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19 Jun 19. Upgraded RAM missile ready for US Navy. Tests demonstrate improved guidance and targeting for Rolling Airframe Missile. The U.S. Navy successfully completed a series of guided flight tests for Raytheon Company’s (NYSE: RTN) RAM™ Block 2A short-range, surface-to-air missile. Testing occurred at the Naval Air Warfare Center in China Lake, California, and from the Navy’s self-defense test ship off the coast of Southern California.
RAM is the world’s most modern ship self-defense weapon and protects ships of all sizes. It’s deployed on more than 165 ships in 11 countries, ranging from 500-ton fast attack craft to 95,000-ton aircraft carriers. The latest software upgrade enhances guidance and the missile’s capability to defeat threats.
Raytheon expects to deliver the RAM Block 2A missile to the Navy by the end of the year.
RAM is an international cooperative program between the United States and Germany. Raytheon and the German company RAMSYS share development, production and maintenance costs. (Source: ASD Network)
20 Jun 19. Israel Weapon Industries (IWI), SK Group’s member and a leader in the production of combat-proven small arms for law enforcement agencies, governments, and armies around the world – will showcase, at FEDETEC 2019, its full portfolio of advanced, well known and successfully deployed weapons worldwide. In focus will be the leading NEGEV NG7- Light Machine Gun (LMG) with semi-automatic mode and the advanced TAVOR-X95 bullpup rifle. More on display are some of IWI’s sister-companies’ solutions, including Meprolight’s advanced weapons-adopted electro-optics systems and other special day/night vision sights, as well as Camero’s Xaver family of sense- through-wall systems.
“We are pleased to take part in this important new exhibition – FEDETEC in Quito – and we look forward to fruitful cooperation with Ecuador regarding the wide range of solutions IWI and Meprolight have to offer for the various security forces in Ecuador” Says Mr. Natan Hendler VP marketing and Sales SK Group in Latin America.
The 5.56×45 & 7.62×51 two calibers NEGEV LMG is deployed in dozens of countries around the world including Israel, and has been combat-proven in a number of battle arenas. The NEGEV LMG includes a semi-automatic firing mode that enables accurate fire in combat situations, including ambush and Close Quarter Battle (CQB) when shooting via sights with single bullet firing capability. In automatic mode, its rate of fire is over 700 rounds per minute. Exceptionally lightweight (weighing less than 8kg), it can be fired from a variety of mounts, including special mounts on helicopters, land vehicles, and naval vessels. Its features include a gas regulator for additional power in harsh conditions such as mud and dirt, tritium night sights, Picatinny rails for optical and other devices, and four safety mechanisms to minimize unwanted fire. The NEGEV LMG – which delivers remarkable MTBF and long service life – is drum or belt-chain fed, fires from an open bolt position, and is easily dismantled for maintenance in the field.
The TAVOR-X95 rifle is an innovative firearm that was created and developed in close collaboration with elite units of the Israel Defense Forces (IDF). As the standard IDF assault rifle it is exceptionally reliable in even the harshest weather conditions, and complies with the most stringent NATO standards for small arms. The TAVOR-X95 is offered in three calibers – 5.56mm, 300 BLK and 9mm – with an option for a 9mm conversion kit. The TAVOR-X95 platform incorporates a tri-rail forearm covered by three removable vented rail covers. The TAVOR-style grip is modular and can be easily converted to a pistol grip as well. The charging handle has also been relocated closer to the shooter’s center mass and the ambidextrous magazine release enabling a firing hand magazine release.
The TAVOR-X95 weights around 3 Kgs. and features a lightweight trigger pull. The X95 is available in Black, FDE, and OD Green. The rifle can be acquired with compatible sights from Meprolight – either the MEPRO M21 Day/Night Self-Illuminated Reflex Sight or the MEPRO RDS or RDS PRO Electronic Weapon Red Dot Sight.
20 Jun 19. Following protest, US Army awards 6th contract for upgunned Stryker design. The U.S. Army has awarded a sixth contract to EOS Defense Systems USA, Inc. to develop a design to integrate a new weapon system on a Stryker combat vehicle.
The service originally announced it was awarding contracts to five companies, but following a protest filed by EOS, it reevaluated the company’s proposal and determined it too should receive a contract, according to the Stryker project manager, Col. Glenn Dean, who spoke to Defense News in an interview this month.
The company protested the Army’s original decision through Army Contracting Command; upon review, Dean said, it was learned the proposal had not been “accurately assessed.”
The sixth award was made June 5 and posted to the Federal Business Opportunities website. The Army made no follow-up announcement regarding the contract.
EOS is an Australian-owned company focused on precise, remote weapon systems.
The Army awarded $150,000 contracts to five companies on May 23 under its Stryker Medium Caliber Weapons System (MCWS) lethality program:
- General Dynamics Land Systems
- Kollsman, Inc.
- Leonardo DRS
- Pratt & Miller Engineering and Fabrication, Inc.
Defense News first reported in May that the Army had decided — after upgunning some of its Stryker vehicles with a 30mm cannon — that it would proceed to outfit at least three of its six brigades of double V-hull A1 Stryker infantry carrier vehicles with the more powerful guns and would hold a competition to acquire that weapon system.
The companies have to come up with integration designs using a government-furnished XM813 gun on a government-furnished Stryker DVH A1 hull.
The Army was prepared to award six contracts and had the money to bring EOS into the effort, Dean said.
Despite the late award, EOS was able to jump into the effort and participated in contractor training on the Stryker and the 30mm cannon, which took place earlier this month, so the companies could take possession of the government-furnished equipment.
The MCWS program will be carried out in two phases, which will culminate in equipping a Stryker DVH A1 brigade in fiscal 2022, according to the Army.
As part of the design study, competitors will build a production-representative vehicle.
The second phase will be a full and open competition to award a production contract. Draft requests for proposals will be released to industry beginning in fall 2019.
The two phases, as well as fielding, are expected to take 39 months total — a short timeline.
While the Army plans to initially procure three brigade sets of the Stryker MCWS DVH A1 — a total of 83 vehicles per brigade — the service could procure systems for additional brigades at future decision points, the Army said. (Source: Defense News)
18 Jun 19. FCAS or Tempest? European missile company has its eyes on both. European missile-maker MBDA presented new ideas for future air warfare at the Paris Air Show on Monday, as the company straddles the line between supplying a potential United Kingdom-led, sixth-generation fighter and a continental version spearheaded by France, Germany and Spain.
The objective is that these munitions will become part of Europe’s next-generation weapon systems, either within the Franco-German-Spanish Future Combat Air System, Britain’s Tempest program or whatever combination of the two may emerge, company executives said.
Besides the usual suspects of missile applications — deep strike, tactical strike and air-to-air — the category of vehicles for self-protection and combat support is perhaps the most novel. The concept fits into the vision of future combat aircraft relying heavily on flocks of drones feeding the mothership tactical information or running strike missions on its behalf.
A portion of these “enablers” or “remote carriers” is meant to be expendable, while others are valuable enough that losing them should be avoided, according to company officials. The idea behind the expendable ones it that they would be launched ahead of combat aircraft whenever there are air-defense systems that pose a substantial danger to manned planes.
While the drones might be shot down, the hope is they would transmit valuable information about the nature of the enemy air defenses back to the main aircraft before getting hit.
These notional compact carriers, envisioned in the 100- to 200-kilogram class, could be launched from combat or transport aircraft or by surface ships, according to MBDA.
The company is also working on a self-protection missile, though that weapon is so far in the future that no model of it exists. The goal is to develop a kind of last resort for pilots to intercept incoming missiles when non-kinetic countermeasures, such as jamming, have failed.
MBDA’s tactical strike concept envisions using standoff, compact armaments that would be used in a swarm. The Spear, designed for the F-35 and the Eurofighter fighter jets, is expected to be operational in the British Royal Air Force in the next few weeks.
Still under development is the “smart glider,” described by executives here as a “standoff, general-purpose, anti-surface pack teaming missile.” Up to 18 of those could be carried by a Rafale combat aircraft, for example. The missile has no propulsion but can glide beyond 100 kilometers to its target, taking out ground-to-air weapons, for example.
