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22 Feb 18. Pentagon budget 2019: Russian, Chinese hypersonics emerge as clear concern. Development of hypersonic weapons, and defences against those weapons, are given new life in the US Department of Defense’s fiscal year 2019 (FY 2019) budget amid concerns that peers such as Russia and China are advancing hypersonics technologies.
These systems, such as hypersonic glide vehicles, are meant to be capable of significant range within a short period of time; a hypersonic weapon would reach speeds between Mach 5 and Mach 10.
“We have investments in critical areas, such as hypersonic technology,” Pentagon Comptroller David Norquist told reporters at the Pentagon during the budget rollout.
For example, in FY 2019 the Pentagon is requesting USD263.414m for its Conventional Prompt Global Strike (CPGS) project. The now-secretive effort involves the military services, government agencies, national research laboratories, and industry. Previous projects included the US Army’s Advanced Hypersonic Weapon, the US Air Force’s Hypersonic Technology Vehicle-2, and US Navy efforts towards launching hypersonic weapons from submarines (likely via Ohio-class guided-missile submarines or a future version of the new Virginia-class fast attack submarines). Now, the programme broadly “funds the design, development, and experimentation of boosters, payload delivery vehicles (PDVs), non-nuclear warheads, thermal protection systems, guidance systems, test range modernisation, and mission planning and enabling capabilities”. Among other goals, the Pentagon wants “effects on targets in a very short period of time from execution order; non-ballistic flight over the majority of the flight path; positive control from launch to impact; adequate cross-range/maneuverability to avoid [sovereign country] overflight issues; [and] controlled stage drop over Broad Ocean Area”. This project is also developing non-nuclear warhead technologies to defeat time-sensitive targets. (Source: IHS Jane’s)
22 Feb 18. India test-fires nuclear-capable Prithvi II SRBM. India successfully conducted a night-time test-launch of its indigenously developed nuclear-capable Prithvi II short-range ballistic missile (SRBM) to a range of 350km off the country’s east coast on 21 February. Official sources told Jane’s that Indian Army (IA) personnel from the Strategic Forces Command (SFC) fired the 9m-long, liquid-fuelled, surface-to-surface missile at around 2030 h (local time) from a mobile launcher at the Integrated Test Range (ITR) in Chandipur, eastern India. India’s Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO), which designed the SRBM, said the tested missile had been selected randomly from the production lot of public-sector company Bharat Dynamics Limited, which manufactures the missile in Hyderabad, southern India. (Source: IHS Jane’s)
21 Feb 18. Mattis Upguns Infantry: Task Force To Invest Over $1bn. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis, a former Marine Corps rifle platoon leader, wants better technology and training to keep frontline foot troops alive.
He sent a Feb. 8 memo (below) to the Joint Chiefs, service chiefs, combatant commanders, and other top officials to create a Close Combat Lethality Task Force, applying the kind of top-level Pentagon focus on ordinary infantry usually reserved for jet fighters. Several sources tell us large investments are on the way for everything from night vision to body armor, a new rifle to replace the M16/M4 family, and frontline cyber/electronic warfare, with over a billion dollars in the “initial” phase alone.
The heart of the memo:
“I am committed to improving the combat preparedness, lethality, survivability, and resiliency of our Nation’s ground close combat formations. These formations have historically accounted for almost 90 percent of our casualties and yet our personnel policies, advances in training methods, and equipment have not kept pace with changes in available technology, human factors science, and talent management best practices.
“During 2017, the Department’s Cost Assessment and Program Evaluation (CAPE) office conducted a Close Combat Strategic Portfolio Review to identify the most promising investment opportunities to improve our close combat effectiveness and survivability. Our close combat formations will soon benefit from these investments.”
CAPE’s involvement is a sign of how serious this is. They’re the Pentagon’s elite analysts who often challenge the armed services on their balance of weapons and just how much a new weapons system will or does cost.
CAPE has handed over leadership of the effort to the undersecretary of defense for personnel and readiness, Robert Wilkie. The day-to-day staff director will be a retired Marine officer now in the Senior Executive Service, Joseph L’Etoile. The Joint Staff, Army, Marines, and Special Operations Command will all contribute personnel. The official organization chart, mission statement, and objectives aren’t due in to Mattis until Feb. 23.
Undersecretary Wilkie made the only previous public mention of the task force we can find, to Military Times. He told them it would improve teambuilding — what the military calls unit cohesion — by keeping unit members together longer, rather than rotating them from base to base every few years. The Pentagon’s dysfunctional personnel policieshave long hindered military effectiveness, and that they’re in question suggests how broad the task force’s mandate will be.
On the equipment side, meanwhile, the task force will look at issues that go beyond the infantry but intimately affect its fate. That includes battlefield anti-aircraft systems (Short-Range Air Defense or SHORAD) to defeat enemy drones, which, in the hands of the Islamic State, have threatened America’s 65-year-old dominance of the air. (The last American killed by an enemy airstrike was in 1953 in Korea). The task force will also study small ground robots and drones — including kamikaze armed ones called “loitering munitions” — that can provide the infantry with on-call reconnaissance and fire support. It’ll even look at how frontline units can handle social media and cyberspace.
