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20 Nov 19. Special Operations Command Is Experimenting With Bullets That Shoot Through Water. The supercavitating round might allow Navy SEALs to open fire before they break the surface. There’s a reason bad guys in spy movies use harpoon guns when they have to fight underwater. Regular bullets lose their deadly momentum when traveling through liquid or other dense substances. U.S. Special Operations Command, or SOCOM, has begun experimenting with new bullets that could allow frogmen to shoot up into enemy boats or helicopter gunners to strafe periscope-depth submarines.
How does it work? The tungsten-tipped CAV-X bullet from Virginia’s DSG Technologies has a nose that creates a small air bubble as it moves through the water. The bubble greatly reduces drag on the bullet, a supercavitation effect that has been part of torpedo design since World War II and is now a feature on some types of boats.
DSG provided bullets to Special Operations Command for testing earlier this month. Odd Leonhardsen, the company’s chief science officer, said the tests will include firing up toward the surface from underwater, and some others he said he wasn’t told about.
SOCOM officials haven’t returned calls for comment.
But the company mounted its own demonstration on Wednesday morning at a shooting range outside Fayetteville, North Carolina. Using a Colt AR-15, a company employee fired a CAV-X bullet through 13 blocks of ballistic gelatin, each 1.3 feet long — the kind the FBI uses in testing. The cubes, a bit denser than water, stand in for human flesh. A normal bullet will penetrate just a couple of cubes.
DSG officials said the demonstration, which was part of a larger event put on by the Global SOF Foundation, bested an “unofficial” world record that DSG had set just the day before, and another record that they had bested in May. The company also demonstrated different bullets that can shoot through sandbags, through 2 cm of steel (with no ricochet), and through body armor.
Only recently, said Leonhardsen, has the company entered a phase where it can mass produce the special bullets.
DSG is also selling to other governments, Leonhardsen said. He declined to identify them. He did say those governments were testing how well the bullets performed when fired from helicopters into the water. One potential target: submarines. In tests performed by DSG, the .50-cal. bullets can travel 60 meters through water or penetrate 2 cm of steel through 17 meters of water. (Source: Defense One)
22 Nov 19. Watpac wins major western Sydney Defence project contract. Construction of a $95m Naval Guided Weapons Maintenance Facility is set to begin in Orchard Hills, Sydney, after Watpac was announced as head contractor of the project.
The announcement was made by Minister for Defence Industry Melissa Price and federal member for Lindsay, Melissa McIntosh, with confirmation that work on the project would begin within weeks.
“The new facility will enhance maintenance components for Navy’s guided weapons systems, directly supporting the operations of the Australian Defence Force,” Minister Price said.
“It will include working accommodation for 30 personnel, receipt and dispatch areas, a maintenance workshop and specialised electronic test facilities for naval guided weapons systems.”
McIntosh said the Morrison government’s defence procurement policies are supporting local businesses in achieving a greater share of Defence work.
“We know that guided weapons inventory has evolved significantly and this will continue. Looking to the future, western Sydney will be at the forefront of defence technology and advanced manufacturing and this is another project unlocking opportunities for our community. Locally, we will be driving technology that will be used across the country by our Australian Defence Force,” said McIntosh.
“This $95m investment and Watpac committing to sourcing 95 per cent of their sub-contract work from local industry within 50 kilometres of Defence Establishment Orchard Hills is a win for western Sydney jobs. I formed the Lindsay Jobs of the Future Forum to encourage our kids to be educated and trained in the jobs coming to western Sydney and I look forward to seeing our defence technology evolve right here in Orchard Hills.”
Construction is scheduled to commence in November 2019, with completion by July 2021. (Source: Defence Connect)
21 Nov 19. DoD Hypersonic Capabilities Symposium.
- April 23-24, 2020
- Alexandria, VA, United States
The 2nd annual DoD Hypersonic Capabilities Symposium brings together members of the DoD and Industry for an open dialogue about the various challenges and opportunities that exist in developing and employing hypersonic systems across the military. This educational forum will provide US military commands, government agencies, academia, and technology providers the chance to more effectively and efficiently pursue opportunities to harness the power of hypersonic technology.
Topics to be Covered at the Symposium:
- Developing and Fielding Transformative Hypersonic Capabilities
- Providing Strategic Deterrence and Global Strike Capabilities Through Hypersonic Weapons
- Impact of Hypersonic Capabilities on Future United States Marine Corps Operations
- Developing and Deploying A Next Generation Hypersonic Missile for Navy Ships
- Utilizing Hypersonic Technology to Improve Long Range Fires Capabilities
- Defending American Assets from Hypersonic Strikes
- Effects of Hypersonic Weapons On Global Security
- Efforts Towards Developing Efficient Hypersonic Engines
Why You Should Attend This Year’s Symposium
This educational symposium will bring together senior DoD officials, military leaders, academia, and solution providers to explore emerging concepts and capabilities in hypersonic weapons and systems in both offensive and defensive measures. The hypersonic market is predicted to be have sales of over $5 billon by the mid 2020’s and is the main priority of development for the Pentagon according to Under Secretary of Defense for Research and Engineering Michael Griffin. hypersonic technology has the potential to be a ground-breaking technology that changes the way future wars are fought and the balance of global power.