The tactical strike and deep strike missiles are each in the early development stage. One is a supersonic missile, the other a subsonic one. The latter would be stealthy, fly low and would typically be used against high-value ground assets such as heavily protected bunkers. The supersonic missile would be used against high-value air assets such as surveillance assets, enemy transport or refueling aircraft, and frigates, and generally take on the destruction of enemy air defenses.
Company officials were somewhat shy to immediately connect the company’s work to the FCAS program out of fear of getting ahead of Dassault Aviation, France’s dominant player in the pan-European project. However, that company’s CEO, Eric Trappier, confirmed later on Monday that a host of suppliers, including MBDA and France’s Thales, had already been officially selected.
As MBDA readies a new lineup of munitions, executives said they are troubled by the prospect of two veritable sixth-generation fighter contenders taking root in Europe: the Tempest and FCAS. The fear is that making compatible arms for these fighters could become a needlessly expensive endeavor, weakening the region’s defense capabilities rather than strengthening them, as leaders here have vowed to do. (Source: Defense News)
18 Jun 19. Raytheon, Northrop Grumman Sign Teaming Agreement on Scramjet-Powered Tactical Missile Systems. Industry team developing air-breathing hypersonic weapons. Building on years of collaboration, Raytheon Company (NYSE: RTN) and Northrop Grumman Corporation (NYSE: NOC) have signed a teaming agreement to develop, produce and integrate Northrop Grumman’s scramjet combustors to power Raytheon’s air-breathing hypersonic weapons. The teaming agreement uses the combined capabilities of both companies to accelerate development and demonstrate readiness to produce the next generation of tactical missile systems.
Scramjet engines use high vehicle speed to forcibly compress incoming air before combustion to enable sustained flight at hypersonic speeds. Such speeds reduce flight times and increase weapon survivability, effectiveness and flexibility.
“The Raytheon/Northrop Grumman team is quickly developing air-breathing hypersonic weapons to keep our nation ahead of the threat,” said Dr. Thomas Bussing, Raytheon Advanced Missile Systems vice president. “This agreement combines Raytheon’s decades of tactical missile expertise with Northrop Grumman’s extensive scramjet engine development experience to produce the best possible weapons.”
Northrop Grumman and Raytheon are working under a $200m Hypersonic Air-breathing Weapon Concept, or HAWC, program contract to deliver an affordable, effective and producible cruise missile for DARPA and the U.S. Air Force.
“This teaming agreement extends our strong partnership with Raytheon on this critical technology capability. Our deep heritage in propulsion, fuzes and warheads will help accelerate readiness of tomorrow’s missiles to meet range, survivability, safety and lethality requirements,” said Mike Kahn, vice president and general manager of Northrop Grumman’s Defense Systems. “Together with Raytheon, we intend to make great strides toward improving our nation’s high-speed weapon systems, which are critical to enhancing our warfighters’ capabilities for greater standoff and quicker time to target.”
Under the agreement, Raytheon and Northrop Grumman will continue to collaborate on HAWC and future air-breathing hypersonic missiles. Both companies are investing in hypersonic technologies and programs to ensure the military has a robust portfolio.
19 Jun 19. Terma has completed deliveries of Missile Warning System (MWS) and 3D-Audio upgrades for Belgian and Dutch F-16s, and the systems are now operational in both countries. With Denmark as launch customer for the pylon-based installation of the Missile Warning System, Norway soon followed, and now BD and RNLAF F-16s are also equipped with the Hensoldt AAR-60(V)2 MWS. The concept has performed very well in several deployments, and it certainly improves the self-protection of the fighter jets. Without MWS, the pilot will not get any warning unless he physically sees the missile coming towards him. Thus, the MWS is a great improvement of the situational awareness, and it reduces workload as the MWS is always looking for missiles.
The pylon installation is a very cost-effective solution as the MWS assets can be rotated between the jets while not losing any weapon stations.
To further improve the pilot’s situational awareness and reduce workload, the Danish, Belgian, and Dutch jets are also equipped with the Terma 3D-Audio system. The system warns the pilot with a tone in the true direction of the missile. On top of that, the system also provides radio channel separation and noise reduction.
Other F-16 customers are expected to contract for the pylon-based MWS solution as well as 3D-Audio in near future.
18 Jun 19. The U.S. Army is retrofitting Stinger® missiles, produced by Raytheon Company (NYSE: RTN), with proximity fuzes to help counter the growing threat of enemy unmanned aircraft systems. The enhancement enables the lightweight, self-contained Stinger air defense system to destroy a wider array of battlefield threats by detonating its warhead near the target, while maintaining the missile’s proven hit-to-kill capability.
“The Stinger enhancement gives our troops exactly what they need – an affordable and effective way to defeat the growing number of enemy UAS targets in the skies above the battlefield,” said Sam Deneke, Raytheon Land Warfare Systems vice president. “The counter-UAS mission is so critical; several allied nations are interested in this upgraded Stinger.”
The Army completed qualification testing on the new proximity fuze and will begin delivering the enhanced Stinger missile to soldiers later this year.
Combat proven in four major conflicts, the Stinger missile has over 270 fixed- and rotary-wing intercepts. Eighteen nations and all four U.S. military services have procured the missile that can be rapidly deployed by ground troops and on military platforms. Stinger is also used on Apache helicopters for air-to-air engagements.
19 Jun 19. The U.S. Navy successfully completed a series of guided flight tests for Raytheon Company’s (NYSE: RTN) RAM™ Block 2A short-range, surface-to-air missile. Testing occurred at the Naval Air Warfare Center in China Lake, California, and from the Navy’s self-defense test ship off the coast of Southern California.
RAM is the world’s most modern ship self-defense weapon and protects ships of all sizes. It’s deployed on more than 165 ships in 11 countries, ranging from 500-ton fast attack craft to 95,000-ton aircraft carriers. The latest software upgrade enhances guidance and the missile’s capability to defeat threats.
Raytheon expects to deliver the RAM Block 2A missile to the Navy by the end of the year.
RAM is an international cooperative program between the United States and Germany. Raytheon and the German company RAMSYS share development, production and maintenance costs.
19 Jun 19. Germany plans expanded artillery capabilities. The German Army plans to expand its indirect fire capability and is emphasising its joint fires capability, according to Lieutenant Colonel Uwe Kraft, head of artillery and joint fires branch at the Germany Army’s Concepts and Capabilities Development Centre.
The only conventional tube artillery used by the German Army is the Krauss-Maffei Wegmann (KMW) tracked Panzerhaubitze (PzH) 2000 155 mm/52 calibre self-propelled artillery system, of which a total of 185 were delivered by 2002 from the Kassel production line, but some of these have since been sold to Croatia and Lithuania.
The PzH 2000 has a high rate of fire as it has a semi-automatic handing system that automatically loads the fuzed 155 mm projectile, with the Rheinmetall Modular Charge System (MCS) loaded manually. (Source: IHS Jane’s)
19 Jun 19. Future military rifles: alternative small arms technologies. For decades, soldiers all over the world have relied on rifles that fire NATO standard 5.56mm or 7.62mm ammunition. Recent conflicts, however, have highlighted inherent limitations for both regular and special forces units, which has spurred the development of alternatives that can meet emerging requirements. Grant Turnbull finds out what could possibly come next.
Combat operations in Afghanistan and Iraq, as well as expanded operations throughout the Middle East and North Africa, have allowed western militaries to gain valuable insights into how their equipment performs during arduous deployments. This is certainly true in the field of military rifles, where thousands of enemy engagements over nearly two decades have highlighted several shortfalls.
These shortfalls predominantly centre around the NATO 5.56mm bullet, standardised across the alliance in the 1980s and now fired by most individual service weapons outside of Russia and China. This is a high-velocity bullet, giving pinpoint accuracy for soldiers over long range and at just 4g can be carried in significant numbers by squads compared to heavier bullets, meaning more weight of firepower during engagements.
