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14 Sep 19. Over a barrel! From the early days of warfare as we know it until the present day, Britain has prided itself on its artillery products and the Royal Artillery who have been credited with winning many conflicts. Not any more! Sources close to BATTLESPACE told the Editor at DSEI that the UK not only no longer has a barrel making capability at Barrow-In-Furness, it also no longer has the steel making capability to manufacture the special hardened steels for barrel making. So, this once great industry which supplied Royal Navy from the days of Sir Francis Drake and the Army with all their artillery requirements, is dead! This may explain the sudden change of mind to include a 120mm smooth-bore gun in the Challenger 2 LEP in preference to the 120mm rifled BAE Systems gun, because, in short, they couldn’t supply it. No doubt Oman and Jordan will follow the lead of the British Army in choosing the RBSL solution smooth bore for their Challenger 2 and Al-Hussein Challenger 1 and Khalid tanks, respectively, given the lack of barrel making capability in the UK.
It may also explain why the AS90 has been quietly phased out with only four systems reported to be in Estonia, with the rest in storage. The BAE Systems Archer, on display at DSEI on an MAN chassis, is now being touted as a replacement for a 3×36 systems requirement, Nexter is also looking to supply its Caesar system should a competition result. The final straw appears to be the phasing out of the 105mm Light Gun, which has been sold all over the world, including the US Army, in favour of a Rheinmetall 120mm Ragnarok mortar combat system intended for integration into combat vehicles, which was shown at DSEI on a Supacat Extenda. The choice of the 120mm mortar as Defense News discusses in this issue, is also a strategic issue. No doubt, Supacat had this role in mind when they launched their new Extenda vehicle. (See: BATTLESPACE UPDATE Vol.21 ISSUE 35, 02 September 2019, Supacat launches HMT Extenda variant).
13 Sep 19. Hernon Manufacturing showed the Editor its new ammunition sealant system at DSEI. Hernon Manufacturing has developed systems for sealing ammunition against water and other contaminants. Our sealants ensure reliable ammunition performance and result in improved ballistic accuracy. This sealing technology allows users to move freely through and below water environments while remaining confident that their ammunition will not be compromised. Cameron Kraft told the Editor that the system creates higher accuracy for rounds as well as eliminating muzzle flash for sniper rounds. He said that the company was in discussions with BAE Systems about utilising its products for the CT40 rounds currently in production.
13 Sep 19. SAMI-Navantia deal confirms full tech transfer of Catiz CMS. A €1bn ($1.1bn) deal managed to slip under the defence carpets at DSEI, as SAMI and Navantia agreed a deal through their joint venture for the development and technology transfer of the Catiz combat management system (CMS) and its integration onto the Royal Saudi Naval Forces Avante 2200 corvettes.
Announced on 11 September through the Saudi state news agency, the contract is aimed to developed the country’s defence industrial base with the transfer of technology a key part of the deal.
In 2018 Navantia and Saudi Arabia agreed a deal for the build of five Avante 2200 vessels in Spain.
Coverage of the deal at the event – the largest of its kind in terms of monetary value at the Excel-based defence exhibition – was virtually non-existent, with mainly Middle East news agencies picking up the development.
A SAMI management official told Shephard that the JV between SAMI and Navantia (SAMI Navantia Naval Industries – SANNI) had been created to address the potential market of CMS for naval applications in Saudi Arabia and the wider Middle East.
To that end, SANNI would be ‘the reference company’ for CMS integration in the region, which includes the Avante 2200 ‘and future programmes on Navantia vessels and [vessels from] different ship manufacturers.’
Navantia will transfer its Catiz CMS ‘in full’, potentially providing a common CMS across multiple Saudi naval vessels and the region.
The move can be seen as a continuation of the earlier agreement and will see SAMI engineers and other personnel travel to Navantia’s site in Spain to complete system integration. This is part of a much larger defence industrial endeavour by Saudi Arabia to provide indigenous manufacturing capabilities to supply its armed forces.
Potentially, additional Avante 2200 vessels could be manufactured in Spain or Saudi Arabia, should the demand be present. The 99m, 2,500t vessel can be used for a range of maritime security tasks, depending on equipment fit.
Antonio Rodriguez-Barberan, CEO of SAMI-Navantia, in a release stated that ‘this new partnership agreement represents a landmark achievement for SAMI-Navantia as we embark on a historic journey with the objective of realizing Saudi Arabia’s ambitions to localize the Kingdom’s military and defense industries.
‘This creates an excellent opportunity to capitalise on our strategic partner’s extensive experience in the design, construction and integration of warships to build our own capabilities in the domain.’
Meanwhile, Susana de Sarria, chairperson at Navantia, stated that the contract with SAMI-Navantia ‘underlines’ the company’s support of Saudi Arabia’s efforts to develop its industrial capabilities in the defence sector.
‘This will provide a strong foundation for long-term, mutually beneficial cooperation between SAMI and Navantia,’ she concluded. (Source: Shephard)
13 Sep 19. Northrop denies Boeing’s request to join ICBM replacement team. Northrop Grumman has rebuffed a request by Boeing to team up to develop America’s next intercontinental ballistic missile, according to the latter company. The attempt comes months after Boeing dropped out of the running to compete directly with Northrop on the Ground Based Strategic Deterrent program, which is expected to cost about $85 billion over the life of the program.
“In our discussions to date, Northrop Grumman has expressed that they are not interested in partnering with Boeing to form a best-of-industry GBSD team,” Boeing spokesman Todd Blecher said in a statement. “We are increasingly concerned that the Air Force’s deterrence mission and the nation’s security will be deprived of the best solution — a proven approach that leverages both companies’ technical strengths and decades of ICBM experience.”
In August 2017, Boeing and Northrop bested out Lockheed Martin to be the final two competitors on the program. But in July 2019, Boeing made the decision to drop out of the program, citing in part its belief that Northrop’s acquisition of solid-fueled rocket motor manufacturer Orbital ATK, now known as Northrop Grumman Innovation Systems, gave the competitor an unfair advantage.
In a July letter to the Air Force, the head of Boeing’s Defense, Space and Security division, Leanne Caret, said the current acquisition approach gives Northrop “inherently unfair cost, resource and integration advantages related to [solid rocket motors].”
“As I said in my July 8 letter, we lack confidence in the fairness of any procurement that does not correct this basic imbalance between competitors,” the CEO added.
Caret at the time said it was “not realistic” to expect Boeing and Northrop could develop a competitive, joint bid in the five months before proposals are due, given that both companies have been working on separate proposals for more than two years.
