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22 Aug 19. UK MoD Further Details Interim Anti-Ship Missile Need Through Contract Notice. In a recent announcement, the UK Ministry of Defence Torpedoes, Tomahawk and Harpoon (TTH) Project Team further detailed its requirement to implement an interim surface to surface guided weapon to replace the existing Harpoon missile. This follows a prior information notice (PIN) issued by the same TTH project team in March, as reported by Naval News. A major new requirement emerged however with the contract notice issued on August 19 compared to the PIN: A terrain following precision maritime land attack capability.
The TTH project team, part of the UK Ministry of Defence, hereafter referred to as the authority, has a requirement for the provision and introduction into service of the I-SSGW system as an interim replacement for the existing system that is going out of service.
The I-SSGW is to provide a ship launched over the horizon precision anti-ship capability and a terrain following precision maritime land attack capability.
It is anticipated that the I-SSGW capability will operate on X 5 Type 23 (Towed Array) frigates capable of concurrent Anti-submarine warfare (ASW) and Anti Surface Warfare (ASuW) operations in protection of a formed Maritime Tasking Group, for a 10-year period.
UK Ministry of Defence, Weapons, Torpedoes, Tomahawk and Harpoon (TTH) Project Team’s contract notice issued August 19, 2019.
The «terrain following precision maritime land attack capability » virtually disqualifies a number of anti-ship missiles avaiable off the shelf, including Boeing’s Harpoon, South Korea’s C-STAR or MBDA’s Exocet. These three missiles only feature a limited way-point guidance capability and limited coastal (shore based) target capability. But they lack the, now key, terrain following capability.
With this new requirement in mind, likely remaining bidders for the the SSGW requirement include Lockheed Martin with the Long Range Anti-Ship Missile (LRASM), Kongsberg with the Naval Strike Missile (NSM) and Saab’s RBS15 Mk4 , three anti-ship missiles of the latest generation. It is not clear whether Turkey’s Atmaca or Israel’s Gabriel V anti-ship missiles feature terrain following capability but this seems unlikely.
According to the contract notice, the I-SSGW solution is set to fill a gap for a 10-year period. First delivery of the ship installed equipment would be required by December 2022 and first delivery of missiles would be required by December 2023. The potential contract will be for 4 years, with the potential of option years to follow (up to 9 more years). This should answer the Royal Navy’s needs until the early 2030’s and the implementation of the UK-French FC/ASW missile program.
Following the Lancaster House agreement of 2010, France and the United Kingdom launched in 2017 a joint program with the goal to replace their cruise and anti-ship missiles circa 2030. (Source: News Now/https://www.navalnews.com)
22 Aug 19. Turkey receives more rifles and pistols. The Turkish military and security forces have received the latest delivery of 4,500 domestically produced MPT-76 infantry rifles, bringing the total delivered to more than 40,000, Turkey’s Presidency of Defence Industries (SSB) tweeted on 20 August.
This was followed on 21 August by an SSB tweet that over 115,000 of the 235,000 pistols planned to be produced locally have been delivered so far. Turkey’s state-owned Mechanical and Chemical Industry Company, in co-operation with Kale Kalip and Sarsilmaz, have been producing the MPT-76 since 2017. Samsun Yurt Savunma Sanayi ve Ticaret A.S. produces TP9 SF Mete pistols and Sarsilmaz manufactures SAR9 Mete pistols. (Source: IHS Jane’s)
21 Aug 19. Pentagon terminates program for redesigned kill vehicle, preps for new competition. The Pentagon has moved from taking a “strategic pause” on the Redesigned Kill Vehicle program to outright killing it.
The Department of Defense decided to terminate the current Boeing contract to develop the RKV — effective Aug. 22 — “due to technical design problems,” according to an Aug. 21 statement by the department. Raytheon is the actual developer of the RKV and serves as a sub-contractor to Boeing. The RKV would have replaced the current Exoatmospheric Kill Vehicle (EKV) on the Ground-Based Interceptor, which makes up the Ground-based Midcourse Defense (GMD) system designed to protect the homeland from ballistic missile threats. It would have also been fielded on all future ground-based interceptors — a total of 64 ultimately.
The EKV is designed to destroy targets in high-speed collisions after separating from the booster rocket.
The EKV required technical changes in the past several years due to issues in tests. The Missile Defense Agency decided to initiate a program to redesign the kill vehicle. In the meantime, MDA has had several successful tests of the GMD system with the EKV following engineering changes. Now that the RKV is dead in the water, the Pentagon plans to move forward with a new, next-generation interceptor competition, the statement said.