Our 2020 DoD Hypersonic Capabilities Symposium will emphasize the pressing need to develop offensive and defensive hypersonic technologies to counter and gain a lead on Russian and Chinese technological advances in this field. Hypersonic Missiles and Glide Vehicles can bypass conventional missile defense systems and pose a threat to US Forces across ground, air, and sea. Developing counter measures, as well as missiles of our own will provide the United States with the deterrence needed to prevent an attack against its forces and help maintain its place as the dominant global force.
This symposium will feature senior level discussions that emphasize the critical need for the rapid acquisition and development of hypersonic capabilities across all services. This program will allow for open and honest dialogue to solve the nation’s most difficult technical and strategic challenges.
2019 Speakers Included:
- Gen Timothy Ray, USAF, Commander, Air Force Global Strike Command
- VADM Johnny Wolfe, USN, Director, Strategic Systems Programs
- LTG Neil Thurgood, USA, Director of Hypersonics, Directed Energy, Space and Rapid Acquisition, Office of the Assistant Secretary of the Army (Acquisition, Logistics and Technology)
- Michael E. White, Assistant Director, Hypersonics, Office of the Under Secretary of Defense Research and Engineering
- Maj. Gen. Kirk S. Pierce, USAF, Deputy Director of Operations, Headquarters North American Aerospace Defense Command
- BGen Christian Wortman, USMC, Commanding General, Marine Corps Warfighting Laboratory, Vice Chief, Office of Naval Research (Source: ASD Network)
21 Nov 19. A U.S. Army MQ-1C ER Gray Eagle Extended Range (GE-ER) Unmanned Aircraft System (UAS) manufactured by General Atomics Aeronautical Systems, Inc. (GA-ASI) performed a flight demonstration using a Dynetics GBU-69B Small Glide Munition (SGM) on August 21-22. The SGM is a lightweight munition with increased effective range.
“The GE-ER operates at an altitude that provides an advantage when using stand-off munitions,” said David R. Alexander, president, GA-ASI. “The reduced weight of the SGM allows the UAS to carry more munitions per aircraft.”
The demonstration was conducted at a military test range in California in collaboration with the U.S. Army and Dynetics using a GBU-69B SGM installed onto a GE-ER. When launched from the GE-ER at maximum altitude, the glide weapon can reach extended ranges, which means it can effectively engage threats in a multi-domain operations environment while staying out the engagement zones of threat weapons.
“The increased standoff range of the SGM enhances Gray Eagle ER’s survivability and mission effectiveness when operating in contested airspace,” said Alexander.
GE-ER is a long-range variant of the U.S. Army’s Gray Eagle UAS. It provides the U.S. Army with increased endurance, more payload capacity to support future mission tasking, and considerable improvements in system reliability and maintainability.
19 Nov 19. IWI Israel Weapon Industries (IWI), SK Group Member – a leader in the production of combat-proven small arms for law enforcement agencies, governments and armies worldwide, as well as commercial markets in the US ‒ announces its expansion, reflected in the marketing of its semi-automatic weapons to the European commercial markets of sport-shooting and hunting. The weapons to be marketed include the TAVOR family, the GALIL ACE family, and the UZI Pro, all of which will be soon displayed in the next-coming Milipol Paris and Defense & Security Thailand trade shows.
Ronen Hamudot, Corporate VP Marketing and Sales, SK Group, explains: “In light of IWI’s success in marketing these weapons to the US commercial market, the company has decided to expand its reach towards the commercial market in Europe as well”
IWI’s offering to the European commercial market has so far focused mainly on pistols for personal use, such as the popular JERICHO and MASADA.
According to Hamudot “We greatly appreciate the distinguished history of sport shooting and hunting in Europe, and believe that our high quality solutions will be very successful in this market and will meet the high demands.
Among these weapons is the new member to the TAVOR family – TAVOR TS12 shotgun – which has so far been offered only to the US market and will now be showcased in Europe for the first time.
The TAVOR TS12 shotgun is a gas regulated bullpup shotgun. With an innovative design it feeds from one of three individual magazines which can each hold four 3inch or five 2¾ inch shotgun shells. This results in a potential overall capacity from all three individual magazines of 15 rounds plus one additional round in the chamber. The TS12 has a unique feature that automatically loads a round in the chamber once the subsequent loaded magazine is rotated into position. It can be fed and unloaded from either side. Additional features of the TS12 include four sling attachment points, M-LOK compatible rails, a continuous Picatinny rail on top, Benelli/Beretta choke tube compatibility, and the reliability expected of all IWI products. Although the TS12 has an 18.5 inch barrel, the overall length is still only 28.34 inches.