But it is no magic bullet. For special forces units, the 5.56mm is not ideally suited to close-quarter engagements such as inside buildings or tunnels. For regular units, the projectiles lacks effective range for longer distance engagements. The high velocity and low mass of the 5.56mm projectile means it lacks “stopping power” – a colloquial term for quickly neutralising a target – and in confined spaces can also cause increased collateral damage as it passes through walls or other structures.
Rifle requirements for close quarters
Experts in small arms, including special forces and industry professionals, recently gathered in Nuremberg, Germany, for the annual Enforce Tac exhibition to discuss the latest developments in alternative small arms technologies.
One key trend we observed at the arms show was the growing move towards an alternative bullet, known as .300 Blackout (BLK), for special operations missions. Compared to 5.56mm, this larger 7.62x35mm bullet offers significantly more stopping power for close-quarter engagements owing to its larger mass and lower velocity.
Another advantage is that a standard 5.56mm rifle needs little modification to fire a .300 BLK bullet, usually just a few components that can be easily swapped by the soldier.
Several rifle manufacturers, including SIG Sauer, FN Herstal and Steyr Arms, demonstrated 5.56mm military rifles that could be converted to fire this ammunition. Steyr Arms highlighted its classic AUG in a new configuration optimised for .300 BLK, with a company spokesperson noting that the ammunition’s popularity was getting “bigger and bigger”, particularly amongst SF units.
“One key trend we observed at the arms show was the growing move towards an alternative bullet, known as .300 Blackout (BLK), for special operations missions.”
SIG Sauer also showcased .300 BLK conversions for its popular MCX range. A company source noted that the conversion simply requires a barrel and magazine change, while other components such as the bolt mechanism remain the same. The company displayed its SIG MCX with a 6.75” barrel and integrated suppressor, as well as a smaller SIG MCX Rattler with 5.5” barrel as part of its .300 BLK range. The MCX Rattler is a personal defence weapon (PDW) that is marketed to both special forces and specialist regular troops that need to carry a concealed weapon.
An alternative to the MCX Rattler for special forces is the SCAR-SC sub-compact carbine from Belgium company FN Herstal, which was unveiled in a .300 BLK variant at Enforce Tac this year. It is understood that specialist units within Belgium’s federal police have already trialled this configuration.
Benjamin Klement, an ammunition specialist at Swiss company RUAG Ammotec, noted that he has seen demand slowly increasing for alternative calibres such as .300 BLK. The company manufactures this ammunition predominantly for special law enforcement units, including low-velocity .300 BLK rounds filled with lead pellets that provide instantaneous incapacitation. These, however, cannot be used by military units as they contravene the laws of warfare.
Klement told us that he still sees demand for 5.56mm, particularly owing to its superior aeroballistic performance, and thus better accuracy, over long ranges.
An FN Herstal spokesperson also noted that the company still sees current NATO calibres remaining in widespread service in most alliance countries for many years to come.
Many countries, including France and Germany, are currently introducing new military rifles from companies such as Heckler & Koch that are chambered for 5.56mm and will likely be in service for another 20-25 years.
US looks beyond 5.56mm
Nevertheless, the US Army is concerned that adversaries such as Russia and China could outgun it and no longer wants to retain the 5.56mm bullet for its frontline combat units.
In recent years the army has ramped up efforts to replace the M4 Carbine and its associated ammunition, following lessons learned from Iraq and Afghanistan, and has now begun an official programme known as the Next Generation Squad Weapon. This will see the acquisition of a NGSW rifle to replace the M4/M4A1 Carbine, and a NGSW automatic rifle to replace the M249 squad automatic weapon.
Daryl Easlick, deputy of the US Army’s Lethality Branch, explained that the US Army had conducted an in-depth study of alternative calibres and had come to the conclusion that both 7.62mm and 5.56mm were no longer adequate for frontline demands.
As part of its Small Arms Ammunition Configuration (SAAC) study completed in 2017, the US Army decided to pursue an ‘intermediate’ ammunition measuring 6.8mm. “That was the right calibre to go to, especially considering I wasn’t going to do a commercial off the shelf cartridge,” explained Easlick. “6.8mm made the most sense.”
The army is now canvassing industry for solutions, which could include revolutionary new bullet designs such as cased-telescoped examples that offer not only increased lethality but also weight savings for overburdened infantry soldiers. Rather than a traditional drawn-out acquisition process, the service is pursuing a rapid prototyping effort that could see up to 250,000 new military rifles being purchased and in the hands of soldiers by 2022.
While the decades-old NATO rounds of 5.56mm and 7.62mm will still be around for decades to come, it is clear that there is now a growing demand to replace them for both close-quarter and long-range engagements. The US Army’s planned replacement for the M4 Carbine and the introduction of the 6.8mm – which limits interoperability with NATO allies – could be a catalyst for a new era of standardisation that eventually phases out the 5.56mm.
18 Jun 19. Lockheed Martin Team Enhances Command and Control for Ballistic Missile Defense. Through ongoing modernization to the command, control, battle management and communications (C2BMC) system, Lockheed Martin’s (NYSE: LMT) team has significantly enhanced the Missile Defense Agency’s Ballistic Missile Defense System. Part of this C2BMC modernization is an engage on remote capability that enables the Aegis Weapon System to engage threats based on information provided entirely from C2BMC remote sensor and track data.
Operationally fielded in 2004, C2BMC enables warfighters at all levels to systematically plan ballistic missile defense operations, collectively see the battle develop and dynamically manage designated networked sensors and weapons.
Fielded in fiscal year 2019 to the U.S. European and U.S. Central Commands, C2BMC’s engage on remote capability supports the European Phased Adaptive Approach Phase III milestone, which is designed to protect U.S. deployed forces and NATO allies in Europe from ballistic missile attacks.
“Engage on remote provides an additional layer of defense by providing more time to react to threats,” said Steve Froelich, director of Missile Defense Solutions at Lockheed Martin. “It is through C2BMC, and its connection to the many elements of the Ballistic Missile Defense System, that we provide our forces with an advanced, truly integrated missile defense capability.”
Preceding its deployment to the combatant commands, C2BMC’s engage on remote capability was successfully demonstrated as part of a Missile Defense Agency flight test in December 2018, where the Aegis Weapon System utilized remote sensor data provided by C2BMC to plan, launch and engage a missile without detecting the target with the organic Aegis radar.
Using its ground, air and space-based command and control architecture, C2BMC detected the threat, tracked the missile through its connection to ballistic missile defense radars, locked onto the target, then relayed the target location to the Aegis system. By enabling Aegis interceptors to conduct operations based entirely on off-board radar information, C2BMC greatly expands the range of the Aegis systems.
Of the successful test, former MDA director Lt. Gen. Sam Greaves said, “FTI-03 demonstrated the effectiveness of the European Phased Adaptive Approach Phase III architecture. It also showcased the significance of C2BMC to the future of integrated multi-domain missile defense operations.”
19 Jun 19. Raytheon Company (NYSE: RTN) launched an AIM-9X® Sidewinder Block II missile for the first time from a National Advanced Surface-to-Air Missile System, and engaged and destroyed a target during a May 2019 flight test supported by the Royal Norwegian Air Force at the Andoya Test Center in Norway.
The AIM-9X Sidewinder is a:
- Triple-threat missile that can be used for air-to-air engagements, surface-attack and surface-launch missions without modifications.
- U.S. Navy-led, joint program with the U.S. Air Force and 24 Foreign Military Sales partners.
A NASAMS fire unit comprises a KONGSBERG Fire Distribution Center, missile launchers, and Raytheon Sentinel radar and interceptors. Raytheon’s AMRAAM® missile is the baseline short- to medium-range interceptor for NASAMS.
“This flight test opened the door for NASAMS customers to add a vital, short-range layer to their ground-based air defense,” said Kim Ernzen, vice president of Raytheon Air Warfare Systems. “Pairing Sidewinder with AMRAAM means forces can have complementary interceptors with a mix of sensors to better engage and destroy threats that may attempt to overwhelm a defense system.”
Jointly produced by Raytheon and KONGSBERG, NASAMS has been integrated into the U.S. National Capital Region’s air defense system since 2005. Seven countries have fielded NASAMS and two others are on contract for delivery.
