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MISSILE, BALLISTICS AND SOLDIER SYSTEMS UPDATE

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28 Nov 19. Russia upgrading UAE’s Pantsirs. The United Arab Emirates’ (UAE’s) Pantsir-S1 air defence systems are being upgraded, a senior official from Russia’s Rostec defence group told the TASS news agency on 27 November.  “We are engaged in the modernisation of Pantsir systems that are in service in the Emirates,” Viktor Kladov, the director of international policy at Rostec, said. “If the UAE authorities have a desire to acquire new systems, we will gladly supply them, but for now we are talking about modernising the existing ones”. It was reported in 2000 that the UAE had ordered “up to 50” Pantsir-S1s. Changes to the UAE’s requirements, including the use of a MAN rather than the standard KAMAZ vehicle, resulted in the first deliveries being delayed until 2009.(Source: IHS Jane’s)

27 Nov 19. Turkey test fires OTMAS missiles from moving anti-tank vehicles. Roketsan medium-range anti-tank missiles that were test fired from moving Pars 4×4 and Kaplan armoured vehicles hit their targets, Turkey’s Presidency of Defence Industries (SSB) tweeted on 25 November. Qualification testing is scheduled to be completed by the end of this year and deliveries of a total of 206 vehicles to the Turkish Land Forces Command (TLFC) to begin by 2020, the SSB said. FNSS Savunma Sistemleri is producing 184 of the lightest member of the Kaplan vehicle family as the platform for the tracked vehicle for the OTMAS project and 78 Pars 4×4s as the project’s wheeled anti-tank vehicle. (Source: IHS Jane’s)

26 Nov 19. Erdogan: efforts to solve S-400 row with U.S. to continue until April – NTV. President Tayyip Erdogan said Turkish and U.S. officials would conduct efforts until April to resolve a dispute between the two countries over Turkey’s purchase of Russian S-400 defence systems, broadcaster NTV reported on Tuesday.

Asked how a solution would be found to the row, Erdogan told reporters during his return from a trip to Qatar on Monday: “There is a process that is ongoing until April. Our defence and foreign ministers will carry out these efforts. We need to see where we get with these efforts.” (Source: Reuters)

27 Nov 19. MBDA Deutschland pitches air-launched Enforcer missile. MBDA Deutschland is pitching an air-launched version of its Enforcer missile to Germany and beyond, a senior company representative told Jane’s on 27 November. Speaking at the Berlin Security Conference 2019 in the German capital, Head of Sales and Marketing, Guido Brendler, said that Enforcer Air, as the particular variant of the normally shoulder-launched missile is known, is being focused at the German customer in particular, but could also be offered to the wider international market. “The Enforcer Air is the little brother of the [MBDA] Brimstone, in terms of size and cost,” Brendler said, adding that the company is currently waiting on a launch customer to undertake platform integration work. (Source: IHS Jane’s)

27 Nov 19. Iran uses new SAM with indigenous HAWKs. A new type of surface-to-air missile was used with a Mersad system during a recent air defence exercise, Iranian media coverage from 22 November showed. Photographs and TV news footage showed the modified system in action during Exercise ‘Guardians of the Velayet Sky 98’ earlier in the month. The truck-mounted launcher used with the Mersad carried three missile canisters. The same launcher appears to have been displayed without canisters during the annual parade in Tehran on 21 September, during which the Iranian media reported a Mersad-16 system passing by.

In the exercise, the launcher was seen firing what appeared to be a Sayyad-2, a SAM used with a series of indigenous air defence systems Iran has developed in recent years. One of those new systems, a 3 Khordad, was credited with shooting down a US Navy RQ-4 Global Hawk over the Gulf of Oman with a Sayyad-2 on 20 June. US Central Command indicated the missile was launched from approximately 70km away. The Mersad is the Iranian version of the MIM-32 HAWK that Iran received before the 1979 revolution. It originally used the Shahin missile, but it was announced in 2011 that the improved Shalamcheh missile had been developed. The Mersad still uses radars that look similar to those of HAWKs from the 1970-1980s. Old-style pulse and continuous wave acquisition radars were seen with the system that launched the Sayyad-2. (Source: IHS Jane’s)

27 Nov 19. TLVS JV expecting German MEADS contract in 2020. The Tactical Air Defence System (Taktische Luftverteidigungssystem: TLVS) joint venture (JV) of Lockheed Martin and MBDA expects the German government to award the long-awaited contract for its Medium Extended Air Defense System (MEADS) in the second-half of next year. Speaking to Jane’s at the Berlin Security Conference (BSC) 2019, Lockheed Martin said that with the German customer now looking to agree its existing requirements for the TLVS ground-based air defence requirement, a contract is expected in the third quarter (Q3) of 2020.