18 Nov 19. Japan Maps Out Vision for Hypersonic Vehicles. Japan wants to join the United States, China and Russia in the hypersonics arms race by developing a cruise missile capable of reaching Mach 5 or above by 2030, according to a document distributed by the nation’s Ministry of Defense at a trade show.
The English-language report, “R&D Vision: Toward Realization of Multi-Domain Defense Force and Beyond,” said “It is necessary to acquire technologies contributing to stand-off capability out of [a] foe’s effective zone that enables [it] to negate highly threatened targets, securing personnel’s safety thanks to its high survivability with long range hypersonic velocity, etc.”
Ministry of Defense personnel were handing out the document Nov. 18 at the DSEI Japan conference being held south of Tokyo.
Japan’s Ministry of Defense wants to “intensely foster” research and development of fire control, guidance, propulsion, and airframe and warhead technologies to reach its goal. Like the United States, the document said it wants to pursue two tracks: boost-glide technology — that has a missile launch a projectile that then reaches hypersonic speeds as it descends — and a scramjet that reaches Mach 5 or higher on its own, usually after being launched by an aircraft.
A timeline accompanying the report showed Japan fielding a scramjet hypersonic missile around 2030 and an “improved hypersonic cruising missile” about five years later. A boost-glide system would come along around the mid-2030s. The report cautioned that the timeline was tentative. “We will endeavor to obtain the technologies earlier,” it stated. Before these missiles are fielded, Japan will have to master several technologies in the four outlined categories, the report said.
In the fire control category, it needs anti-GPS jamming and redundant precision navigation systems in the form of GPS alternatives. Over-the-horizon communications will be carried out by satellites, it added.
In the guidance technology realm, it will need infrared imaging to discriminate low-contrast objects and a heat-resistant dome to house the sensor.
For propulsion, it will need to develop the scramjet engine and related technologies as well as an advanced solid rocket motor to create acceleration.
In the airframe and warhead technology category, it is looking for a light-weight penetrating warhead and an explosively formed penetrator. The airframe must use an aerodynamic design to resist heat and remain stable, it said.
Once these foundational technologies are developed, it “will be quickly reflected to the weapon system, doing stepwise improvement and earlier technological demonstrations,” it said. (Source: glstrade.com/NDIA)
20 Nov 19. NP Aerospace Launches New Tactical Ballistic Shield Range. Global armour manufacturer, NP Aerospace, has extended its LASA Lightweight Armoured Soldier Architecture portfolio with the launch of new ballistic shields for tactical operations.
The second generation shields range provides ballistic multi-hit protection for high risk tactical teams to NIJ Level III+ special threats. A range of sizes and designs are available with or without viewports and weapon rests, providing optimum manoeuvrability in challenging environments. Lighting and camera systems can be fitted to offer additional flexibility.
The tactical cut variant (pictured above) is being launched at this week’s Milipol Homeland Security event in Paris from 19-22 November. The shield is designed in response to end user demand for enhanced ergonomics, user flexibility and overall weight reduction in addition to protection against 7.62mm and 5.56 rifle ball rounds and hand guns.
New design features include ladder rails and rugged corner protectors to enable the shield to be used at different angles or as a ramp. Each shield has a radius curve allowing it to fit more closely to the body, and attachment points to allow weapons to be added.
James Kempston, CEO, NP Aerospace, comments: “Rising global terror threats are driving defence and security manufacturers to introduce new design innovations which deliver greater value for both end users and procurement teams. Through our continued close engagement with special forces operations and law enforcement agencies we are seeing increased demand for modular products which allow integration with other systems and adjustment to fit different body sizes, as it enables defence spending to be optimised. Our new shields are designed to deliver the highest level of protection combined with flexible operator features to allow use in the widest range of tactical scenarios.”
The new NP Aerospace second generation shield range is designed for rugged operations and includes lightweight ballistic composite handle systems for single handed and dual operations. There are two main variants in the range – Generation 2 Shields which come in three sizes and the Tactical Cut shield which is available in two sizes. All products in the range are now available to order.
20 Nov 19. Iran has “largest and most diverse” Middle East missile arsenal: US DIA. The US Defence Intelligence Agency (DIA) has released a report on Iran’s military power saying the country has the largest missile arsenal in the Middle East, which it uses alongside unconventional warfare and cyber techniques to project power.
Despite sanctions and political pressure, Iran’s missile arsenal has grown to become the most diverse in the Middle East, according to a report from the US Defence Intelligence Agency (DIA).
The report says that Iran’s missile force, under the control of the country’s Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps Aerospace Force (IRGCASF), is a key part of Tehran’s regional power projection alongside unconventional warfare and continued cyberspace projection.