The most contentious part of the portfolio is probably replacing the M16, whose killing power and reliability have been hotly debated since its disastrous early days in Vietnam. It’s not clear how the task force will interact with existing service initiatives. While the Marines are moving ahead with wide fielding of the M27, a longer-ranged rifle in the same small caliber (5.56 mm), the Army has decided the M27 isn’t a big enough advancement and wants to field an all-new Next Generation Squad Weapon starting in five years. (Skeptics will note the Army killed earlier small arms programs on similar grounds and soldiers are still stuck with the M16 and its carbine version, the M4). Mattis probably won’t tell the Marines to slow down but he may want the Army to speed up.
Meanwhile, Special Operations Command already uses a wide range of non-standard small arms, albeit in relatively small numbers. SOCOM’s also exploring a suit of Iron Man/Starship Troopers-style powered armor called TALOS. No word on whether this too will be looked at by the task force. (Source: glstrade.com/Breaking Defense.com)
20 Feb 18. Sweden – Patriot Configuration-3+ Modernized Fire Units. The State Department has made a determination approving a possible Foreign Military Sale to Sweden of Patriot Configuration-3+ Modernized Fire Units for an estimated cost of $3.2bn. The Defense Security Cooperation Agency delivered the required certification notifying Congress of this possible sale today.
The Government of Sweden has requested to buy four (4) Patriot Configuration-3+ Modernized Fire Units consisting of:
— four (4) AN/MPQ-65 radar sets,
— four (4) AN/MSQ-132 engagement control stations,
— nine (9) antenna mast groups, twelve (12) M903 launching stations,
— one hundred (100) Patriot MIM-104E Guidance Enhanced Missile-TBM (GEM-T) missiles,
— two hundred (200) Patriot Advanced Capabilty-3 (PAC-3) Missile Segment Enhancement (MSE) missiles, and
— four (4) Electrical Power Plants (EPP) III.
Also included with this request are communications equipment, tools and test equipment, range and test programs, support equipment to include associated vehicles, prime movers, generators, publications and technical documentation, training equipment, spare and repair parts, personnel training, Technical Assistance Field Team (TAFT), U.S. Government and contractor technical, engineering, and logistics support services, Systems Integration and Checkout (SICO), field office support, and other related elements of logistics and program support. The total estimated program cost is $3.2bn. This proposed sale will support the foreign policy and national security objectives of the United States by helping to improve the security of a strategic partner which has been, and continues to be, an important force for political stability and economic progress within the Baltic Sea region and across Europe.
The proposed sale of the Patriot missile system will improve Sweden’s missile defense capability. Sweden will use the Patriot system to defend its territorial integrity and promote regional stability. The proposed sale will increase the defensive capabilities of the Swedish military and support interoperability with U.S. and NATO forces. Sweden will have no difficulty absorbing this equipment into its armed forces. The proposed sale of this equipment and support will not alter the basic military balance in the region. The prime contractors will be Raytheon Corporation in Andover, Massachusetts, and Lockheed-Martin in Dallas, Texas. There are no known offset agreements proposed in connection with this potential sale. Implementation of this proposed sale will require approximately 24 U.S. Government and 32 contractor representatives to travel to Sweden for an extended period for equipment de-processing/fielding, system checkout, training, and technical and logistics support. There will be no adverse impact on U.S. defense readiness as a result of this proposed sale. This notice of a potential sale is required by law and does not mean the sale has been concluded.
(defense-aerospace.com EDITOR’S NOTE: The Swedish government has budgeted 10bn krona, or approximately $1.2bn, to purchase a modern medium-range air-defense system to replace its obsolete Hawk SAMs.
The US offer detailed above converts to about 26bn krona, almost three times as much as the budgeted amount and even more expensive than the 25bn krona that Sweden feared.
For comparison purposes, Sweden’s defense procurement agency, FMV, has confirmed that four fire units of the competing French-Italian SAMP/T system would cost about SEK 8.5bn, or about one-third as much.) (Source: defense-aerospace.com/Defense Security Cooperation Agency)
21 Feb 18. Baltic states boost artillery capabilities. When deployed, the ex-German Army 155mm/52 calibre SP PzH 2000 artillery systems will provide Lithuania with a significantly improved indirect fire capability.
The defence forces of Estonia and Lithuania are upgrading the indirect fire capability of their land elements, military officials from both Baltic countries highlighted at the IQPC Future Indirect Fires Eastern Europe Conference held in Bucharest, Romania.
The Estonian Land Forces maintains two infantry brigades, with one artillery battalion attached to each unit. These battalions are currently equipped with towed weapons.
The first infantry brigade operates 24 155 mm/39 calibre FH-70A1 field howitzers supplied by Germany from 2003, while the second infantry brigade has 18 Russian 122 mm D-30 guns supplied by Finland and originally designated H-63 in Finnish Army service.
The artillery battalions also operate 120 mm M41/D mortars supplied by Sweden as well as US supplied 81 mm M252 mortars.
Estonia is expected to acquire 24 ex-Republic of Korea Army (RoKA) K9 Thunder 155 mm/52 calibre SP system – manufactured by Hanwha Land Systems – with deliveries split into two batches of 12 systems.
Estonia is also placing increased emphasis on target acquisition, digital command and control, and fire control including interoperability with allied countries. For example, its FH-70A1 artillery system could benefit from fire-control updates.
Lithuania currently deploys ageing 105 mm M101 towed howitzers, which were supplied by Denmark from 2002. Based on an 80-year old design, the M101 howitzer requires time to come into and out of action and has a maximum range of only 11,270 m when firing the M1 high-explosive (HE) projectile.
