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11 Apr 19. India and Russia seeking to extend range of BrahMos missile to 500km. India and Russia aim to extend the range of their jointly developed BrahMos (PJ-10) supersonic cruise missile from 400km to 500km, an official from the joint venture (JV) responsible for producing the weapon system told Jane’s on 10 April.
“We have already demonstrated the missile’s capability to engage targets at a distance of more than 400 km, and work on further extending the range, possibly to 500 km, is now being conducted. The flight speed of the weapon will also be increased,” said the official from BrahMos Aerospace, a JV between India’s Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) and Russia’s NPO Mashinostroyenia (NPOM). (Source: IHS Jane’s)
10 Apr 19. What does Pakistan need to close its air defense gaps? The most recent military standoff between India and Pakistan has exposed longstanding gaps in the latter’s defenses that now appear to be receiving renewed attention. Pakistan reportedly deployed medium-range LY-80/HQ-16 air defense systems in Kashmir to deter further Indian incursions, but analyst and former Pakistan Air Force pilot Kaiser Tufail believes this may not be enough. During a Feb. 26 airstrike on Pakistani soil, Indian aircraft reportedly launched ordnance 40 kilometers away from Balakot, but any penetration of Pakistan-controlled airspace could not have been deeper than 6 kilometers. “Nonetheless, there is a pressing need for long-range SAMs [surface-to-air missiles] in this era of standoff weapons delivery. There should be no doubt about that,” Tufail said.
In March, Maj. General Asif Ghafoor, the head of Inter Service Public Relations, the Pakistani military’s media branch, announced that the country was in talks with Russia for the procurement of defense equipment, including aircraft as well as anti-tank and air-defense systems.
Pakistan previously showed interest in Russia’s S-300 SAM system, but analyst and former Australian defense attache to Islamabad Brian Cloughley says Russo-Indian defense relationsmay prevent such a sale.
“As the Indians are getting the S-400, I doubt that Russia would provide Pakistan with any SAM system,” he said.
Rather, Pakistan might reconsider another former interest — China’s HQ-9. Though certainly more affordable, it’s debatable whether any HQ-9 variant available to Pakistan is as capable as the latest version of the S-300.
However, citing the “close nature of the defense relationship between Pakistan and China,” aerospace expert Douglas Barrie, with the International Institute for Strategic Studies, believes sourcing a Chinese system “has considerable attraction, not least of all in potentially being able to plug into any future developments China might have.”
But an HQ-9 acquisition may demand organizational changes.
Tufail noted that although the Pakistan Air Force is “responsible for the overall command and control of air defense and operates all early warning airborne [systems] and radars” as well as airfield defenses, the Army operates SAM systems that defend “countrywide vulnerable areas/points as well as over the battlefield.” However, long-range SAM systems would need to be under Air Force control, Tufail added, as the service has “a far greater visibility of the air defense ground environment and can not only manage such a system better, but can prevent fratricide in a [beyond-visual-range] shooting scenario.”
While the acquisition of a long-range SAM system remains possible, an accelerated replacement of the legacy Mirage III/5 and F-7P/PG fighter jets is less likely. Pakistan analyst Kamal Alam says options are limited.
“[The Air Force] will look for more in-house capability, as its foreign options are dry, given American pressure on almost all European countries to not supply fast jets to Pakistan. That would mean China is the only option unless America eases up on its [foreign military sales] ban,” Alam said.
Mirage/F-7 squadrons are replaced with JF-17 combat aircraft at a rate of one squadron per year. “However, this would still take five years at least, and could go beyond that time frame if [JF-17] export orders have to be filled,” Tufail noted.
No immediate plans seem to be in place for new air-to-air missiles, however “all weapon systems get upgraded in due course, so we are likely to see newer missiles in the coming years,” he added.
Claims that Pakistan tested the latest Chinese PL-15 beyond-visual-range air-to-air missile (BVRAAM) appear inaccurate, and Tufail thinks the combination of the F-16 armed with the AIM-120 missile and the SD-10A-equipped JF-17 remains effective in light of current threats.
Future weapon systems upgrades could include a ramjet-powered system in light of India’s interest in the Meteor BVRAAM to replace R-77/AA-12 Adder missiles and Mica missiles, though Tufail likens Indian criticism of those missiles to “a bad workman blaming his tools.”
He highly rates the R-77 and Mica and believes the Indian Air Force “simply got surprised and overwhelmed” by the Pakistani daytime strike on Feb. 27. That airstrike took place over the cease-fire line in the disputed region of Kashmir. Indian jets responded and a confrontation ensued.