“The TLVS programme is very important to Germany, and we are now looking towards a development contract being awarded in Q3 2020,” Country Director for Germany International Business Development for Lockheed Martin, Alexander Walford, said. The final bid was submitted to Berlin earlier this year, but Walford declined to divulge details to Jane’s for commercial confidentiality reasons.

As previously reported by Jane’s, Lockheed Martin and MBDA have been working on MEADS since the early 2000s. However, the programme itself is much older than that, dating back to the early 1990s as a means to replace the Lockheed Martin/Raytheon MIM-104 Patriot system in the US, the HAWK in Germany, and the NIKE in Italy.

MEADS is designed to provide a 360° homeland and battlefield intercept capability against airborne threats, including tactical ballistic missiles, cruise missiles, unmanned aerial vehicles, and aircraft. A typical system comprises the Patriot Advanced 3 (PAC-3) MSE interceptor missile, the MEADS surveillance radar, the MEADS X-Band multifunctional fire-control radar (MFCR), the MEADS launcher, and a tactical operations centre. As noted in Jane’s Land Warfare Platforms: Artillery & Air Defence, the MEADS kill zone extends to a range of 35km and to an altitude of 118,110ft. (Source: IHS Jane’s)

27 Nov 19. Rheinmetall sets three new distance records for indirect fire in South Africa.  At a test fire event on 6 November at the Alkantpan Test Range in South Africa, Rheinmetall demonstrated its extensive expertise in the world of indirect fire. In the presence of international partners and customers, the Düsseldorf, Germany-based defence contractor proved how new technologies can be used to boost the performance of systems that are already in extensive use around the world – those which meet the NATO standards set out in the Joint Ballistics Memorandum of Understanding (JBMoU) as well as non-JBMoU systems.  During the event, three new maximum effective range records were set using various guns.  A G6 howitzer with a 52-calibre gun achieved the longest range ever attained with a conventional 155mm artillery round: 76 kilometres, while the 52-calibre gun of PzH2000 self-propelled howitzer lobbed a shell 67 kilometres. Finally, a field howitzer with a 39-calibre gun attained a range of 54 kilometres.

*New top charge for 25-litre chamber now in development. Test planned for 2020.

Rheinmetall Waffe and Munition, Rheinmetall’s centre of excellence for cannon technology, showcased the self propelled howitzer PzH 2000’s main armament in action. Over the past decade, this 155mm weapons system has proven to be one of the world’s most effective conventional artillery systems, capable of attaining the high rates of fire specified in the JBMoU. Developed and manufactured by Denel Land Systems, the G6 used at the live fire event was a new version designed to attain greater ranges in line with non-JBMoU standards.

Using the celebrated Assegai V-LAP shell is an example, modular upgrades of the artillery ammunition were on show at the event. The delegations could see for themselves the marked improvement in its performance with respect both to propulsion and range when fired from 39- and 52-calibre guns. Coupled with technologies from Rheinmetall Waffe Munition and Nitrochemie, Rheinmetall Denel Munition artillery shells exceed previous maximum effective ranges when fired from any conventional 155mm artillery system currently in use.

The maximum range of over 76 km was achieved with a non-JBMoU-compliant gun. This gun served as evidence of the feasibility of a new howitzer with a range of 83km. Working in close cooperation with the German procurement authorities, Rheinmetall plans to develop and manufacture a new 155mm gun of this type, which will feature a significantly larger chamber and a longer, 60-calibre barrel. The gun should be able to fire existing JBMoU-compliant rounds as well as new ammunition families. On the one hand, these new ammunition types will be optimized with respect to stresses occurring in the new gun, but will also be able to be fired from legacy JBMoU-compliant guns. Here, 83 kilometres serves as the benchmark, since the course correction fuse necessary for precision at these ranges reduces the attainable range by approximately ten percent. This means that the maximum effective range of 75 kilometres specified by the German procurement authorities is attainable.

Rheinmetall Norway’s 120mm Ragnarok motor system and ammunition from RDM round out the Group’s indirect fire profile. This combination lends itself especially well to multipurpose vehicle applications with a rapid-fire capability. It also enables friendly forces to quickly evade counterbattery fire.