These weapons will be replaced by 21 ex-German Army Krauss-Maffei Wegmann PzH 2000 155 mm/52 calibre SP artillery systems under a government-to-government agreement signed between Germany and Lithuania in September 2015. (Source: IHS Jane’s)
22 Feb 18. Russia deploys two S-400 batteries near Vladivostok. Key Points:
- Two S-400 batteries assigned to the 1533rd Air Defence Missile Regiment are now operational near Vladivostok
- The current deployment brings the total number of operational S-400 batteries in Joint Strategic Command East to seven
Satellite imagery captured in 2017–18 shows that Russia has deployed two S-400 strategic surface-to-air missile (SAM) batteries near Vladivostok, replacing S-300PS batteries. DigitalGlobe imagery captured on 3 December 2017 showed that a former S-300PS positioned east of Vladivostok was equipped with the S-400. Subsequent imagery captured on 24 January 2018 also showed a second S-400 battery deployed near Podnozhye on Ostrov Russkiy, south of Vladivostok. (Source: IHS Jane’s)
21 Feb 18. Bayswater chosen as manufacturing site for ballistic armour. RUAG Australia will produce world-leading ballistic armour for 225 Australian Army Combat Reconnaissance Vehicles (CRVs) in Bayswater Victoria if BAE Systems secures the LAND 400 Phase 2 bid.
Under the agreement, RUAG Switzerland will transfer the technology to RUAG Australia to enable the armour to be produced locally, a move that would boost Australia’s capability in advanced protection solutions. The arrangement would also allow for RUAG Australia to export the ballistic armour. The ballistic armour selected for BAE Systems LAND 400 Phase 2 bid, the AMV35, is a multi-material protection system that is combat tested and mission-proven.
BAE Systems Australia chief executive Gabby Costigan said Australian industry content (AIC) would be boosted under the arrangement.
“This is another example of how our bid for LAND 400 is increasing Australian capability and boosting local jobs and investment,” Costigan said.
“It brings into Australia new know-how and develops local sophisticated military technology capability that saves lives. It builds on BAE Systems’ unique track record of localising production and supply chains, something we can do with low risk and high value for Australia.”
RUAG Australia managing director John Teager added that the RUAG armour is already mission-proven, having been in service with several defence forces.
“Establishing this unique, in-country capability within RUAG Australia will further strengthen the Australian industry content proposed within BAE Systems’ offering for LAND 400 Phase 2 and will ensure that, in RUAG Australia, Australian soldiers can depend on an Australian company to supply them the highest possible level of protection that appliqué armour can provide,” Teager said.
“Already in service with a number of Western armies, RUAG’s appliqué armour is mission-proven and is a natural choice for BAE Systems’ LAND 400 Phase 2 solution.”
BAE Systems Australia has offered the Finnish-designed Patria AMV35 for the LAND 400 Phase 2 project, while competitor Rheinmetall has offered the Boxer CRV. Should they win, BAE will assemble their vehicles at Fishermans Bend, Victoria, while Rheinmetall will make their vehicles in Brisbane. Defence has completed its evaluation of the BAE Systems and Rheinmetall vehicles. The government will announce its decision this year. (Source: Defence Connect)
20 Feb 18. Latvia’s $134m missile buy expected to bolster anti-tank capability. Latvia’s Ministry of Defence has signed a deal worth €108m (U.S. $134m) to purchase Spike missiles from EuroSpike GmbH.
“The Spike family consists of 4th and 5th generation electro-optical missile systems, providing high precision and high lethality against various targets, including advanced [main battle tanks],” Guy Shilo, a spokesperson for Rafael Advanced Defense Systems, said in a statement.
EuroSpike is a joint venture between Germany’s Diehl BGT Defence, and Rheinmetall Defence Electronics and Israel’s Rafael.
The acquisition is expected to boost Latvia’s anti-tank capability. The missiles will also be installed on the secondhand CVR(T) vehicles the country purchased from the U.K., according to the Latvian ministry.
Under the plan, the missile systems will be gradually integrated with Latvia’s military units by 2023.
Russia’s military intervention in Ukraine and the subsequent annexation of Ukraine’s Crimean Peninsula by Russia in 2014 has pushed the Baltic states to intensify their efforts in expanding combat capacities.
The Latvian ministry says the country’s defense expenditure for 2018 is to reach some €576.34m, an increase of €126.8m compared with a year earlier. (Source: Defense News)
20 Feb 18. Raytheon Canada Limited is overhauling and providing in-service support for the Phalanx Close-In Weapon Systems operated by the Royal Canadian Navy. Raytheon (NYSE: RTN) produces Phalanx, a rapid-fire, computer-controlled radar and 20mm gun system that automatically acquires, tracks and destroys enemy threats that have penetrated other ship defense systems. More than 890 systems have been built for navies around the world.
“The Phalanx CIWS is an integral element of the Canadian Navy’s defence,” said Terry Manion, RCL vice-president and general manager. “This contract supports modernization work that will keep these systems ready and relevant well into the future.”
Under the $330 (CAD) m contract by Public Services and Procurement Canada, RCL, working with Raytheon Intelligence, Information and Services, will provide maintenance, fleet technical support, repair and overhaul services on the Phalanx mounts which will ensure the systems are ready to address current and emerging threats.
“Raytheon is a world leader in platform sustainment and modernization,” said Todd Probert, RCL board member and vice president of Mission Support and Modernization at Raytheon Intelligence, Information and Services. “We will continue to provide the technologies, systems and expertise the Royal Canadian Navy needs to stay ahead of rapidly evolving threats.”