According to a defense official, no more ground-based interceptors will be built, and all future interceptors that are fielded as part of the GMD system will be the new interceptors.
“Ending the program was the responsible thing to do,” Mike Griffin, undersecretary of defense for research and engineering, said in the statement. “Development programs sometimes encounter problems. After exercising due diligence, we decided the path we’re going down wouldn’t be fruitful, so we’re not going down that path anymore. This decision supports our efforts to gain full value from every future taxpayer dollar spent on defense.”
With the blessing of the undersecretary of defense, Griffin made the decision on Aug. 14 to terminate the program, one week after he told reporters at the Space and Missile Defense Symposium in Huntsville, Alabama, to expect a decision on the way forward for RKV soon.
MDA and Boeing in December 2018 deferred a critical design review of the RKV “due to the failure of certain critical components to meet technical requirements as specified in the development contract,” the statement noted.
After MDA assessed the issues, it issued a stop work order on the contract in May to analyze alternative options.
“The department ultimately determined the technical design problems were so significant as to be either insurmountable or cost-prohibitive to correct,” the statement said.
The DoD plans to take data garnered from research and testing of the RKV prior to its cancellation to inform the next-generation interceptor program, “which will include a new kill vehicle,” according to the statement.
“The U.S. Missile Defense Agency is updating its requirements in the face of an increasingly complex threat environment,” Raytheon said in a statement. The company “supports their decision to cease work on the Redesigned Kill Vehicle (RKV) and initiate a competition for the next-generation interceptor to meet these advanced threats. Raytheon will continue to develop and offer a wide range of advanced missile defense technologies available to protect the United States now and in the future.”
There are 44 ground-based interceptorss in place at Fort Greely, Alaska, and Vandenberg Air Force Base, California, with plans to add 22 additional missile silos at Fort Greely to support 20 more ground-based interceptors.
The defense official said the Pentagon is still working through the details of a new, next-generation interceptor competition, including when it will be initiated and the pace at which the technology will be developed and fielded. (Source: Defense News)
21 Aug 19. Bombing capacity of RAAF F-35As quadrupled. Following the arrival of the GBU-39/B Small Diameter Bomb to Royal Australian Air Force No.3 Squadron, the bombing capacity of F-35As has significantly increased. The small diameter bombs are packed with about 16 kilograms of modern high explosive, and are guided by GPS-aided inertial navigation.
Wing Commander Simon Bird, Chief Engineer at Aerospace Explosive Ordnance Systems Program Office (AEOSPO) – Explosive Materiel Branch, said it was Air Force’s most advanced bomb and made best use of the F-35A’s internal weapon bay.
“We’ve got a next-generation bomb to go with our fifth-generation fighter,” WGCDR Bird said.
“Where you used to carry one JDAM [joint direct attack munition] in a position on the aircraft, SDB1 allows you to carry four bombs that each achieve very similar effects. Although at 285 pounds the SDB1 is lighter than a 500-pound JDAM, it’s highly accurate and packs a more powerful, modern explosive.
“SDB1 is also designed to penetrate harder targets, or can fuse above ground to create area effects.”
The bombs make use of ‘Diamondback’ wings, which deploy after release to provide greater stand-off range.
“With JDAMs you’ve got to be very close to the target to engage it, but because of the wings on SDB1, a single F-35A can engage up to eight separate targets from outside the range they can defend against,” WGCDR Bird said.
“What’s more, because an SDB1 is carried internally, the F-35A can remain low observable and will not be affected by any extra drag from carrying eight bombs.”
Four bombs are fitted to new bomb release unit racks before loading on the aircraft.
“With an old JDAM, you had to take all the components and build it up, but that takes time, equipment and people,” WGCDR Bird said.
“You can test the SDB1 without opening the box; you can test them before they’re even shipped to the base you’re going to operate from.
“This weapon comes fully assembled; you basically take it out of the box and load it.”
Around 15 armament technicians received familiarisation training on the bombs before planned test firings in the coming months.
AEOSPO’s engineering, logistic and technical staff ensured introduction of the weapons and their delivery was a milestone towards the F-35A’s initial operational capability in 2020. (Source: Defence Connect)
20 Aug 19. Taiwan Displays Anti-Radiation Loitering Munition. Taiwan’s National Chung-Shan Institute of Science & Technology (NCSIST) – the country’s principal defence science research and development agency – showcased the production-ready version of the Chien Hsiang anti-radiation loitering munition and its mobile launcher vehicle for the first time at the 2019 Taipei Aerospace & Defense Technology Exhibition (TADTE), which was held in Taipei from 15 to 17 August.