“That is not to say that the Meteor is not amongst the best, but it, too, might be rendered toothless if the [Indian Air Force] employs it as poorly as it did on Feb. 27,” he said. (Source: Defense News)
11 Apr 19. MBDA and ALPhANOV Inaugurate a Test Lab for Laser Weapons in Bordeaux. On 27 March, In Bordeaux (France), MBDA and ALPhANOV inaugurated their common Vulnerability Test Facility (VTF). This new facility, in development since 2016, is designed to test the effects of lasers on materials. To do this the site utilises laser power sources adjustable from 1 to 10 kW and multiple measurement means (fast, visible and infrared imaging, pyrometers, thermocouples, etc.) to monitor the effects delivered by the lasers. This cooperation includes the completion of the VTF as well as its Joint Implementation for a 4 years period.
The VTF has the ability to simulate many of the real world conditions of a real-life laser firing, including: the imperfections of pointing a dynamic beam, employment against crossing and spinning targets, and the complex interactions between the laser and target materials, among others. This will allow the requirements to be defined for all the individual components of a laser weapon (laser source, aiming accuracy, beam focus, etc.) and the optimization of future laser system architectures against the various types of targets that they may engage (aircraft, missiles, drones, shells, optical sensors, vehicles, naval vessels, etc.).
CEO MBDA Antoine Bouvier said: “Adding to MBDA’s unique technical capabilities in Europe, the VTF may contribute to the on-going projects we are conducting for our German and British customers, as it will allow us to specify our future laser weapons in order to meet the exact needs of our military customers. This test facility is a major milestone on the path to a complete mastering of laser weapons and to strategic autonomy in this area. This is the objective of MBDA, as well as the objective of our domestic nations; now shared by Europe through its policy of Permanent Structured Cooperation.”
10 Apr 19. Chinese navy trials laser weapon. Chinese media have reported that a prototype laser weapon is being tested by the People’s Liberation Army Navy (PLAN).
An article published on 5 April on the Sina news website contains several screengrabs taken from footage broadcast by China Central Television (CCTV) showing a trainable optical device mounted on a mobile chassis with a large main lens.
This is surmounted by two smaller devices, possibly optical and radio frequency ranging and tracking sensors. One of the images also shows an auxiliary trailer that could be used as a mobile generator, as well as Chinese troops nearby in naval uniform.
No definitive information relating to the capability of the system has been disclosed but the Sina report suggests that a truck-mounted variant could form part of a coastal defence battery, and that a shipborne device could be an alternative to the HHQ-10 short-range surface-to-air missile system, implying that the laser-based system may have a range of about 5km. China has produced several examples of road-mobile laser weapons. For instance, in late 2017 China released information about a laser weapon system that had successfully destroyed an unmanned aerial vehicle at a range of about 300m. (Source: IHS Jane’s)
10 Apr 19. Stryker Lethality Upgrade To Start With Integration Tests In June, Weapon System Contract In FY ’20. The Army on Wednesday detailed the timeline for its newly approved plan to upgrade its Strykers with a 30mm weapons platform, which will include holding integration tests starting this summer and awarding a production contract for a Medium Caliber Weapon System in fiscal year 2020. The Stryker Lethality upgrade is expected to total $907 million over seven years with the goal of fielding 294 MCWS platforms, according to a Request for Quotations notice. Phase 1 of the Army’s effort to outfit its Double V-Hull Strykers with a 30mm weapon will openwith up to eight contracts to participate in a Design Integration Study from this June through
September 2020. Participating vendors will be asked to integrate a government-provided XM813 30mm gun on a DVH Stryker during the study.
“In parallel to Phase 1, [Program Manager-Stryker Brigade Combat Team] intends to release a subsequent full and open competition RFP for a production and support contract for the MCWS, which will require the submission of a production representative system sample,” officials wrote in the notice.
Officials said the Army is still finalizing the evaluation criteria has for the eventual MCWS production competition, while adding that determining factors will likely include meeting tiered requirements and meeting a high manufacturing readiness level. The production contract is set to be awarded in FY ’20, and will include a five-year base deal for full-rate production orders followed by three one-year options. The Army is likely to spend $384.7m in the first year of the Stryker Lethality program, which will total $907m over the total seven years. The eventual vendor is expected to produce 294 MCWS platforms for DVH Strykers, with the Army looking to manufacture 169 systems over two productions orders in the program’s first year. Following initial production, officials wrote the Army will then field 83 weapons three years in a row before delivering a final 45 systems. Officials expect all participating companies in the Design Integration Study to submit a bid for the phase two production contract, adding that companies who are not selected for the study will likely have a more difficult opportunity pursuing the MCWS award. (Source: Defense Daily)
10 Apr 19. GDELS conducts shooting trials with PIRANHA 5 for Romanian Army. General Dynamics European Land Systems (GDELS) has completed a live firing test of the PIRANHA 5 8×8 wheeled armoured vehicle for the Romanian Army. The test was performed at a firing range in Camp Rena, Norway, in the presence of the Romanian procurement authority.
It represents a key milestone in the Romanian Army’s PIRANHA 5 programme and qualifies the Elbit UT30MK2 system for the vehicle.
