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31 Jul 19. Defense Department Reviewing Industrial Base for Hypersonic Weapons. Pentagon is developing a strategy to ensure the defense industrial base has sufficient capacity to produce hypersonic weapons, according to a department official.
Hypersonic missiles can travel at speeds of Mach 5 or faster and are highly maneuverable, making them difficult for an enemy to defeat. The capability is the Defense Department’s No. 1 research-and-development priority as it competes with Russia and China, which have their own hypersonics programs.
“We need to make sure that we’re rightsizing industry to the level that we need it to be for these systems,” said Christine Michienzi, director of assessments, policy and industry outreach in the office of the undersecretary of defense for acquisition and sustainment.
The new strategy is being developed by the technology and manufacturing industrial base office, she said July 30 at the Hypersonic Capabilities Conference in West Lafayette, Indiana, hosted by the National Defense Industrial Association.
As part of this effort, the Defense Contracting Management Agency’s industrial analysis group has been tasked with examining the industrial base’s current ability to produce these weapons, she noted. Areas of focus include capacity, capability, industrial base bottlenecks, technical workforce, materials, manufacturing, R&D support, investment needs and prototype designs, according to her presentation. The agency will also consider additional efforts that must be undertaken to develop and transition the technology into production.
The strategy will ensure sufficient domestic manufacturing and industrial base capacity exists for production of hypersonic systems, according to her presentation. It is slated to be completed in November, Michienzi noted. The department is taking a three-step approach, she said. Step one includes consolidating previous reports on the topic and evaluating the need for follow-on assessments.
Step two is to “promote and protect,” she said. This will involve promoting competency in hypersonics materials, capacity, workforce and infrastructure as well as determining “what kind of IP tech transfer we need, leveraging DoD and government tools, … capacity, infrastructure, things like that,” she added.
Step three is to monitor the industrial base, which will require coordination with stakeholders. It will need to be continuously examined over time to account for changes, Michienzi said.
“The industrial base changes daily,” she said. “Any industrial base assessment that you do is a snapshot in time and you need to keep reviewing that … as things go by to make sure that you’re staying the course.”
The Pentagon is also determining how many systems it wants to acquire, she noted.
“It makes it very difficult for us to do the assessment if we don’t know how many [we] need,” she said. “It’s kind of a chicken and egg thing that we’re struggling with right now. It’s getting a little more refined and defined.” (Source: glstrade.com/National Defense)
01 Aug 19. Northrop Grumman, Raytheon compete to build 50 kW-class laser for US Army Strykers. Northrop Grumman and Raytheon are vying to build four 50 kilowatt (kW)-class lasers for US Army Stryker vehicles after the service picked Kord Technologies as the prime contractor for an effort that could top USD490m. In July, the service awarded Kord Technologies with a USD203m contract to deliver 50 kW-class lasers on a platoon of four Stryker vehicles in fiscal year 2022 (FY 2022) as part of its Maneuver-Short Range Air Defense (M-SHORAD) mission. Kord Technologies is currently working with two subcontractors, Northrop Grumman and Raytheon, who will each develop one prototype laser. “Under the terms of the contract, the two laser vendors have approximately one year to produce the required laser subsystems, integrate them onto the Stryker platform, and complete a competitive performance checkout leading into a range demonstration against various threats,” the service said. (Source: IHS Jane’s)
01 Aug 19. Current Nukes Can ‘Get the Job Done’ in the Face of B61-12, W88 Alt 370 Delays, Stratcom No. 2 Says. The National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) still expects to be late starting delivery of refurbished nuclear gravity bombs and ballistic missile warheads to the Air Force and Navy, but the current crop of bombs and warheads are enough “to get the job done” for a little while longer, the No. 2 at U.S. Strategic Command said Wednesday. NNSA disclosed in May that problems with commercial-off-the-shelf capacitors would probably delay the date the semi autonomous Department of Energy agency can finish its first refurbished B61-12 gravity bomb and W88 Alt 370 sub-launched, ballistic missile warhead. The NNSA has not said how much longer it will need to complete the first war-ready versions of those weapons. The B61-12 first production unit was due in 2020, the first W88 Alt 370 in 2019.
Vice Adm. David Kriete declined to say whether NNSA has told Strategic Command when the civilian agency now expects to produce the first updated B61-12 and W88 Alt-370.
“The NNSA is top rate,” Kriete said. “They’re working really hard. They’re making progress and we’re in constant communications.”