The Chien Hsiang (roughly translated into ‘Rising Sword’) adopts a comparable airframe design with the fully autonomous Harpy loitering munition manufactured by Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI)’s Malat UAV Division. It features mid-mounted delta wings with full-span elevons terminating in wingtip devices and rudders, as well as two retractable side-force panels in each wing root that are deployed to enhance stability during terminal dive.
NCSIST has also developed a modular trailer-based launcher, which carries up to 12 canisters of ready-to-fire munitions. This configuration enables a mobile Chien Hsiang battery to be rapidly deployed across the Taiwanese main island of Formosa or transported via ship to outlying but strategically important holdings such as the Kinmen and Matsu islands, which Jane’s understands position the munitions well within range of mainland China’s ground-based early warning radar and air-defence systems.
The munition can also be deployed using fixed ground-based launchers or carried aboard the Republic of China Navy (RoCN)’s surface combatants.
Lee Cheng-Ching, deputy general director of NCSIST’s Aeronautical Systems Research Division (ASRD), told Jane’s that any physical similarities to the Israeli Harpy system is purely “coincidental” and that the Chien Hsiang is a fully indigenous weapon system that leverages on ASRD’s work in unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) platform and propulsion, while the institute’s Electronics Systems Research Division (ESRD) supplied its guidance and passive radar seeker technologies. It is also equipped with a high-explosive warhead that is claimed to be capable of disabling or crippling a medium- to large-sized radar system.(Source: UAS VISION/Jane’s 360)
20 Aug 19. Australian Navy’s HMAS Hobart fires SM-2 missile off New South Wales. The Royal Australian Navy’s guided-missile destroyer, HMAS Hobart, has demonstrated a missile-firing capability during trials off the coast of New South Wales. By doing so, it has become the first Hobart-class destroyer to fire a missile in Australian waters. The vessel successfully fired an SM-2 missile against an unmanned target.
Australia Defence Minister Linda Reynolds said: “HMAS Hobart is the most sophisticated and lethal warship ever operated by the Royal Australian Navy, and this missile firing is a demonstration of how she can fight and win at sea.
“The Australian government is modernising our navy into a state-of-the-art maritime power through an additional A$90bn ($60.97bn) commitment.”
Hobart commanding officer Ryan Gaskin stated that the missile firing marks a significant step in advancing the RAN’s high-end warfighting capability.
Gaskin said: “The missile firing was an opportunity to test recent upgrades to the ship’s Aegis combat system and prepare the ship’s company for their upcoming deployment.
“Our advanced sensors provide a real-time picture of the tactical situation, which when combined with our weapons systems gives us a formidable defence capability.”
The destroyer is equipped with weapons systems such as an Mk41 Vertical Launch System containing SM-2 and Evolved SeaSparrow missiles, a Mk 45 5-inch main gun, and a Phalanx close-in weapons system.
The vessel is also armed with two 25mm Typhoons guns, as well as MU90 and Mk54 lightweight torpedoes for subsurface defence.
Last year, the Aegis combat system-based destroyer conducted weapons and systems evaluations with the US Navy. HMAS Hobart was commissioned in September 2017 and is based at Garden Island in Sydney. Next month, the vessel will be deployed as the lead ship of a task group for the first time. (Source: naval-technology.com)
19 Aug 19. The US Just Launched a Long-Outlawed Missile. Welcome to the Post-INF World. Sunday’s test sent a ground-launched missile more than 500 kilometers, a test that would have been illegal last month.
This post has been updated. With the test-launch of a ground-based missile that flew more than 500 kilometers, the United States strode boldly into a future that past leaders had tried to avoid. The announcement arrived in a terse Pentagon news release sent to media just after noon on Monday: “On Aug. 18, at 2:30 p.m. Pacific Daylight Time, the Defense Department conducted a flight test of a conventionally configured ground-launched cruise missile at San Nicolas Island, Calif. The test missile exited its ground mobile launcher and accurately impacted its target after more than 500 kilometers of flight. Data collected and lessons learned from this test will inform DOD’s development of future intermediate-range capabilities.”
The missile was a “variant of the Tomahawk Land Attack Cruise Missile,” Air Force Lt. Col. Robert Carver, a DoD spokesman, toldMilitary.com, launched by the U.S. Navy and DoD’s Strategic Capabilities Office.
But the Army has been tiptoeing up to the 500-km limit as it develops a next-generation artillery weapon called the Precision Strike Missile. Dubbed the PrSM for short, it is intended as a longer-ranged replacement for the missiles currently fired by the Army’s M270A1 Multiple Launch Rocket System, or MLRS, and the M142 High Mobility Artillery Rocket System, or HIMARS.