Work under the contract, which was signed November 2017, will be conducted in Raytheon Canada Limited’s Calgary facilities. RCL has supported a broad range of Canadian defense and technology programs for nearly 25 years.
16 Feb 18. Accurate air and artillery strikes, coming soon from a tablet. The Corps is on the cusp of further integrating touch screen tablet and smartphone technology that will aid Marines calling in accurate air artillery strikes. It’s the latest development by the Marine Corps to procure small lightweight systems to aid infantry Marines in rapidly acquiring targets, as the force adapts to modern and rapidly rising near-peer competitor threats.
On Feb. 7 Marine Corps Systems Command submitted a request for solicitation for the MAGTF Common Handheld, or MCH, putting it one step closer to fielding a small handheld tablet-sized device that will increase the lethality of Marines on the battlefield.
The MCH uses existing smartphone technology to aid Marines in rapidly pinpointing targets for air and artillery strikes, and serves as a lightweight communications device that increase situational awareness and overall command and control on the battlefield.
“Take a Marine who is out on patrol and needs to send a spot report of a suspicious activity. With a swipe of an app they will be able to send information to the central command without having to boot up a laptop,” said Lt. Col. Tamara Campbell, a SYSCOM product manager, in a command release. “What Marines will have is a device that they know is secure and will not compromise their position.”
The new devices will be fielded to infantry squad leaders sometime in fiscal year 2019.
But it’s a long time coming for a technology that’s been in the hands of civilians all across the globe for more than a decade.
For the military, secure communications has been the Achilles heel for tablet and smartphone technology. Today’s off-the-shelf cellphones can easily be exploited by hackers and other sophisticated nation-state adversaries.
So the Corps partnered with the National Security Agency’s Commercial Solutions for Classified program, which aids the military in taking commercial products and reprogramming them to operate in classified environments.
“Up until this point, handheld commercial devices used for tactical purposes had to be reprogrammed with military-owned security not found in the original device,” said Maj. Kevin Shepherd, a SYSCOM program lead, in a command release. “Working with CSfC, we are using their approved list of devices. These devices will all have multiple layers of encryption, both on the phone and in transmission. If obtained by the wrong person, our devices should withstand any hacks long after the tactical information loses value.”
The new tablets are not the only devices the Corps is seeking to procure in order to rain down more accurate fires on enemy forces.
Recently the Corps selected a small rifle-mounted laser range finder called the Integrated – Compact Ultralight Gun-mounted Rangefinder, or ICUGR, manufactured by Safran Optics 1. The device will allow infantry squad leaders to accurately and rapidly range targets for strikes.
And the Marines are also in the process of replacing older and bulkier laser designators that aid ground forces in guiding laser-guided munitions to their targets, a device that will also function in the event a sophisticated adversary jams GPS systems.
The new MCH device will allow “the war fighter to quickly acquire targets in day, night, and near all-weather visibility conditions; and control close air support (CAS) as well as artillery and Naval surface fire support missions,” the solicitation reads. (Source: C4ISR & Networks)
19 Feb 18. Russia and Saudi Arabia Hash Over Details of S-400 Deliveries Deal. Negotiations on supplies of Russian S-400 missile systems to Saudi Arabia are on the final lap, with the sides discussing technical and logistics details, Saudi Ambassador to Russia Raed bin Khaled Qrimli told TASS on Monday.
“Regarding the S-400, detail discussions are continuing between the two sides on the final arrangements of this. We are discussing technical issues, especially regarding technology transfer and know-how,” he said.
Earlier, Russian president’s military technical cooperation aide Vladimir Kozhin said in an interview with the Kommersant daily that documents on S-400 deliveries to Saudi Arabia had been signed, with all the parameters agreed. Russia’s S-400 Triumf (NATO reporting name: SA-21 Growler) is the latest long-range anti-aircraft missile system that went into service in 2007. It is designed to destroy aircraft, cruise and ballistic missiles, including medium-range missiles, and surface targets. The system can hit aerodynamic targets at a range of up to 400 kilometers (249 miles) and tactical ballistic targets flying at a speed of 4.8km/s (3mi/s) at a distance of up to 60 kilometers (37 miles). Such targets include cruise missiles, tactical and strategic aircraft and ballistic missile warheads. The system’s radars detect aerial targets at a distance of up to 600 kilometers (373 miles). The system’s 48N6E3 surface-to-air missiles can hit aerodynamic targets at altitudes of 10,000-27,000 meters and ballistic threats at altitudes of 2,000-25,000 meters. According to earlier reports, China was the first to sign a contract for such systems. Later on, Russia inked an intergovernmental agreement for S-400 sales with India. In 2017, such a contract was signed with Turkey. (Source: defense-aerospace.com/TASS)
20 Feb 18. Israeli Arrow 3 interceptor test previews upcoming trials in Alaska. The Israel Missile Defense Organization (IMDO), Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI), and the US Missile Defense Agency test fired the Arrow 3 anti-missile system in the early hours of 19 February, sending its interceptor into space from a missile test base in central Israel.
The IMDO described the trial as a success, adding that the interceptor simulated striking a symbolic target representing a future threat to Israel. The trial is part of larger Israeli preparations to hold additional tests from Alaska later this year.
Moshe Patel, head of the IMDO, said the symbolic target simulated a hard target that the system will be directed to shoot down in future tests conducted from Alaska.