In its B61-12 life-extension program, the NNSA aims to homogenize four existing versions of the B61 gravity bomb and extend the weapon’s life for 20 years. NNSA expected to spend about $8bn on the program before the delay. The Air Force, meanwhile, expects to spend about $4bn to produce the guided tail kit that will help the bomb maneuver. W88 Alt 370 aims to replace electric detonation hardware used in the newer of the Navy’s two
submarine-launched ballistic missile warheads, and replace the conventional high-explosives used to spark the warhead’s fissile core. That was expected to cost about $4bn over roughly 10 years, including up to $3bn in NNSA expenses, according to DoE and Pentagon documents. The NNSA plans to build some 480 B61-12 bombs and has some 350 W88 warheads, the nonprofit Federation of American Scientists estimated this year. (Source: Defense Daily)
31 Jul 19. Hypersonics: From Zero To 40 Plus Flights In Next Four Years. As Mark Lewis, an expert on hypersonics at the Institute for Defense Analyses, said here at the NDIA conference: “You can’t walk more than 10 feet in the Pentagon without hearing the word hypersonics.” The Pentagon plans to nearly double its spending on hypersonic-related technologies in fiscal year 2020 — if Congress approves it — and hopes to run around 40 flight tests of hypersonic vehicles over the next four years, Pentagon officials say.
It’s all part of the much higher profile of hypersonics have in the US military, with the White House receiving a hypersonics briefing earlier this month.
As Mark Lewis, an expert at the Institute for Defense Analyses, said here at the National Defense Industrial Association (NDIA) conference on the topic: “You can’t walk more than 10 feet in the Pentagon without hearing the word hypersonics.”
But the US effort lags those of China and Russia in several key metrics, at least. And, Lewis notes, the US has not flown hypersonic vehicles enough to gather data and press forward with redesigned systems improved as a result of testing. The Pentagon’s 2020 budget request for both hypersonic vehicles and defense against them is $2.6 bn. Some $157.4m of that is for hypersonic defense programs. None of these are programs of record. As any close watcher of the US military knows, that usually means there is actually not a formal requirement for a weapon. So we may be pressing ahead, but these efforts remain fragile and lacking in institutional support.
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The DoD’s Deputy Undersecretary for Acquisition and Sustainment, Alan Shaffer, appeared here and offered an abundance of caution.
“We’ve got to pay attention to cost and we’ve got to pay attention to affordability,” he said. “Folks, I need you to make hypersonics in a way that we can produce them, I need for industry and the military to think about intellectual property and the possible fragility of the industrial supply chain.”
At lunch, the chair of the House Appropriations Defense Subcommittee offered a splash of cold water to the enthusiasm of many at the sold-out conference. Hypersonics research is just getting going again at the same time that a huge swell of funding for other weapons loom.
“We have nuclear modernization and there is going to be a bulge in the budget. We have a new submarine and there is going to be bulge in the budget. We have a new bomber and there is going to be bulge in the budget,” Rep. Pete Visclosky said. Bear in mind that Visclosky represents a nearby constituency to Lafayette, the home of Purdue. And the university offers one of the most advanced wind tunnels designed for hypersonics work, so he would normally be inclined to support funding for something so close to home.
A key thing the hypersonics community might want to consider is trying to consolidate what defense officials and experts here said was overlapping work and some technological duplication.
“We need a coordinated national approach,” said Lewis, and it must be one that includes NASA and strong international partners like Australia. The US and the Aussies have worked together on a program called Hypersonic International Flight Research Experimentation (HIFiRE). Australia also offers the rare jewel of the 47,177 square mile Woomera Test Range for hypersonics testing.
The US military is keenly aware of the need for some consolidation, as the head of Army Futures Command said in May.
“We are looking across the entire investment portfolio for hypersonics and trying to figure out how we are going to start doing some consolidation,” said Gen. John “Mike” Murray. He was the Army’s funding guru — the deputy chief of staff for programming — before becoming the first-ever chief of the newly created Army Futures Command last August.
“It’s too early for me to say ‘this program, that program, this program,’” he said, “but we know that hypersonics are going to be very expensive, and we’re going to have to make a decision on the exact path we’re headed down pretty quick.” (Source: Defense News Early Bird/Breaking Defense)
31 Jul 19. L3Harris to supply T7 EOD robotic systems to UK MoD. L3Harris Technologies has received a contract modification from the UK Ministry of Defence (MoD) to provide T7 robotic systems to support explosive ordnance disposal (EOD) missions in the country. The MoD has exercised a $46m contract option under a $70m contract awarded to L3Harris in 2017 for T7 robotic systems for the British Army’s overseas EOD missions. The L3Harris T7 robotic system is expected to provide advanced EOD capabilities to the UK security forces.