The event’s host, the German-South African joint venture Rheinmetall Denel Munition (RDM), welcomed participants from several NATO nations to the event in Northern Cape province on 6 November. As RDM managing director Jan-Patrick Helmsen explains, “Our goal is to be a true partner to the military. That’s why transparent cooperation and trust are so important to us. Tube artillery can provide defensive and offensive fire support. It’s cheaper and faster than rockets or air support, can operate around the clock, and engage targets with great precision using indirect fire anywhere within its range. Of course, range has proved to be a limiting factor in recent years, giving rise to the need for increased operational reach.” During the event, Jan-Patrick Helmsen noted that RDM has already been working to extend the range of artillery shells for some time now. “We’re known for the Assegai family and our V-LAP round, the longest-range conventional artillery projectile. The combination of South African technology and German expertise has already resulted in enhanced range, effectiveness and precision. When it comes to artillery, Rheinmetall takes a totally holistic approach”, declares Helmsen.

26 Nov 19. Deadlier machine guns, rifles, pistols and more: How the Army is revolutionizing squad firepower. In recent years, soldiers have seen a flurry of upgrades and new weapons, ammunition and optics added to their arsenal at a rate that outpaces previous decades of development in these areas. Soldiers into their second enlistment today have a distinctly different weapons draw than they or their leaders did just a few years ago. Those changes cover the full spectrum of small arms, both individual and crew-served weapons, mostly making existing systems lighter and more functional and adding new punch to the firepower of infantry squads, platoons and companies.

Some changes are not as easy to recognize, such as improved barrels, ambidextrous fire selectors and better bullets. Other shifts have added new systems or hold the promise of transforming small arms that are carried into combat.

Those include a new pistol, improved carbine, better marksman and sniper rifles, advances in shoulder-fired rockets, better and lighter machine guns, submachine guns and even shotguns to blast drones out of the sky.

But even as the Army puts better optics, ammo and weapons into the hands of soldiers, it’s also looking for a way to move ahead of those systems being fielded. There are efforts to place a renewed focus on the individual soldier and squad, seeing even the smallest unit of firepower as worthy of investment in training, employment and hardware.

Next Generation Squad Weapon

The main weapon pulling in a host of Army resources is the Next Generation Squad Weapon program that’s developing both rifle and automatic rifle variants to replace the existing service rifle and squad automatic weapon.

Three companies — General Dynamics, Sig Sauer and Textron Systems — are competing to build the weapon, which will be chambered in a 6.8mm round.

Textron has built the weapon around the new round in a “cased telescope” ammunition that uses a polymer casing and gives designers ways to put different types of round size, weight and propellant inside the package.

Sig Sauer is working with a more familiar rifle design, similar to its version of the current AR-type platform.

General Dynamics has offered a bullpup design, which has the magazine behind the trigger to maintain barrel length without lengthening the weapon. In the next two years the Army will determine which is likely to become its future rifle for infantry, combat engineers and scouts.

The 6.8mm intermediate caliber round was selected to increase lethality, accuracy and velocity. The aim is to design a weapon that is light enough to carry on long missions but accurate at farther ranges with the power to defeat tougher targets, including body armor.

But a piece of the NGSW that will provide future methods for improving marksmanship and lethal firepower at the individual soldier level will come from its fire control system.

That fire control is being developed separately and in parallel with the weapon itself for the first year and will merge with the weapon as it moves toward planned production in fiscal year 2022, according to a June 2019 presentation by Doug Cohen and Paul Koerner with the NGSW program at the National Defense Industrial Association’s annual armaments systems symposium.

But future prototyping includes plans for hi-tech advancements, such as automatic target recognition, target tracking, facial recognition, optical and aim augmentation, wind sensing, night sensing and ballistics computer.

Optics

This past year, some soldiers started receiving the most advanced night vision goggles the service has ever fielded, the Enhanced Night Vision Goggle-Binocular.

The new device gives soldiers a white phosphorous view rather than the traditional green tint, improving clarity. The binocular nature of the goggles allows for better depth perception, which improves target acquisition. The enhanced vision also lets users see through dust and smoke. Army officials saw improved night shooting with the new goggle. And thermal capability gives the user even better ways to acquire targets not readily available in legacy night vision — all improving target engagement.

Along with better night vision, the rapid target acquisition, or RTA, capability allows for shooters to switch views from weapon to goggle or even add a “picture-in-picture” version so that they can shoot around corners or over barriers without exposing themselves.

It works through a weapon-mounted camera that communicates wirelessly through the goggle.

The ENVG-B is only a small step toward a more ambitious project — Integrated Visual Augmentation System, or IVAS.

As the small arms themselves improve, shooting itself has the capacity to change through a marriage of high-tech hardware and ever-evolving software.