However, that tune seemed to change in recent weeks, with reports emerging that Boeing was hopeful to join onto the project after all. It also comes as external Air Force experts raised concerns that Northrop being the sole bidder on the GBSD could lead to increased costs or delays. (Source: Defense News)
12 Sep 19. Senate bill includes $1bn in new money for hypersonics. A spending bill making its way through the Senate includes at least $1 bn more for hypersonics and hypersonics defense than what the Pentagon requested in March.
While the formal language for the legislation, which was passed by the Senate Appropriations subcommittee on defense Sept. 10., has yet to be released, a summary distributed by the subcommittee claims that the bill sets aside extra funding to several hypersonic-related programs across the Department of Defense.
The bill also furthers the debate over how to pay for an early warning missile defense satellite system built to detect hypersonic weapons that has become a point of contention between the House and Senate. While the House has expressed concerns with the $1.4bn the Pentagon requested for the program, the Senate bill bumps funding for the satellite system to nearly $2bn.
“The bill includes significant investments in both basic research and future technologies such as hypersonics, 5G, artificial intelligence, missile defense, and cybersecurity. We must continue to make investments today that demonstrate our commitment to ensuring that our Armed Forces are well-trained, well-equipped and better prepared than any other around the world, and this bill does that,” Sen. Richard Shelby, R-Ala., who chairs the Senate Appropriations Committee and the subcommittee on defense, said in a statement.
The bill includes $108m for the Hypersonic and Ballistic Tracking Space Sensor, which is being developed by the Missile Defense Agency and is meant to bolster the United States’ ability to track hypersonic weapons. Military leaders believe the current missile defense infrastructure is ill-prepared for that threat. The MDA listed the space-based sensor among its 10 top unfunded priorities in a report to Congress earlier this year.
The subcommittee also included $237.8m to fill the unfunded requirement of accelerating hypersonic defense programs.
On the other side of the hypersonic equation, the legislation provides $576m for Air Force hypersonics prototyping and provides an additional $14m for directed energy and hypersonic weapons prototyping programs. It also fully funds the Army’s request for $228m for hypersonics and throws in an additional $150.6m for development of a common hypersonic glide body.
The summary noted that the subcommittee recommends an additional $225.3m for test and evaluation infrastructure for hypersonics, space, directed energy and cyber. While the summary doesn’t list appropriations for every satellite program, it does note that the legislation provides the Next Generation Overhead Persistent Infrared program $536 m beyond the $1.4 bn requested by the Pentagon. The additional funding appears to be a response to recent reprogramming requests from the Air Force to drive more money to the program now so that the satellites are ready by 2025.
OPIR will succeed the Space Based Infrared System as the nation’s next generation early warning missile system. The Air Force has contracted with Northrop Grumman and Lockheed Martin to build the satellites.
Funding for OPIR has been a point of contention between the Senate and the House versions of the National Defense Authorization Act, with the White House wading into the battle to argue for the full amount requested by the Pentagon. The Department of Defense initially requested $1.4bn for OPIR in fiscal year 2020, but the House balked at the amount, which is a $459m increase over what the Pentagon projected for their 2020 budget request a year earlier. While the Senate authorized full funding for the bill, the House authorized just $1 bn for the program ― $376.4m less than the Pentagon requested ― arguing that the Pentagon had failed to explain the increase.
In a July 9 statement on the legislation, the White House weighed in, claiming that a failure to provide the full $1.4bn would result in delays and increased costs in the long run.
The full Senate Appropriations Committee will consider the spending bill Sept. 12. (Source: C4ISR & Networks)
13 Sep 19. British Army showcases Dismounted Situational Awareness gear. The British Army’s Dismounted Situational Awareness (DSA) programme has now moved from an experimentation to optimisation phase. The system, as it currently stands, was displayed at the Defence and Security Equipment International (DSEI) exhibition.
The DSA system is controlled through a Samsung S7 phone housed in a chest-mounted holder. Experimentation by soldiers from 3rd Battalion The Rifles (3 Rifles) produced some positive feedback, however numerous issues are to be addressed.
Currently, the system combines Global Positioning System (GPS), combat net radio (CNR), and a battle management app to deliver situational awareness. It is also possible to control the Black Hornet nano-unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) through the phone. (Source: IHS Jane’s)
13 Sep 19. Elbit expands Dominator soldier suite. Elbit Systems displayed four new wearable command-and-control (C2) devices at the DSEI 2019 defence show, which is being held in London from 10-13 September.
The devices are designed for special forces and infantry units in the field. “As warfare becomes increasingly networked, Elbit Systems’ new devices address the requirement from infantry commanders and soldiers to enhance their interface with command-and-control (C2) applications, with other force members, and with external sensing assets, thereby stepping-up situational awareness and combat effectiveness,” the company said in a statement.
Part of Elbit’s Dominator soldier combat suite, the new products are C2 displays integrated into ballistic eyewear (SmartEye), add-ons for weapon sights (SmartSight) and night-vision goggles (SmartNVG), and a watch-like device (Smart WristView).
All four are designed to provide soldiers with a quick and convenient way of receiving operational data that makes them more effective in combat, with the first three overlaying what the soldier sees with augmented reality symbology. In the case of SmartSight, this includes laser rangefinder data and a compass, greatly improving a soldier’s ability to locate and accurately engage targets.
SmartEye can provide a soldier with views from multiple sources, including weapon sights, unmanned aircraft, and sensors operated by other units, according to Elbit, while SmartNVG provides navigational data that enables soldiers to move around more easily at night.
Elbit describes Smart WristView as “a compact, low-power, rugged, wrist-strapped C2 display, providing warriors with a quick and convenient view of operational data in combat situations without altering weapon’s hold.”
A company source told Jane’s that a contract has already been signed with one customer and other potential clients have expressed significant interest in the systems. (Source: IHS Jane’s)
13 Sep 19. SIG Sauer publicly unveils NGSW system. SIG Sauer publicly unveiled its entry for the US Army’s Next Generation Squad Weapon (NGSW) programme at the DSEI 2019 defence exhibition in London during September.
This follows an announcement in August that SIG Sauer had been downselected by the US Army, alongside Textron and General Dynamics, for the next phase of the programme.
The aim of the NGSW is to provide the US infantryman with greater firepower, mobility, and lethality by replacing the current M4 carbines and M249 machine guns in service with a new rifle and machine gun firing a new 6.8 mm calibre intermediate cartridge.