Equipped with a user-friendly interface, the robot provides operators with ‘human-like dexterity and haptic force feedback from the robot arm to the remote-control handgrip’.
The T7 robot reduces task completion time and improves mission effectiveness.
Improved mobility and manoeuvrability provided by the robot’s rugged track system make it suitable for rough terrain.
Additionally, the system can be used to support multiple missions, including disabling and defeating improvised explosive devices (IEDs) planted in vehicles.
L3Harris Space and Airborne Systems president Ed Zoiss said: “This award will bring life-saving technology to UK Armed Forces and reaffirms the importance of highly reliable, precise and easy-to-use robotic systems for EOD operators.
“The exercising of this contract option reaffirms that Project STARTER programme execution has gone exceptionally well and performance of the T7 systems to date are exceeding the customer’s expectations.”
The systems will support the MoD’s Project STARTER that is designed to procure a new EOD remote-controlled vehicle (RCV).
L3Harris T7 will be deployed to defeat explosive threats within the UK, including IEDs and unexploded ordnances (UXO).
In addition, it will support requirements of domestic missions, including HAZMAT cleanup, EOD, intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) and special weapons and tactics missions. The company produces the systems at its Palm Bay, Florida, factory. A repair depot has been established in Brighton, UK. In March last year, Harris selected Silvus Technologies to provide StreamCaster SC4200 radios to support Project STARTER. (Source: army-technology.com)
26 Jul 19. Combined Raytheon And United Technologies Will Pursue Hypersonic Weapons Development. Raytheon and United Technologies executives spent this week pitching their proposed combined operations as a deal intended to create a defense industry research and development powerhouse. Cash flows from the combined operations of both companies will fuel the development of directed energy weapons, hypersonic weapons and counter-hypersonic missile systems, the chief executives of both Raytheon and United Technologies said during separate conference calls with analysts this week.
The Department of Defense signaled to industry it’s ready to spend on developing new weapons technologies, said Tom Kennedy, chief executive of Raytheon. The leaders of a combined Raytheon and United Technologies – to be called Raytheon Technologies – want to tap into this potential revenue stream.
The deal, announced in June, will create a defense and aerospace industry juggernaut with estimated annual sales of $74bn. In the U.S., only Boeing will be larger among defense and aerospace industry companies.
“Given the growth in the DoD research and development spending and the broad shift to new technologies to provide solutions to counter peer threats in 2018 and 2019, the growth rates for the R&D accounts were higher than the growth rates of the base budget and overall modernization accounts,” Kennedy said during a Thursday conference call with analysts. “This growth trend is expected to continue in 2020 and beyond to support the National Defense Strategy and plays to the strengths of the combined company that is well aligned to play to the NDS priorities.”
The Pentagon’s Fiscal Year 2020 budget request included $2.6bn for all hypersonic-related research, with $157.4m directed explicitly to hypersonic defense programs, according to a July Congressional Research Service report.
Developing hypersonic missiles and the counter-hypersonics is a growth area, Kennedy said, adding, “we see it becoming a big part of our portfolio moving forward.”
However, the CRS report notes DoD has yet to establish any programs of record for hypersonic weapons. Requirements and long-term funding for the programs are still being considered.
The lack of programs of record presents the combined firm with multi-billion-dollar opportunities to create franchise programs that could run for decades, according to Kennedy and his counterpart, Greg Hayes, chief executive of United Technologies. The combined company, to be called Raytheon Technologies, will have the expertise and cash flows from operations to fund research and development even if the Pentagon’s long-term funding plans are not fully formed, they said.
“I think fundamentally what Raytheon gives us is the scale to compete anywhere, anytime, in any program that we choose to,” Hayes said on Tuesday during his company’s conference call with analysts. Hayes will be the chief executive of the combined Raytheon Technologies.
“I think it gives us the ability to capitalize on their technologies and for them to capitalize on our technologies. And with 60,000 engineers between the two companies, I’ve got to believe we are going to find some savings on some of these programs as we are able to capitalize on each other’s technology.”
Hypersonic and directed energy programs are examples of how both companies can combine their expertise, Kennedy said. Raytheon’s work with directed energy weapons can potentially benefit from United Technologies’ work with power sources. Raytheon’s development of hypersonic weapons can likely benefit from United Technologies’ experience building and developing airbreathing engines.
“We can start creating these revenue synergies immediately,” Kennedy said. “These are sizeable and in the multi-billions of dollars.”