Early IVAS prototypes shown to Army Times at Fort Pickett, Virginia, this year use the Microsoft HoloLens device, a virtual reality goggle. The device has navigation features for wayfinding, can display the location of enemy and friendly troops and give map overlays to track in a heads-up display.

The core of what’s happening with the device relies on augmented reality — essentially software providing visual symbols in the user’s field of view. The user still sees the real world but can add and enhance what they see in their view.

While that might mean cool graphics and 360-degree experiences for video gamers, educational programmers and researchers, it can mean life or death for soldiers or Marines.

“No other piece of equipment has had this kind of impact since the introduction of night vision,” said Secretary of the Army Ryan McCarthy, a former Ranger, told Army Times. “This takes night vision to the PhD level.”

Ammunition

Better optics help soldiers find and target their enemies. Better firearms let them engage that target faster. But as retired Command Sgt. Maj. Matt Walker said at the June NDIA symposium, “ammunition is the ‘business end’ of what we do for a living.”

Changes in ammunition cover the shift to the 6.8mm round for the close combat formation’s next rifle and automatic rifle in the NGSW program. But researchers with small caliber ammunition are developing lighter ammunition, including polymer options over brass casings as well as new versions of the 7.62mm round used in the M240B and M240L machine guns.

And a long-awaited one-way tracer round is in development with initial production expected by early 2022, Lt. Col. Drew Lunoff, then-product director for small caliber ammunition at PEO Ammo, said at the June NDIA event.

But ammunition advances are not confined to small calibers. Lt. Col. Andre Johnson, product director for medium caliber ammunition briefed at the same event timelines for the 40mm portfolio. That may include day and nighttime impact rounds, low velocity rounds for training and high explosive airburst rounds for drone threats, all expected for production beginning in fiscal year 2023.

Though no timelines were shared, Johnson also said that funding had been restored for a door-breaching round in their portfolio.

All of which make the M320 a new grenade launcher that can either be mounted below the M16 or as a standalone shooter, a more capable weapon.

Soldiers may benefit from work being done on the special operations forces side as well. SOF weapons developers will conduct technical evaluations of a .338 Norma Magnum machine gun this year and the same evaluations are planned for a 6.5 Creedmoor machine gun, both aimed at increasing range and lethality.

The pistol

One of the fastest changes seen in small arms history for a service-wide adoption might have been the fielding of the modular handgun system, which contains the M17 and M18 handgun variants. The M17 is the full-sized, standard issue sidearm to replace the M9 Beretta. The M18 is the compact version, typically used by Army investigators or those whose duty may require a concealed pistol.

In a two-year timeframe the Army sought the pistol replacement and began fielding the new weapon.

That move was a far cry from past efforts, such as the Future Handgun System, the Joint Combat Pistol and the Combat Pistol Program, all of which predated this effort but didn’t result in a replacement for the M9 Beretta 9mm pistol, which was first fielded in 1985.

The new handgun, made by Sig Sauer, provides soldiers with a built-in rail system and top mounted optics option and suppressor-ready barrel.

The current M9 required major modifications to have any of those capabilities.

The MHS also looks at the sidearm as part of a larger weapon system; one that includes a holster, suppressor and laser aiming device, rather than simply a handgun.

That move, Army Times reported, was one piece of larger efforts to improve small arms more rapidly for the general purpose Army.

Small changes, major payoff

The incremental work of some programs might not jump out the way a futuristic rifle or new pistol but little changes add up.

For example, changes include advances to the M4 carbine. Now in its A1 version, the standard issue weapon sports an ambidextrous selector switch and improved barrel.

The Carl Gustaf, an 84mm recoilless rifle is undergoing its own upgrades since the Army adopted it nearly six years ago. The newer version is 7lbs. lighter, uses titanium and has a digital fire control compared to the old mechanical versions.

Those changes allow it to consistently hit moving targets out to 600 meters and strike stationary targets at 800 meters.

The M240 machine gun, the base of medium-machine gun fire for the Army since the late 1970s, is seeing improvements that will take some weight off of both the machine gunner and the assistant machine gunner.

Better materials and technology have allowed for the weapon to cut the spare barrel and shorten the buttstock and barrel.

The program also selected new optics for the M240, Mk 19 automatic grenade launcher and M2A1 .50 caliber machine gun this year.

How it happens, what it means

The beginnings of much of what’s changed has come from seasoned combat veterans and experts in weaponry and lethality at both the Maneuver Center of Excellence and the newer addition of the Soldier Lethality Cross Functional Team.

Once those groups set what the Army needs, its then up to the Program Executive Office Soldier weapons entities to bring it to life.