As part of the demonstration, PIRANHA 5 performed a series of static and dynamic shooting tests with a 30mm system.
GDELS noted that the tests exceeded the customer’s requirements.
The Romanian Army intends to modernise its legacy wheeled armoured vehicle fleet. In this regard, a contract was awarded in January last year to deliver up to 227 PIRANHA 5 wheeled armoured vehicles in six different configurations.
GDELS will work in partnership with Romanian company Uzina Mecanică București (UMB) to produce the PIRANHA 5 vehicles in Romania. The partnership involves strategic cooperation and transfer of technology.
Over the last year, GDELS and UMB have completed the first construction phase of the renovation of the UMB facilities in the country.
Under the collaboration, UMB personnel underwent training in Switzerland and have been qualified to undertake series production of PIRANHA 5.
Furthermore, GDELS confirmed the readiness of the UMB facility to commence serial production.
General Dynamics European Land Systems-Mowag managing director and wheeled vehicles vice-president Oliver Dürr said: “Our collaboration with UMB will create a sustainable benefit to the Romanian economy and we are proud to support UMB in production and in proving our efficiency and reliability to Romanian Army.
“In support of such an important customer and programme, we are pleased achieve two important milestones with the successful shooting trials and also with the readiness of our partner UMB for local series production.” (Source: army-technology.com)
10 Apr 19. Brazilian AEQ develops 2,000 lb penetrator bomb. The Brazilian privately owned company AEQ is in the final phase of completing the development of its BPEN 2000 air-launched ground penetration bomb for use by tactical combat aircraft. The development, which was initiated in early 2017 is scheduled to be complete in six months, the company told Jane’s. It has already received an order for the 2,000 lb-class bomb from an undisclosed export country. The BPEN 2000 is composed of the body, which is made of specials steel alloy and Tungsten; a 237 kg (approximately 500 lb) warhead made of Tritonal fill, Comp B (consisting of castable mixtures of RDX and TNT, Plastic Bonded Explosive [PBX]) or thermobaric explosives; an electronic proximity fuze; and low-drag fins for stabilisation. (Source: IHS Jane’s)
09 Apr 19. Will India Finally Get ‘Predator Drones’ To Target Terror Camps Near India-Pakistan Border. Weaponised drones including Predator Drones can be offered to the Indian armed forces according to a Senior Advisor at the US-India Strategic Partnership Forum (USISPF). India has been long interested in procuring armed drones like Predator which can target terror infrastructure along the line of control near the India-Pakistan border.
“I think weaponised drones are on the table, I think the original purchase was for surveillance but those are platforms known as the Predator. The Sea Guardian is basically an unarmed Predator that is kitted out for maritime surveillance, anti-submarine warfare and things like that…I think the idea of armed drones has been basically approved in principal on the US side so it’s certainly something which is on the table,” Vikram J Singh, Senior Advisor for Défense and Aerospace at the USISPF said.
“India has the intent to buy the Sea Guardian and some other versions of a drone made by General Atomics for long endurance surveillance of the borders and the maritime space,” he said.
Commenting on the impact of US-India defence dynamics in light of allegations that Pakistan used US-supplied F-16 aircrafts against India, Singh said, “The agreement to sell Pakistan those F-16s goes back to before the US and India had completed a single defence deal. The United States has a complicated relationship with Pakistan, there is no doubt that the US views Pakistan as enabling terrorism. But there is also no doubt that the US has been dependent on Pakistan for a lot of things, particularly related to the war In Afghanistan.”
This is where both India and the US have similar objectives.
“There is this peculiar situation where India can only access Afghanistan through Iran and the US can only access Afghanistan through Pakistan. In the best cases, what good partners do is give each other some forbearance in those situations. The US has not criticised India’s dependence on Chabahar and the need to go into Afghanistan through Iran even though Iran is under severe sanctions and on balance India has understood the US position,” he said. (Source: Google/https://eurasiantimes.com/)
08 Apr 19. Thailand flexes anti-ship missile capabilities in Andaman Sea with C-802A firing. Key Points:
- Thailand has demonstrated its anti-ship missile capabilities in the Andaman Sea by firing the C-802A
- The firing comes amid an increase in naval activities and developments in the Andaman and Nicobar Islands region
The Royal Thai Navy (RTN) conducted its first test-firing of the C-802A medium-range anti-ship missile on 5 April.
The weapon, which is an export version of the YJ-83 missile that is in service with the People’s Liberation Army Navy (PLAN), was fired from the Chao Phraya (Type 053 HT (H))-class frigate, HTMS Kraburi (457) in the Andaman Sea. The missile was deployed against a simulated moving target, which has been built with radar reflective materials, about 100km away from Kraburi at the time of firing. According to the RTN, the projectile attained a speed of Mach 0.94 before successfully hitting the target.