The deal still needs approval from federal regulators, including DoD, and shareholders from both firms. (Source: Defense News Early Bird/USNI)
26 Jul 19. How a new missile warning system benefits industry. Sales for an early missile warning satellite system are driving profits at both Lockheed Martin and Raytheon, according to second quarter earnings calls. The Air Force’s Next Generation Overhead Persistent Infrared system will consist of five satellites providing advanced warnings of missile attacks on the United States, its deployed forces and its allies. OPIR will replace the Space Based Infrared System to provide better missile warning capabilities and increased survivability.
In August 2018, the Air Force awarded Lockheed Martin a $2.9bn contract to build three geosynchronous OPIR satellites. Northrop Grumman was selected to build two OPIR satellites covering the polar regions, and in June 2018 the Air Force awarded them a $47m undefined contract for requirements analysis and risk reduction efforts on that program.
Second quarter sales in Lockheed Martin’s space segment increased from $2.4bn in 2018 to nearly $2.7bn in 2019, an increase of 11 percent, with operating profits increasing from $274m to $288m. In a press release, the company claims that OPIR, GPS III and other government satellite systems drove most of that increase.
“We got the OPIR contract late last year, CSC, the Canadian Surface Combatant, and GPS III in late last year,” explained Lockheed Martin Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer Ken Possenriede in an July 23 earnings call. “[With those programs] the agency has talked about ‘go fast,’ We are taking them by their word and we are going fast and we’ve accelerated sales.”
While Lockheed Martin is the primary contractor for the GEO OPIR satellites, the company has subcontracted with Raytheon and a Northrop Grumman/Ball Aerospace team for work on the payload.
While Ball Aerospace hasn’t released their quarterly earnings yet, Raytheon announced it benefited from the new satellite system. According to the company, OPIR helped drive net sales from $1.6bn in the second quarter of 2018 up to $1.8bn in the second quarter of 2019 along with increased sales on classified programs and an international tactical radar systems program. That’s an increase of 13 percent.
Northrop Grumman representatives did not mention OPIR or other Department of Defense satellite programs by name in its second quarter earnings announcement. A June 30 press release does note that “sensors and processing sales increased principally due to higher volume on infrared countermeasures, airborne radar and restricted programs.” , the president continues to battle with Congress over funding for the OPIR program. The House has voted to fund the program $376.4m less than the Pentagon had asked for. The White House has fought back against that decision, arguing that underfunding the program in the near term will cost hundreds of millions of dollars more in the long term and delay the program by years. The Senate voted to fully fund the Pentagon’s OPIR request. The fate of the funding will be sorted out in a conference committee.
29 Jul 19. Raytheon-DARPA Hypersonic Program Completes Baseline Design Review. One of the Air Force’s major hypersonic weapons programs recently underwent a successful baseline design review, contractor Raytheon [RTN] said July 29. The Tactical Boost Glide (TBG) program, a joint effort by Raytheon and the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) in partnership with the Air Force Research Laboratory, is one of several programs meant to demonstrate the feasibility of building a weapon that can be launched aboard a rocket, reach hypersonic speeds and then cruise unassisted to a target. The baseline design review will help inform Raytheon’s technical approach ahead of a critical design review, said the company in a Monday statement.
“We understand the urgency of the need and are working fast to deliver this advanced technology to our nation’s military,” said Thomas Bussing, Raytheon Advanced Missile Systems vice president in the statement. “The goal is to keep America ahead of emerging threats, and we are well on our way.”
DARPA awarded Raytheon a $63m contract earlier this year to further develop TBG. The agency’s director Steven Walker told reporters this past May that he hopes to see first flight of the TBG system by the end of 2019, though he noted that issues related to qualifying and integrating hardware may cause the schedule to slip into 2020. A boost glide weapon uses a rocket to accelerate its payload and reach hypersonic speeds above Mach 5. Once in flight, the payload is expected to separate from the rocket and move unpowered to its target destination. The TBG program development feeds directly into another Air Force hypersonic program, the Advanced Rapid Response Weapon (ARRW), Air Force Brig. Gen. Anthony Genatempo told Defense Daily in a May 31 interview. Genatempo serves as the service’s program executive officer for weapons, as well as director of the armament directorate, part of the Air Force Life Cycle Management Center and Air Force Materiel Command, based at Eglin Air Force Base, Florida.
“The ARRW program is designed to take that scientific demonstration [of TBG] and … taking it to an operational demonstration,” Genatempo said.
The ARRW program, led by Lockheed Martin [LMT], seeks to demonstrate the manufacturability of a boost-glide weapon system before going directly into production, while the TBG program continues to refine the cutting-edge technology, he noted. The program is “lifting the TBG program out of AFRL and DARPA,” he added.
