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16 Apr 19. Expal ammunition completes Spain’s firing tests. Expal’s extended range 155mm ammunition has successfully completed firing tests with the Spanish Army, carried out at the Torregorda Test Center in Cádiz, Spain. The ammunition has been developed as part of an agreement signed between the Spanish Army and Expal in 2018 for the supply of 52 calibre munitions for the SIAC 155mm howitzer and 39 calibre for the M109A5. The agreement includes extended range projectiles equipped with base bleed unit, modular charges and EC-102 electronic fuze.
The ammunition’s aerodynamic design and advanced energetic material increases the range and the advanced electronic fuze maximises effects.
The new ammunition has been developed in collaboration with the Spanish General Direction of Armament and Materia, the Spanish Ministry of Defense and the Logistical Support Command of the Spanish Army. (Source: Shephard)
15 Apr 19. India test fires sub-sonic cruise missile Nirbhay in Odisha. India has test-fired its first domestically designed and developed long-range sub-sonic cruise missile ‘Nirbhay’ from a test range off the coast of Odisha. The 1,000km long-range missile, which was developed by Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO), was test-fired from launch complex-3 of the Integrated Test Range (ITR) at Chandipur near Balasore.
The test fire of Nirbhay is the sixth development flight trial aimed at proving the repeatability of boost phase, cruise phase using waypoint navigation at very low altitudes. Nirbhay took off vertically, turning horizontally into the test direction. Critical operations such as booster separation, wing deployment, and engine start were demonstrated through autonomous navigation.
A chain of electro-optical tracking systems, radars and ground telemetry systems deployed along the sea coast tracked the complete flight.
“From liftoff until the final landing, the flight test is said to have achieved all the objectives of the mission.”
NDTV reported that Nirbhay is capable of cruising at 0.7 Mach at an altitude as low as 100m and covered the designated target range in 42 minutes and 23 seconds.
From liftoff until the final landing, the flight test is said to have achieved all the objectives of the mission.
The successful test of the missile is expected to offer a boost to India’s defence power.
The last trial of the Nirbhay subsonic cruise missile was conducted by DRDO in November 2017.
In February, DRDO conducted the flight test of the Solid Fuel Ducted Ramjet propulsion based missile system from the integrated test range at Chandipur. At the time of the test, the missile was launched and guided to reach a high altitude to simulate aircraft release conditions. (Source: army-technology.com)
16 Apr 19. Atlas Elektronik issues SeaSpider ATT contract to Magellan Aerospace. Atlas Elektronik Canada has awarded a contract to Magellan Aerospace for the design and development phase of the SeaSpider Anti Torpedo Torpedo (ATT) programme. Launched in January 2019, the ATT programme’s initial C$19m phase is anticipated to be completed in 2023.
Under the contract, Magellan will be responsible for the design and development of the SeaSpider ATT rocket motor and warhead sections of the torpedo. The work includes design, build, test, and product qualification. SeaSpider is designed for integration into surface vessels and submarines to detect and destroy incoming torpedoes by explosive or kinetic force. It will leverage Atlas’s expertise in naval systems and torpedoes, as well as Magellan’s rocket technology.
Magellan Aerospace business development, marketing and contracts vice-president Haydn Martin said: “The partnership between Atlas and Magellan will bring to market an innovative new torpedo defence system that will be the first of its kind in this growing market segment.
“We welcome the opportunity to collaborate in this exciting new endeavour with Atlas Elektronik.”
Earlier this month, Atlas announced that it recently completed sea trials of the SeaSpider in the Baltic Sea.
The company performed the trials in partnership with German Bundeswehr Technical Center for ships and naval weapons, maritime technology and research (WTD 71).Atlas tested the full ‘sensor to shooter’ functional chain of a hard kill surface ship torpedo defence system during the sea trials. Powered by solid propellant rocket propulsion system, SeaSpider offers robust performance in all kinds of environments, including both deep and shallow water, the firm noted. In June 2016, Atlas partnered with Magellan to co-develop the rocket motor and warhead sections of the SeaSpider ATT. (Source: naval-technology.com)
15 Apr 19. USAF hopes new organization can boost electronic warfare. USAF leaders are touting the creation of a new information warfare organization earlier this month as a way to show the increasing importance of cyber and electronic warfare capabilities.