In just the past year, they’ve fielded more than 135,000 weapons across the Army. That’s a piece of the larger 1.2 million weapons they’ve fielded for all four service branches since 2003, said Col. Elliott Caggins, program manager for soldier lethality.

A combination of battlefield feedback and anticipated adversary threats fuel how the researchers tackle improving small arms.

Some of that feedback includes a 2006 CNA Corporation report, “Soldier Perspectives on Small Arms in Combat.”

That study showed that soldiers gave poor marks to the squad automatic weapon and M9 pistol. Both of which have been or are being replaced.

Those include a host of items, from problems with legacy weapons systems to needs to extend range or increase durability to intelligence showing that adversaries such as Russia, China or even extremist organizations are switching to longer-range, heavier calibers that outmatch the soldier’s service weapon.

While operational needs and feedback from the field inform what changes they’ll make, newer weapons, lighter options and more ways to deliver rounds down range also open ways in which the Army can re-examine how it uses the squad.

With greater ranges and ways to engage, the squad’s reach and effectiveness also evolve.

But how the Army is tackling the never-ending problem of providing state of the art weapons to soldiers at the lowest tactical level uses both methods to identify where to go with weapons development.

“We’re able to do both, either make changes or develop opportunities,” Caggins said. (Source: Defense News Early Bird/Army Times)

25 Nov 19. Elbit Systems of America Doubles the Production Rates of Semi-Active Laser Seeker for Precision Munitions. Elbit Systems of America is doubling its Semi-Active Laser seeker production rates to keep up with increasing demand for the Laser Joint Direct Attack Munition (GBU-54/56). The increase in production rates is under an existing five-year indefinite delivery/indefinite quantity contract with Boeing, supporting both domestic and foreign customers. The Laser JDAM is capable of targeting static and fast moving objects. The system does not rely on satellite signals, but instead, seeks a laser target that is placed by ground forces or an aircraft. The precision guided munition (PGM) locks on and tracks the target. Due to the PGM’s accuracy and affordability, it’s a critical and affordable weapon of choice for the United States and its international partners.

“Elbit Systems of America invested in doubling its production capacity for the Laser Joint Direct Attack Munition seekers because we recognize how important this solution is to our warfighters,” said Raanan Horowitz, president and CEO of Elbit Systems of America. “We’re working closely with our Boeing customer to ensure this significant capability is supplied as quickly as possible.”

The Laser JDAM program was recognized by the Aviation Week Network and won a Program Excellence Award in October 2018 for Supply Chain Production. Elbit Systems of America has consistently demonstrated a stellar record of on-time delivery over the decade it has been supplying the Laser JDAM seekers to Boeing.

The Laser JDAM is currently operational on nearly all U.S. air combat platforms, along with many of the aircraft of our country’s allies.

Production of the Laser JDAM seeker is performed at Elbit Systems of America’s manufacturing facility in Fort Worth, Texas. (Source: ASD Network)

26 Nov 19. Northrop Grumman Corporation (NYSE: NOC), MBDA and Saab have successfully completed a joint, collaborative effort to demonstrate the ability to integrate MBDA’s Common Anti-air Modular Missile (CAMM) family and Saab’s Giraffe radar system family into Northrop Grumman’s Integrated Air and Missile Defense (IAMD) Battle Command System (IBCS). CAMM was the first non-U.S. missile system to be demonstrated with IBCS earlier this year, and Giraffe represents the first non-U.S. sensor system to be demonstrated.

The three companies demonstrated rapid and functional integration during simulated threat scenarios that included simultaneous engagements. Simulated air targets were fed to the Giraffe radar emulator, which passed the radar information to IBCS to assess and track threats.  IBCS operators planned and executed optimized engagements based on that data using the CAMM missile emulators which engaged multiple threats simultaneously. IBCS then closed the loop by displaying the outgoing missiles detected and reported by the Giraffe emulators. The event successfully demonstrated both Distributed Fire Direction and Advanced Integrated Fire Control engagements.

“Building on lessons learned from the CAMM family integration, we were able to integrate the Giraffe radar onto the IBCS network even more rapidly and cost effectively, continuing to demonstrate the dynamic and flexible nature of IBCS’s open architecture in adding capabilities when and as needed,” said Bill Lamb, director, international battle management, Northrop Grumman. “Together we are creating a revolutionary IAMD enterprise that maximizes the combat potential of all sensors and weapons across all domains and fills gaps in today’s air defense capabilities.”

MBDA’s CAMM family is the next generation of air defense missiles for multi-domain applications. Designed to defeat the most challenging of modern and future threats, including saturation attacks by precision-guided munitions and maneuvering high-speed missiles attacking simultaneously from multiple directions, the CAMM family of missiles feature a solid-state active radar seeker, two way data-link, low-signature rocket motor and a 360° soft-vertical launch system.