The C-802A missile has an overall length of 5.15m excluding its booster, and a body diameter of 360mm. It has a flight control surface span of 1.22m and a launch weight of 800kg. The missile, which can be deployed at up to Sea State 5, can carry warheads of up to 190 kg and has a top speed Mach 0.9. The C-802A has a minimum hit range of 8.1n miles (15km) and a maximum range of 97.2n miles (180 km). The sea-skimming missile cruises at a height of about 20m above the waterline, but will descend to about 5m as it enters the terminal phase of its mission. The projectile employs an inertial navigation system (INS) and radar to home in on targets, the latter of which is deployed during the terminal phase. The missile that was fired from Kraburi was armed with a semi armour-piercing warhead. (Source: IHS Jane’s)
09 Apr 19. US Army poised to begin JAGM full-rate production. The US Army is to begin full-rate production (FRP) of the Lockheed Martin Joint Air-to-Ground Missile (JAGM), with a pre-solicitation issued by the service on 9 April. The notification issued by the US Army Contracting Command-Redstone (ACC-RSA) covers the acquisition of a maximum quantity of 3,000 (1,500 in fiscal year 2020 [FY 2020] and 1,500 in FY 2021) JAGM missiles in containers in support of the US Army, US Navy (USN), US Air Force, and “special customers”, as well as trainer systems and support. This will result in the award of two 12-month option periods of performance by Lockheed Martin Missiles and Fire Control to support the JAGM requirement. The ACC-RSA did not disclose when an FRP contract might be awarded, or what its value might be. Jane’s has previously reported that an award is expected in 2019. The JAGM is a tri-mode seeker (semi-active laser [SAL], imaging infrared [IIR/2IR]), and millimetre wave [MMW]) air-to-surface missile that is intended to replace the Lockheed Martin AGM-114 Hellfire, Raytheon AGM-65 Maverick, and Hughes BGM-71 TOW systems in the US inventory. (Source: IHS Jane’s)
09 Apr 19. Formula One Composite Technology Creates Lightweight Structures to Protect Troops. Williams Advanced Engineering is working with the UK’s Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (Dstl) and Defence and Security Accelerator (DASA) to develop innovative battlefield shelter protection for troops using Formula One-derived technology and processes created in-house at Williams to create composite 3D structures that can be deployed in theatre. Williams Advanced Engineering, the engineering and services business from the Williams Group that also includes the ROKiT Williams Racing Formula One Team, is a leader in lightweight materials and structural solutions. The company has developed patent-pending composite technologies and processes enabling the creation of strong, protective but lightweight structures. Williams sees huge potential in implementing its proprietary composite technology in the DASA ‘Take Cover’ competition. This competition calls for innovative approaches to battlefield protective structures and is the company’s first submission and successful bid to DASA. Williams believes that its proposal will enable the UK Ministry of Defence (MOD) to become a leader in implementing advanced composite materials across all of its operational activities using a British-born innovation.
“Lightweighting is a key principle of motorsport and the use of carbon fibre has been crucial to the ongoing development of racing and on into more mainstream applications,” said Craig Wilson, Managing Director of Williams Advanced Engineering. “To think that innovations from the team here at Williams Advanced Engineering can deliver enhanced, lighter protection for the Armed Forces is a great feeling for us. We look forward to working with Dstl and DASA to enable deployment of our technology by service personnel for their protection.”
Williams’ proprietary composite technology allows innovative approaches to the use of fibre-reinforced polymer and unlocks the use of composites for modular structures, allowing for the integration of varying levels of protection depending on the requirement.
Dr Adam Staines DASA Delivery Lead said: “DASA was created to find and fund exploitable innovation for defence and security. Key for this mission is wider engagement with non-traditional suppliers across a range of industrial sectors. Accessing cutting-edge technology developed initially for Formula One is a prime example of this engagement. Lightweight foldable materials which can be assembled quickly to provide protection for troops was a key aim of this DASA themed competition. In addition to protecting troops and saving lives on the battlefield this technology has potential uses for domestic security and humanitarian applications.”
On the battlefield, minimising the weight of equipment is essential, reducing the logistic burden as well as the burden on the individual. This extends to items such as temporary structures which must often be carried and set up by troops in challenging environments. That the material properties of composite technologies offer significant mass advantage over traditional materials such as steels and other alloys is widely-known, but issues surrounding production tooling, ease of handling and cost have constrained composites to low-volume high-performance applications. This was the driving factor behind Williams Advanced Engineering innovating a new composites technology to revolutionise applications where rapid manufacture, ease of assembly and low cost are essential. With an extensive history of composite innovation in motorsport, aerospace and automotive sectors, Williams was perfectly placed to develop this technology. Now, Williams is looking to showcase this technology in defence, where the benefits can be realised for reducing logistic and physical burden, as well as enabling lightweight and modular infrastructure solutions.