20 Feb 18. Russia’s Koalitsiya-SV SPHs. The testing of 12 units of Russia’s newest 152mm self-propelled howitzer (SPH), the 2S35 Koalitsiya-SV, is under way and will continue until 2020, when state trials are expected to be completed and a decision made on serial production of the system, said Russian Deputy Defence Minister Yuriy Ivanovich Borisov on 9 February. Borisov made his remarks during a visit to the SPH’s Yekaterinburg-based manufacturer, UralTransMash, which is a subsidiary of the UralVagonZavod (UVZ) machine building company and Russia’s prime producer of self-propelled artillery. He also noted during his visit that Russia’s current 2S19 Msta-S 152mm SPHs are currently being modernised at a rate of around 36 units annually. (Source: IHS Jane’s)
20 Feb 18. Russia’s Koalitsiya-SV SPHs undergoing state trials. The testing of 12 units of Russia’s newest 152 mm self-propelled howitzer (SPH), the 2S35 Koalitsiya-SV, is under way and will continue until 2020, when state trials are expected to be completed and a decision made on serial production of the system, said Russian Deputy Defence Minister Yuriy Ivanovich Borisov on 9 February. Borisov made his remarks during a visit to the SPH’s Yekaterinburg-based manufacturer, UralTransMash, which is a subsidiary of the UralVagonZavod (UVZ) machine building company and Russia’s prime producer of self-propelled artillery. He also noted during his visit that Russia’s current 2S19 Msta-S 152 mm SPHs are currently being modernised at a rate of around 36 units annually. (Source: IHS Jane’s)
20 Feb 18. South Korea aims to procure additional PAC-3 MSE interceptors. South Korea’s Defense Acquisition Program Administration (DAPA) announced on 7 February that the government will seek additional Patriot Advanced Capability-3 (PAC-3) Missile Segment Enhancement (MSE) interceptors from the United States, with a contract scheduled for later this year. Approved by DAPA’s executive committee, the move to procure the additional missiles was prompted by North Korea’s missile threat and will be undertaken under the US Foreign Military Sales (FMS) programme.
While the number of interceptors to be acquired is undisclosed, the new systems are understood to be scheduled for delivery after 2020.
In April 2014 DAPA had approved a USD1.3bn plan to upgrade PAC-2 interceptors and procure PAC-3 missiles by 2020, with a FMS request placed in November 2014 for 136 PAC-3 missiles and associated equipment for USD1.4bn. (Source: IHS Jane’s)
19 Feb 18. Ukraine seeks improved artillery capabilities. Ukraine has “long term” plans to adopt the NATO 155 mm/52 calibre standard for its conventional tube artillery forces, a senior official has revealed.
Speaking at the IQPC Future Indirect Fires Eastern Europe conference in Bucharest, Romania, Major General Andrii Koliennikov, deputy director of the Central Scientific Research Institute of the Armament and Military Equipment Directorate noted that two new indigenous 155 mm/52 calibre systems – one tracked and one wheeled – are envisioned to replace in-service towed and SP artillery systems, which are based on Russian 122mm and 152mm calibres. Although Ukraine has a proven ability to design, develop, and manufacture tracked and wheeled armoured fighting vehicles (AFV), its tube artillery systems are of Russian origin. These include the tracked SP 122mm 2S1, 152mm 2S3, 152mm 2S5, 152mm 2S19, and some 203mm 2S7. Towed artillery systems include the 122mm D-30, 152 mm 2A36, and 2A65, which are vulnerable to counterbattery fire as they require time to come into and taken out of action. Ukraine has already introduced new target acquisition capabilities to supplement its Russian supplied weapons, such as new observation systems for the forward observation officer (FOO), data terminals, communications systems, and artillery location radars. Its Russian SNAR-10 radar – based on the MT-LB multipurpose platform – has been supplemented by US-supplied AN/TPQ-36, -48 and -49 radar systems in addition to locally developed unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs). In addition to moving to the NATO standard 155mm/52 calibre, the Ukraine also wants to increase the number of artillery and missile troops, improve its artillery reconnaissance and management capabilities as well as its ability to execute counterbattery fire, and create a reconnaissance/strike system. (Source: IHS Jane’s)
17 Feb 18. Sweden to reintroduce ASW 600 anti-submarine grenade launcher. The Royal Swedish Navy (RSwN) is to return the ASW 600 Elma anti-submarine grenade launching system to frontline service as part of efforts to bolster its anti-submarine warfare (ASW) capabilities.
According to Sweden’s Defence Materiel Administration (FMV), the ASW-600 Elma systems – designated Antiubåts-granatkastarsystemen 83 in RSwN service – are to be installed on Koster-class mine countermeasures (MCM) vessels. Each vessel will receive four nine-barrel launcher sets firing M/90E 100mm grenades. The ASW 600 Elma system was originally developed in the 1980s to provide the RSwN with a low-cost ASW weapon suitable for use in shallow coastal and archipelagic waters. (Source: IHS Jane’s)
19 Feb 18. Australian Navy’s HMAS Hobart AWD tests its CIWS. The Royal Australian Navy’s (RAN) Hobart-class air warfare destroyer (AWD), HMAS Hobart (DDG-39), has successfully tested its 20mm close-in weapons system (CIWS). The destroyer used its CIWS for the first time to hit an inflatable surface target during the trial exercise. HMAS Hobart’s CIWS is noted to be capable of hitting both air and surface targets.