The service awarded Lockheed Martin a contract worth over $480m in August 2018 to design and build the ARRW weapon. A sensors-only version of the weapon successful flew in June on a B-52 Stratofortress bomber. (Source: Defense Daily)
29 Jul 19. NNSA ‘Unlikely’ to Deliver First War-Ready W80-4 by 2025, Internal Report Says. The Department of Energy will probably deliver the first nuclear warhead for the next U.S. airlaunched cruise missile in 2026: a year later than the department’s official forecast, according to an internal agency report. The DoE’s National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) is “highly unlikely” to complete the Long Range Standoff Weapon’s W80-4 warhead — a refurbished version of the W80 used on current air-launched cruise missiles— by the agency’s official target date of fiscal year 2025, NNSA’s nominally independent Cost Estimating and Program Evaluation (CEPE) office wrote in an eight-page memo dated January 2019. A 2026 first production unit is “more likely” for W80-4, and starting delivery then would still allow NNSA to deliver the first of the warheads in time to meet the Air Force’s goal of developing a war-ready Long Range Standoff Weapon by 2030, according to the CEPE memo.
CEPE said the NNSA is overly optimistic about how long it will take to manufacture certain nonnuclear W80-4 components, given that it took the agency years longer to churn out similar parts for the B61-12 nuclear gravity bomb that is now nearing the end of a planned 20-year life extension program. According to CEPE, NNSA thinks it will take about six years to finish the W80-4’s firing set assembly and warhead control unit, which is respectively two years and one year longer than it took the agency’s Honeywell [HON]-managed Kansas City National Security Complex to finish similar components for the B61-12. Meeting the accelerated schedule for W80-4 would require “a rate of program execution that has not historically been demonstrated by the complex and is therefore highly unlikely,” the CEPE office wrote in the memo, a copy of which the NNSA provided to Defense Daily. The nonnuclear components described in the report are different from the balky, commercial-off-the-shelf components that have delayed B61-12’s first production unit beyond fiscal year 2020.
The W80-4 CEPE memo compares a summary of the office’s cost-and-schedule report for the weapon with a summary of the W80-4 program office’s official Weapons Design and Cost Report.
The classified Weapons Design and Cost Report report is the basis for the agency’s official estimate, approved in February, to develop and build W80-4: $11.2bn over the roughly 12 years running 2019 through 2031.
The CEPE office also threw a red flag about the official W80-4 cost estimate, writing in the January memo that it could total more than $14bn. An NNSA spokesperson said the agency stands by its plan to produce the first war-ready W80-4 by fiscal year 2025. An Air Force spokesperson declined to comment about whether delivering the first W80-4 in fiscal 2026 would meet the service’s goals for the Long Range Standoff Weapon.
NNSA’s pledge to deliver the first war-ready W80-4 by 2025 dates to around the time in 2014 that the joint DoE-Pentagon Nuclear Weapons Council selected W80 as the Long Range Standoff Weapon’s warhead. Though it has increased since an early, informal estimate published in 2015 as part of the the agency’s annual Stockpile Stewardship and Management Plan, the NNSA’s total cost estimate for W80-4 development and production has been steady for several years now.
However, after the W80-4 program office finished its Weapons Design and Cost Report during fiscal year 2019, the W80-4 program’s cost curve shifted significantly. NNSA piled more money into the early years of the program, compared with the notional cost curves published previously. The agency has not said how, exactly, it will spend the money. Congress has mostly nodded along to that plan, including this year during debate of the annual National Defense Authorization Act. After only minimal debate over W80-4 in the House, both chambers wound up authorizing nearly $900m for W80-4 in fiscal year 2020. The House has even passed an appropriations bill that would, if signed, provide that level of funding. The Senate had yet to write any 2020 appropriations bills, at deadline for Defense Daily. (Source: Defense Daily)
29 Jul 19. Iranian Shahab-3 tested. Iran test fired a Shahab-3 medium-range ballistic missile on 24 July, US officials told several news organisations over the following two days. The missile was launched from southern Iran and flew around 1,100 km to an area east of Tehran.
Iran did not confirm the launch, but an official told local news agencies that the Islamic Republic’s ballistic missile tests “are natural within its defensive needs”.
Derived from the North Korean No Dong (Rodong), the liquid-fuel Shahab-3 was unveiled in 1998. The latest known versions are called the Ghadr-F, Ghadr-H, and Emad, the latter having a manoeuvring re-entry vehicle.