“More and more I become convinced as the commander of Air Combat Command that if I’m going to do my job, with controlling and exploiting the air, and if I’m going to help control and exploit space that I have to control and exploit the cyber and the electromagnetic spectrum environments,” Gen. James Holmes, the head of Air Combat Command, said April 11 during an Air Force Association event at Langley Air Force base.
The Air Force announced in April it is creating a new information warfare numbered Air Force, a move that combines 24th Air Force, or Air Forces Cyber, with 25th Air Force, which is responsible for global intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance. Holmes said the new combined numbered Air Force will be established this summer. While the Air Force has selected a leader for the organization, Holmes declined to name the officer or to say if it is a two-star or three-star general. Currently, 24th and 25th Air Force are led by a two-star general.
With the new organization, the Air Force is following in the footsteps of other services and organizing these skillsets under the banner of information warfare.
“We’ve come to discover cyber is an element of the larger information warfare and [electromagnetic spectrum] fight that we’re in,” Ted Uchida, deputy director of operations at Air Combat Command, said during the same event. “To view cyber in its lane and in the functional stovepipe is really an incomplete analysis. We’ve come to discover it’s really information warfare.”
Uchida said the new organization will focus on cyber information operations, influence operations, electronic warfare, military deception, military information support operations and psychological operations.
“All those are centered on influencing an adversary’s thought process,” he said.
In addition, Uchida said leaders at Air Combat Command are resurrecting an electronic warfare division and a cyber division to bolster the organization’s information operations.
On the cyber front, Air Force leaders recently created teams that would defend local installations and critical Air Force missions. Neither the Air Force or any other service own any offensive cyber teams or capability. Those teams and authorities reside with U.S. Cyber Command. But Uchida said there are some missions the Air Force would want to conduct in the future and those would require service-specific teams. However, the Air Force currently doesn’t have the manpower to run such events.
In the meantime, Air Force leaders are spending more time talking about the convergence of cyber and electronic warfare.
“Part of our discussion is how do those two fit together. Which one is a subset of the other? If the electromagnetic spectrum, is that the sum of cyber and [radio frequency] to be able to operate in that environment? Is cyber to electromagnetic spectrum like the airplane is to the air,” Holmes said.
On the electronic warfare front, Holmes said a year-long report into electronic warfare found the service had struggled to coordinate electronic combat tools during 15 years of counterterrorism operations. Now, the service is looking to focus on dominating the electromagnetic spectrum again.
“Increasingly we’re reminded that against great powers we also have to control and exploit the electromagnetic spectrum if we’re going to be successful,” he said.
Such powerful electronic warfare tools would include active electronically scanned array radars, new distributed jammers that are being fielded and modifications of jamming packages from EC-130s to EC-37s. Over the last several years the service has lost the ability to pull these capabilities together and integrate them against a peer adversary, he said.
Holmes said the service will also work to rebuild the experienced electronic warfare officers who knew how to “come up with new concepts and new presentations.” (Source: Defense News Early Bird/C4ISR & Networks)
15 Apr 19. U.S. Army isn’t impressed with lightweight munition offerings for unmanned aircraft. The U.S. Army, so far, has not been impressed with lightweight precision munitions offered up by industry for its unmanned aircraft systems, but the service is continuing to look for smaller weapons that fit the bill.
Roughly two years ago, the Army wanted to evaluate munition offerings and select some to be tested operationally with the idea the service would buy more if they worked well in the field.
