. (Source: defense-aerospace.com/Economic Times)
22 Mar 19. Ukraine Army Receives First Bayraktar Armed UAVs. According to a 20 March press release from state-owned company UkrOboronProm the Armed Forces of Ukraine has received into service its first Bayraktar TB2 armed unmanned aerial vehicles. Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko in Starokonstantinov handed over 420 units of aircraft and military equipment to the Ukrainian military, including the first Bayraktar TB2 unmanned systems. Tests of the Turkish unmanned aerial vehicle Bayraktar TB2 have been successful, Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko has said.
“Testing of the drone Bayraktar TB2, which was put into service with the Ukrainian army, was successful. I congratulate the Armed Forces of Ukraine, partners from Turkey. Today we have a completely new weapon –aerial attack drones. You see camera mounted on UAV that tracks the accuracy of the strike,” Poroshenko said after testing the UAV at the test site in Khmelnytsky region on Wednesday.
The president said the acquisition of the drone has opened new opportunities for Ukraine’s special forces, as well as for Ukrainian paratroopers.
The new UAV is developed and manufactured by the Turkish Baykar Makina company. According to the Baykar Makina company, the Bayraktar unmanned aerial vehicle is a Medium Altitude Long Endurance class system developed for tactical reconnaissance and surveillance missions.
Bayraktar TB2 unmanned combat aerial vehicle can carry a maximum payload of more than 55kg. Bayraktar can fly up to 22,500 feet and loiter for more than 24 hours.
Prototype Development Phase started within 2007 based on competition model. Bayraktar Tactical UAS with its critical all subsystems including Flight Control, INS-GPS, Automatic Take Off-Landing systems developed in house demonstrated fully automatic taxi, take off, cruise, landing, parking phases in 2009 and was selected as the winner of the program. (Source: UAS VISION/Defence Blog)
21 Mar 19. The US Navy Plans to Put HELIOS Laser Weapon on Destroyer by 2021. HELIOS will be capable of downing drones and “burning boats”. The U.S. Navy plans to put a laser weapon on a warship by 2021. The High Energy Laser with Integrated Optical-dazzler and Surveillance (HELIOS) system, or HELIOS, is a defensive weapon system designed to burn boats and shoot down unmanned drones. The weapon will go to sea with a guided missile destroyer assigned to the Pacific Fleet in two years’ time, the Navy says.
The service placed an order for HELIOS in January 2019. The $150m contract, awarded to Lockheed Martin, calls for the company to deliver two systems. According to a company press release, one will go to White Sands Missile Range in New Mexico for testing. USNI News says the Navy will install the other on a Arleigh Burke-class guided missile destroyer.
HELIOS is a 60-kilowatt laser system, meaning it has twice the power of the AN/SEQ-3 Laser Weapon System, or LaWS installed on the USS Ponce in 2014. HELIOS is billed as a weapon that can burn small speed boats of the type Iran deploys in armed swarms, and can torch unmanned aerial vehicles out of the sky. Alternately—and perhaps to avoid an international incident—HELIOS can simply “dazzle” a UAV’s electro-optical sensors, damaging them and preventing them from performing their mission.
Here’s a simple example of this theory, in which a laser used during tattoo removal damages a digital camera sensor:
HELIOS has a long-range intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance capability. While LockMart doesn’t spell out the details, we can surmise that the aiming system for the laser weapon/dazzle is probably capable of high-definition, high-powered digital magnification, allowing a ship fitted with it to closely watch nearby threats.
Many weapons already deployed on U.S. Navy warships, including the Phalanx close-in weapon system and the Rolling Airframe Missile (RAM), have a similar capability against small boats and drones as HELIOS while also being capable of taking on larger, faster aircraft and missiles. Range is also comparable.
Where a laser weapon like HELIOS shines, literally, is its ability to fire a theoretically unlimited number of shots using the destroyer’s onboard electrical generation systems. Phalanx, on the other hand, is limited to 20 to 30 seconds of continuous firing, while RAM is limited to 21 missiles aboard the Mk. 49 Guided Missile Launching System.
HELIOS is not a quantum leap above existing systems, but then again, early guns like the matchlock were in some ways inferior to the bow and arrow. Eventually, as firearms technology progressed, the gunpowder gun progressed to the point where it was clearly superior. As laser weapons become more powerful, they could quickly become much more effective than conventional gun and missile weapons. (Source: Defense News Early Bird/USNI)
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