Iran often tests ballistic missiles, according to the Israeli government, which sends letters to the UN Security Council to note the launches as violations of Resolution 2231. (Source: IHS Jane’s)
26 Jul 19. US Army PrSM flight testing pushed to November. The US Army is slated to begin flight testing Lockheed Martin and Raytheon Precision Strike Missile (PrSM) offerings in November, while it also eyes requirement changes that would extend the weapon’s range. Colonel John Rafferty, head of the army’s Long-Range Precision Fires (LRPF) modernisation effort, recently discussed the ongoing PrSM competition between Lockheed Martin and Raytheon, as well as potential programme challenges and changes. On the flight test front, Col Rafferty said the service opted for a three-month delay due to a subcontractor for both companies having an “accident”, as well as having to deal with challenges by “mother nature”. (Source: IHS Jane’s)
28 Jul 19. Israel says Arrow-3 missile shield passes U.S. trials, warns Iran. Israel’s U.S.-backed Arrow-3 ballistic missile shield has passed a series of live interception tests over Alaska, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Sunday, casting the achievement as a warning to Iran. Jointly manufactured by U.S. firm Boeing Co, Arrow-3 is billed as capable of shooting down incoming missiles in space, an altitude that would destroy any non-conventional warheads safely. It passed its first full interception test over the Mediterranean Sea in 2015 and was deployed in Israel in 2017.
“The performance was perfect – every hit a bull’s eye,” Netanyahu, who doubles as defense minister, said in a statement announcing the three secret tests. Israel views the Arrow-3 as a bulwark against the ballistic missiles fielded by Iran and Syria. Iran has been locked in a spiraling confrontation with the United States over its nuclear program and missile projects.
Washington said last week that Iran appeared to have tested a medium-range ballistic missile that flew about 1,000 km (620 miles). Tehran said such tests were for defensive needs.
“Today Israel has the capabilities to act against ballistic missiles launched at us from Iran and from anywhere else,” Netanyahu said on Sunday. “All our foes should know that we can best them, both defensively and offensively.”
Arrow-3’s Alaska trials had been expected last year but were postponed, following earlier difficulties in testing the system.
Its first full trial, scheduled in 2014, was aborted due to what designers said was a faulty flight by the target missile. Follow-up Israeli tests in late 2017 and early 2018 were also called off at short notice due to technical problems.
The system’s success in Alaska was held up by both Israel and the United States as a sign of the strength of their alliance.
The U.S. ambassador to Israel, David Friedman, attended Sunday’s meeting of Netanyahu’s cabinet, where he and the ministers watched a video of an Alaska missile interception.
Israel’s Ministry of Defense said that, as part of the Alaska tests, Arrow-3 was successfully synched up with the AN-TPY2 radar – also known as X-band – which provides the United States with extensive global coverage. Israel hosts an X-band battery.
“We are committed to assisting the government of Israel in upgrading its national missile defence capability to defend the state of Israel and deployed U.S. forces from emerging threats,” Vice Admiral John Hill, director of the Pentagon’s Missile Defence Agency, said in a statement.
Arrow-3 and an earlier generation system, Arrow-2, serve as the top tier of an integrated Israeli shield built up with U.S. backing to withstand various potential missile or rocket salvoes. The bottom tier is the short-range Iron Dome interceptor while David’s Sling shoots down mid-range missiles.
Also involved in Arrow’s manufacturing are Israel Aerospace Industries, Rafael Advanced Defense Systems and the Elisra Company, a subsidiary of Elbit Systems Ltd. (Source: Reuters)
25 Jul 19. India receives first BrahMos missiles for Project 1135.6 frigates. The Indian Navy (IN) has begun receiving BrahMos sea-launched cruise missiles (SLCMs) for its Talwar (Project 1135.6)-class frigates, Russian CEO of BrahMos Aerospace, Alexander Maksichev, has told Jane’s. “The IN has started repair and modernisation of the Talwar Project 1135.6 type ships that were built at the Baltic Shipyard,” said Maksichev, in reference to the first three ships in the Talwar class. “These platforms will have their Klub-N strike missiles replaced by the BrahMos SLCM,” said Maksichev. According to him, BrahMos Aerospace will supply an eight-cell vertical launch system (VLS) and a shipborne control unit to be integrated with the frigate. (Source: IHS Jane’s)
29 Jul 19. Battelle Embarks on DARPA ECHO Program. Battelle has won an Associated Contractor Agreement for a new Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) Epigenetic Characterization and Observation (ECHO) program. The aim is to build a field-deployable platform technology that quickly reads someone’s epigenome and identifies signatures that indicate whether that person has ever—in his or her lifetime—been exposed to materials that could be associated with weapons of mass destruction (WMD).
Battelle will examine blood samples from people known to have handled materials associated with biological, chemical, explosive, pesticide or herbicide contaminants and compare those results to control subjects who have not handled these materials to identify unique epigenome signatures.