“I do recall, certainly, several vendors that proposed they could do certain things and we said, ‘Okay, prove it,’” the Army’s program executive officer for aviation, Brig. Gen. Thomas Todd said during a press briefing at the Army Aviation Association of America’s annual summit. Once proven, he added, the program office would take the munition and try to help integrate it onto platforms and field it out to the force to try before buying.
“In that arena we asked industry to put money where your mouth is and give us some test data showing your assertions and in this case they have yet to be able to prove their assertions for their test data in particular,” Todd said. “So we are waiting anxiously for them to continue to invest and make their product something ready from a technology level that we could actually adopt quickly.”
The Pentagon Army aviation military operations chief, Brig. Gen. David Francis, confirmed, during the same briefing, the effort to find lightweight munitions continues and “there are some vendors out there that are competing and trying to develop various products, but nothing that has come to fruition yet.”
The Army remains interested in precision guided munitions, the Army Aviation Center of Excellence and Fort Rucker commanding general, Maj. Gen. William Gayler, echoed.
“The preponderance of our aviation launched munitions are larger and very costly and we need to have the ability to have more of what we call stowed kills on board a platform whether that is an unmanned system or even a manned system,” Gayler said. “We need to have the ability to do that because if you look at a potential peer-to-peer conflict, just sheer numbers alone is going to require that munition. We don’t want to put very heavy, exquisite munitions on a target that is a threat, but doesn’t require that exquisite munition.”
A year ago, the service was in the fledgling process of organizing opportunities for vendors with lightweight precision munitions to demonstrate capability for the Army, Francis’ predecessor Brig. Gen. Frank Tate, said at the time.
The Army asked for white papers in February 2017 for lightweight precision munitions specifically tailored for the Gray Eagle UAS in advance of potentially setting up a program in the same office where the Hellfire missile is resident.
Tate said, in late September that year, there were 12 vendors that originally said they could meet the need. The Army planned to narrow down that list and field small numbers to units to try out, then, taking user feedback, make decisions on procurement. (Source: Defense News Early Bird/Defense News)
15 Apr 19. USN details desire for additional HELIOS funding in 2020. If the US Navy (USN) receives an additional USD80m above its budget request for the High Energy Laser and Integrated Optical-dazzler with Surveillance (HELIOS) initiative, the service would be able to accelerate development plans, according to Chief of Naval Operations Admiral John Richardson. Testifying before the Senate Armed Services Committee earlier this month, Adm Richardson fielded questions about HELIOS and why the service included it on its unfunded priorities list – a wish list, of sorts, where each service details programmes they would like to see funded at higher levels.
Adm Richardson explained that if the service receives an additional USD80m, it could accelerate HELIOS “even further”.
“If we got a little bit more money, we could move even more aggressively still,” the four-star admiral told lawmakers.
The service is requesting USD101m in fiscal year 2020 (FY 2020) for its Navy Laser Family of Systems (NLFoS) – an effort to field “near-term”, ship-based high-energy laser weapons, according to budget documents. If lawmakers approve the funds, the navy said it will use the money for the Surface Navy Laser Weapon System (SNLWS), in which HELIOS is included, as well as the Solid State Laser Technology Maturation (SSL-TM) effort.
“[The] SNLWS addresses anti-surface warfare and counter-intelligence, surveillance and gaps with the ability to dazzle and destroy UASs [unmanned aerial systems] and defeat fast inshore attack craft,” the navy wrote. “SNLWS includes the development of an advanced prototype laser weapon system in the 60 kW or higher class. SSL-TM will develop an advanced 150kW high-energy laser weapon demonstrator that will support future laser development with installation on a LPD 17 [San Antonio] class for at sea testing in FY 2020.”
While budget documents detail plans to move out with NLFoS development, the USD101m request is a reduction over previous years’ spending levels. (Source: IHS Jane’s)
15 Apr 19. BAE Systems’ Vehicle Protection Systems Provide Layered Defense for Armored Vehicles. BAE Systems’ 360 Multifunction Vehicle Protection (MVP) Sensor provides 360-degree visibility and threat warning capabilities day or night despite challenging battlefield conditions.