“This represents the latest successful demonstration of the flexibility of the CAMM family, which has been designed from the ground up to operate within a modern network-centric open IAMD architecture. In this event we were able to demonstrate multiple simultaneous engagements of a full range of contemporary threats, using targeting information from networked surveillance sensors,” said Ben Newland, ground based air defence programme head, MBDA.

Saab’s Giraffe AMB radar delivers key capabilities as part of short- and medium-range surveillance and Ground Based Air Defence. It integrates powerful 3D surveillance radar and C3 functionality in one and the same system and provides forces with swift understanding of the air situation, enabling immediate and effective response to changing threats, new tactics and shifting operational conditions.

“We are delighted to see this demonstration of integration of the Giraffe radar onto the IBCS network, contributing both directly to the demonstrated “sense-assess-engage” chain and to the wider Integration Air and Missile Defense with the level of interoperability delivered by IBCS,” said Lars Tossman, vice president and head of Saab business unit Radar Solutions.

IBCS creates a paradigm shift for IAMD by replacing legacy stove-piped systems with a next-generation, net-centric approach to better address the evolving complex threat. The system integrates disparate radars and weapons to construct a far more effective IAMD enterprise. IBCS delivers a single integrated air picture with unprecedented accuracy and broadens surveillance and protection areas. With its open systems architecture, IBCS allows incorporation of current and future sensors and effectors and interoperability with joint C2 and the ballistic missile defense system.

IBCS is managed by the U.S. Army Program Executive Office for Missiles and Space, Redstone Arsenal, Alabama.

26 Nov 19. Subcompact Carbine, Ballistic Calculator and new Cartridges. FN Herstal presented its latest defence and security solutions – among them FN SCAR-SC Subcompact Carbine, FN Ballistic Calculator and new cartridges – at MILIPOL. The newest development in small calibre weapons by FN Herstal, the FN SCAR-SC sub-compact carbine, was shown with its two available calibres: 5.56x45mm/ .223 Rem and 7.62x35mm/.300 BLK. Regardless of the calibre, the carbine features a standard telescopic buttstock allowing a 3- p o s i t i o n length adjustment and is available with a wide choice of buttstock types (short telescopic buttstock, foldable or fixed adjustable buttstock, or foldable, adjustable offset buttstock for use with helmet visor). Similarly, all FN SCAR-SC variants are available with a receiver with Picatinny type side rails or with KeyMod receiver.

Another highlight was the FN Ballistic Calculator. This compact and high performance weapon mounted range finder is dedicated to sniper and precision rifles, and machine guns from 5.56 to .50 cal. It includes a ballistic solver, laser pointers and illuminator. (Source: ESD Spotlight)

26 Nov 19. Managing Large Calibre Weapon System Fleets. WeaponLogic unveiled its new WeaponLogic Eco Systems for the management of large calibre weapon system fleets for the first time at MILIPOL. Utilising Artificial Intelligence (AI), the system delivers comprehensive usage data regarding the weapon’s operational status, ensuring optimised performance and a tactical edge. The system expands the company’s line of systems for the management of light weaponry that provides precision, pre-emptive maintenance to customers in countries in Europe, North America and Asia.

WeaponLogic’s system supplies data for maintenance as well as operational and tactical optimisation according to actual needs using artificial intelligence. The solution was already evaluated for several large calibre firearms including mortars, artillery and tank cannons. The system’s algorithm collects and records weapon firing data in real time and delivers updated status information regarding the current state of the weapon and the potential for future malfunctions, based on the degree of wear and tear exerted on the weapon during usage. This data enables the creation of a customised maintenance plan for each specific device. The system consists of a sensor and applications.

WeaponLogic Smart Sensor is a chip that fully integrates with any type of weapon: pistol, rifle, sniper rifle, crew-served weapon and mortar. It comes in a variety of form factors to accommodate different firearms. The chip records and gathers information in real time regarding the use of the weapon including the amount and type of ammunition used, rate of fire, single or automatic shots, dry fires and drops, time signature, and type of weapon. WeaponLogic Smart Sensor utilises AI to distil information regarding the weapon and its operational state. The sensor weighs only 20 grams and has over a million-shot memory.