The solution showcased by SIG Sauer revolves around a new 6.8×51 mm hybrid cartridge, the MG-6.8 light machine gun, the SPEAR assault rifle, and corresponding suppressors and electro-optical sighting systems. The whole system is the result of a USD40m investment by the company over a two-year period.
The core of the system is the 6.8×51 mm hybrid cartridge. The innovation touted by the company comes with associating a steel base with a brass cartridge case. Company president and CEO Ron Cohen explained to Jane’s that retaining a brass case was essential to SIG’s approach. Brass has been used in firearms design for more than a century and its properties in ammunition and firearms design are both well known and well mastered.
In order to meet the US Army’s requirement for 20% lighter ammunition and 30% more energy than current 7.62×51 mm NATO cartridges, SIG Sauer patented a new method of fixing a steel base by adding a washer to the brass body of the cartridge case. (Source: IHS Jane’s)
12 Sep 19. Market for air defence set to skyrocket. In a new forecast briefed on 11 September at DSEI Defence Insight predicted that the market for air defence and artillery systems over the next decade will be worth in the region of $160bn globally.
According to director of analysis at Shephard, Matt Smith, the forecast is based on tracking some 220 procurement programmes currently under way or planned during the period.
Smith went on to explain that four sectors in particular were expected to experience significant spend during the period. ‘It is the three air defence segments and self-propelled artillery that are the real leaders,’ he stated.
‘Really that reflects a trend that is evident across defence – a perception that the threat environment has become much more focused on preparing for high-intensity conventional warfare with this particularly evident in regions that feel threatened by the growing power of China and concern about Russia, particularly in Europe,’ Smith added.
In terms of the air defence market, the Defence Insight forecast states that the key drivers are the fielding of advanced fourth and fifth generation fighter jets, sophisticated unmanned aircraft and high-tech missile and ballistic technologies. In Asia, China is introducing the J-20, what it refers to as a next generation aircraft and is developing its own F-35-alike, the FC or J-31.
In the artillery market, Europe is the largest region followed by Asia and then the US. In the latter, the dynamic is different to that of the other regions with far fewer, but much more expensive projects.
The largest project in terms of modernisation and recapitalisation is the development of the M109 system through the Paladin Integrated Management project. It’s currently budgeted for over $3bn until the mid-2024s, with the US Department of Defense expecting it to cost another $3.4bn through to completion.
In terms of what is driving the trends in the artillery market Smith stated: ‘Our own data shows that the number of new programmes being initiated certainly seems to have trended upwards in recent years, based on when the first delivery of new systems has occurred.
‘A view that we have heard a lot is that the move away from counter-insurgency or asymmetric type conflicts in Europe and Asia has increased the need for longer range systems to counter adversaries with their own long-range capability.’
Part of this is that there have been advances in key technology areas that mean older systems are no longer competitive in modern high-intensity conflict the forecast suggests.
Mobility is one area, with the ability to rapidly move and fire seen as crucial to survivability. Modern tracked platforms also take advantage of enhanced armour.
Finally, underpinning technologies like automation – for areas like fire control, navigation, laying and ammunition reloading are also critical.
This is primarily to allow for more fire missions through more efficient processes, but also reduces the number of a personnel needed to operate a vehicle. (Source: Shephard)
12 Sep 19. Shoot and scoot: Industry answers call for more mobile firepower. As the U.S. military and its European allies look to counter Russian capabilities observed against Ukraine in Crimea, countries are looking to move away from towed artillery systems to highly mobile mortar systems that pack a punch at greater range.
The exposition floor at DSEI, a large defense trade show in London, was littered with examples of mobile mortar systems that are answering the call.
“We’re seeing the emergence of mobile mortars now due to changing threats and environments,” James Tinsley, a managing director at Avascent, told Defense News at the show.
“Where U.S. and allied operations in Afghanistan and Iraq used largely static mortar and artillery emplacements at Forward Operating Bases, these sites are easily fixed, targeted and destroyed by more advanced conventional adversaries,” Tinsley said. “Those adversaries use unmanned aerial vehicles, electronic intelligence and counter-battery radars to quickly target and counter-fire on vulnerable artillery positions.”
Militaries have increased their focus on mobile artillery solutions, as a result, Tinsley said, to include self-propelled howitzer being recapitalized with new systems like the Paladin M1299 Extended Range Cannon Artillery, Hanwha’s K9, BAE Systems’ Archer 155mm howitzer to name a few. And there’s an effort to extend the range of rounds like the Nammo ramjet capability.
Hammer of Thor
BAE Systems showcased its CV90 Mjölner variant — Hammer of Thor — with a 120mm mortar system, which is about to be delivered to the Swedish Army after completing qualifications. The company is seeing a genuine requirement from customers because they are seeing the threat and so the company believes its system fits the bill due to its simplicity for the operator.
Swedish Armed Forces Colour Sergeant Joakim Kylstad, a development officer at the Land Warfare Centre, said the system brings an increase in mobility and speed of firing and it can keep up with main battle tanks. The ability to shoot and move out of the way before an enemy can detect and return fire is critical, he added.
And the 120mm’s firepower and range are more effective than an 81mm mortar, Kylstad said.
While this variant was specifically designed for the Swedish Army, there are a number of other countries interested in the platform, Dan Lindell, BAE Systems’ director of combat vehicles in Sweden, said.
The company has sent information on both the Mjölner variant and an advanced mortar system to the United States, but the two have very different price points, Lindell noted.
The vehicle was delivered in record time to the Swedes. BAE fired the first shot from the variant just two-and-a-half months after signing a contract in December two years ago.
BAE also brought its Archer system on an 8×8 truck. The system carries 21 rounds and can be fired in two-and-a-half minutes.
Also packing a punch, Finnish defense company Patria displayed a 120mm Nemo turret on its 6×6 armored wheeled vehicle.
While not integrated onto a vehicle at the show, German defense company Rheinmetall brought its 120mm Ragnarok mortar combat system intended for integration into combat vehicles.
But even smaller vehicles came to the show with mortar systems highlighting easy setup and high mobility.
AM General’s booth had one vehicle – a HMMWV with a Hawkeye 105mm mobile weapon system using a standard M20 cannon installed with a soft recoil capability.
The company has been working with Mandus Group on refining and integrating the Hawkeye system to the humvee. The only parts different from what is already in the U.S. Army inventory is the gun system’s cradle and the recoil mechanism, Nguyen Trinh, company executive vice president of International Defense, told Defense News.
The 105mm system can be found on Korean and South African vehicles, but it’s installed on huge 6×6 trucks. Yet, AM General installed the gun without making any modifications to the humvee besides adding stabilizer legs to adjust to uneven ground.