The epigenome is biology’s record keeper. Though DNA does not change over a single lifetime, a person’s environment may leave marks on the DNA that modify how that individual’s genes are expressed. This is one way that people can adapt and survive in changing conditions, and the epigenome is the combination of all these modifications. Though modifications can register within seconds to minutes, they imprint the epigenome for decades, leaving a time-stamped biography of an individual’s exposures.
Whereas current forensic and diagnostic screening technologies only detect the immediate presence of contaminants, the envisioned ECHO technology would read someone’s epigenome from a biological sample even when other physical evidence has been erased.
“We’ll be developing methods to identify these signatures and how to interpret them for attribution—what did the person handle, when and for how long,” said Battelle Biologist and Principal Research Scientist Rachel Spurbeck, PhD, who is leading the effort. “This will even allow for diagnosing illnesses in individuals as a result of their exposure.” (Source: BUSINESS WIRE)
25 Jul 19. Zastava Arms develops new modular assault rifle. Zastava Arms. Serbia’s Zastava Arms has developed a new gas-operated modular assault rifle (AR), that has been designated as the M17, that the company said is currently at Technology Readiness Level 6. Zoran M Susic, marketing and research manager at the company, said, “the base for the modular M17 modular AR is the Zastava M05 in the calibre 7.62×39mm, the system of the Kalashnikov, which is the standard calibre of the Serbian Army and many other countries”. This uses a standard curved plastic magazine that holds 30 rounds of ammunition.
Susic added, however, that the barrel can be “replaced in less than 60 seconds by a new barrel which fires 6.5×38.7mm rounds using at present a 20-round magazine, but that this is expected to be replaced by a 30-round magazine in the future”.
On top of the weapon is a standard Picitanny rail. There is a selector on both sides of the rifle for single shot, fully automatic, or safe modes.
The cover under the forward part of the weapon can be removed to show another Picatinny rail that could mount a single shot grenade launcher, light, or other peripheral. The weapon has a telescopic butt that can be folded alongside to reduce its length. The 6.5×38.7mm round, developed by Serbia’s Prvi Partizan, leverages work on the company’s 6.5×39 mm Grendel cartridge, but it has been optimised to be fired from automatic and semi-automatic weapons. The 6.5×38.7mm round is claimed to have better aerodynamic characteristics leading to a slower loss of velocity, flatter trajectory, and more kinetic energy when it hits the target. The round has a range of 800m, the Serbian Ministry of Defence (MoD) said. (Source: IHS Jane’s)
25 Jul 19. Lockheed Martin Working Over $3.5bn In Hypersonic Programs; Northrop, Raytheon Playing Too Lockheed Martin [LMT] has more than $3.5bn worth of business it has captured in hypersonic weapons, with a lot of the development work expected to move into the prototype phase in 2019 with potential production decisions about two years away, company executives said last week. The hypersonic contracts, which include work from all the military services and the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, are either in backlog or about to go into backlog, Ken Possenriede, Lockheed Martin’s chief financial officer, said July 23 during the company’s second quarter earnings call. Just because the programs will include prototypes doesn’t mean they’ll transition to production but if development and prototyping is “deemed successful … then I think it will be time for the customer set to sit with us to see if it makes sense to go into production and that’s probably, say two years out would be our best guess,” he said. Lockheed Martin expects to generate about $600m in sales this year from hypersonic work, Possenriede said. Lockheed Martin Chairman, President and CEO Marillyn Hewson outlined some of the company’s hypersonic wins in the second quarter, including selection as the prime contractor for the integration of an Army long-range hypersonic weapon system and as part of a team led by Dynetics for an Army common hypersonic glide body prototype. She says the company’s contracts for these two programs will be negotiated and finalized in the coming months. She also highlighted previous wins for hypersonic work, including a prototyping effort for the Air Force called the Hypersonic Conventional Strike Weapon (HCSW) and the Navy’s intermediate range Conventional Prompt Strike Weapon.