In a statement, Defense Intelligence Agency senior defence intelligence analyst for Iran Christian Saunders said: “Iran employs a hybrid approach to warfare using both conventional and unconventional elements. On the conventional side, Iran’s military strategy is primarily based on deterrence and the ability to retaliate against an attacker.
“Iran also uses unconventional warfare operations and a network of militant partners and proxies to enable Tehran to advance its interests in the region, as well as attain strategic depth.”
Lacking an air force but leading with missiles
“Iran has an extensive missile development programme, and the size and sophistication of its missile force continues to grow despite decades of counter-proliferation efforts aimed at curbing its advancement,” the report reads.
Missile development in the country has seen increases in range and accuracy, alongside an expansion of forces giving Iran the “the largest and most diverse ballistic missile arsenal in the Middle East”. These forces include a mix of close-range ballistic missiles (CRBMs), short-range ballistic missiles (SRBMs) and medium-range ballistic missiles (MRBMs).
The missiles, according to the report, give Iran the ability to strike almost anywhere in the region, and even into south-eastern Europe, acting as “a critical strategic deterrent and a key tool of Iranian power projection.”
One of Iran’s furthest-flying missiles, the Shahab 3, is capable of striking as far as central India, Romania, Turkey and Ukraine, up to 2,000km from Iran’s borders. The missile systems are a continuing focus of modernisation efforts for Iran with the report saying the country plans to “increase the accuracy, lethality, and production of ballistic and cruise missiles.”
Saunders said: “Iran will deploy an increasing number of more accurate and lethal theatre ballistic missiles, improve its existing missile inventory and also field new land-attack cruise missiles.”
The country currently does not field any long-range ballistic missiles (ICBMs) unlike many developed armed forces across the world. However, report does note that this appears to be a focus of research for the kingdom saying: “Tehran’s desire to have a strategic counter to the United States could drive it to develop and eventually field an ICBM.”
In its quest for ICBMs, Iran could also simultaneously push for developments in space technology, an increasingly-contested domain. These two developments go hand-in-hand, with launch vehicles for space assets reaching similar ranges to those achieved by ICBMs.
“Iran continues to develop space launch vehicles (SLVs) with increasing lift capacity—including boosters that could be capable of ICBM ranges and potentially reach the continental United States if configured for that purpose,” the report says, adding that pushes for ICBMs and space launch vehicles will achieve progress on both more quickly as both use “inherently similar technologies”.
“Lacking a modern air force, Iran has embraced ballistic missiles” the report reads, explaining how Tehran has used missiles to fill in an aerial shortfall. Whereas other regional powers operate strong fighter aircraft fleets, the UAE with the F-16 and Israel with the F-35I are notable examples, Iran’s air wing is relatively underpowered.
The report explains: “The IRIAF [Islamic Republic of Iran Air Force] has proven adept at maintaining these outdated aircraft to sustain routine flight operations. Despite some domestic efforts to upgrade older airframes, Iran’s combat aircraft remain significantly inferior to those of its regional adversaries equipped with modern Western systems.”
Tehran’s air force still flies US-made F-14s first introduced in the 1970s, and Russian-built MiG-29s and Su-24s.
Denying a maritime assault
If the summer of 2019 proved anything, it is that control of, or at least power projection in, the Strait of Hormuz and the wider Persian Gulf is an important priority for Iran. The report bolsters this, explaining the role of the Iranian Navy as to “defend Iranian territorial waters and protect the country’s economic interests in the Caspian Sea, Gulf of Oman, and beyond.”
In the case of maritime assault, however, Iran’s greatest strength would lie in stopping ships before they reach the shore. The report explained: “Iran has developed a maritime guerrilla-warfare strategy intended to exploit the perceived weaknesses of traditional naval forces that rely on large vessels.” The country operates a large number of missiles, mine-layers, midget submarines designed “to deter naval aggression and hold maritime traffic at risk.”
Recent naval exercises off the coast of Scotland showcased the threat of guerrilla maritime tactics with ships training to fend off swarm attacks by fast attack boats, like those that would be used in the defence of Iranian waters if war was to break out.
The report said: “Iran operates coastal defence cruise missiles (CDCMs) along its southern coast, which it can launch against military or civilian ships as far as 300 km away.
“Iran also maintains an estimated inventory of more than 5,000 naval mines, including contact and influence mines, which it can rapidly deploy in the Persian Gulf and Strait of Hormuz using high-speed small boats equipped as minelayers.”
These forces were used to harass commercial shipping traffic, with the US accusing Iran of attacking oil-tankers and the seizing of the British-flagged Stena Impero which escalated tensions in the region and spurred the creation of an international maritime coalition to protect commercial vessels.
Saunders said: “Iran’s naval capabilities emphasise an anti-access area denial strategy. Benefiting from Iran’s geostrategic position along the Persian Gulf and the Strait of Hormuz, Iran’s layered maritime capabilities emphasise asymmetric tactics using numerous platforms and weapons intended to overwhelm an adversary’s naval force.”