In a recent demonstration, an experienced artillery crew at Fort Campbell, Kentucky, showed the benefits of a system installed on a humvee versus a towed M119.
Compared to the four minutes and 41 seconds an artillery crew of seven took to set up and first fire the system, the four person crew using the HMMWV Hawkeye system fired its first shot in one minute and 54 seconds after spending a day-and-a-half training to use it, Trinh said. In emergency situations, a two-person crew can set up and deploy the weapon.
Additionally, the system can fire 24 rounds within three minutes from the time the vehicle stops, and by the time a counter-battery radar has time to find the system, it’s already moving to its next firing position, he added.
And towed-artillery crews can normally only break down and set up the system several times before it becomes physically exhausting. But the mobility and ease of use of the Hawkeye humvee system means the crew can keep going longer.
The AM General system can also shoot in 360 degrees and is the only company worldwide with this capability. The rest of the systems out there can shoot in a forward-facing “wedge.”
One of the U.S. Army’s priorities is to increase protective mobile fire capability because of the threats observed by Russia on the battlefield in Ukraine, and the Army is evaluating systems including AM General’s system.
“Mobile, self-protected howitzers we believe are the future, not only in the Army but internationally,” Trinh said.
Ditching towed systems
The U.S. Army has recently completed an Army Requirements Oversight Council review on mobile, self-propelled artillery and language on the way forward is expected soon.
The United Kingdom is also looking at the same thing seriously and has requirements for a 155mm system.
But “I would say any country that has towed systems today and that really understands the survivability challenges of towed systems are looking in general terms at self-propelled systems,” Trinh noted.
While not at the show, the company also has a 155mm system called Brutus on an FMTV chassis.
The system doesn’t just have to go on a humvee or FMTV either, Trinh said, but any vehicle in a country’s inventory.
Also taking up less of a footprint was British company Supacat’s High Mobility Integrated Fires Capability with an 81mm mortar system on the back.
The U.S. Army has several programs that increase the mobility of 120mm mortar systems from the Future Indirect Fire Turret (FIFT) program, the Armored Multipurpose Vehicle (AMPV) and work within the Next-Generation Combat Vehicle program.
Several options are being demonstrated to the Army with Stryker for the FIFT program, with a target of installing on AMPV or the future Optionally Manned Fighting Vehicle.
“Mortars offer significant firepower in lighter weight systems than self propelled howitzers, albeit at lower ranges. But they are a highly effective complement to other systems,” Tinsley noted.
Most self-propelled mortars today are mounted in the hull of vehicles like AMPV or the Stryker combat vehicle. “These can be effective but they are slower to bring to bear, have an open roof, which is vulnerable to counter-fire and require a heavier vehicle to handle recoil or an expensive and complex recoil system,” Tinsley said.
So turret-mounted systems are “coming into vogue now,” he said. “They offer high rates of fire, maintain crew protection and tightly integrate fire control or indirect and direct fire missions. Some have automatic loaders and other automation to drive even higher rates of fire.”
The Army was moving in this direction back in the days of Future Combat Systems, but the program was cancelled with the rest of the program.
The international market has been developing and adopting these systems more quickly, according to Tinsley, and it’s likely that the providers with wares to show at DSEI are leading candidates for some of the things the U.S. Army is looking for, but will likely require U.S. production partners and integrators, according to Tinsley.(Source: Defense News)
12 Sep 19. NP Aerospace Rises to Defence Industry Challenge. This follows the award of a £63m MoD contract to NP Aerospace for vehicle Protected Mobility Engineering & Technical Support (PMETS) in January 2019. This contract covers the MoD’s fleet of 2,200 Protected Mobility Vehicles until 2024, including Foxhound, Mastiff, Wolfhound, Ridgback, Buffalo, Choker, RODET, Jackal, Coyote and Husky. The PMETS programme ensures they are upgraded to the highest standards and remain ready for combat.
At the contract award, Major General Colin McClean stated: “The Protected Mobility fleet has been hugely important for defence over the last 15 years, saving numerous lives on operations. It is vital that we continue to invest in our battle-winning capabilities, ensuring that they are always ready for training or operational purposes. “Given its significant role now and in the future, I am pleased we are partnering with NP Aerospace to deliver this contract”. (Source: Google/https://www.armyrecognition.com/)
12 Sep 19. The sensor solutions provider HENSOLDT has delivered the 300th equipment set for the MUltifunctional Self-protection System MUSS of the German Army’s new “Puma” infantry fighting vehicle. Thus, deliveries currently amount to 1,500 devices, comprising 1.200 sensor heads and 300 central units. HENSOLDT is under contract to deliver in total 342 MUSS equipment sets by 2020 to primes Krauss-Maffei Wegmann and Rheinmetall. Apart from that, HENSOLDT’s Optronics subsidiary provides the ‘Puma’ programme with weapons optronics systems, periscopes and driver sighting systems. MUSS was the Active Protection System (APS) selected for the UK DSTL MEDUSA Programme which was delivered by QinetiQ in the UK and Australia. The MUSS was successfully integrated onto the British Army Challenger 2 MBT by BAEs and the capability extensively trialed by serving British Army personnel during the Op User Trials.
“Electronic protection systems like MUSS are opening up enhanced possibilities for protecting armoured vehicles from attacks, as is already the case for aircraft or helicopters,” said Thomas Müller, CEO HENSOLDT. “Compared to conventional solutions, we are able to increase the protection level considerably without adding weight or risking collateral damage around the vehicle”.
MUSS drastically reduces the likelihood of a hit by antitank guided missiles or laser-guided ammunition and is the only operational soft-kill active protection system for ground vehicles worldwide. It achieves a level of protection which is not possible for the same total weight with passive armour while avoiding collateral damage.
Each MUSS system consists of four warning sensors, a central unit, an infrared jammer head, jammer electronics and a smoke grenade launcher. The warning sensors detect approaching missiles and laser beams aimed at the vehicle. The central unit activates an infrared jammer, which interferes with missiles’ guidance systems, and/or initiates the use of pyrotechnic countermeasures.
An active protection system like MUSS defeats threats before they strike a vehicle, by sensing them and providing a ‘soft’ response based on jamming or obscuration of the guidance mechanism with no risk of collateral damages. Moreover, MUSS is a discrete solution, which has no significant influence on the vehicle radiation as it features only passive sensors and an infrared Jammer with short activation time, not detectable either in visible or in thermal image spectrum.
Expert for decades in self-protection sensors and systems, HENSOLDT delivers major components for the electronic self-defence systems of platforms in the air, sea and land domain.