Current temporary structures used on the battlefield traditionally use materials such as corrugated iron, sandbags and mechanical fasteners. Typically, this will lead to difficulties surrounding transportation and on-the-ground deployment, due to the weight and volume of parts needed. Furthermore, the mechanical properties, such as the specific strength, of corrugated iron are in many ways significantly lower than an equivalent piece made of continual glass fibre-reinforced polymer. This demonstrates that the efficacy of structures used on the battlefield can be improved through the introduction of more advanced materials, which will also reduce the number of parts and volume of components. Due to the ability for composite technologies to implement various fibre types in the lay-up, structures can be optimised to suit the environments in which they are used. Performance against threats such as blast, fragmentation, ground shock, or thermal detection may be enabled through the utilisation and integration of various fibre types, for example glass fibre, carbon fibre, aramid and IR absorbing materials.
08 Apr 19. Arnold Defense announces the first order for FLETCHER Laser Guided Rocket Launcher. Arnold Defense, the St Louis based manufacturer of 2.75-inch rocket launchers, is pleased to announce receipt of the first order for their unique FLETCHER Land Based, Laser Guided Rocket Launcher. The FLETCHER 2.75-inch/70mm weapon system was first unveiled just 18 months ago at DSEi in London. Since the launch, FLETCHER has been showcased at a number of international exhibitions, generating exceptional levels of interest whilst Arnold Defense have continued with an ongoing development and investment program to broaden and prove the system’s already revolutionary capability.
With FLETCHER, Arnold Defense has made a bold departure from the traditional concept of use for 2.75-inch rocket systems; that of an area suppression weapon delivered by aviation assets. Arnold’s evolution has FLETCHER using advanced rocket-guidance technology to utilize ground-based launch platforms, meeting the demands of modern, vehicle-mounted and dismounted asymmetric warfare.
FLETCHER’s unique design allows for ease of operation, maintenance and sustainment. It employs an existing suite of guidance modules, rockets and warheads, already used in well-known programs and readily available to global forces. FLETCHER is supported by a team of global defense industry companies, collaborating under Arnold Defense’s leadership to combine their complimentary expertise.
The first customer for the FLETCHER system, who cannot yet be disclosed, has committed to purchasing FLETCHER due to the system’s ability to accurately engage targets at a range of over 5km, with a 100% hit rate in recent test-firings. This first order is for an initial batch of launchers, with a larger order expected to follow once successful user trials and demonstrations have been completed.
Mike Brown, Vice President and COO of Arnold Defense said, “Given that the FLETCHER concept was unveiled to the public only 18 months ago, Arnold Defense is delighted to have signed what we anticipate to be the first of many contracts for the supremely capable FLETCHER surface-based rocket launcher.” He added, “FLETCHER has generated huge interest globally with its unique capability to deliver organic, long-range precision firepower to even the smallest tactical element. It is great to see serious international interest now developing into firm orders.”
08 Apr 19. Arnold Defense rocket launchers on display at the 2019 Quad-A, Army Aviation Mission Solutions Summit. Arnold Defense, the St Louis based manufacturer of 2.75-inch rocket launchers, will be at this year’s Quad-A, Army Aviation Mission Solutions Summit taking place 14-16 April 2019 at the Gaylord Opryland Hotel and Conference Center, Nashville, TN.
Arnold Defense will be showcasing two rocket launchers at the Summit; the 19-round M261 and their ultra-lightweight LWL-12 rocket launcher weighing in at just over 60 pounds (27 kg) empty. The M261 will be displayed on a AH-6 Little Bird with CFD International, and the LWL-12 will be with Arnold Defense on stand #1151 and also mounted on a MD969 Combat Attack helicopter, the latest evolution of MDHI’s iconic MD 900/902 series.
Arnold Defense is the world’s largest supplier of rocket launchers for military aircraft, vessels and vehicles; they have manufactured more than 1.2 million 2.75-inch (70mm) rocket launchers since 1961 for the U.S. Armed Forces and a number of NATO customers. They design and manufacture rocket launchers that can be customized for any size, weight, capacity or form factor for platforms in the air, on the ground or at sea.
Arnold’s core products include the 7-round M260 and 19-round M261 commonly used by U.S. Army helicopters; the thermal coated 7-round LAU-68 variants and LAU-61 Digital Rocket Launcher used by the U.S. Navy; and the 7-round LAU-131 and SUU-25 flare dispenser used by the U.S. Air Force. Their newest product, FLETCHER, is a 4-round laser target designated, ground-based rocket launcher; a unique concept and design that has seen exceptional levels of international interest.
Jim Hager, President and CEO of Arnold Defense said “2019 got off to a great start with the recent announcement of a contract that could be worth up to $74.3m with the U.S. DoD along with ever-growing international, special operations interest in Arnold’s ground-based rocket launcher, FLETCHER. As recently announced, FLETCHER has just won it’s first order. We are very much looking forward to focusing on our core business at Quad-A; a forum we know well and where we aim to showcase our continued innovation and dedication to providing only the best weapons systems to today’s modern warfighters”.