A naval gunfire exercise was also conducted, which saw the vessel’s 5in main gun evaluated from different distances and directions against a towed target.
Two practice delivery torpedoes were fired from the port and starboard tubes respectively as part of the exercise.
Both torpedoes were subsequently recovered by the Australian Navy’s Surface Forces branch for analysis.
The destroyer also successfully completed several other evaluations for the first time during the trial programme, including replenishment at sea with the RAN’s Anzac-class frigate HMAS Anzac and a deepwater anchor in the waters off Jervis Bay.
RAN commanding officer captain John Stavridis said: “HMAS Hobart is an outstanding warship that is up to the rigours that come with a busy tempo.
“Many of the things we have achieved for the first time these past several weeks will be daily requirements of this ship over decades to come, and we’ve shown we are a guided missile destroyer with a ruthlessly professional crew that gets the job done.”
The Australian Department of Defence initially accepted the delivery of HMAS Hobart AWD in June last year at the Osborne Naval Shipyard in Adelaide. The vessel represents the first of three destroyers currently being constructed by the Air Warfare Destroyer Alliance, which comprises the Department of Defence, Raytheon Australia and ASC, along with support from Navantia. (Source: naval-technology.com)
19 Feb 18. Work begins on manufacture of howitzer cannon systems for Indian Army. The US Army’s Watervliet Arsenal has commenced work on a contract to produce 145 howitzer cannon system units for the Indian Army.
Announced in January last year, the $50m foreign military sales contract is claimed to be Arsenal’s largest sales contract signed in nearly 30 years. Under the deal, the facility will develop M776 155mm barrels and associated parts for BAE Systems’ M777A2 lightweight howitzer.
Watervliet Arsenal programme manager for the order George Roach said: “To now seeing the first parts come off of the production line, especially after having worked on this contract for the last seven years, gives me a tremendous sense of pride.
“But having been in this line of work for many years, I know that this is just a start, as we will soon begin work on the larger and more difficult components of the order.”
While the howitzer components will be shipped beginning this fiscal year, the cannon barrels will be delivered by the fiscal year 2019.
The M777 howitzer has also been selected for use by US, Canadian and Australian forces. The easy to transport weapon has an unassisted maximum range of 24.7km and maximum assisted range of more than 30km.
The Arsenal is a subordinate command to the US Army Tank-automotive and Armaments Command and the US Army Materiel Command. It is the oldest, continuously active arsenal in the country, having commenced operations in 1812. (Source: army-technology.com)
16 Feb 18. Pentagon looks to counter rivals’ hypersonic missiles. Even as the Pentagon hustles to ensure that its defences keep pace with North Korea’s fast-growing rocket programme, US officials increasingly are turning attention to a new generation of missile threat.
These weapons under development by China and Russia – as well as by the US – can fly at many times the speed of sound and are designed to beat regular anti-missile defence systems.
The hypersonic missiles could change the face of future warfare, as they can switch direction in flight and do not follow a predictable arc like conventional missiles, making them much harder to track and intercept.
Admiral Harry Harris, who heads the US Pacific Command, said: ‘China’s hypersonic weapons development outpaces ours… we’re falling behind.
‘We need to continue to pursue that and in a most aggressive way in order to ensure that we have the capabilities to both defend against China’s hypersonic weapons and to develop our own offensive hypersonic weapons.’
In its proposed $9.9bn requested budget for 2019, the Missile Defense Agency (MDA) is asking for $120m to develop hypersonic missile defences, a big increase from the $75m in fiscal 2018.
MDA Director of Operations Gary Pennett recently said that the potential deployment by America’s rivals of hypersonic weapons – which could be launched from planes, ships or submarines and carry either nuclear or conventional payloads – would create a ‘significant’ gap in US sensor and missile interceptor capabilities.
Pennett said: ‘The key challenge to US national security and the security of US friends and allies is the emergence of new threats designed to defeat the existing ballistic missile defence system.’
According to reports in the Japan-based Diplomat magazine, China has developed – and last year tested – a new type of hypersonic missile called the DF-17. The US Office of the Director of National Intelligence this week stated China ‘has tested a hypersonic glide vehicle.’
Russia too is believed to be developing its own hypersonic weapon called the Zircon. According to Russian news agency Tass, it is to go into serial production in 2018. Though the Pentagon is warning about hypersonics, the US has been developing the technology for years.
The US Air Force says its X-51A Waverider cruise missile, tested in 2012, could travel at speeds faster than Mach 6 (5,800 kilometres per hour).
That is more than 1.6 kilometres a second, and future iterations are expected to go much faster. Part of the reason China has been able to advance its hypersonic missile programmes is that it is not subject to anti-missile treaties signed between the US and Russia. The 1987 Intermediate Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty banned short- and intermediate-range ground-launched missiles. Harris said: ‘Over 90 percent of China’s ground-based missiles would be excluded by INF if they were now in it.’
Still, by far the lion’s share of the MDA’s budget continues to go towards improving existing missile-defence systems. Various sensors and radars can track an incoming missile hurtling towards a target, then blast interceptor rockets toward it to pulverise it with kinetic energy. (Source: Shephard)
16 Feb 18. Russian Army receives Solntsepek systems, The Russian armed forces’ Central Military District in Altai Krai has taken delivery of new TOS-1A Solntsepek heavy flamethrower systems, the Russian Ministry of Defence announced 13 February.