13 Sep 19. BCB International showcases floating armour at DSEI. UK military systems innovator BCB International demonstrated its new Floating Armour Torso System (FATS), which incorporates a lifejacket into body armour, at the recent DSEI show in London.
The system is designed to protect personnel in the water by automatically inflating, righting the wearer’s body and keeping the airway clear. The system’s built-in lifejacket is housed underneath the armour to protect it from being damaged once deployed. Most military armoured lifejackets house the buoyancy aide outside the armour, leaving it vulnerable to a range of threats.
BCB International’s Special Projects Manager Ben Simmons said: “The FATS system is an ingenious armoured lifejacket. Its dual-purpose application makes it a must-wear item for any operative who needs ballistic protection while working in maritime or riverine environments. The armour protects the uninflated lifejacket and the lifejacket itself automatically inflates once immersed in water.
“FATS is self-righting which means that if the wearer should fall into the water unconscious or injured, the system will flip him or her onto their back to keep their airways clear of water.”
Demonstrating the merits of system at DSEI, the company said the lifejacket insert could be removed to make the armour less bulky when operators transfer from water to land.
BCB also explained that the water-triggered mechanism to automatically inflate the vest can be capped to prevent accidental inflation in high-humidity environments or cramped spaces such as in a helicopter.
The armour comes in two buoyancy variants and the ability to use either hard or soft armour plates.
BCB International also showed a range of products including waterproof notebooks, its FireDragon fuel, blast boxers and a new modular buttstock. The FRAMM buttstock allows weapons to be used in a wider range of combat scenarios and makes it easier for operators to handle weapons when equipped with ballistic visors and gas masks.
BCB International FRAMM project manager Philippe Minchin said: “The FRAMM is not your typical rifle buttstock. It allows operators to customise their standard-issue firearms. At a press of a button, the FRAMM enables an officer to switch from a classic straight buttstock alignment to a lowered setting of their choosing thereby eliminating the risk of their helmet visors or respirator masks interfering with the shouldering, aiming and firing of their weapon.”
In the run-up to DSEI, BCB announced had renewed its contract with the Ministry of Defence to supply FireDragon to the British Army, as reported by Army Technology. (Source: army-technology.com)
13 Sep 19. Hanwha Defense (Stand S8-250) of the Republic of Korea (ROK) is hoping to achieve additional export sales of its K9 Thunder 155mm/52 calibre tracked self-propelled artillery system, which was originally developed to meet the operational requirements of ROK Army.
So far more than 2,000 K9 have been built for the home and export market, with known sales including Estonia (12 refurbished units to be delivered), Finland (48 refurbished systems to be delivered), India (first 100 systems from ROK followed by local production), Norway (24 new systems to be delivered), Poland (already supplying hulls for the local Krab) and Turkey (a locally built version called Firtina).
Maximum range depends on the projectile/charge combination, but when firing the standard US 155mm M539A1 rocket-assisted high-explosive (HE), the range is 30km; this increases to 42km when firing the locally developed 155mm K307 HE Base Bleed projectile.
It can carry out multi-round simultaneous-impact fire missions and in the future, trials will be carried out with the General Dynamics Ordnance and Tactical Systems XM1113 fitted with a Northrop Grumman, Armament Systems, Precision Guidance Kit, which is expected to achieve a range in excess of 60km.
In ROK Army service, the K9 is supported by the K10 ammunition resupply vehicle, which feeds projectiles and charges into the K9. The first export customer for this is Norway, which has ordered 12 units, with one of these supporting two K9.
There is already a two-phase programme to upgrade the currently deployed K9 to improve its capabilities. The first of these is the installation of an auxiliary power unit and an upgrade to the fire control system, making it fully digitalised.
The second phase is the installation of a fully automatic ammunition-handling system in the turret bustle, which will load the fuzed projectile followed by the charge system. This will offer a number of advantages, including a higher rate of fire while reducing the crew to three − commander, gunner and driver. (Source: IHS Jane’s)
11 Sep 19. A new milestone: Rheinmetall achieves 20-kilowatt radiant flux with its spectral coupling-based laser source. Rheinmetall has reached a new milestone with its innovative laser technology. The laser team at Rheinmetall Waffe Munition GmbH has now attained an optical power of 20 kilowatts cw with a laser technology based on spectral coupling. The laser source was constructed and commissioned in cooperation with NKT Photonics Technology GmbH.
In addition to the spectral coupling unit, the core of the 20-kW laser source consists of twelve narrow-band fibre laser modules with nearly diffraction-limited beam quality. In the spectral coupling unit, twelve individual beams from the laser fibre modules are coupled to form a single combined beam via a high-precision dielectric grid.
The advantages of this coupling method include minimal performance dissipation, maintenance of the beam quality of the individual beams in the combined single beam, and scalability to higher performance levels by adding to the number of coupled laser fibre modules.
Over the next two years, it may prove possible to gradually increase the beam output of the laser source to 100 kW. Initial tests conducted in 2012 indicated that a key element, the dielectric grid, could handle outputs of up to 100 kW.
In the meantime, Rheinmetall is pushing ahead with the internal qualification process and military hardening of the ITAR-free laser source (ITAR: International Traffic in Arms Regulations).
Along with the 20-kW beam guidance module and the 20-kW laser weapon station, Rheinmetall now possesses all relevant main assemblies needed for a modular, scalable 20-kW-class laser weapon system suitable for ground, air and naval scenarios.
11 Sep 19. US Army demos capability to redirect munitions using smart sensors. The US Army has carried out a test to demonstrate the capability of redirecting munitions in flight using a smart sensor network.
The experiment tested the capability referred to as Architecture, Automation, Autonomy and Interfaces (A3I), developed by the US Army’s Future Vertical Lift Cross-Functional Team (FVL-CFT).
It involved unmanned aircraft system (UAS), sensors and advanced technology such as artificial intelligence. The test was conducted at Naval Air Weapons Station China Lake, California.
During the experiment, an operator was seated in the back of an MH-47 Chinook heavy lift transport helicopter equipped with a tablet controlled a Grey Eagle UAS.
The operator fired a GBU-69 small glide munition from the unmanned platform towards a target on the ground. However, a second operator in the Tactical Operations Center immediately redirected the munition to destroy a higher-priority target detected by the A3I system. The A3I development team comprised the FVL-CFT and the US Army Special Operations Command. Developed over a period of nine months, A3I is a system of interconnected sensors.
Speaking at an Association of the US Army’s (AUSA) event, FVL-CFT director brigadier general Walter Rugen stated that the experiment allowed the army to successfully demonstrate advanced technology in lethality and reach.