“The NASAMS path of evolution continues by demonstrating yet another capability from the Raytheon family of missiles in the system, giving customers a true missile mix with AMRAAM, AMRAAM-ER and AIM-9X,” said Kjetil Myhra, executive vice president of Kongsberg Defence & Aerospace AS.
18 Jun 19. Rheinmetall and the Dutch procurement authority Defence Materiel Organisation (DMO) have renewed their partnership agreement for the supply of ammunition through to the end of 2030. For Rheinmetall, this agreement holds the prospect of order volume worth several hundred million euros during the ten-year period.
The partnership agreement, signed on 3 June 2019 in Utrecht in the Netherlands, is a prime example of the excellent working relationship between DMO and Rheinmetall as a strategic supplier of weapons and ammunition.
DMO is eager to ensure that the Dutch military has a steady supply of safe, secure, state-of-the-art ammunition – now and in future. Since Rheinmetall is the strategic supplier of ammunition for major weapon systems fielded by the Dutch military, e.g. the CV9035 infantry fighting vehicle and the PzH2000 self-propelled howitzer, the longstanding relationship between DMO and the German contractor benefits both sides. This is reflected in the steadily growing volume of services which DMO has asked Rheinmetall to supply on behalf of the Koninklijke Landmacht. Moreover, the partnership agreement offers an added incentive for further cooperation beyond the scope of this contract.
Under this partnership agreement, the Netherlands will provide Rheinmetall with a detailed insight into its anticipated ammunition requirements. This knowledge will help the company to optimize production planning, boosting its economic efficiency. In turn, Rheinmetall will keep DMO actively informed concerning forthcoming production possibilities, resulting in cost savings and also facilitating the Dutch budget planning process. Furthermore, the partnership agreement promotes innovation in the domain of ammunition enhancement as well as performance-oriented logistics, e.g. recycling or modification of existing ammunition, components and ammunition packaging.
As part of the partnership agreement, an extension of the existing framework contracts for the supply of 155mm ammunition, 35mm medium-calibre ammunition and 40mm ROSY cartridges to DMO for ten or more years will also be sought.
“We’re proud of our strong partnership with DMO, one that’s built on mutual trust and a powerful commitment to innovation”, declares Werner Krämer, managing director of Rheinmetall Waffe Munition GmbH. “After successfully cooperating for ten years, we now look forward to another decade of supplying the Koninklijk Landmacht with superb service and top technology.”
17 Jun 19. Israel Weapons Indistries (IWI) has developed a new assault rifle system. The IWI Carmel in caliber 5.56mm x 45 features high modularity and ergonomic operation on both sides: Both the fire selection lever and the bolt catch and magazine retaining lever can be operated with both hands. The throughloading lever can be moved to the other side of the gun. The firing sequence is 850 shots/minute. The Carmel does not follow the Bullpup
but a classic assault rifle architecture. The empty weapon, which weighs only 3,300 grams and has no optics, has an adjustable gas take-off which can be regulated in three stages (normal, heavy contamination, si
lencer). The barrel can be changed by the user and is available in four lengths: 10.5“, 12“, 14.5“ and 16“. A one-piece Mil-Std 1913 aluminium rail is located on the top of the housing. Further „Picatinnies“ are available in the 3, 9 and 6 o‘clock positions. The length- and height-adjustable shoulder rest can be folded to the side of the case. Thus the minimum weapon length for a 10.5“ barrel is 526 mm, maximum 806 mm. The Carmel uses AR-15 type magazines.
THeMIS in Spring Storm 2019 (ww) The THeMIS Unmanned Ground Vehicle (UGV) from FN Herstal and Milrem
Robotics was used for the second time during the Estonian exercise Spring Storm. THeMIS, developed by the Estonian company Milrem Robotics, was equipped with FN HErstal‘s deFNder remote-controlled weapon station, which was equipped with a heavy .50 machine gun. The „Man-in-theLoop“ system was controlled via a remote control and a screen or display glasses. This year’s second mission at Spring Storm was intended to provide further insights into the use of unmanned land platforms
as combat multipliers. During the maneuver soldiers of the Kuperjanov Infantry Battalion used the THeMIS. The soldiers had to fulfill offensive and defensive orders. (Source: ESD Spotlight)
17 Jun 19. Raytheon Company (NYSE: RTN) engineers are integrating a Warfighter-Machine Interface, or WMI, into PDB 8.1., a soon-to-be-fielded Patriot upgrade. This new command and control technology allows coalition operators of Raytheon’s combat-proven Patriot™ air and missile defense system to view complex data in a new, easy-to-understand way.
WMI replaces pixelated shapes and a complex directory system with the type of 3-D visuals, easy-to-read status pages and search functions that any gamer would find familiar. Raytheon testing shows that WMI improves Soldier reaction time and decreases the potential for errors during engagements. It also reduces the time required to train operators to employ Patriot.
“Raytheon is constantly enhancing, upgrading and modernizing Patriot to ensure it can outpace evolving threats,” said Tom Laliberty, Raytheon Integrated Defense System’s Vice President of Integrated Air and Missile Defense. “Incorporating WMI into PDB 8.1 leverages the latest technological advances to provide the 16 members of the Patriot partnership a user interface with a total view of their respective battlespace.”
In 2018, the U.S. Army decided to field WMI across Patriot – all 60 fire units and 15 battalion headquarters – at both the battalion- and battery-level command and control. PDB 8.1 with WMI is scheduled to reach initial operational capability with the U.S. Army in 2022. When Patriot partners subsequently upgrade to PDB 8.1, WMI will be included.
17 Jun 19. Raytheon Company’s (NYSE: RTN) StormBreakerTM weapon has completed all operational test drops, moving it closer to initial operational capability. The StormBreaker tri-mode seeker uses imaging infrared and millimeter wave radar in its normal mode to give pilots the ability to destroy moving targets, even in adverse weather, from standoff ranges. Additionally, the weapon can use its semi-active laser guidance to hit targets.
“All operating modes of StormBreaker have been rigorously tested in operationally relevant scenarios against real-world targets in environments that are similar to actual battlefield conditions,” said Kim Ernzen, Raytheon Air Warfare Systems vice president. “With its tri-mode seeker and datalink, this smart weapon will close a capability gap and make adverse weather irrelevant.”
Operational testing is complete, and early stages of StormBreaker integration work are underway.
17 Jun 19. SIG SAUER, Inc. announced that the United States Marine Corps (USMC) is set to adopt the M18, the compact variant of the U.S. Army’s Modular Handgun System (MHS), as their official duty pistol.
“The Marine Corps announcement to put the M18 in service with the Marines is a very exciting development for SIG SAUER, and a true testament to the success of the MHS program,” began Ron Cohen, President & CEO, SIG SAUER, Inc. “The Marine’s procurement of the M18 brings the adoption of our Modular Handgun System full circle, as this means, beginning in 2020, either the M17 or the M18 will be officially in service with every branch of the U.S. Military.”
The M18 is a 9mm, striker-fired pistol featuring a coyote-tan PVD coated stainless steel slide with black controls. The pistol is equipped with SIGLITE front night sights and removable night sight rear plate, and manual safety. Recently, the M18 successfully completed a MHS Material Reliability Test that consisted of firing three M18 pistols to 12,000 rounds each for a total of 36,000 rounds in accordance with the MHS requirements. Comparatively, the U.S. Army’s legacy pistol was only tested to 5,000 rounds making the test duration for the M18 pistol 2.4 times greater than that of the legacy pistol. In this testing, the M18 experienced zero stoppages despite being allowed up to twelve stoppages. Additionally, the M18 passed a parts interchange test, and met stringent accuracy and dispersion requirements.
“The success of the MHS program is the direct result of the indisputable performance and superior quality of the M17 and M18 pistols, and the commitment and dedication of the men and women of SIG SAUER to those that serve in the defense of freedom,” continued Cohen. “We are very proud, and humbled, to have earned the trust of every branch of the U.S. Military through their acceptance of the MHS program and adoption of the M17 and M18 pistols.”