The three systems have entered service with the district’s Radiological, Chemical and Biological Defence protection unit. Training for personnel on the new system has already taken place. The flamethrower systems are designed for setting on fire and eliminating hostile fortifications and buildings, and incapacitating light-armoured vehicles. (Source: Shephard)
16 Feb 18. The US Navy’s stealth destroyers to get new weapons and a new mission: killing ships. The Navy has a new vision for what its enormous high-tech destroyers will do: Killing enemy warships at extended ranges.
The Navy is asking Congress to fund a conversion of its 600-foot stealth destroyers from primarily a land attack ship to an anti-surface, offensive strike platform, according to budget documents released Feb. 12. The service’s 2019 budget request includes a request for $89.7m to transform its Zumwalt-class destroyers by integrating Raytheon’s long-range SM-6 missile, which can dual hat as both an anti-air and anti-surface missile, as well as its Maritime Strike variant of the Tomahawk missile.
Converting DDG-1000 into a hunter-killer is a win for the surface warfare community’s years-long drive to beef up the force’s offensive capabilities. It also answers the bell for U.S. Pacific Command, which has been pushing for the Navy to add longer range weapons to offset the increasing threat from Chinese long-range missile technology.
The SM-6 is a versatile missile that the Navy has been excited about. In August, the Navy shot down a medium-range ballistic missile target with the SM-6, which uses a fragmenting explosion near its target as the kill mechanism. This is different from the SM-3 Block IIA in development that hits its target directly. It can also be used to hit surface targets at sea and on land from hundreds of miles away.
The Navy is planning to buy 625 of the SM-6 over the next five years.
For the Maritime Tomahawk, Raytheon is integrating a new seeker into its tried-and-true strike missile for long-range ship-on-ship engagements.
The future USS Michael Monsoor passes Fort Popham travels down the Kennebec River as it heads out to sea for trials, Monday, Dec. 4, 2017, in Phippsburg, Maine.
The decision to switch the requirements from a land-attack platform to an anti-surface platform came in November following a review of the requirements, according to the documents.
“After a comprehensive review of Zumwalt class requirements, Navy decided in November 2017 to refocus the primary mission of the Zumwalt Class Destroyers from Land Attack to Offensive Surface Strike,” the documents read. “The funding requested in [FY19] will facilitate this change in mission and add lethal, offensive fires against targets afloat and ashore.”
USNI News first reported in December that the Navy was eyeing converting the Zumwalt to a surface strike platform.
The lead ship in the class, Zumwalt, is currently getting an overhaul and combat systems installation in San Diego. The Michael Monsoor, the second in the class, completed acceptance trials this month.
Getting a surface strike platform in the Pacific fits snugly in with the distributed lethality concept that was championed by former Naval Surface Force Pacific commander Vice Adm. Thomas Rowden. Rowden argued that surface ships can and should be used in an offensive capacity, not just be relegated to the defense of the aircraft carrier.
By adding long-range systems to every kind of ship, Rowden argued, it forces potential adversaries to expend resources looking not just for destroyers and cruisers but also littoral combat ships and even amphibious ships that have not had a strike role in the past.
In testimony submitted Feb. 14 to the House Armed Services Committee, PACOM commander Adm. Harry Harris said China’s advancing capabilities made investing in long-range systems for his theater is a must. All three of the Zumwalt-class destroyers will be based in the Pacific.
“I need increased lethality, specifically ships and aircraft equipped with faster and more survivable weapons systems,” Harris wrote. “Longer range offensive weapons on every platform are an imperative.”
The money requested in 2019 also funds a combat systems refresh, a datalink upgrade and some new signals intelligence collection equipment. It also goes after some cyber-security hardening and replacing components of the ship’s computing systems that are becoming obsolete.
Funds will also be expended replacing displays for consoles that run the ship’s computing systems, known as the Common Display System . There are about 40 consoles that use the display per hull and 22 on the class’s shore trainer.
“The CDS variant on Zumwalt class are unique configuration based on a 10 year old design and should be aligned with ongoing modernization efforts in the Fleet.”
One thing the budget isn’t funding is a new round for the ship’s purpose-built Advanced Gun System. In late 2016, the service canceled its Long Range Land Attack Projectile, which cost about a m dollars per round, and has struggled to come up with a replacement round for the gun.
“The Advanced Gun Systems will remain on the ships, but in an inactive status for future use, when a gun round that can affordably meet the desired capability is developed and fielded,” the documents read.
In January, Zumwalt’s former commanding officer, Capt. James Kirk, said the Navy was in a holding pattern on the guns. While the service is keeping an eye on a couple key technologies that could fill in the gap left by LRLAP, “there is not a plan right now for a specific materiel solution for the replacement round,” Kirk told reporters at the Surface Navy Association symposium.
“We continue to monitor industry’s development and technical maturation. An example of that is the Hyper Velocity Projectile,” he said, referring to a high speed guided munition made by BAE Systems and originally developed for use in electromagnetic rail guns.
“We’re monitoring that technical maturation to see do we get there to get the kind of ranges and capabilities we want, that’s the right bang for the buck, cost to capability, for the Navy. We’re monitoring that, but we have not made a decision for that yet.”
The Navy got in its present pickle with the 155mm/62-caliber gun with automated magazine and handling system because the service cut the buy from 28 ships, to seven, and finally to three.
The AGS, the largest U.S. naval gun system since World War II, was developed specifically for the Zumwalt class, as was the LRLAP round it was intended to shoot. There was no backup plan so when the buy went from 28 to thee, the costs stayed static, driving the price of the rounds through the roof.