Rugen said: “We really worked hard on our unmanned systems, our architecture, our automation and our interfaces up at China Lake against a real threat.”
The objective of the China Lake demonstration was to test the capability to penetrate an urban environment using networked assets, including manned and unmanned aircraft, munitions and sensors.
Rugen further said: “It culminated with a very open-system architecture on the Grey Eagle that was demonstrated very effectively.”
The efforts to pair these assets and automated processing capabilities to tackle enemy threat comes at a time when the army issued a request for proposal for the future long-range assault aircraft two weeks ago. (Source: army-technology.com)
10 Sep 19. The Javelin™ Joint Venture team, a partnership of Raytheon Company (NYSE: RTN) and Lockheed Martin (NYSE: LMT), successfully fired Javelin missiles from a Kongsberg remote launcher mounted on a Titan unmanned ground vehicle built by QinetiQ North America and Milrem Robotics. The demonstrations, conducted at the U.S. Army Redstone Test Center, Alabama, validated the integration of the weapon station, missile and vehicle.
“Javelin is ready to support emerging military robotic vehicle requirements,” said Sam Deneke, Raytheon Land Warfare Systems vice president. “Remotely operated technology like this protects soldiers in battle.”
Javelin has been fielded on the Common Remote Operations Weapon Station-Javelin across U.S. Army Stryker 8×8 vehicle brigades in Europe.
“Javelin offers true fire-and-forget engagements to 4 kilometers in most operational conditions,” said David Pantano, Javelin Joint Venture vice president and Lockheed Martin Javelin program director. “Once the launch command is issued, soldiers and vehicle assets like the UGV can reposition out of harm’s way. These tests demonstrated our ability to evolve Javelin capabilities to address new missions in support of the warfighter.”
Javelin is a versatile one-man-portable and platform-employed anti-tank and multi-target precision weapon system. The Javelin Joint Venture team has produced over 45,000 Javelin missiles and 12,000 command launch units. The program continually updates the system to stay ahead of advancing threats, including enhancing its platform-mounted capabilities.
U.S. and coalition forces have used Javelin extensively in Afghanistan and Iraq in more than 5,000 engagements.
10 Sep 19. MBDA brings MESKO into global missile supply chain. MBDA, Europe’s leading missile manufacturer, has today partnered with MESKO S.A. to bring the Polish firm into its global missile supply chain. Contracts from MBDA to MESKO S.A. were signed today at MSPO 2019 in Kielce, Poland. The scope of work includes components within multiple missiles including the CAMM air defence missile family and the Brimstone strike missile.
Warren Devine, MBDA Head of Industrial Co-Operation Poland, said: “These contracts validate our assessment that MESKO can provide quality missile components to MBDA’s exacting standards whilst enhancing our global competitiveness. MESKO will become a valuable part of MBDAs supply chain and a strong partner for deep cooperation.”
Gabriel Nowina-Konopka, Vice CEO of Mesko S.A. said: “Today’s agreement confirms our capabilities in manufacturing and delivering advanced missile systems. We are now included in the supply chain of components for one of the largest global manufacturers, and we are working on expanding this partnership on other ambitious projects.”
The contracts between MBDA and MESKO S.A., a PGZ company, follow on from the signing of a strategic co-operation agreement between MBDA and PGZ on missiles in February 2017. Since then, detailed assessments have been undertaken between both parties, which recognise the benefits and strengths of co-operation between each other.
CAMM and Brimstone are also offered to Poland for the Narew and Tank Destroyer programmes. In addition to global supply chain opportunities, MBDA’s co-operation with PGZ involves unprecedented depth of missile technology and know-how transfer to Polish industry.
10 Sep 19. Engineers at BAE Systems have achieved a 20 percent increase in munition explosive power by mixing current polymer bonded explosives using Resonant Acoustic Mixing (RAM) technology. This has potential benefits for a range of products in advanced warheads as well as general artillery.
Lee Smurthwaite, Munitions Delivery Director at BAE Systems Land UK, explained: “This new explosive process means we can add 20 percent more power to existing product lines – both warheads and shells. Thinking about future designs, this means less explosive can be used to achieve the same effect, reducing both space and weight. You could use this space to install more tracking hardware to increase precision, or increase the amount of propellant to add speed and range.
“The defence industry is currently developing a new generation of advanced missiles, so our use of this technology could really push the boundaries of what’s possible.”
RAM has enabled BAE Systems to make changes to the explosive formula that would not be possible using a traditional ‘bladed’ mixing process. As well as increased power, RAM brings a number of other benefits, including a significant reduction in mixing time and waste generated.
The next step is to increase the RAM capacity in BAE Systems’ dedicated munitions facility in Glascoed, South Wales, so that it can start producing RAM munitions at scale. Additionally, the facility will be used to develop new forms of explosive designed for the next generation of advanced munitions.
10 Sep 19. The real reason why Nammo rolled out a ramjet artillery concept. A little over a year ago, Norwegian ammunition company Nammo rolled out an “extreme range” artillery concept using ramjet propulsion, but that was just the beginning.
Nammo unveiled at DSEI a new ramjet-powered missile engine it is testing. The company’s focus in advancing ramjet artillery all along was to take the fresh experience and apply it to a new engine for high-speed, ultralong-range anti-air missiles.
The firm essentially took a traditional solid-fueled rocket motor-powered missile and turned it into an air breather in flight to boost range.
The model at Nammo’s booth looked reminiscent of its Evolved Seasparrow Missile, or ESSM, but the prototype is designed to be scalable for different missions and launcher platforms.
The new ramjet-powered engine missile’s range is expected to reach over 400 kilometers, according to Frank Moller, vice president of strategy and business development in the aerospace propulsion division of Nammo.
The range could be extended with additional booster capability. For perspective, an ESSM’s range is less than 100 kilometers, and the extended-range version would reach 150 kilometers.
Nammo believes this fills a gap in the market in terms of range and capability, Moller said. “You see that within new threats that are coming up, weapons launched from greater distance, and we need to counter that, we need more range,” he said.
To counter enemy capabilities and deter Russia, range is king, and not only in the U.S. where the Army has prioritized long-range precision fires development, but for European countries as well. Looking at Russia’s S-400 air defense system and its cruise missile development, for example Europe and its allies need more range in their missile systems to counter that, Moller said.
“Same thing goes for artillery because I think every caliber the West has had, the East has had some range that goes a little bit farther, he added.
European countries’ capabilities only lie in 1990s-era point defense against short-range missiles, said Endre Lunde, a Nammo spokesman.