WeaponLogic Reader and Dashboard applications provide a complete weapon and operator profile. A smart algorithm processes a unique signal to define and analyse data gathered from all smart sensors. The applications offer a user-friendly interface and an ability to manage the maintenance of the weapons, including, but not limited to: round counts, assigned users, service history, service recommendations, armourer maintenance history, and battery status. Both applications provide usage data and analytics reflecting the weapon’s operational status for preventive and precise maintenance, along with inventory management and tactical features. (Source: ESD Spotlight)

26 Nov 19. New Striker X Combat Pants and Camouflage Patterns. UF PRO not only showed the Striker X combat pants at MILIPOL, but also introduced some new camouflage patterns. “We have a number of other new colours we paraded past our guests at the booth,” Armin Wagner, Co-owner & Chief of Product Development, UF PRO, said.

“One of these is Steel Grey, that was presented on our upcoming Delta OL 3.0 winter jackets and pants, as well as on our already available Striker BDUs. Another new colour is PHANTOMLEAF. A novel algorithm was employed in designing this adaptive pattern, which is why it can cause a wearer to visually blend in against almost any background. The surrounding landscape or environment may change, but this one pattern works everywhere. It’s available only to governments in this pattern, but the WASP II Z3a pattern is developed for civilian usage as well.” One more camouflage pattern of interest is CONCAMO, which was shown on UF PRO’s Striker HT combat pants. “CONCAMO is short for ‘confusion camouflage,’” Wagner explained. “And confusion is exactly what it produces in the brain of someone looking in the direction of a CONCAMO wearer. Its eight blended colours combined with an array of scientifically structured shapes toss a wrench into the subconscious mind, preventing awareness of what’s practically right in front of your face.” (Source: ESD Spotlight)

26 Nov 19. New 60mm Mortar and Survivor R Protected SOV.  At MILIPOL, Rheinmetall showed their new RSG60 60mm mortar for infantry and special forces. “A few quick manual adjustments turn the 15.8 kg standard infantry version into a commando mortar weighing just 6.8 kg, with no need for tools,” the company said. “Depending on the ammunition and charges, the standard version can attain ranges of up 3,200 metres. Equipped with a thirty centimetre-longer barrel, the range increases by around 500 metres. The commando variant of the RSG60 has a range of around 2,000 metres.”

Other highlights at the booth included the Survivor R protected special operations vehicle (SOV). This vehicle has been invented in close counsel for several German police forces, users include the state police forces of Berlin, North Rhine Westphalia and Saxony.

Developed in cooperation with special vehicle maker Achleitner and based on a high-performance 4×4 MAN truck chassis, the Survivor R is fitted with a steel armour cab. The vehicle can travel at speeds of over 100 km/h. Up to eleven personnel with their personal equipment as well as extensive C4I and communications equipment can be transported. A remotely operated weapon station can be added as another option. The version shown is a Survivor R fitted with a Fieldranger weapon station. This variant is designed for protecting airports, for instance, as well as for operations against terrorists employing military tactics and equipment.

An armoured monocoque cab with add-on protection elements can be individually and discreetly modified to meet evolving threat situations, while a ventilation system for filtering out nuclear, biological and chemical agents is standard equipment in every Survivor R vehicle. (Source: ESD Spotlight)

26 Nov 19. Russia, Turkey may sign new contract on S-400 systems in 2020 – RIA. Russia plans to sign a new contract with Turkey to supply its S-400 surface-to-air missile systems in the first half of 2020, the head of Russian state arms exporter Rosoboronexport, Alexander Mikheev, said, according to RIA Novosti news agency. “We hope that in the first half of 2020 we will sign contract documents,” RIA cited Mikheev as saying. (Source: Reuters)

25 Nov 19. The U.S. Army awarded Northrop Grumman Corporation (NYSE: NOC) a $60.6m contract on October 11 for continued work on the Integrated Air and Missile Defense (IAMD) Battle Command System (IBCS) program.

This contract enables ongoing support for engineering, logistics, integration, test and evaluation, training and program management as IBCS progresses through the design and development phase in preparation for fielding. This work supports an upcoming IBCS Limited User Test (LUT), which will start in second quarter 2020, and leads into a Milestone C decision expected in third quarter 2020.

“In partnership with our Army customer, we have demonstrated through numerous tests and exercises that IBCS performs exceptionally well in realistic and increasingly complex operational environments,” said Dan Verwiel, vice president and general manager, missile defense and protective systems, Northrop Grumman. “IBCS is mature and well positioned for both the LUT and a successful Milestone C decision.”

IBCS is the cornerstone of the Army’s IAMD modernization program. The ability of IBCS to network all available sensors and interceptors enhances battlefield survivability by providing redundancy, cyber resiliency and eliminating vectors of attack.