So far, the PrSM has an official range of 499 kilometers. That’s because missiles with longer ranges — between 500 and 5,500 kilometers — were deemed in the 1980s to be so dangerous and destabilizing that the United States and Russia came together to ban them in the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty.
Last year, the director of the Army’s long-range-precision fires team said the PrSM was ready to go farther.“We have worked with our industry partners to determine what is the feasibility going farther than 499 kilometers and we believe that it’s entirely possible to go further with the current missile,” Col. John Rafferty told reporters. “Our discussions about advanced propulsion leads us to believe that inside the same form factor, with a change in propulsion, we could go significantly farther.”
Added Rafferty: “We’re going to play by the rules until we’re told the rules have changed.”
The rules have now changed. On Aug. 2, the United States formally withdrew from the treaty, citing Russian violations related to the 9M729 missile. (Source: Defense One)
19 Aug 19. DOD Conducts Ground Launch Cruise Missile Test. On Sunday, August 18, 2019 at 2:30 p.m. Pacific Daylight Time, the Department of Defense conducted a flight test of a conventionally-configured ground-launched cruise missile at San Nicolas Island, California. The test missile exited its ground mobile launcher and accurately impacted its target after more than 500 kilometers of flight. Data collected and lessons learned from this test will inform the Department of Defense’s development of future intermediate-range capabilities.
19 Aug 19. US Army developing self-targeting AI artillery. The US Army is developing an AI-powered artillery shell capable of more accurate long-range fire. The Cannon-Delivered Area Effects Munition (C-DAEM) shell will be capable of locating and targeting moving vehicles.
C-DAEM is designed to replace the US Army’s current dual-purpose improved conventional munition (DPICM), which drops explosive charges across a target area to guarantee a target is hit by artillery.
US Army Deputy Project Manager, Combat Ammunition Systems, Joint Program Executive Office Armaments and Ammunition, Peter Burke, said: “The U. Army is not developing AI missiles that find their own targets. The Cannon Delivered Area Effects Munition program will develop a 155mm artillery projectile capable of defeating moved and moving armored targets.
“These projectiles will be fired through the Army’s command and control system, where an observer has identified the target type and location. After the projectile has been fired, the sensors on the projectile will be used to search the area around its reported position, and if found, attack the target.”
It will be based on the Raytheon Excalibur 155mm round, which uses GPS to improve artillery system accuracy. The US Army has fired over 1,400 Excalibur projectiles since 2018.
The new system will work in areas where GPS is unavailable or jammed to ensure the weapon can still hit its target, as reported by New Scientist.
The New Scientist article says of C-DAEM: “The weapons will have a range of up to 60km…and will be able to search an area of more than 28 square kilometres for their targets.
“They will have a method for slowing down, such as a parachute or small wings, which they will use while scanning and classifying objects below.”
The US Army said the aims of C-DAEM are to: “Develop and deliver new and improved capabilities that will provide highly lethal effects on a wide spectrum of stationary or moving complex target sets (personnel and vehicles), where their exact position has high uncertainty.
The programme is expected to be completed by 2023 with the army aiming for a weapon that “after ejection from its artillery shell over the target area, each submunition independently searches for armoured vehicles, and upon detection, fires an EFP through its roof to defeat the target.”
The army also requires the weapon to be compatible with its suite of artillery pieces including the M777 towed Howitzer and the M109A6 Paladin.
Unlike laser-guided weapons or those with pre-programmed targets, the system will be able to able to isolate and choose targets itself.
The US Army previously requested that $25m be shifted to efforts to develop and demonstrate the capability of the C-DAEM. The new weapons are in part being developed due to the inaccuracy of current cluster munitions.
Current cluster projectiles are limited by rules preventing anything with an over one per cent ‘dud rate’ (unexploded ordnance) being used.
The focus of C-DAEM at current is anti-vehicle fire however the Army have said they are also developing its anti-personnel capabilities.