“We were going to buy thousands of these rounds,” said a Navy official familiar with the program told Defense News at the time. “But quantities of ships killed the affordable round.” (Source: Defense News)
16 Feb 18. Russia set to finalise TOR-M2DT SHORAD testing. Russia is set to begin final qualification of the TOR-M2DT (9K331MDT) Arctic short-range air defence (SHORAD) system. Initial test firings of the TOR-M2DT were planned for 15 February at Kapustin Yar test site in Astrakhan Oblast, with the system scheduled to enter serial production and Russian service later this year. Developed by Russia’s JSC Izhevsk Electromechanical Plant Kupol (a subsidiary of the Almaz-Antey Concern), the amphibious Tor-M2DT system is mounted on a DT-30PM-T1 articulated all-terrain tracked carrier and armed with 16 vertical-launched 9M331 and 9M332 SAMs with a maximum range of 12km at altitudes of up to 10km. Want to read more? For analysis on this article and access to all our insight content, please enquire about our subscription options at ihs.com/contact (Source: IHS Jane’s)
16 Feb 18. MBDA and Airspeed to explore production options for MMP missile. MBDA Australia has entered a new contract with composite company Airspeed to explore alternative production options for its MMP anti-tank guided missile launch tube. Under the deal, Airspeed will use its advanced aerospace composite material manufacturing techniques to assess the options.
MBDA Australia managing director Andy Watson said: “MBDA is offering its MMP missile as part of the $20bn Land 400 project. It is the only fifth generation anti-tank guided weapon (ATGW) that is in production and in service today and represents the cutting edge of technology, design and performance.
“It is only natural for MBDA to work with Airspeed to develop similarly cutting-edge production techniques that could create more efficient and cost-effective manufacturing methods.
Watson added: “As we have said for some time now, our aim is for MMP to become the first missile that is built, maintained and evolved in Australia and I see this contract as a major step in delivering that vision.”
With a 1.3m-long in-tactical canister, MBDA’s MMP is a lightweight weapon system that is easily transportable. It features reconnaissance and identification capability in both day and night, as well as under adverse weather conditions.
According to Watson, the approach of MBDA to the Australian industrial capability is based on ensuring that the Federal Government has the ‘highest level of independent capability in its use of the missile’ and providing ‘real opportunities’ for Australian industry. (Source: army-technology.com)
15 Feb 18. Missile Defense Agency asks for $700m to bolster hypersonic defense. While ballistic and homeland missile defense have grabbed the headlines in recent months due to the growing threat from North Korea, leaders from the Missile Defense Agency outlined Feb. 12 how the Department of Defense is preparing for future threats that could challenges the current ballistic missile defense system.
Specifically, Pentagon leaders are increasingly worried about hypersonic threats.
“The key challenge to U.S. national security and the security of U.S. friends and allies is the emergence of new threats designed to defeat the existing BMDS,” said Gary Pennett, the agency’s director of operations. “The potential fielding of hypersonic weapons capable of launching from any location would create significant sensor and interceptor capability gaps. This evolving threat demands a globally present and persistent space sensor network to track it from birth to death.”
To respond to this demand MDA is requesting $120 m in fiscal 2019 for hypersonic missile defense. While this is a small segment of MDA’s $9.9bn budget, it is a significant increase in the agency’s funding for this area. For fiscal 2018, Congress authorized $75.3 m for MDA to initiate the development of a capability to counter hypersonic boost-glide vehicles and conventional prompt strike assets, as required by the FY17 National Defense Authorization Act Sec. 1687.
“MDA will execute a rigorous systems engineering process, identify and mature full kill chain technology, provide analysis and assessment of target of opportunity events, and execute near term sensor and command and control capability upgrades to address defense from hypersonic threats,” the agency’s budget book reads. “This effort will execute the Defense Science Board’s recommendations to develop and deliver a set of material solutions to address and defeat hypersonic threats informed by a set of near-term technology demonstrations.”
The budget request calls for spending $157m in fiscal 2020, $142m in 2021, $117m in 2022 and $119m in 2023. In all, the agency asks for $732m through 2023.
To date only the United States and China are known to have tested hypersonic weapons, which are defined as weapons that travel at least five times the speed of sound. China’s DF-ZF, or WU-14, is believed to have been tested at least seven times since Jan. 2014.
However, it is difficult to determine if these tests were successful. According to testimony from James Acton, senior fellow in the nuclear policy program at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, even if the United States was able to track the launch of a hypersonic vehicle with infra-red sensors and early warning launch satellites, there may not be enough information to confidently determine if the test was a success or failure.
“[I]magine that China, unbeknownst to the United States, sought to land a glider within, say, 50 m of a target. If it actually missed by 10 km… China might consider such a test to be a failure or least only a partial success. However, the United States… might incorrectly conclude the test was successful because the glider had flown over the entire planned range,” Acton testified. Without knowing the specific goals of each test, it is extremely difficult to confidently label a test a success or failure.
If MDA, as Pennett suggests, works to field a persistent, layered space sensor network, tracking such tests in the future may become easier, and provide more insight into the Chinese hypersonics program.
Boeing’s experimental hypersonic weapon, the X-51 Waverider, has performed at least four test flights since May 2010. The Waverider set the record for longest hypersonic flight on May 1, 2013, flying for three and a half minutes at its top speed of Mach 5.1. (Source: C4ISR & Networks)
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