08 Apr 19. Australia to buy weapons and decoys for F-35As and Super Hornets for use in ‘densely contested’ environments. Australia will acquire a range of weapons and countermeasures costing AUD110m (USD78m) for use in “densely contested” environments by its Lockheed Martin F-35A Lightning II Joint Strike Fighters and Boeing F/A-18F Super Hornet multirole fighters, Defence Minister Christopher Pyne disclosed on 6 April.
Pyne said the investment – under Project Air 6000 Phase 3 – is designed to ensure that weapons and decoys are available as Australia’s air combat fleet transitions from the Boeing FA-18A/B ‘classic’ Hornet multirole fighter to the Joint Strike Fighter and the Super Hornet.
“A range of complementary weapons and countermeasures will be acquired to provide comprehensive options for use in densely contested environments,” Pyne said in the statement.
Weapon components will be supplied by Thales Australia and countermeasures by Chemring Australia, the statement added, but gave no further information. Two days later Pyne announced the arrival of two more F-35As in Australia after the platforms completed various validation and verification activities in the US.
“I’m pleased to welcome our newest F-35As, A35-011, and A35-012, bringing the total number of aircraft in Australia to four,” said the minister, adding that the fighters are at RAAF Base Williamtown and will be assigned to Number 3 Squadron. (Source: IHS Jane’s)
08 Apr 19. Kalyani Group collaborates with Thales. Kalyani Group and Thales have formalized a new collaboration to develop the Next Generation of Defence Systems Capability in India. The $2.5bn multinational conglomerate Kalyani Group has formed an alliance with Thales for design, development and manufacture of next generation weapons systems for the Defence and Law Enforcement sectors in India and abroad.
The collaboration between Kalyani Strategic Systems Ltd. (KSSL) and Thales will leverage Thales’s more than 100 years’ experience in the design, development and manufacture of world leading defence systems in Australia. The agreement was signed onboard the HMAS Canberra in a call in India, by MKK Iyer, Vice President (Defence), Kalyani Group and Emmanuel de Roquefeuil, VP and Country Director India, Thales.
Rajinder Singh Bhatia, President & CEO (Defence & Aerospace), Kalyani Group, said, “We are very excited to enter the military weapon systems segment. This alliance will combine Thales’s advance technology, knowledge and experience as an OEM withworld class design, development and manufacturing capabilities of the Kalyani Group. Our cooperation aims to provide indigenously manufactured solutions for both the Indian and international markets, thereby furthering the ‘Make in India’ initiative of the government.”
“We are very pleased to bring high-end technology from Australia and work in close collaboration with the Kalyani Group for the design and development of next generation defence systems including variants of the F90 assault rifle already in service with the Australian Defence Forces. This new collaboration will help us serve India as well as international markets. This partnership is the result of our ambition to support soldiers on operations with next generation, cutting edge technology and reaffirms our commitment to India,” said Kevin Wall, VP vehicles and tactical systems, Thales.
With over 1150 employees, Thales is headquartered in New Delhi and has other operational offices and sites spread across Noida, Gurgaon, Hyderabad, Bengaluru, Chennai and Mumbai among others. (Source: Google/https://www.newsbarons.com)
05 Apr 19. Oleksandr Turchynov: A New Mobile Cruise Missile System Has Been Tested. A new mobile cruise missile system has been tested successfully. This was reported by Secretary of the National Security and Defense Council of Ukraine Oleksandr Turchynov after the tests were completed in the Odesa region. According to him, this new mobile cruise missile system “was created by Ukrainian scientists, designers and manufacturers in record time.”
“The system includes a universal self-propelled launch station, a vehicle for transporting missiles, a transport-charging vehicle, and a command-and-staff module,” Mr. Turchynov said adding that all components of the system, as well as the high-precision cruise missile P-360, had never before been produced in Ukraine, “therefore these tests are of fundamental importance for strengthening the defense potential of our state.”
The NSDC Secretary informed that during the tests, the work of all components of the missile system and flight characteristics of the missile were checked. “The cruise missile completed a flight task of a unique complexity: flying over 100 km in the direction of the sea, it turned 180 degrees, and on the way back, precisely hit the target,” Mr. Turchynov noticed adding that flight and maneuvering of the missile were recorded by technical means of observation both on the coastline and on Snake Island.
“The new mobile cruise missile systems can quickly be put on certain combat positions and be ready to conduct a missile strike in minutes,” he said stressing that Ukrainian cruise missiles P-360 are capable of precisely striking surface and ground targets at distances of over 300km.”
According to Mr. Turchynov, all components of the system and the missile itself “perfectly worked out the tasks and proved their conformity to the given characteristics.”