One unique aspects of Nammo’s missile engine is that the booster is built into the missile itself, and during flight it transitions from a traditional solid-fueled rocket to an air-breathing system, Moller said.
The design of the propulsion system eliminates the need to carry a large amount of oxygen onboard like a regular solid-fueled rocket motor. “As long as these missiles are going to fly in the atmosphere, why not utilize the oxygen that is around them and reduce the weight of the propellant?” Moller said. “This allows us to have a much smaller missile” because the weight of the oxygen is removed from the equation.
When the missile is fired and reaches Mach 2.5 to Mach 2.8, the air intake on the system opens up and uses the incoming air to ignite the propellant inside. Some of the air goes directly over the propellant and some goes straight into the afterburner, Mollery explained.
When in air-breathing mode, the missile is capable of reaching anywhere from Mach 3.5 to Mach 5.
The ramjet engine is safer for firing in urban terrain because boosters typically fall out of the sky and therefore must land somewhere. Nammo has integrated the booster motor inside the burn chamber, Moller explained. The propellant burns to reach roughly Mach 3, and then the ramjet takes over. “Nothing falls off in urban areas,” he said.
The engine is also flexible enough to go on a variety of launchers, from ground to ship to air platforms. Moller said there is “great interest” in the U.S. military for the technology.
The company has already teamed with Boeing on ramjet artillery development, but there are also applications for the technology for such possible programs like a new interceptor for the U.S. Army’s Integrated Air and Missile Defense system or another longer-range missile.
The front end of the missile would be tailored to the mission, and it would be able to integrate with a variety of sensors, which is critical for targeting at long ranges. For example, an F-35 Joint Strike Fighter’s sensor could identify a target and communicate to the missile to destroy it.
With combinations like that, “then you very quickly fill some of those gaps, closing the range gap. You don’t need a new platform either on the launcher side or the sensor side — you just need the integration,” Lunde noted. The company plans to conduct a full-up flight test in a couple of years, according to Moller. (Source: Defense News)
09 Sep 19. Kongsberg and thyssenkrupp unveil new combat system. Kongsberg and its joint venture (JV) partner thyssenkrupp Marine Systems have unveiled a new combat system for non-nuclear submarines.
Named ORCCA, the combat system was introduced at the 7th International Submarine Conference SubCon 2019, which was held last week in Kiel, Germany.
The system is developed by JV company kta Naval Systems and provides adaptability and IT security.
ORCCA is designed to assist operators in decision-making by allowing them to conduct integrated data analysis using systems on board.
Operators will have access to the system’s multifunctional console to perform the analysis.
kta naval systems CEO Kathrin Rohloff said: “ORCCA is the most modern combat system for non-nuclear submarines on the market. We brought together the expertise of our colleagues at ATLAS ELEKTRONIK and Kongsberg Defense & Aerospace to create a unique combat system.
“We will equip all future submarines from thyssenkrupp with this highly integrated system.”
ORCCA has a modular design that allows further enhancements through the integration of new technologies in order to meet evolving mission needs.
This feature will allow customers to ensure the combat system is equipped with the latest technology to be adaptable to new requirements.
The system enables the integration of other subsystems and is compatible with all thyssenkrupp Marine Systems submarine classes.
ORCCA will also ensure interoperability in multinational missions such as Nato or EU missions.
thyssenkrupp Marine Systems said in a press release: “The communication between the systems onboard and to the national and in addition to the international domain modules is separated by a special IT infrastructure. ORCCA guarantees high speed and maximum security across the various communication channels.”
The quadrennial SubCon conference is organised by thyssenkrupp Marine Systems once every four years.
During the event, thyssenkrupp Marine Systems unveiled the 4th Generation Fuel Cell system for submarine applications. (Source: naval-technology.com)
06 Sep 19. MITRE study recommends US Air Force procure armed F/T-X aircraft. Key Points:
- A study commissioned by Congress recommends the US Air Force acquire an armed variant of the T-X trainer aircraft
- This would better utilise fourth- and fifth-generation aircraft for missions in the Pacific where airspace is more threatening
The US Air Force (USAF) should procure an armed fighter variant of the Boeing T-X trainer aircraft to serve homeland defence missions and free up fourth- and fifth-generation fighters to fight in more threatening environments, according to a federally funded research and development centre (FFRDC) study.
David Gerber, MITRE Corp senior principal systems engineer, said on 5 September that an armed F/T-X, if adapted to carry armament, onboard sensors, and air refuelling capabilities, could adequately defend the United States while being cheaper to operate than fourth- or fifth-generation fighters. (Source: IHS Jane’s)
08 Sep 19. Indonesia conducts first firing of Exocet MM40 Block 3 from SIGMA corvette.
- The Indonesian Navy has conducted its first firing of the Exocet MM40 Block 3 missile from a Diponegoro-class corvette
- The firing validates its latest anti-surface capabilities, including the ability to strike targets that are close to the coastline
In a demonstration of its latest anti-surface capabilities, the Indonesian Navy (Tentara Nasional Indonesia – Angkatan Laut: TNI-AL) has conducted its first firing of an Exocet MM40 Block 3 missile from a Diponegoro (SIGMA)-class corvette.
The firing, which was conducted from third-of-class KRI Sultan Iskandar Muda (367), took place in the Java Sea on 7 September. It was conducted as part of a joint Indonesian Armed Forces (TNI) training activity known as Exercise ‘Yudha Dharma’ 2019.
The service has conducted firings with Block 2 variants of the Exocet MM40 missile from its Diponegoro class in the past, but this is the first time that a Block 3 variant of the weapon is being deployed from the corvette. The latest firing has been carried out to test the TNI-AL’s latest sea control capabilities, the service stated on the same day. It added, “The Exocet MM40 Block 3 guided missile is a strategic weapon for the TNI-AL for it has the ability to attack ships at sea, and also targets that are close to the coastline”.
The target used in the firing was a 63 m coastal tanker that was previously in service as KRI Sambu (902). The tanker, which was decommissioned in August 2019, was located about 40 n miles (74 km) from Sultan Iskandar Muda at the time of firing.
The MM40 Block 3 is the latest installation of the Exocet line from MBDA. The variant features several improvements over previous generations of the weapon, including air-breathing propulsion, and the adoption of a Microturbo TR-40/263 turbojet engine. (Source: IHS Jane’s)
06 Sep 19. Pentagon Issues Classified RFP For New Missile Interceptor. DoD goes back to the drawing board to replace its missile interceptors. Can they make it work this time? The Missile Defense Agency has developed a classified draft request for proposals as it tries to rapidly restart a stalled ballistic missile interceptor program designed to knock down North Korean missiles in space.