Unconventional, Unmanned and Cyber power
“Another point of concern to the United States and our allies is Iran’s rapid progress in advancing its UAV capabilities,” Saunders explained.
“Iran sees these as versatile platforms for a variety of missions, including Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance, or ISR, and air-to-ground strikes and has steadily expanded its UAV inventory. Iran has deployed various armed and unarmed UAVs to Syria and Iraq for ISR and strike missions.”
These capabilities were revealed to the world in the drone and cruise missile attack on Saudi Oil facilities, which Saudi Arabia said were “unquestionably sponsored by Iran”. Tehran denied it was involved in the attack, however, Saudi officials said that missile fragments collected matched the newly-unveiled Iranian Ya-Ali cruise missile.
On an unconventional front, the report reads: “Iran’s reliance on unconventional operations— which is enabled by its relationships with a wide range of primarily Middle Eastern militias, militant groups, and terrorist organisations—is central to its foreign policy and defence strategy.”
Iran is known to have strong ties to a number of proscribed terrorist and militant groups in the region, with the report naming “Hezbollah, Iraqi Shia militias, and the Houthis” as tools for Iran to project power and “target critical adversary military and civilian facilities”. The report added: “Proxy attacks against adversary military bases in the region could complicate operations in theatre.”
This push is reflected in Iran’s continued use of “cyberspace operations as a tool of statecraft and internal security, and it continues to improve its capabilities.” According to the report, Tehran sees cyber operations as a cheap way to respond to threats and commit actions against adversaries.
Like its use of proxy organisations for warfare purposes, the report says: “Tehran often masks its cyber operations using proxies to maintain plausible deniability. However, there are often clear indications that link these operations to Iran’s security apparatus.”
Through a variety of methods Iran, despite international pressure continues to persist as a regional power, with a strong and unconventional military allowing the nation to challenge western powers for regional influence.
Saunders closed his statement saying: “As Tehran expands its capabilities in role as both an unconventional and conventional threat in the Middle East, it is more important than ever that we understand Iran’s military power and the threat it poses to our interests, our allies and our security.” (Source: airforce-technology.com)
18 Nov 19. Thai military charts course towards armed UAVs. The Royal Thai Air Force (RTAF) does not currently operate any armed UAVs, but it has already taken steps to develop and introduce a future armed platform for the first time. The evidence for this new direction came at Defense & Security 2019 in Bangkok, where Thai company RV Connex exhibited its Sky Scout-X UAV fitted with Thales Freefall Lightweight Multirole Missiles (FFLMM) under its wings.
Thales describes the FFLMM thus: ‘Installed on light to medium airborne platforms, including tactical and MALE UAVs, any rotary-wing or low-cost tactical fixed-wing aircraft, FFLMM provides a highly effective, accurate, low-collateral-damage weapon against both conventional and asymmetric threats.’
The FFLMM, weighing less than 6kg and measuring 700mm long, employs INS and SAL (optional GPS for midcourse guidance) and carries a 2kg dual-effect warhead to minimise collateral damage. At least two can be fitted on tactical UAVs, and it has a >4km range when launched at 10,000ft.
RV Connex has already produced 17 Sky Scout UAVs for the air force, where it is now known as the RTAF U1. On 14 November, the RTAF held a ceremony commemorating the operationalisation of the RTAF U1 fleet, even though they had been in service for a long time before that.
These RTAF U1s with 6.2m wingspan are being used by 206 Squadron as lead-in trainers for air force pilots graduating to the Aeronautics Aerostar tactical UAV. The RTAF U1 can also be used as a test platform for new payloads and concepts of operations.
It requires a team of two technicians and three ground control station (GCS) operators to fly the UAV. The GCS is truck-mounted and operates via the C band, while UHF provides a backup. A small portable terminal called the Launch and Recovery System can be used for take-offs and landings, although the U1can now perform these fully automatically.
Some 90% of the UAV is produced locally in Thailand, with only the two-stroke 25hp boxer engine, EO/IR payload and communications suite imported. RV Connex has continually improved the flight control software over the past two years since production commenced.
Returning to the armed Sky Scout-X, no formal contract has yet been signed between the RTAF and RV Connex, but Peeraphon Trakulchang, managing director of RV Connex, said development work has already commenced.
The project is currently in the first of three phases, that of analysis, which is exploring how arming the Sky Scout will affect drag and the aircraft structure. Trakulchang said the second phase will involve modifying the aircraft in accordance with what was revealed in phase 1, including the airframe and flight control system.
The final phase will be that of test and evaluation. Trakulchang predicted the Sky Scout-X could commence test firing of inert rounds about 2.5 years later, which would equate to sometime in 2022.
With the U1 already acting as a trainer, the use of a UCAV based on the same airframe would bring a lot of training and logistics advantages to the RTAF.