The NSDC Secretary said that an interesting feature of today’s tests was the involvement of cadets and officers from the Institute of Naval Forces of the National University “Odessa Maritime Academy” to participate in them.
“Today, we are creating a fundamentally new weapon, which the Ukrainian army had never had, and therefore, yet at the testing level, we begin to prepare military professionals who should be prepared for the operation and combat use of modern and high-precision missile systems,” Mr. Turchynov summarized. (Source: defense-aerospace.com/National Security and Defense Council of Ukraine)
05 Apr 19. French Air Force, Navy conduct technical-operational evaluation firings of Meteor. The French Air Force and French Navy (Marine Nationale: MN), supported by the Direction Générale de l’Armement (DGA), have completed initial technical and operational evaluation firings of the MBDA Meteor beyond-visual-range air-to-air missile (BVRAAM) on the Dassault Rafale F3R-standard multirole combat aircraft.
Conducted on 13 and 27 February at the DGA’s Mediterranean Missile Test Range, the firings comprised two shots on 13 February, including a night shot, and on 27 February a Meteor shot combined with a firing of a MICA short-to-medium range AAM. The participating F3R-standard aircraft – a two-seater Rafale B and a Rafale M (Marine) – were operated and piloted by personnel from the French Air Force Experimental Assessment Centre (CEAM) and the MN’s Airborne Experimental Centre (CEPA/10S). (Source: IHS Jane’s)
05 Apr 19. Australian Artillery Round a Direct Hit. The Australian Army’s Royal Regiment of Australian Artillery (RAA) successfully tested the new Sensor-fused Munition for Artillery (SMArt) 155mm round during Exercise Chimera recently held at the Shoalwater Bay Training Area near Rockhampton.
Lieutenant Colonel Paul Duncan, Commanding Officer of 4 Regiment, RAA said that up until now the Australian Army Artillery had lacked a capability to efficiently and effectively engage and destroy heavy armoured fighting vehicles, such as main battle tanks.
“The introduction of the SMArt155 projectile gives us that a capability to create a dilemma for enemy commanders by disrupting armoured approaches at operationally significant ranges, in all weather and terrain,” Lieutenant Colonel Duncan said. “The round is specifically designed for long range, top attack. Each round contains two submunitions which descend over the battlefield on parachutes, identify armoured vehicles using advanced sensors, and then fire an explosively formed penetrator warhead into the target.
Director Combat Support Program, Colonel Andrew Langford said the exercise indicated the Australian Army was a capable and ready land force. “This exercise showcased the professionalism of our gunners, demonstrating their ability to work together as an effective team. We are now prepared and ready for warfare on the contemporary battlefield, but we are continually looking for ways to be ready for future challenges in an ever-changing environment. We are achieving this challenge by working closely with our partners in Defence Industry.”
Exercise Chimera was conducted on 24 and 25 March by three regiments of the Royal Regiment of Australian Artillery – Townsville-based 4th Regiment, Darwin-based 8th/12th Regiment and Brisbane-based 1st Regiment. (Source: ASD Network/MoD Australia)
05 Apr 19. To fight drone swarms, the USMC wants a battle drone that can kill other drones. Over the past several years, the USMC has been rapidly testing and acquiring systems to take on air threats — a problem that last existed for the Marines during the Cold War. Systems now in the Corps’ air defense arsenal include the Ground/Air Task-Oriented Radar, which can detect cruise missiles, air threats, and a host of other incoming projectiles. And the Corps is still developing a Joint Light Tactical Vehicle or Humvee mounted air defense system that can use a range of capabilities from stinger missiles, electronic attack or directed energy to blast drones out of the sky. On Thursday, during a hearing at the House Armed Service Committee, Marine leaders told lawmakers that they were also looking at drones that can kill other drones to bolster the Corps’ air defense capabilities.
Lt. Gen. Steven R. Rudder, the deputy commandant of the Marine Corps for aviation, told lawmakers that the miniaturization of tech was helping provide capabilities like “precision-guided munitions that can be launched and hover and loiter at great distances,” to “small UASs [unmanned aircraft system] that can counter other UASs, that we can certainly launch from a manportable system.”
Whether that system will employ kinetic or electronic attack to take down enemy drones was not clear during Thursday’s hearing, but the Corps has been experimenting with a range of loitering drone munitions capable of carrying different payloads.
The threat of swarming drones has become an ever-growing threat, which Rudder characterized Thursday as a “great concern,” especially as even small terror and militia groups have managed to weaponize small commercial drones. The military has taken serious note of the issue and pumped considerable effort and experimentation into finding unique ways to knock drones out of the sky.