Currently, the M17 and M18 are in service with the U.S. Army, Navy, Air Force, and Coast Guard. The USMC will begin their acquisition of the M18 pistol in 2020.
16 Jun 19. Calls grow louder for a fresh European air-defense push. NATO members in Europe should band together and sharpen their focus on short- to medium-range air defense, with Germany taking the lead in forging a coalition, analysts on the continent argue.
The call by the German Council on Foreign Relations is based on the assumption that air superiority can no longer be taken for granted in future conflicts. Researchers argue that the playing field of air warfare has leveled out in recent years, with more countries deploying aircraft, missiles and drones capable of threatening NATO from the skies.
At the same time, European nations have divested sizable chunks of their air defense capabilities with the idea that shooting down enemy planes or missiles would be more of a tactical requirement in the future rather than a permanent, strategic one, according to Christian Mölling, a senior analyst at the think tank who co-authored a study on the issue.
“Air defense is a huge headache for NATO,” he told Defense News, adding that the situation is especially dire in the Baltic nations.
Germany already holds the designation of a so-called framework nation when it comes to missile defense within the alliance. And while defense officials in Berlin are fond of touting that responsibility in arguing for the ambitious TLVS program to replace the legacy Patriot air and missile defense fleet, there is little to show for, in a practical sense, until the new weapon is actually fielded.
That is especially the case when it comes to short-range air defense, which covers threats up to about 8 kilometers away. Within the alliance, those weapons were “largely dismantled” over the last two decades, according to the study.
“Building a multi-layered, integrated air defense is a common challenge for all European countries in terms of procurement and operation,” the study says. “Effective defense is only possible if threats can be identified early and jointly. National systems are not sufficient.”
On the longer-range side, Germany is holding out hope that the TLVS project can attract buy-in from within Europe over the coming years. In Italy, for example, the military brass appears interested in the technology, but the preferences of politicians in the government are harder to predict.
The idea of a European-wide, short-range air defense initiative has been on the table since officials at the European Defence Agency in Brussels concluded the inaugural Coordinated Annual Review on Defence of 2017 and 2018. Member states included the capability in their top priorities for future collaboration.
In that sense, there is reason to believe that the idea of a new PESCO project, as proposed by the German Council on Foreign Relations, could get traction. And if European Union officials are to be believed, whatever actual capabilities come out of that intra-continental process will also benefit the NATO alliance as a whole.
PESCO is short for Permanent Structured Cooperation, a key policy in the EU’s quest for greater defensive capabilities. A new round of collaboration proposals is expected to take shape over the summer to be approved by member states later this year. (Source: Defense News Early Bird/Defense News)
14 Jun 19. Roketsan developing new directed energy weapon system. Turkey’s Roketsan is expanding its research and development capability into directed energy weapon systems (DEWS).
However, the company declined to comment on whether its DEWS was being developed with Turkish government assistance or as a private venture, and also declined to clarify its current technology readiness level (TRL).
Roketsan’s Alka DEWS, the company said, is integrated into a self-sufficient air conditioned container that can be carried on the rear of a standard 4×4 cross country truck, or deployed as a standalone system when being used to defend a forward operating base, for example. An auxiliary power unit (APU), mounted on the rear of the container, would be detached when being used in a static role. (Source: IHS Jane’s)
16 Jun 19. Leonardo launches MAIR missile warning system. Italy’s Leonardo has launched a new hostile fire indicator system, known as the Multiple Aperture Infrared (MAIR) system. MAIR can provide spherical IR-based protection to a range of aircraft platforms, including rotary- and fixed-wing systems, as well as unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) and potentially commercial aircraft. Leonardo executives told Jane’s ahead of the Paris Air Show that the system had been engineered to address a long-standing problem within on-board missile defence systems, as single warning systems have a blind spot because of their mounting position.
MAIR is designed to be part of a wider defensive aids suite to assist in detecting, identifying, tracking, classifying, and declaring targets, and then cue an appropriate counter-measure system from the aircraft.
The system utilises five or six IR detector heads, with the five-headed variant providing 360°×270° coverage, and the six-headed variant providing full coverage. According to Leonardo, each sensor head weighs less than 2 kg, and operates with less than 24 W of power. Environmental operating temperatures range from -40°C to 71°C.
Each optical head has a video output that can be used for video presentation to pilots and crew through either helmet displays or cockpit display systems.
Testing of the system took place in 2018, with full-rate production expected from 2020. The background technology leverages the company’s experience in infrared search and track (IRST) systems on the Saab Gripen E and Eurofighter Typhoon. (Source: IHS Jane’s)
17 Jun 19. The U.S. Air Force and Lockheed Martin (NYSE: LMT) successfully flight tested the AGM-183A Air-Launched Rapid Response Weapon (ARRW) on the service’s B-52 Stratofortress out of Edwards Air Force Base, Calif., on June 12, 2019. This captive carry flight is the most recent step in the U.S. Air Force’s rapid prototyping effort to mature the hypersonic weapon, AGM-183A, which successfully completed a preliminary design review in March. More ground and flight testing will follow over the next three years.
“With hypersonic capabilities being a national security priority, Lockheed Martin and the U.S. Air Force are accelerating the maturation and fielding of a hypersonic weapon system,” said Frank St. John, executive vice president at Lockheed Martin Missiles and Fire Control. “Lockheed Martin is proud to partner with the U.S. Air Force on this important initiative.”
Hypersonic weapons provide a survivable and affordable capability that will overcome distance in contested environments using high speed, altitude and maneuverability. They amplify many of the enduring attributes of airpower – speed, range, flexibility and precision.
Robust experience in high-speed flight has positioned Lockheed Martin to be an industry leader in hypersonic technology, providing the most mature and cost-effective solutions for addressing increasing threats in the global security arena.
Lockheed Martin has played a significant role in the research, development and demonstration of hypersonic technologies for more than 30 years. The corporation has made significant investments in key technology and capability development – including hypersonic strike capabilities and defense systems against emerging hypersonic threats – and is firmly committed to supporting the U.S. government in developing these technologies.
14 June 19. Oriole TVC ballistic missile targets support Exercise ‘Formidable Shield 2019.’ Kratos Defense & Security Solutions has revealed successful first flights of its Guided Oriole rocket system with thrust vector control (TVC) as part of NATO Exercise ‘Formidable Shield 2019’.
The company’s Defense & Rockets Support Services Division, working alongside the Naval Surface Warfare Center (NSWC) Port Hueneme Division’s White Sands Missile Range Detachment, provided two Guided Oriole short-range ballistic missile (SRBM) targets for the exercise.
Conducted by Naval Striking and Support Forces NATO on behalf of the US 6th Fleet, ‘Formidable Shield’ is a biennial event that provides NATO forces the opportunity to improve integrated air- and missile-defence interoperability. This year’s exercise, conducted from the UK Ministry of Defence (MoD) Hebrides Range facility in Scotland from 7-19 May, saw ships from Canada, Denmark, France, Italy, the Netherlands, Norway, Spain, the UK, and the US participate in a series of live-fire and simulated missile engagements against aerial- and ballistic-missile targets. (Source: IHS Jane’s)
14 June 19. Rafael demos Spike LR from JLTV. Rafael Advanced Defense Systems has demonstrated a live-fire targeted launch of the Spike weapon system from an Oshkosh-supplied 4×4 Joint Light Tactical Vehicle (JLTV). The demonstration firing, conducted during the 16th Spike Users Club Meeting (SUCM) in Slovenia from 4-6 June, was the first time that a Spike capability has been fired from the JLTV platform.
The SUCM is an annual event jointly organised by the NATO Support and Procurement Agency and a different host user-country; the SUCM community comprises 31 countries, 18 of which are European Union and NATO members.
During the demonstration, a Spike long range (LR) – fired from a Spike vehicle-mounted missile launcher integrated with a Rafael Samson Mini MLS dual-axis gyro-stabilised remote-controlled weapon station (RCWS) mounted on a JLTV – engaged a static representative main battle-tank target at a range of 2.3 km at the Slovenian army’s firing range in Postojna, southwestern Slovenia. During the SUCM, members of the Slovenian Armed Forces also fired a tripod-mounted Spike LR from an enclosed space using imaging infrared (IIR) guidance.