Trakulchang said he hoped the Royal Thai Army and Royal Thai Marine Corps might show interest in the U1/Sky Scout as well, although they would likely require modifications to suit their unique purposes.
The U1 was one of the earliest projects launched under the Thai government’s purchase and development approach whereby indigenous development is preferred.
RV Connex also has a third UAV under development. This smaller conceptual UAV was seen mounted aboard a Panus Assembly HMV-420 4×4 armoured vehicle, from which it would be launched before landing via parachute or a recovery net. RV Connex is cooperating with Panus Assembly on this UAV design that has not even received a name yet. (Source: Shephard)
18 Nov 19. IHI unveils autonomous underwater mine-detection system. Japanese company IHI unveiled an autonomous underwater mine-detection system at the 18-20 November DSEI Japan 2019 defence exhibition in Chiba.
The system, which comprises two different unmanned vehicles, is designed to acquire, process, classify, and relay information about “mine-like objects, among other things, to the mother ship. One of the elements comprising the system is a 5m-long autonomus underwater vehicle (AUV) that can reach a top speed of 4kt, has an endurance of up to 24 hours, and can operate at maximum depth of 200m, 600m or 3,000 m, depending on the configuration. In its standard configuration the AUV, which weighs 990 kg and is 690mm in diameter, is equipped with a side scan sonar, a multi-beam sonar, and a digital video camera, but additional systems and sensors are also available depending on the requirement, a company official told Jane’s. (Source: IHS Jane’s)
18 Nov 19. Leonardo conducts successful live sea trial of ULISSES system. Leonardo has completed a live sea trial of its new ultra-light sonics enhanced system (ULISSES) off the coast of Italy. The trial demonstrated the submarine-hunting capabilities of ULISSES, an integrated acoustic sensor solution. The company noted that the development of the system is on course to be completed by the end of December, with deliveries expected to take place in 2020. Leonardo is in discussions with potential buyers of the ULISSES. During the trial, the company used the sensor system to automatically locate simulated submarines. The solution can detect enemy submarines and determine their locations.
It features a software capability provided by Ultra Electronics to process data from up to 64 distributed sonobuoys or dipping sonar sensors.
ULISSES uses information from several sources to ‘triangulate the location of potentially hostile vessels’.
The company is developing the acoustic system in partnership with Ultra Electronics and L3 Technologies.
While Ultra Electronics is supplying multistatic technology and miniaturised sonobuoys, L3 Technologies is responsible for providing dipping sonar.
Leonardo said in a statement: “The recent sea trials proved the benefits of ULISSES multistatic capabilities in a realistic naval environment. They began with Leonardo deploying various types of Ultra Electronics supplied sonobuoys, including some with GPS, from a ship.
“The ULISSES processor was then used to quickly and accurately locate a number of simulated under-sea targets, automatically marking their coordinates on a map on the operator’s workstation.”
ULISSES is a lightweight solution that can be used for very small unmanned aircraft and helicopters.
The acoustic solution can also be installed to replace an existing sonics system. It enables automatic tracking and alerts and provides users with the ability to remotely control sonobuoys through system commands. (Source: naval-technology.com)
18 Nov 19. Indian down payment received for S-400. Russia has received a down payment for the S-400 Triumf (Triumph, US/NATO designation SA-21 Growler) from India, Jane’s has been told. Speaking to journalists at the Dubai Airshow on 17 November, Rostec chief executive officer Sergei Chemezov said that production had already begun on the systems, with deliveries to be completed by 2025.
While declining to specify the amount that had been paid by the country, Chemezov said that negotiations on the system were continuing.
India signed a USD5.5bn deal with Russia on 5 October 2018 to acquire five S-400 systems for the Indian Air Force (IAF). Jane’s reported at the time that the deal was understood to be for about 30 launchers and more than 6,000 missiles and would be concluded without the Indian Ministry of Defence’s mandatory 30% offset liability of the overall contract value. (Source: IHS Jane’s)
18 Nov 19. USAF leak of proprietary info not driving Boeing’s ‘no-bid’ decision on GBSD. The USAir Force’s leak of Boeing’s proprietary information to competitor Northrop Grumman was not a major factor in the company’s decision to forgo the Ground Based Strategic Deterrent competition, the head of Boeing’s defense business said on Nov. 16.
“Obviously, in any procurement process, you see instances where data is disclosed. Clearly that occurred during the process,” Leanne Caret, president and CEO of Boeing Defense, Space and Security, said during a news conference ahead of the Dubai Airshow. “I don’t want to leave any impression though that that was the sole reason for why we did not bid. It was more to do with the structure of the source selection, and we do believe there are ways to work through that.”
Boeing announced in July that it would not bid on the GBSD program’s engineering and manufacturing development phase in December due to what the company believes is an unfair advantage held by Northrop Grumman, the sole company left in the running for the contract. The issue, Caret specified in letters sent to Congress this summer, is that Northrop’s acquisition of Orbital ATK — one of only two potential manufacturers of solid rocket motors — could allow Northrop to offer a more competitively-priced proposal.