Some of those systems, like the Light Marine Air Defense Integrated System, which uses a pair of Polaris MRZRs to track and shut down drones with electronic attack, have already deployed with the 22nd and 13th Marine Expeditionary Units. The Corps also has looked at a slew of shoulder-fired or manportable gun-like systems that can use electronic warfare, and a system that fires a net at incoming drones. These systems were tested just last year at the Corps’ experimental Urban ANTX exercise aboard Camp Pendleton, California. But the Corps appears to be pushing away from some of these manportable systems.
Lt. Gen. David Berger, the commander of Marine Corps Combat Development Command, told lawmakers Thursday that experimentation with man portable systems “have not panned out.”
Those systems would add considerable weight and potentially additional battery requirements for grunts at a time when the Corps is working hard at cutting the load of infantry Marines already burdened with new tech. Berger was recently nominated to become the 38th commandant of the Marine Corps. (Source: Defense News)
04 Apr 19. US Army Ammo Plant Readies for New 6.8mm Round. The Army’s plan to adopt a 6.8 mm round includes building a new manufacturing facility at the Lake City Army Ammunition Plant in Missouri. Whitney Watson, senior manager of communications of Northrop Grumman’s small caliber systems division, said his company operates the Lake City plant, which is government-owned and contractor-operated, for the Army. The plant produces about 90 percent of the Defense Department’s small caliber ammunition, such as 5.56mm and 7.62mm bullets, he said.
“We produce about one and a half billion rounds a year” for the Army, Navy, Air Force and Marines, as well as the FBI, CIA and Drug Enforcement Agency, he added.
The Army is pursuing a 6.8mm round for its next-generation squad weapon, which will be designed to work in close-, medium- and long-range battles. The service examined multiple calibers and considered different weapon lengths for the new firearm.
“The bottom line is it’s about overmatch,” Watson said. “Our adversaries are building better body armor, and so the Army wanted something — an intermediate round — between that 5.56 mm and the 7.62 mm” it currently uses.
The new ammunition will be produced at Lake City after the Army finalizes the weapon, develops the new round and builds a new production facility, he said. The Army Corps of Engineers has been soliciting for an architect and engineering firm, and design task orders are slated to be awarded by the end of the summer. Following the awards, the service will begin determining the size and scope of the new facility, he noted.
The new building will be the first new manufacturing facility Lake City has constructed in 50 years, Watson added.
“We’ve been around since 1940 — [that] is when ground was broken — and the first rounds came off the line nine months later, Sept. 12th, 1941,” he said. “There’s definitely a storied history here at Lake City.”
Construction of the building is expected to begin in the next two to three years, and production of the new round will start in about three or four years, he noted. (Source: glstrade.com/National Defense)
05 Apr 19. MBDA opens data centre in France for missile development. MBDA has unveiled a data and high-performance computing centre in Le Plessis-Robinson near Paris, France, to support its future missile development projects. The company will use the facility for the development of future missiles, including the Air-Sol Nucléaire de 4eme Génération (ASN4G) hypersonic missile. The ASN4G or air-to-surface, fourth-generation nuclear weapon will be powered by an innovative scramjet technology. Preliminary studies of the technology are in progress with the support of French Aerospace Laboratory ONERA.
With a planned in-service date of 2035, the ASN4G will boost France’s nuclear deterrence, which is implemented by the Strategic Air Force (SAF) and by the Naval Nuclear Air Force (FANu).
The investment in the new data centre significantly enhances MBDA’s computing power. The data centre has a computing power of up to 1,000 teraflops, which is 20 times more than the existing capability at MBDA.
According to the company, the centre will enable aerodynamic simulations of missiles in subsonic to hypersonic speed domains. This will help validate the company’s future products, particularly the future ASN4G missile. ASN4G will replace France’s ASMP-A nuclear missile, which is deployed on the Dassault Mirage 2000N and Rafale F3 fighter jets. MBDA is the prime contractor for the ASMP-A missile.
In December 2017, DefenseNews reported citing details from a book titled ‘The President and the Bomb’ that France was studying two projects exploring concepts for the fourth-generation missile.
Based on France’s requirements, the missile would require a range of more than 1,000km and should be able to travel at speed greater than Mach 5, the report added. (Source: airforce-technology.com)
05 Apr 19. Thales integrates induction rocket launcher into protected vehicle. Thales showed a Hawkei tactical vehicle with its induction rocket launcher for four ready-to-fire 68 mm guided or unguided rockets during the 2019 Special Operations Forces Innovation Network Seminar (SOFINS) exhibition, held at Camp de Souge, France, on 2-4 April.
The launcher is installed next to a 12.7 mm machine gun on a remotely operated FN Herstal turret.
Four additional rockets are carried in a container attached to the rear of the vehicle. The rockets are wireless with no connector, enabling quick reloading (less than a minute), which can be done when the vehicle is on the move, according to Thales. Firing must, however, be conducted when the vehicle is stopped. The system is designed to be installed in any type of protected vehicle. (Source: IHS Jane’s)
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