Spike LR is a medium-range (4 km) fire-and-forget/fire-observe-and-update, guided multipurpose missile. Weighing 13.7 kg and measuring 1.2 m in length, Spike LR is furnished with a gimballed dual-channel (IIR/charged coupled device) electro-optic guidance assembly, which includes a fibre-optic datalink, a tandem high-explosive anti-tank (HEAT)/multipurpose blast fragmentation warhead, and a solid propellent rocket motor. The LR variant can be manportable tripod-launched, or integrated with light vehicles, armoured vehicles, helicopters, and naval platforms. Furthermore, any platform already integrated with the LR is also automatically provisioned for the latest Spike LR2 variant. (Source: IHS Jane’s)
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18 June 19. 3 more steps before Cyber Command can split from NSA. The Senate NDAA revisits the requirements necessary to split NSA and CYBERCOM. The Pentagon would have to meet a series of new requirements before U.S. Cyber Command could split from the National Security Agency, according to a proposal from a Senate defense committee.
In what is known as the dual-hat arrangement, the two organizations are co-located at Fort Meade in Maryland and share a leader in Gen. Paul Nakasone. The arrangement came about 10 years ago with the creation of Cyber Command to help get the organization off the ground and leverage the expertise and infrastructure of NSA.
But when rumors of a split surfaced a few years ago, some members of Congress felt the decision was premature and that Cyber Command was not yet ready to stand on its own. As a result, Congress outlined in 2016 a series of metrics Pentagon leaders had to meet. These included ensuring both organizations had the infrastructure they needed and that the missions of each organization would not be hurt by a split.
Now, the Senate Armed Services Committee tweaks three of those provisions included in the fiscal year 2017 defense policy bill. The committee’s draft of the annual defense policy bill passed in late May but the full text was only made available June 12.
The first change requires that each organization have robust command and control systems for planning, deconflicting and executing military cyber operations and now national intelligence operations as well.
The next change is related to cyber tools. Cyber Command buys and develops cyber tools for military cyber operations. But these systems aren’t always compatible with the tools NSA uses to access networks for foreign intelligence collection. The provision requires that “tools and weapons used in cyber operations are sufficient for achieving required effects” and adds that Cyber Command “is capable of acquiring or developing these tools, weapons, and accesses.”
In recent years, Cyber Command was granted limited acquisition authority to procure its own tools and systems, though some in Congress have been skeptical of this process because Cyber Command has not used all the money lawmakers set aside.
The last change focuses on the full operational capability of the cyber mission force. Under the current law, the cyber mission force must reach full operational capability before a split. The Pentagon announced it reached this milestone in May 2018.
Now, the Senate wants to ensure the cyber mission force “has demonstrated the capacity to execute the cyber missions of the Department.” This includes execution of a national level missions such as deterrence and disruption of adversary activity, defense of DoD networks and support for combatant commands by targeting of adversary military assets.
(Source: Fifth Domain)
18 June 19. Naval Dome has adapted its award-winning maritime cyber protection technology for compatibility with port-based systems and naval vessels and rebranded its direct-installation security software to differentiate between the different types of application.
The cyber defence software will now be marketed as Marine Dome for use in commercial vessels, cruiseships and yachts; Port Dome for ports and harbours; and Navy Dome for application in naval vessel and military craft.
Naval Dome CEO Itai Sela said: “The proven capability of our cyber security solution in protecting ships’ OT systems from unauthorised access and hacking, together with the recent SL4 type-approval from DNV GL – the classification societies’ highest level of security certification – has sparked significant interest from other sectors.
“We have now adapted the software for compatibility with systems typically used in ports and harbours and naval vessels. While the technology is intrinsically the same, we have changed some of the algorithms to suit the different type of systems and equipment used in these areas.”
The Israel-headquartered company has also appointed Israel Defense Forces’ former Head of Naval Operations, Rear Admiral (Ret.) Ido Ben-Moshe, to facilitate the requirements of these new market sectors.
Ido Ben-Moshe, Vice President Business Development, Naval Dome, said: “By installing Port Dome across a port’s connected machinery and OT systems or Navy Dome on the systems installed on naval vessels we remove the cyber pressure points and safeguard these important sectors against attack.”
Ben-Moshe said ports are particularly vulnerable as they become more reliant on networked connectivity.
“The increase in autonomous, connected machinery, computer integrated operating systems and terminal management systems will leave ports increasingly susceptible to a cyber-attack if they are not properly protected. It is crucial that ports’ OT systems are as impregnable and impervious to cyber-crime as the ships we protect.”
While the same concept applies to naval vessels, the approach will differ somewhat from commercial vessel application.
“A naval vessel is unique and therefore needs a unique cyber security solution to protect its connected systems,” said Ben-Moshe. “We deliver a tailor-made cyber defence solution capable of protecting weapons systems, navigation systems and machinery control systems from unauthorised access, whether they are retrofit or legacy installations.
“Using intelligence agency-grade security technology, Navy Dome blocks internal and external cyber-attacks to provide maximum protection with minimal human intervention. It integrates with existing systems and software, providing real-time cyber alerts and blocks malicious files to prevent unauthorised access to systems critical to a vessel’s ‘fight, flight or float’ capability.”
Naval Dome is currently the only provider of cyber defence solutions to the maritime industry to have achieved Security Level 4 (SL4), the highest level of certification that can be awarded under the DNV GL rules. DNV GL CP-0231 is a type approval programme developed using the international standard ISA/IEC 62443, Security for Industrial Automation and Control Systems.
Naval Dome is currently verifying Port Dome and Naval Dome applications with a number of ports and naval forces, respectively.
17 June 19. GA-ASI and L3 Technologies Develop and Fly Full-Band Signals Intelligence Solution for MQ-9. General Atomics Aeronautical Systems, Inc. (GA-ASI) and L3 Technologies, Inc. (NYSE:LLL) today announced the development and successful flight test of a full-band Signals Intelligence (SIGINT) ISR capability for use on a Predator B® Remotely Piloted Aircraft System (RPAS).
L3’s SIGINT solutions were integrated into a wing-mounted GA-ASI pod and flight tested on the GA-ASI Medium-Altitude Long-Endurance (MALE) MQ-9 Predator B RPAS. This game-changing capability provides significant mission expansion for MQ-9 operations against modern threats in new operating domains.
Jointly funded by GA-ASI and L3, this new podded solution was developed in eight months and successfully flight tested in May 2019 on a GA-ASI MQ-9 operating from GA test facilities in Yuma, Arizona.
“The successful collaboration between L3 and GA-ASI provides a new dimension for ISR employment of MQ-9 aircraft and provides expanded options for warfighters in the ISR domain,” said Jeff Miller, L3’s Senior Vice President and President of its ISR Systems business segment. “L3 is excited to provide its family-of-systems (FOS) SIGINT payload into the unmanned air vehicle arena in cooperation with GA-ASI and looks forward to providing increased capabilities for GA-ASI’s current and future MQ-9 weapon systems customers.”
“We are excited to work with L3 Technologies to develop this capability for the MQ-9. Generating Electronic Order of Battle (EOB) is a key capability of strategic importance to the U.S. and its allies,” said Linden Blue, CEO of GA-ASI. “Integrating L3’s world-class SIGINT system further enhances the MQ-9’s utility in the ISR arena.” (Source: BUSINESS WIRE)
18 June 19. HENSOLDT’s ‘Kalaetron Integral’ – the Future of Signals Intelligence. New modular SIGINT system for aircraft and UAVs covers enormous bandwidth. HENSOLDT, the leading sensor solutions house, is introducing a fully integrated signals intelligence (SIGINT) system named ‘Kalaetron Integral’ onto the market, which enables the detection of communications and radar signals in an unprecedented bandwidth by the same hardware. ‘Kalaetron Integral’, part of HENSOLDT’s Kalaetron electronic warfare product family, will be presented to the public for the first time at Paris Airshow.