In June, the Air Force conducted the first captive carry flight test of its hypersonic Air-launched Rapid Response Weapon (ARRW) aboard a B-52 bomber, Hewson said. The ARRW weapon passed its preliminary design review in March “and this captive carry test is the most recent step in the Air Force’s rapid prototyping strategy to mature this hypersonic weapon,” she said. The development of hypersonic capabilities, both offensive and counter-hypersonic, is the top priority of Pentagon Research and Development Chief Michael Griffin. Thomas Kennedy, Raytheon’s [RTN] chairman and CEO, said July 25 on his company’s earnings call that it believes the counter-hypersonic “market is actually larger than the hypersonic market for multiple reasons. One is that not does it include hypersonic weapons to counter the hypersonic weapons, but it also includes the entire kill chain of communications and sensors.” Raytheon is developing both hypersonic and counter-hypersonic systems, “and also the entire integrated counter-hypersonic kill chain, including the sensors,” Kennedy said. Some of the work on both types of systems is classified, he said. Unclassified work that Raytheon is involved in includes the Hypersonic Air-breathing Weapon Concept (HAWC) for DARPA and the Air Force. At the Paris Air Show in June, Raytheon and Northrop Grumman [NOC] announced they are teaming on the development, production and integration of Northrop Grumman’s scramjet engine to power the HAWC and future airbreathing hypersonic missiles. Raytheon is also working on the DARPA/Air Force Tactical Boost Glide, the Conventional Prompt Strike Weapon, and the Army’s long-range hypersonic weapons programs, Kennedy said. “So, it is becoming a big part of our portfolio moving forward,” he said of hypersonic work.
Raytheon expects to generate about $300m in sales this year from its hypersonic work in the Missile Systems segment, Anthony “Toby” O’Brien, Raytheon’s chief financial officer, said on the call. He added that Raytheon’s hypersonic work cuts across the entire company. O’Brien did not disclose how much hypersonic work the missile business has in backlog but said it grew in the second quarter versus the first quarter “and would expect that to continue, certainly for the next 12 to 18 months.” The reason that hypersonic work is part of all four of Raytheon’s core segments is because counter-hypersonic “requires a solution for the entire fire control chain to be able to detect the threat and then make your decision on what you’re going to do with that threat, and then track that threat all the way through its flight patch and then interdict somehow to destroy that threat,” Kennedy said. Raytheon’s pending acquisition by United Technologies Corp. [UTX] will also help in the development of hypersonic capabilities, Kennedy said. He pointed to UTC’s technology prowess in high-temperature materials for inlets and engine and “high-end sensors” that they have. On Northrop Grumman’s July 24 earnings call, Kathy Warden, the company’s president and CEO, highlighted her company’s hypersonic work as a prime and subcontractor. In addition to supporting Raytheon on HAWC, the company supports Lockheed Martin on the Conventional Prompt Strike Weapon. Northrop Grumman is “establishing ourselves as the prime” in the counter-hypersonic market, Warden said, pointing to capabilities it has in missile defense that it believes will be relevant. “So that is an area we are aggressively pursuing,” she said. Warden also said that the hypersonic market is “growing” and there is room enough for “three parties to adequately play,” referring to her company, Lockheed Martin and Raytheon. (Source: Defense Daily)
25 Jul 19. Successful LCS SSMM Test Leads To Developmental Testing Last month, the Navy successfully completed a structural test firing of a Surface-to-Surface Missile Module (SSMM) on an Independence-variant Littoral Combat Ship (LCS), the Navy said last Thursday. Following the successful test at the Point Mugu Sea Range in California on June 11, the LCS Mission Modules program now moves to developmental testing of the SSMM aboard an Independence-variant ship. The June test was the first ever test firing of the SSMM on an Independence-variant type and the first in a series of events to assess SSMM capability on that variant. Structural test firing is a total-ship test with live weapons fire required for each ship or variant. The Navy said this prepares the ship and trains the crews “for more complex surface warfare tracking and live-fire exercises scheduled to begin later this summer.” The summer exercises will then conclude with initial operational test and evaluation at the end of 2019. The SSMM is one of four modules making up the LCS Surface Warfare Mission Package. It uses Lockheed Martin [LMT] Army AGM-114L Longbow Hellfire missiles in a vertical launch capacity to engage small boat threats, increasing the range and number of targets an LCS can engage. The Navy already finished successful tests of SSMM on the Freedom-variant LCS earlier this year. Last year, the USS Milwaukee (LCS-5) conducted live-fire missile exercises to finish the first phase of SSMM Developmental Testing on the Freedom-variant (Defense Daily, May 17, 2018). “SSMM is tested and well proven on the LCS Freedom variant. This structural test firing marks the first critical step in demonstrating the SSMM capability on the LCS Independence variant,” Capt. Godfrey Weekes, LCS Mission Modules program manager, said in a statement. The LCS Surface Warfare Mission Package also consists of a Gun Mission Module with 30mm guns, Maritime Security Module with 11-meter rigid-hull inflatable boats, and the Aviation Mission Module with an MH-60R Seahawk helicopter and Vertical Take-off Unmanned Air Vehicle. Independence-variant ships are built by Austal USA in Mobile, Ala. while the Freedom-variants are built by Fincantieri Marinette Marine in Marinette, Wisc., under prime contractor Lockheed Martin. (Source: Defense Daily)
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