But Rep. Adam Smith, the Washington-state Democrat who chairs the House Armed Services Committee, revealed last week that the Air Force had accidentally shared Boeing’s proprietary information with Northrop and that the incident caused Boeing not to bid on the program, according to Aviation Week.
While the transfer of proprietary data from one company to its competitor is rare, it has occurred in several high-stakes programs. For example, as Boeing and EADS — now known as Airbus — battled for the KC-X tanker contact in 2010, an Air Force clerical error resulted in the companies receiving proprietary information from each other’s bid.
Although Caret declined to comment on the nature of the breach, an industry source told Defense News that the information shared with Northrop did not raise deep concerns from Boeing leadership that the company would be disadvantaged going forward with the competition.
“This stuff happens,” the source said. “Nobody likes it, whether it’s the acquisition officials or the companies, but it happens. It’s how you deal when it happens.”
However, the source noted that after Boeing was notified that proprietary information had been accidentally sent to Northrop, the Air Force did not immediately share what data had been transferred and what had been done to mitigate the leak.
Over the past four months, Boeing has mounted a concerted effort in the hopes of persuading the Air Force to either make changes to its current GBSD acquisition strategy or to mandate a joint Boeing-Northrop bid that would allow both companies to have work on the program.
“We’ve continued to make certain that we’ve provided opportunities that if they would make those changes, would allow us to bid. It is my deepest hope that we see those changes made because there is nothing more that I would like than to be able to bid on this program,” Caret said.
However, Caret acknowledged that the Air Force has thus far shown little interest in changing its acquisition plan, citing the service’s recent decision to stop funding Boeing’s participation in the risk-reduction portion of the GBSD program.
“I think that gives you a little insight as to where we stand,” she said. (Source: Defense News)
16 Nov 19. Here’s who will build the US Army’s heavy common robot. The Army has chosen FLIR’s Kobra robot to serve as its heavy version of the Common Robotic System that will be used for explosive ordnance disposal and other heavy-duty jobs.
The production contract will run for a period of five years and could be worth up to $109m. The Army wanted its Common Robotic System-Heavy (CRS-H) to weigh up to 700 pounds and to carry a variety of sensors and payloads to support missions.
“The Kobra [unmanned ground vehicle] delivers unmatched strength, power and payload support in an easy-to-operate robot package,” according to a FLIR statement sent to Defense News.
Kobra has a lift capacity of 330 pounds and can stretch up to eleven-and-a-half feet to get at difficult-to-reach places, but it is also still nimble enough to climb jersey barriers and fit into the back of a standard utility vehicle, according to FLIR.
FLIR’s legacy business, Endeavor Robotics, won a contract in 2017 to provide the Army with a medium-sized UGV — the Man Transportable Robotic System Increment II (MTRS Inc II). FLIR is delivering the Centaur UGV for the program.
FLIR bought Endeavor Robotics in February, an acquisition that made sense because FLIR’s camera and sensors — its bread and butter — have been used on countless manned and unmanned vehicles like those developed by the Massachusetts-based robotics company. FLIR also acquired Prox Dynamics in 2016, the Norwegian maker of the tiny micro-drone — the Black Hornet — that is now used as the Army’s soldier borne sensor.
Endeavor also competed for the CRS-Individual system — a man-packable robot that is less than 25 pounds — but lost to fellow Massachusetts-based robotics company QinetiQ North America in March.
For the CRS-H program, FLIR beat out QinetiQ.
Kobra is also participating in a Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency effort to build a system-of-systems solution that can operate in subterranean environments.
The company’s solution consists of the Kobra robot that will enter subterranean environments carrying radio repeaters —based on the company’s small, throwable FirstLook robots — and drop them off along the way to continue connectivity as it travels deeper underground. The system will also carry a four-legged robot supplied from Ghost Robotics to explore more rugged and difficult terrain as well as a quadcopter that will investigate vertical shafts and other hard to reach places. The winner of the challenge is expected to receive $2m in 2021.
The CRS-I and CRS-H programs are part of a larger Army program to streamline its robotics inventory.
By necessity, during the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, the Army clamored to buy UGVs that could help provide a level of standoff between soldiers and the dangers faced on the battlefield, mostly improvised explosive devices.
The Army procured roughly 7,000 UGVs and ended up with a petting zoo of robots from Talons to PacBots to Dragon Runners, to name a few. The service had roughly nine variants of robots used for explosive ordnance disposal, two robots for engineering battalions to conduct route clearance, two for Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Nuclear (CBRN) tasks and three for contingency and global response forces.
The Army’s way forward uses just a few common platforms where systems and sensors can be swapped out easily for different missions and which are all controlled using one universal controller.
It’s been the season for major headway in Army robotics programs across the board.
The service is also underway with development of robotic combat vehicles in light, medium and heavy categories.