BAE Systems unveiled its 360 Multifunction Vehicle Protection (MVP) Sensor as part of the company’s integrated vehicle protection system (VPS) suite, which provides improved visibility, situational awareness, threat warning, and countermeasures to protect armored vehicles and crews.
The 360 MVP Sensor combines four high-definition, extended-view multifunction cameras that serve as the eyes of the VPS, providing crews with sharp images of the battlespace around them and quickly detecting and tracking threats – from ground troops and small arms fire to aerial systems, improvised explosive devices, and missiles. The sensors provide 360-degree visibility and threat warning capabilities during the day, at night, in adverse weather, and despite challenging natural and manmade battlefield conditions including fog, dust, and smoke.
“Our approach is different. We’re using mature, integrated components to provide a modular and affordable system for protecting armored vehicles that’s tailorable to the platform, mission, and budget,” said Ryan Edwards, BAE Systems’ business development manager for Soldier and Vehicle Electronics. “Our vehicle protection system lets crews see first and act first, helping them complete their missions.”
The 360 MVP Sensor provides early threat warning that helps crews quickly detect, recognize, identify, and track potential threats. It can be integrated with and cue non-kinetic countermeasures – including BAE Systems’ RAVEN – and kinetic countermeasures to defeat threats, shortening the response chain and reducing the cognitive load on crews, improving mobility, lethality, survivability, and overall mission effectiveness.
BAE Systems’ VPS provides an integrated, layered defense for armored vehicles that builds on the company’s extensive experience developing sensors, image-processing technology, and aircraft survivability equipment – technology that has been proven through millions of combat hours. Development of BAE Systems’ vehicle protections systems is conducted at the company’s manufacturing center of excellence in Austin, Texas. (Source: BUSINESS WIRE)
16 Apr 19. REDARC delivers thermal signature solution to Army for artillery test. The Australian Army has successfully engaged practice targets for the first time with the SMArt155 munitions in an operational training environment, thanks to Australian advanced manufacturer REDARC Electronics’ Thermal Signature Enhancement Kit (RTSEK).
The Royal Regiment of Australian Artillery has been progressively introducing new precision guided munitions (PGM) into service for the past 10 years. The PGM known as the SMArt155 (anti-armour modular artillery projectile) uses complex infra-red and radar sensors to target operational armoured vehicles and discount non-operational vehicles.
Until now, no nation using SMArt155 has been able to fire them under an operational training environment because the ability to establish realistic thermal vehicle signatures has required complex high-voltage heat mats and large generators.
Major Tony Mumford, SO2 Joint Fires at Army Headquarters explained that he had identified a number of lines of operation to bring SMArt into service: “One of those lines of operation was targetry. We were able to source three leopard tanks and two armoured recovery vehicles from the range, but we needed to find a solution to simulate a live tank for the munition to target and engage.”
In March 2019, during Exercise Chimera in Shoalwater Bay, the Army successfully engaged practice targets with the SMArt155 munitions in an operational training environment using the RTSEK.
This was made possible because of a strategic and collaborative partnership between Australian SMEs – REDARC Electronics, Form Cut and IntelliParticle – to deliver an innovative solution to the Australian Defence Force within an extremely compressed time frame.
REDARC’s specialist power management solution with custom insulation and packaging by Form Cut, and advanced carbon formulation by IntelliParticle, make the RTSEK an effective, low-powered thermal signature that allows Defence to train with advanced smart munitions.
Defence account manager for REDARC Mike Hartas was pleased with the results that the team, in partnership with the Army, was able to deliver.
“The ability of the Army to recognise that an Australian business was capable of providing such an advanced solution, in such a short time, speaks volumes of the growth local SMEs have undergone preparing to support the Australian Defence Force,” Hartas explained.
The RTSEK is an innovative solution to ensure that guided weapon sensors can distinguish target vehicles as being operational, without complex infrastructure. In some cases, the RTSEK will eliminate the need for complex high voltage heat mats and large generators that thermal vehicle signatures have historically required.