The weapon could enter service in as soon as 2020, with a significant amount of the development now focusing on creating the software to support the system. (Source: army-technology.com)
16 Aug 19. MDA issues RfI for THAAD ‘Advanced Capability Development.’ The US Missile Defense Agency (MDA) has issued a request for information (RfI) for continued development of the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) globally transportable, rapidly deployable ballistic missile defence weapon system. According to a Sources Sought notification released on 11 August, the MDA THAAD Project Office “is conducting market research to determine industry interest and capability to provide development, support flight and ground test programs, and provide responsive support to requirements identified by the Warfighter for the fielded THAAD Weapon System. This includes the THAAD Launcher, THAAD Fire Control and Communications, the Interceptor, Peculiar Support Equipment, and the integration and testing of all these THAAD Components into an Element of the Ballistic Missile Defense System, to include Multinational Systems.” (Source: IHS Jane’s)
16 Aug 19. Taiwan’s MPC readies new low-profile RCWS for Cloud Leopard. The Taiwanese Ministry of National Defense’s (MND’s) Materiel Production Center (MPC) has unveiled a new remote-controlled weapon station (RCWS) that has been specifically designed to reduce the target profile of the Republic of China Army (RoCA)’s 8×8 CM-32 Cloud Leopard armoured personnel carriers (APCs). The new non-hull penetrating RCWS, which is shown armed with a 40 mm Mk19 MOD3 automatic grenade launcher (AGL) and a co-axial T74 7.62 mm general purpose machine gun, is being displayed at the 2019 Taipei Aerospace & Defense Technology Exhibition (TADTE) being held in Taipei from 15 to 17 August. The RCWS is the latest addition to a family of indigenously developed remote weapon stations rolled out by the MPC’s 202nd Arsenal from 2010 and leverages on the experience gained by its designers following years of internal experimentation and user feedback from the RoCA. (Source: IHS Jane’s)
16 Aug 19. Taiwan Unveils Fire Cardinal Suicide Drone. Taiwan is developing at least two exploding “suicide drones” as it scrambles to counter an increasingly modern and aggressive Chinese military. A new suicide drone appeared at the August 2019 edition of the biennial Taipei Aerospace & Defense Technology Exhibition in the island country’s capital. The unmanned aerial vehicle bears a strong resemblance to the small, hand-launched drones that are popular with U.S. forces. The other clearly draws inspiration from Israel’s Harpy anti-radar drone. The Fire Cardinal is “an air to ground strike assault UAV,” according to information given at the show site. The drone seeks out its target using an EO/IR payload and selects its target using an “intelligence object detection system.” The 6kg drone is 1.2 meters long and 2 meters wide. Height is 0.6 meters. It includes an electro-optical and infrared sensor and selects its target using what Alert 5 described as an “intelligent object-detection system.” (Source: UAS VISION/Alert5)
15 Aug 19. Sonic Boom! Hypersonic Missiles Blur the Line Between Conventional and Nuclear Warfare, Says Jane’s by IHS Markit. The latest data from Jane’s by business information provider IHS Markit (NYSE: INFO) highlights that ongoing research and development efforts in the hypersonic missile market will disrupt the defence market as we know it.
“As hypersonic weapons fly at extremely high speeds and some are manoeuvrable, they are more likely to disrupt the international offense-defense balance of technology, increasingly blurring the line between nuclear and conventional weapons,” said Rahul Udoshi, analyst at Jane’s by IHS Markit. “Striking virtually anywhere in the world within an hour means these weapons affect the perceptions of strategic stability and further risk crisis escalation over ambiguity of warhead types.”
China, Russia and the United States are all currently investing heavily in hypersonics, while a few other countries are also exploring the technology to a much lesser degree.
To date, Jane’s estimates the US to have spent over USD3.3bn for the research and development of hypersonic technologies and weapons, with a further 2020 budget request of USD2.6bn.
“Currently, we see Russia and China both leading research and developmental work with considerable funding, suggesting that the US has somehow fallen behind these countries. However, this may change in the near term, given the existing US programmes’ priority and commitment,” said Udoshi.
Russia is estimated to have spent over $1.1bn covering the Avangard, 3M22 Tsirkon and Kinzhal programs. Russian spend on hypersonic weapons is not expected to rise significantly as the Kinzhal is already in service while the Tsirkon and Avangard are close to entering service.
Chinese funding for hypersonic weapons is estimated to be more than Russia with over $1.5bn spent on programs such as the DF-ZF and the Starry Sky-2. DF-ZF is expected to be operational by 2020, while Starry Sky would be operational by around 2025. China is expected to sustain its funding for hypersonic technologies as it takes the current programmes to their conclusion.
India is estimated to have spent over $500m on the research and development of hypersonic weapons. Programs include Shourya, Brahmos II and Hypersonic Technology Demonstrating Vehicle (HSTDV). India has collaborated with Russia for the development of Bramhos II. Funding for the Indian hypersonic weapons programs is expected to grow as they are still at the development and testing stage. (Source: ASD Network)
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