The Army invited four teams to compete to build prototypes for its future light RCV last month: A Textron and Howe & Howe team, a team of QinetiQ and Pratt & Miller, HDT Global and Oshkosh Defense.
And three teams were picked earlier this month to move on in the Army’s competition for a medium-sized RCV: General Dynamics Land Systems, QinetiQ and the Textron and Howe & Howe team.
The Army also awarded, at the end of last month, a contract to GDLS to provide the Squad Multipurpose Equipment Transport (SMET) unmanned vehicle. GDLS offered up its Multi-Utility Tactical Transport — or MUTT — in that competition. (Source: Defense News)
17 Nov 19. France’s MBDA to open missile engineering centre in UAE. France’s MBDA and Dassault Aviation plan to open a missile engineering facility and a flight testing centre in the United Arab Emirates, the UAE’s defence and security industry enabler Tawazun Economic Council said on Saturday. The announcement comes on the eve of the biennial Dubai Air Show which begins on Sunday as the UAE steps up efforts to bolster its indigenous defence capabilities.
Tawazun will sign an agreement with MBDA to set up the French company’s first missile engineering centre in the region, it said in a statement, adding the centre will establish expertise in development and engineering of weapon systems.
Tawazun will also sign an agreement with Dassault Aviation to set up a flight testing centre in Abu Dhabi, the UAE capital, it said.
“The facility will play a pivotal role in laying the foundation for future programmes of flight testing in the region, to support integration and development for the defence sector,” it said.
Tawazun also announced an agreement between Italy’s aerospace and defence giant, Leonardo SPA and Abu Dhabi Aviation Training Centre (ADATC) for the latter to house the AW169 and AW139 pilot training simulators.
As the first and only regional centre to have such capabilities, “the simulators will offer timely, cost-effective and integrated training solutions within the UAE,” it said. (Source: Google/https://www.brecorder.com/)
15 Nov 19. Images show PLANAF J-15s armed with KD-88 and YJ-91 missiles. Images have emerged in Chinese state-owned media showing at least two People’s Liberation Army Navy Air Force (PLANAF) J-15 fighters equipped with what appear to be the KD-88 air-to-surface missile and either the YJ-91 anti-radiation or YJ-91A anti-ship-missile: an indication that China has enhanced the multirole capabilities of this carrier-borne fighter. The images, which were broadcast in early November by China Central Television (CCTV), show the J-15s on the ground at the PLANAF’s Huangdicun Airbase, although it is unclear when the images were taken.
Since the J-15s shown in the image feature three-digit serial numbers – unlike the latest ones displayed during the 1 October parade in Beijing that feature two-digit serials – it is possible that the video was taken some time ago, meaning that the fighters may have been fitted with this armament several months ago.
The J-15, which has an estimated maximum weapon load of 6,500 kg, had been previously spotted fitted with the YJ-83K anti-ship missile but the CCTV report marks the first time images of the fighter armed with the KD-88 and the YJ-91 missiles have been released.
Developed from the J-11B by the No 601 Research Institute and Shenyang Aircraft Corporation (SAC) the J-15, which also incorporates features of the Russian Sukhoi Su-33 naval fighter, is the PLAN’s first dedicated carrier-borne fighter. (Source: IHS Jane’s)
15 Nov 19. MBDA’s Mistral 3 missile scores a double success. On 6 November, MBDA demonstrated the increased capabilities of the Mistral 3 missile by successfully intercepting a moving target at a range of over seven kilometres. The demonstration firing was carried out on a small MIRACH 40 target, from a complete installation including a Saab Giraffe 1-X radar system, a LICORNE command and control unit, and an ATLAS-RC launcher.
The Mistral 3 missile, currently in service with the French forces, is an air defence missile equipped with an infrared imaging seeker and advanced image processing capabilities. This allows it to engage low thermal signature targets such as; UAVs, turbojet-powered missiles and fast craft at long range, while offering excellent resistance to countermeasures.
Representatives of 15 foreign delegations present for the firing also took part in workshops designed to demonstrate the capabilities of the MISTRAL system in an anti-drone role. This was done against a real target in flight, typical of the small UAVs that embody one of today’s key threats. Several LICORNE systems using different configurations of sensors (SAAB 1-X radar, IR monitoring, remotely operated cameras) and launchers (ATLAS RC and MANPAD) were deployed at the site to illustrate the overall performance of the system against UAVs, and the ability of the missile to lock on to this type of target.
“At MBDA, we are well aware of technological developments and the emergence of new threats to which we need to adapt,” said MBDA CEO Éric Béranger. “For an optimal response to our customers’ needs, we offer complete, integrated solutions, compatible with many legacy systems, to provide them with critical military capabilities that will enable them to safeguard their sovereignty. Whether facing yesterday’s, today’s or tomorrow’s threats, we have appropriate answers for every challenge.”
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.
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