Hartas added, “Being able to collaborate with other SMEs and offer an innovative and value for money solution to the ADF allowed us to focus the team and we can’t wait to be able to see what is next for RTSEK.”
REDARC is an advanced electronics manufacturer who can offer advanced solutions to Defence and defence industry thanks to their ability to collaborate with other businesses and work with customers to ensure their needs are met. (Source: Defence Connect)
15 Apr 19. US Navy tests technology to keep sailors out of minefields. Engineers at Naval Surface Warfare Center Panama City Division (NSWC PCD) have tested a drone designed to ensure the protection of navy personnel during mine hunting and clearing missions. Known as the Airborne Surface Quad Thruster Interface Device (ASQUID), the device will eliminate the need for personnel to enter a minefield during mine hunting and clearing missions. The NSWC PCD team performed a flight test using the device, which attaches to the side of an MH-60 helicopter.
Once the helicopter reaches the right location, ASQUID lowers the MK-18 drone into the water to search for mines, according to NSWC PCD Aviation Systems technical programme manager Tim Currie.
Following completion of the mine sweep operation, the MH-60 can be brought back to the location to enable the ASQUID to retrieve the drone.
Currently, the MK-18 is delivered to minefields using a rigid-hulled inflatable boat (RHIB). RHIBs are slow and not suitable for operation in rough waters. The existing delivery method puts sailors in close proximity to minefields.
Currie added: “This new delivery method increases the time and speed that the MK-18s are delivered.
“They are able to stay on station longer because they don’t waste their internal batteries getting to the minefield. Sailors are our most valuable asset and this new technology puts them out of harm’s way.”
The technology was developed by the NSWC PCD engineers in collaboration with Naval Underwater Warfare Center Keyport engineers. The project was funded by the Naval Innovative Science and Engineering (NISE) programme.
Meanwhile, MH-60 helicopter squadron Air Test and Evaluation (HX) 21 conducted the flight test in order to certify the design.
Currie further stated: “We wanted to make the ASQUID easy for any MH-60 crew to operate. Instead of creating our own controller, we purchased XBOX controllers, something we thought a lot of sailors would be familiar with operating.” (Source: naval-technology.com)
15 Apr 19. Boeing wins $14.31bn contract to increase lethality of US bombers. Boeing has been awarded a $14.31bn flexible acquisition and sustainment contract for the US Air Force’s (USAF) bomber aircraft – the B-1 Lancer and B-52 Stratofortress strategic bombers.
The indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity contract from Air Force Life Cycle Management Center requires the company to perform the modification, modernisation, engineering, sustainment and test of the weapons systems.
The US DoD announced on Friday: “This B-1/B-52 Flexible Acquisition and Sustainment contract provides for the upcoming modernisation and sustainment efforts to increase lethality, enhance survivability, improve supportability, and increase responsiveness.”
Boeing will undertake the contract work in Oklahoma City. The work is anticipated to be completed by 11 April 2029.
The USAF will offer funds for research, development, test, and evaluation of around $1.21m on the first task order at the time of the award.
The latest contract comes after Boeing secured a $250m contract to perform integration of the long-range stand-off (LRSO) cruise missile weapon system on the B-52H strategic bomber aircraft.
Under the contract, Boeing will carry out aircraft and missile carriage equipment development and modification and provide testing and other services to support the full of the missile on the USAF’s fleet of 76 B-52H platforms. The LRSO nuclear-armed air-launched cruise missile is expected to replace the existing AGM-86 air-launched cruise missile (ALCM) on the B-52H bomber. Initially designed with a ten-year life span, the ALCM has been in service with the USAF for around 35 years.
The B-52H Stratofortress, which entered service in 1961, is the USAF’s principal strategic nuclear and conventional weapons platform. The US is currently developing hypersonic weapons that can be attached to a B-52h.