“With Kalaetron Integral we are giving an answer to the challenges SIGINT systems are facing”, said Celia Pelaz, Head of Spectrum Dominance/Airborne Solutions. “Communications and radar frequency bands are merging more and more, so that SIGINT systems need to to cover large bandwidths and to distinguish different types of signals with utmost precision.”
Due to its fully digital design, Kalaetron Integral detects emitters incredibly quickly over an extremely wide frequency range from 40 MB to 40 GB. By means of automated resource allocation and software-defined tasks, communications and radar signals can be monitored by the same hardware, i.e. Kalaetron Integral fulfills missions which currently require the deployment of several specific COMINT and ELINT systems. It uses artificial intelligence (AI) algorithms to identify new threat patterns from a huge amount of collected raw data and establishes a comprehensive situation picture in near-realtime.
As a modular system, the new Kalaetron product line is available in a wide variety of configurations, giving answers to different customer requirements. It can be installed on a wide variety of platforms such as business jets, transport aircraft and UAVs.
18 Jun 19. Embraer, ELTA announce new business jet AEW aircraft. Key Points:
- Embraer and ELTA are developing a new business jet AEW system
- The team is targeting a market sector of second-tier militaries that need AEW capability but cannot afford, or do not want, to operate larger aircraft
Embraer and ELTA Systems Ltd (ELTA) are teaming to develop a new airborne early warning (AEW) aircraft based on the super mid-sized platform of Embraer’s Praetor 600 business jet.
The two companies announced on 18 June at the Paris Air Show that they signed a strategic co-operation agreement to develop the system. Designed to compete in a new segment of the AEW market, the aircraft’s primary sensor will be the Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI)/ELTA fourth-generation digital active electronically scanned array (AESA) radar with integration identification friend or foe (IFF) capabilities, the two companies said in a joint statement. ELTA is an IAI subsidiary.
Embraer will provide the air platform, ground support, communications systems, and aircraft integration. ELTA will provide the AEW radar, signals intelligence (SIGINT), and other electronic systems and system integration.
ELTA and Embraer believe this new AEW aircraft will fill a niche by offering the benefits of cutting edge, proven systems and proven capabilities that are usually only in larger aircraft such as Boeing’s 707 or 767 commercial aircraft. The two companies touted the new system’s intercontinental range with short turn-around time and low life-cycle costs.
The P600 AEW can provide an extended air situational picture by monitoring aerial activity in areas outside of ground radar coverage. It can also perform various missions such as air defence, early warning, command and control (C2), fighter fleet efficiency, territorial defence, and maritime surveillance. The new system can also be configured with the full range of airborne early warning and control (AEW&C) sensor and control systems. (Source: IHS Jane’s)
14 June 19. Russia trials new EW tactics. Russian forces have trialled new electronic warfare (EW) tactics designed for comprehensive protection against air assets such as cruise missiles, airborne radars, and unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), the Ministry of Defence (MoD) announced on 10 June.
“EW military specialists managed to create a safe ‘vacuum’ space against the effects of unmanned aircraft, airborne radar stations, radio-controlled land mines, and even cruise missiles,” the Russian MoD said.
The tactics used focused on the simultaneous deployment of the Krasukha, Zhitel, and Borisoglebsk ground-based EW systems. Each system is designed to target a different element of the electromagnetic spectrum.
The experimental exercise followed a sequence similar to a conventional air defence engagement. The RB-301B Borisoglebsk-2 system, which is based on the tracked MT-LB, was used to conduct reconnaissance of ground and airborne radio communications and, once targets had been identified, conducted interference.
The next system used was Krasukha, which consists of three vehicles based on the Kamaz-6350 truck and can be used to jam or suppress airborne radars as well as the radio control channels of UAVs.
The exact Krasukha variant used is not known but the Krasukha-2 is intended to jam airborne warning and control systems (AWACSs) at ranges of up to 250 km. The Krasukha-2 is also able to jam other airborne radars, such as radar guided missiles. The truck-based R-330Zh Zhitel system was then used to interfere with satellite communications equipment, as well as navigation systems and mobile phones within a 30km radius. (Source: IHS Jane’s)
14 June 19. A small Army robot could use this new networking technology. Defense contractor QinetiQ will rely on networking technologies from Persistent Systems as part of a contract to help the Army build a small robot that will help soldiers on the battlefield.
The Army’s Common Robotic System – Individual program aims to build a small robot that soldiers can fit in a backpack and assist in reconnaissance, surveillance and target acquisition.
But for these robots to perform these duties effectively, they will need to have consistent communication with soldiers and other robots. In a June 12 press release, Persistent Systems announced that it will supply networking technology to QinetiQ as a subcontractor. QinetiQ has an indefinite delivery indefinite quantity contract worth up to $164m on the Army program.
Persistent’s networking technology is what is known as a mobile ad-hoc network, or MANET, said Leslie Hulser, director of programs at Persistent. The ad-hoc nature of the network means that each device is both a transmitter and a receiver, removing the need for fixed communications infrastructure, she said. MANET technology allows a soldier to communicate with ground and aerial robots as well as other soldiers in the field, Hulser said.
Persistent will roll out the fifth generation of its Wave Relay MANET technology for the project, which includes an on-board Android operating system, a change from single input single output (SISO) to multiple input multiple output (MIMO), the introduction of a new form factor, full duplex audio, an on-board video encoder and decoder and a reduction in size and weight.
The change from SISO to MIMO increases bandwidth and range of operation and increases the probability of sending a message successfully, Hulser said.
The Army expects to field the program in fiscal 2020. (Source: C4ISR & Networks)
11 June 19. More money for 5G, AI could make it into 2020 NDAA. A showdown is brewing over the top-line defense budget.
Rep. Mac Thornberry (R-Texas), ranking member of the House Armed Services Committee, submitted an amendment June 11 to add $17bn to the top-line defense budget to match the White House proposal of $750bn. The amendment also proposes increasing funds for 5G testing, artificial intelligence and the Pentagon’s fast acquisition arm, the Defense Innovation Unit.
“What I am doing with this amendment is to restore the funds to the level requested,” Thornberry told reporters during a Defense Writers Group breakfast event June 11.
Much of the amendment’s requested increase supports personnel and readiness efforts, chiefly a $1.2bn increase for service member pay, retirement and housing, as well as $2.3bn for disaster relief for military bases and replenishing construction funds “diverted for border barriers.”
Thornberry said his proposal avoids controversial issues, such as the border wall funding that was included in the Defense Department’s proposed budget, and instead focuses on “core military needs.”
Those capabilities include 5G test locations, AI and other critical technology efforts ($261m); the Rapid Innovation Fund, which targets small-business-developed tech ($250m); unmanned surface vessels ($246.3m); and Defense Innovation Unit investment activities ($75m).
“One of the things I wanted to make really clear is that $750 [bn], which is right about 3% real growth, enables us to do very specific, concrete things that are important to national security,” he said. Thornberry added that increasing the defense budget at least 3% was needed to stay competitive with Russia and China.
The amendment challenges the bill from the Democratic majority on the committee that proposed $733bn for defense. HASC Chairman Adam Smith (D-Wash.) told reporters on June 10 that he didn’t want to authorize more money for DOD than it had planned to use.
But Democrats could be in for a dust-up. When asked whether he would vote against the bill if the increased funding weren’t requested, Thornberry hedged, saying Republicans want to vote for the bill but won’t support anything that sets back national security interests.
“If you say, no we’re not going to fund these things, that’s a big deal,” he said, without saying whether or not he would vote the bill down without his amendment.
“Without question, all Republican members on the committee want to vote yes on this bill…. We are just not going to participate on moving us backwards.” (Source: Defense Systems)
06 June 19. DOD artificial intelligence center to take on cyber defense. The Defense Department’s Joint Artificial Intelligence Center has its eye on autonomous cyber defenses. Mark Beall, JAIC’s chief of strategic engagement and policy, said cyber defense is one of the JAIC’s top project areas to solve due to robust acquisition and partnership interest and a “tremendous amount of data”.