Dubbed the Next Generation Interceptor, the program will replace the Redesigned Kill Vehicle which was cancelled last month after Pentagon leadership came to the conclusion that the multi-billion dollar program just wouldn’t work.
The draft RFP was handed out to defense industry reps — on CDs — at an industry day on August 29, about two weeks after the RKV was terminated by Mike Griffin, the Pentagon’s research and engineering chief.
The RKV program was part of an ambitious technology effort helmed by Boeing — though Raytheon was building the Kill Vehicles — to replace the current Exo-Atmospheric Kill Vehicle. Both are ground-based interceptors designed to defend the US mainland against long-range ballistic missile attacks.
The cancellation came as North Korea is in the midst of a series of short-range ballistic missile tests, which experts have said is likely assisting the country in its quest to build new, more reliable longer range missiles.
While the cancellation of the RKV was a surprise, issues had been mounting for the program for years. The Missile Defense Agency said back in 2016 it expected the first RKV flight test by 2019, with fielding in 2020. The latest estimate, released earlier this year with the fiscal 2020 budget request, pushed the fielding date back to 2025.
But the program, Griffin insisted earlier this week at the annual Defense News conference, still provided the Pentagon with a return on its investment. “The money, which was spent, did not go toward hardware which will be mothballed somewhere. It went towards the acquisition of knowledge, which will inform our future,” he said.
Boeing and Raytheon also won’t have to pay back any of the billion-plus dollars the government awarded them to do the work. “We terminated for convenience, not default,” Griffin added. “There are no paybacks due, and we learned quite a lot that we’ll carry forward into the next-generation interceptor.”
The scrapping of the RKV will cost the department several years as it replaces the older interceptor, but it remains unclear just how long it will be before the Next Generation Interceptor effort kicks off, and evaluation and testing begin.
The cancellation comes as part of an overall Pentagon effort to unsentimentally scrap underperforming programs. The Army has pushed the idea further than most, holding a series of Night Court sessions which have saved more than $30bn over the past two years. Likewise, Griffin said this week that he is deferring some work on space-based lasers because there’s no path to fielding them in the short-term, which is his priority.
“We’re looking at high-powered microwaves,” Griffin said. “We’re deferring work on neutral particle beams indefinitely. It’s just not near-enough term.” He added that he is looking to pump money into directed energy capabilities that can be ready in the next several years. “We’re focusing on nearer-term uses of directed energy, particularly lasers of higher power than we currently have,” Griffin said. (Source: Defense News Early Bird/https://breakingdefense.com)
10 Sep 19. ThalesRaytheonSystems and Leonardo will strengthen the cooperation on all aspects of the ACCS scope. The companies will work together in the areas of on-site system support, deployment of ACCS to new sites and retrofitting existing sites. It will also allow ACCS to benefit from Leonardo’s latest innovations in the fields of C2, communications, radar signal processing and ballistic missile defence.
09 Sep 19. The F-35A Is Set to Finally Get Chaff Countermeasures to Confuse Enemy Radars. The U.S. Air Force is hoping to integrate a new, advanced chaff countermeasure onto its F-35A Joint Strike Fighters next year, according to a report. The cartridges, which release radar reflective material to blind and confuse enemy aircraft and air defenses, are a staple across many of the service’s other combat aircraft, but have been curiously absent from the stealthy F-35’s otherwise extensive defensive suite.
Aviation Week’s Defense Editor Steve Trimble was first to spot the detail on Sept. 9, 2019. The Air Force included the information about the new chaff cartridge, known presently as the ARM-210, in a draft environmental impact statement, dated August 2019, regarding the basing of F-35s at various Air National Guard facilities. The report includes a host of information on how the aircraft might impact their surrounding environments, including the potential release of countermeasures, such as infrared decoy flares and chaff.
“The ARM-210 chaff proposed for use by the F-35A is currently unavailable and undergoing operational testing,” according to the environmental review. “It is expected to be available for use in 2020.”
It is unclear whether this applies to the U.S. Marine Corps F-35B or U.S. Navy F-35C variants, as well, or any of the three variants in service with foreign air forces. The F-35’s use or potential use of chaff has long been something of a debate, in general. Recent U.S. military budget documents and other sources make no mention of it among the aircraft’s expendable countermeasures – flares and towed decoys – which had suggested that it was, indeed, a capability the Joint Strike Fighter lacked and might not necessarily have needed given its stealthy design.
(defense-aerospace.com EDITOR’S NOTE: Contrary to what is stated above, there is nothing ‘curious’ about the fact that the F-35 was designed without chaff or IR flare launchers.
Since its stealthy design was claimed to make the F-35 invisible to radar, there was clearly no need for active countermeasures like chaff to protect it from radar. This same reasoning explains why no other US Air Force ‘stealth’ aircraft, from the F-117 to the F-22 and B-2, are not fitted with any.
By the same logic, the fact that chaff is now planned to be retrofitted to the F-35A merely confirms that, a quarter-century since it was designed, ‘stealth’ is no longer a sufficient guarantee of the F-35A’s survival in combat – if it ever was.
And this clearly poses a major problem, since ‘stealth’ is the promise that justified the aircraft’s many design limitations in terms of speed, range and weapon payload.
If ‘stealth’ is no longer the combat asset its manufacturer has long claimed to justify these limitations, the F-35A becomes just another aircraft with mediocre performance – but with a high sticker price and huge operating costs.) (Source: defense-aerospace.com/The War Zone)
Arnold Defense has manufactured more than 1.25 million 2.75-inch rocket launchers since 1961 for the U.S. Army, U.S. Navy, U.S. Air Force and many NATO customers. They are the world’s largest supplier of rocket launchers for military aircraft, vessels and vehicles. Core products include the 7-round M260 and 19-round M261 commonly used by helicopters; the thermal coated 7-round LAU-68 variants and LAU-61 Digital Rocket Launcher used by the U.S. Navy and Marines; and the 7-round LAU-131 and SUU-25 flare dispenser used by the U.S. Air Force and worldwide.
Today’s rocket launchers now include the ultra-light LWL-12 that weighs just over 60 pounds (27 kg.) empty and the new Fletcher (4) round launcher. Arnold Defense designs and manufactures various rocket launchers that can be customized for any capacity or form factor for platforms in the air, on the ground or even at sea.
Arnold Defense maintains the highest standards of production quality by using extensive testing, calibration and inspection processes.