With a wingspan of 185ft, the aircraft offers a payload capacity of 70,000lbs and can achieve a speed of 650mph. The B-1B Lancer is a long-range, multi-mission, supersonic conventional bomber. The aircraft has been in use with the USAF since 1985. (Source: airforce-technology.com)
15 Apr 19. New Zealand to ban semi-automatic firearms. New Zealand has voted to ban most semi-automatic weapons, including firearms, magazines, and parts that can be used to assemble prohibited guns.
Under the new law, it is illegal to possess prohibited weapons in New Zealand. The changes are aimed at ensuring that banned items are not exported to other countries where they would pose a similar risk. It will also no longer be permissible to import the items solely for the purpose of re-export.
The Secretary of Foreign Affairs and Trade is likely to decline applications for exports of items that are prohibited in New Zealand.
However, the law makes some exceptions. Items that are currently held at the border being returned to the supplier and personal exports by people relocating overseas or possessing overseas citizenship will be permitted.
Permanent exceptions include exports by a person approved to hold prohibited items under the Arms Act, including dealers, collectors, approved pest controllers and entertainment industry permit holders.
Other exceptions are exports by a person to whom the prohibited item has special significance as an heirloom or a memento and by the New Zealand Defence Force, police or other government agencies when disposing of weapons.
Welcoming the law changes, Disarmament and Arms Control Minister Winston Peters said: “Approval is not automatic, and applications will be considered against the assessment criteria, which include the risk that the exported item could be used in human rights abuses, undermine peace and security, or be prejudicial to New Zealand’s international relations.
“There will be transitional arrangements to align with the new legislation, including for dealers seeking to return stock to suppliers, items that are stuck at the border because they are now prohibited, personal transfers by people leaving the country, and certain items traded by existing manufacturers and suppliers.”
Items that have already received a permit for export are not affected by these changes. (Source: army-technology.com)
15 Apr 19. UK Mobile Fires Platform – propelling the Army’s field artillery system into the 21st century. Work is underway to deliver a new state-of-the-art self-propelled gun for the Army. The Mobile Fires Platform (MFP) is expected to deliver a new fleet of 155mm self-propelled guns which will be used to support both the armoured infantry and future Strike Brigades. It will replace the AS90 gun, which has been in service since the early 1990s. MFP is the lead project within Army Headquarters’ Close Support Fires Programme. This programme will also deliver additional state-of-the-art equipment to complement MFP. This includes a new charge system and a suite of new ammunition which will enable MFP to deliver a much wider range of effects at a much greater range than the current AS90 capability. The project is being managed by the Artillery Systems team in the Land Equipment Operating Centre and is expected to deliver a fleet of new guns, as well as a training system and support package, by the mid-2020s. For now, however, the focus is on the concept phase and understanding the marketplace, and the team is currently engaging with suppliers and interested MOD stakeholders to develop a better picture of what technology is available to them and its scope. The project team released its first request for information to industry on March 5, 2019. Colonel Matt Botsford, Artillery Systems Team Leader, said: “This is an exciting time for the MFP project team and we are working closely with industry and other interested parties to ensure that we are in a position to deliver a cutting-edge, battle-winning capability to the Army on time and in budget.” Director Land Equipment at DE&S, Major General Colin McClean, added: “Although there is a long way to go, I am confident that the MFP will deliver the stepchanges in lethality, survivability and interoperability that we are looking for – bringing the Army’s defence systems into the 21st century.” The full request for information and other published information regarding the MFP project is available to all (suppliers and interested MOD stakeholders) via the MFP Early Engagement Portal, provided by Commerce Decisions. The portal can be accessed directly by registering at the following URL: https://award.bravosolution. co.uk/mfp/web/project/101/ register. If you would like to find out more, please register and ask a question through the portal. “We are working closely with industry and other interested parties to ensure that we are in a position to deliver a cutting edge, battle-winning capability to the Army on time and in budget.” Colonel Matt Botsford, Artillery Systems team leader. (Source: U.K. MoD desider)
14 Apr 19. Russia prepares to unveil new S-500 system. The Russian Armed Forces will soon begin receiving a number of the newest air defence systems, a top Aerospace Forces officer said. Speaking to the official armed forces newspaper Krasnaya Zvezda, Aerospace Forces Deputy Commander Lieutenant General Yuri Grekhov disclosed that the development of the S-500, the successor to the S-300 and S-400 air defence systems — has reached its final stage, as has the development of a number of radar systems.