“It’s an area that’s a very manual process today,” he said at ACT-IAC’s Emerging Technology Forum June 5. “Those three things that come together through that come together actually lend itself to a more clear path forward,” he said.
Beall anticipates AI to be used to help detect anomalous activities on DOD networks, account misuse, and network mapping, which will help operators understand the guts and edges of a network. “the in- and out-roads of a network.”
One of the JAIC’s core functions is to facilitate the development of a “common foundation” across the department, military services, and agencies. Beall said the common foundation will become increasingly important as the organization expands and he envisions it as a one-stop app store-like capability. (Source: Defense Systems)
16 June 19. The next key to the US Army network: air-ground integration. The Army wants greater network integration with its air and ground units and has started working with industry to make that process more seamless.
Service leaders point to significant gaps in today’s network architecture enabling aircraft to communicate with ground units and vice versa. But, they say, forces in the future will have to operate over significant distances and do so under a near constant jamming threat.
“A lot of units and rifle squads in the 101st [Airborne Division] right now, that squad leader’s radio in many cases can’t interface with similar radios in adjacent units or the helicopter that just delivered him or her to an objective area. Or the helicopter that’s providing close air support … can’t pass data with it,” Maj. Gen. Brian Winski, the division’s commander, said in Nashville, Tennessee, May 30. “We need that capability for ground forces to be able to talk to their aviation partners and have that inextricable link that makes us so incredibly powerful. We also have to collectively figure out how we’re going to communicate over significantly increased distances.”
To solve these problems, Army leaders from the aviation and networking community gathered in Nashville, Tennessee at the end of May to hash out the challenges they face with industry and the operational community. The forum was a venue for members of the operational community to voice their concerns and provide examples of issues they faced while deployed.
“This air to ground focus … is the thing we’ve really got to crack the code on if we are going to penetrate deep into an [anti-Access/area denial] environment … they’ve got to be able to communicate,” Maj. Gen. Peter Gallagher, director of the network cross functional team, said at the event. “Contested in space, contested in cyber, there are no easy answers to that wicked problem.”
Gallagher stressed to the industry representatives that it’s up to their engineers to “help us crack the code to making sure we have assured network transport in a contested environment, terrestrial, aerial and space.”
Operating at long distances
One of the first challenges officials described was ensuring network connectivity over hundreds of miles while facing a jamming threat.
“No longer are we talking about operating at distances of 100 to 150 kilometers. We’re about talking of operating at distance to 400 to 1,000-plus kilometers,” Al Abejon, chief of aviation architecture at the program executive office aviation, said. “Now the challenge is: how do you maintain that continuous mission command, [situational awareness] … throughout that operational distance and oh, by the way, be able to survive the operational environments that are going to be changing at these distances at those air speeds.
“All those rolled into one thing make up a considerable problem set.”
Along with the newtwork, the Army has also listed future vertical lift aircraft as one of its six top modernization priorities. These future aircraft will be capable of teaming with unmanned systems, a concept the aviation community is calling advanced teaming.
From an operational perspective, Winski said the 101st must be able to share information digitally between air and ground units in the Army and with joint and coalition partners to “violently and decisively exploit developing opportunities on the battlefield.” They’ll also need to provide electronic and kinetic fires over the horizon, increase the linkages between intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance platforms and shooters, whether they are existing or future aircraft, future long range precision fires platforms or existing fires platforms.
Gallagher told C4ISRNET that if beyond line of sight satellite communications are knocked out, alternative solutions could include high frequency solutions or mid-earth or low-earth orbit satellites rather than geosynchronous satellites.
Abejon mentioned one option could be to link line of sight communications to the command and control aircraft that have beyond line of sight capability. Those aircraft can then move data forward while still maintaining connectivity to bases. Unmanned systems can also be used as range extension platforms.
Common operating environment
The Army is pursuing a common operating environment that will allow soldiers in a command post, ground vehicle, aircraft or on the ground to easily pass data back and forth, share information, communicate and look at the same map.
Now, the aviation community is trying to change its mission command system and radios into a program called the Aviation Information System (AIS).
This system will “centralize mission command on a single tool that connects war fighting function software and applications with [the] mission command network,” said Col. Ryan Coyle of the aviation enablers – requirements determination directorate. “Converging [the] mission command system and the network to support efficient data management but also rapid voice and data exchange are critical in order to optimize those cross domain effects.”
This is similar to the Command Post Computing Environment, which will shrink stovepiped systems into applications on a common interface allowing all forces to have a common look and feel regardless of their location.
The other part of a common suite of communications gear is having radios that can connect to ground and air forces.
However, for air platforms, such as radios, waveforms or mission command systems, the air community must pass airworthiness standards to fly in domestic or international airspaces.
“If we have a SINGARS waveform in the bird and we have a SINGARS waveform on the ground in a manpack radio or a leader radio, there is no reason we shouldn’t be able to interoperate perfectly between those two systems,” said Jim Evangelos, deputy director of the Joint Tactical Networking Center.
“One way to guarantee this interoperability is to have software defined radios on the ground, software defined radios in the bird operating the same version of the same software. That’s a lot easier said than done. I totally get and understand the aviation challenges and you have to meet some very tough standards especially with airworthiness standards.”
Overall, the top tactical network buyer for the Army says he wants one single network, though acknowledges there will be some exceptions.
“My goal is one network. One tactical network,” Maj. Gen. Dave Bassett, program executive officer, command, control, communications-tactical, said. “There are going to be some exceptions. There are going to be some things the aviation platforms want to do in terms of [man-unmanned teaming] or sensor to shooter and other things where the networks that the common network isn’t going to meet that requirement. We ought to manage those things as exceptions but that should not be the default.”
(Source: C4ISR & Networks)
15 June 19. 4 new members for NATO cyber defense organization. A NATO cyber defense organization welcomed four new member nations June 13: Bulgaria, Denmark, Norway, and Romania. The Cooperative Cyber Defense Centre of Excellence (CCDCOE) is a NATO-accredited international military organization that specializes in cyber defense in technology, strategy, operations, and law. The membership of the new nations to CCDCOE was celebrated with a flag raising ceremony.
“The fact that more and more nations are joining up to actively contribute to cyber security reflects the need to improve capabilities in the cyber domain,” Col Tarien, director of the multinational interdisciplinary hub of cyber defense expertise, said in a press release. “Increased global connectivity and technological development means that we have to be ready for any type of cyber threat and bring our capabilities up to date. Tackling cyber threats that our democracies are facing demand expert knowledge and skills, which are reinforced by close cooperation between Allies and Partners.”
Founded in 2008, the cyber center began with seven members. Now the organization has 25 members and expects to expand Japan, Croatia, Montenegro, Slovenia and Switzerland are all in the process of joining the center, according to a press release. (Source: Fifth Domain)
Spectra Group Plc
Spectra has a proven record of accomplishment – with over 15 years of experience in delivering secure communications and cybersecurity solutions for governments around the globe; elite militaries; and private enterprises of all sizes.
As a dynamic, agile, security accredited organisation, Spectra can leverage this experience to deliver Cyber Advisory and secure Hosted and Managed Solutions on time, to spec and on budget, ensuring compliance with industry standards and best practices.
Spectra’s SlingShot® is a unique low SWaP system that enables in-service U/VHF tactical radios to utilise Inmarsat’s commercial satellite network for BLOS COTM. Including omnidirectional antenna for the man, vehicle, maritime and aviation platforms, the tactical net can broadcast over 1000s miles between forward units and a rear HQ, no matter how or where the deployment. Unlike many BLOS options, SlingShot maintains full COTM (Communications On The Move) capability and low size and weight
On 23 November 2017, Spectra Group (UK) Ltd announced that it had recently been listed as a Top 100 Government SME Supplier for 2015-2016 by the UK Crown Commercial Services
Spectra’s CEO, Simon Davies, was awarded 2017 BATTLESPACE Businessman of the Year by BATTLESPACE magazine and is a finalist in the inaugural British Ex-Forces In Business Awards in the Innovator Of The Year category.
Founded in 2002, the Company is based in Hereford, UK and holds ISO 9001:2015, ISO 27001 and Cyber Essentials Plus accreditation.