He also disclosed that the Armed Forces will soon begin receiving the S-350 systems as well. The S-350 is tasked with “defence of administrative-political centres, most important objects and regions of the country, armed forces groups, from massive air strikes, including tactical and operative-tactical ballistic missiles,” Grekhov said, adding that the system has already passed the state’s testing.
“Every weapon system I mentioned is unique in its own way and is designed to solve a wide spectrum of tasks to ensure reliable aerospace defence of our country,” Grekhov said.
According to Grekhov, all the weapon systems are built from Russian-made components and feature maximum automatization of all processes in conjunction with ease of use and maintenance.
The S-500, the S-350 and the new radars feature high mobility and are able to deploy to and function in unprepared positions, he said.
When asked about the percentage of cutting-edge systems in the Russian military, Grekhov said he estimates it makes up about 70 percent, adding that several more Russian air defence regiments will switch to the S-400 this year. However, 90 percent of systems used by the Moscow Region and Central Economic Region air defences are modern.
While the S-500’s specifications remain classified, the system is reportedly able to destroy targets up to 600 kilometres away; it is also believed to be able to track and simultaneously strike up to 10 ballistic targets moving at speeds up to 7km/s (approximately Mach 20). (Source: Google/https://www.almasdarnews.com)
11 Apr 19. US Army terminal missile defense system is headed to Eastern Europe. So far only the Pacific region and, more recently, the Middle East have seen operational deployments of the U.S. Army’s Terminal High Altitude Area Defense system, but now it’s headed to Romania this summer, according to an April 11 U.S. European Command statement.
Questions have swirled for years on when, where and if THAAD would deploy to Europe, particularly as the situation on the eastern flank has heated up since Russia annexed Crimea in 2014.
The THAAD system, according to the USEUCOM statement, will deploy this summer “in support of NATO Ballistic Missile Defense” — in other words, it’s filling in for the operational Aegis Ashore missile defense system while it undergoes a “limited period of scheduled maintenance and updates.”
The Aegis Ashore in Deveselu, Romania, has been operational since 2016. It is part of the European Phased Adaptive Approach, or EPAA, designed to defend U.S. troops and its allies in Europe against possible ballistic missile attacks.
The EPAA consists of an AN/TPY-2 radar in Turkey and two Aegis Ashore systems — one in Romania and one in Poland. The Polish system has been hit with delays due to construction issues at Redzikowo military base that are unrelated to the system’s performance. It won’t be operational until 2020.
The scheduled update to the Aegis Ashore system in Romania is part of regular updates performed on all Aegis systems — the majority of which are ship-based, according to the statement.
The system will come from the 69th Air Defense Artillery Brigade, 32nd Army Air and Missile Defense Command at Fort Hood, Texas. NATO’s Allied Air Command will have operational control of THAAD during its mission.
USEUCOM was clear in its statement that the updates will not add offensive capabilities to the system and maintains that the site “provides a defensive capability to deter future conflict, and to defend ourselves, and our NATO allies, should deterrence fail.”
THAAD is an important part of the U.S Army’s layered missile defense capabilities and is capable of neutralizing ballistic missile threats in the terminal phase of flight. It has been deployed in Guam since 2013 and in South Korea since 2017. THAAD was deployed to Israel last month. The United Arab Emirates is the only foreign customer under contract, but the U.S. has also reached a deal to sell THAAD units to Saudi Arabia. (Source: Defense News)
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