IBCS further enhances survivability by allowing air defenders to have a broader view of the battlespace. IBCS integrates and fuses data from disparate sensors into a single integrated air picture with unprecedented accuracy. Networked operations enabled by IBCS expand the area of protection and allow action to be taken against threats at greater ranges.

IBCS successfully demonstrated this advanced beyond-line-of-site, engage-on-net capability in an August flight test, where a combination of Patriot and Sentinel radars connected over the IBCS Integrated Fire Control Network were used to detect and intercept a low-flying cruise missile target using a Patriot Advanced Capability-3 (PAC-3) interceptor. This was the farthest ever intercept by a PAC-3 air defense missile.

IBCS has been further validated through a series of exercises, checkout events and training activities conducted by U.S. Army soldiers.

IBCS is managed by the U.S. Army Program Executive Office for Missiles and Space at Alabama’s Redstone Arsenal. Work under this latest contract will be performed by Northrop Grumman in Huntsville, with an estimated completion in 2021.

25 Nov 19. Indonesian Navy conducts inaugural firing of shore-based 76mm gun. Key Points:

  • The Indonesian Navy’s first shore-based naval gun has fired its inaugural shots
  • The facility will improve training efficiencies for the service, and provide a test platform for Indonesian defence industry players

The Indonesian Navy (Tentara Nasional Indonesia – Angkatan Laut: TNI-AL) has conducted the first test firing of a shore-based 76 mm gun that has been installed at a newly built naval weapons range in Paiton, East Java.

The firing, which involved the discharge of five live rounds in quick succession, was conducted on 21 November against an inflatable radar reflective balloon located about 3.5 km out in the Madura Strait, military and industrial sources confirmed with Jane’s on the same day. (Source: IHS Jane’s)

22 Nov 19. Uzbekistan conducts first FD-2000 air-defence test. Uzbekistan’s Air Defence Force has conducted its first practical test of the Chinese FD-2000 medium-range air-defence system against a target drone, according to a video released by the Uzbek Army on 7 November.

The video footage shows a battery of two FD-2000 transport erector launchers (TELs) deployed with supporting command-and-control assets and a HT-233 target-acquisition radar. The systems from China are operated alongside what appear to be two launchers for the Pechora-2M and upgraded Soviet era S-125 mounted on a self-propelled chassis.

The Pechora-2Ms provided immediate protection from a simulated attack by Uzbek MiG-29s while the FD-2000 position was established, according to an article published by the Sina news outlet in China.

In the video the FD-2000 TELs, each armed with two missiles instead of four, are used to engage two target drones, before relocating. The Sina report claims that the intercepts were against targets at 70 km and then 50 km.

The tests were conducted at the Kulkuduk training ground in the Navoi province, according to the Tashkent Times.

The FD-2000s were delivered to Uzbekistan in late November 2018. The deliveries were marked in a report from the O’Zbekiston 24 news channel released at the time. However, this is the first known test of the system in Uzbek service.

The FD-2000 is the export designation for China’s HQ-9 air-defence system. It is a medium-altitude, medium-range design intended to provide protection against aircraft using ‘hide-shoot-and-scoot’ tactics to avoid any electronic countermeasures or anti-radiation missiles.

The system has a maximum slant-engagement range of 125 km based on the capabilities of the HT-233 target-acquisition radar. (Source: IHS Jane’s)

22 Nov 19. SIG SAUER Delivers Milestone 100,000th M17 / M18 Handgun to U.S. Military. SIG SAUER, Inc. is proud to announce the delivery of the 100,000th M17 and M18 for the Modular Handgun System program to the U.S. Military, ahead of schedule, and surpassing the performance standards and requirements since the official contract award in January 2017.

“In the month of October SIG SAUER exceeded our manufacturing requirements by thirty percent and delivered a record-setting 12,100 handguns to the U.S. Military to achieve this historic milestone for SIG SAUER and the MHS program,” began Ron Cohen, President & CEO, SIG SAUER, Inc.  “With the strict accuracy and acceptance specifications that the M17 and M18 are continuously exceeding, it’s clear that the success of this program can be directly attributed to the reliability, durability, and accuracy of the handgun, which has resulted in the high demand for both the M17 and M18 from every branch of the U.S. Military.”

The M17 and M18 handguns are a 9mm, striker-fired, P320-based handgun platform, featuring coyote-tan PVD coated stainless steel slides with black controls and utilize both 17-round and 21-round magazines. The handguns are equipped with SIGLITE front night sights, removable night sight rear plates, and manual safeties.  To date SIG SAUER has delivered M17 and M18 handguns to all branches of the U.S. Military and the U.S. Coast Guard.

“From the very beginning the MHS program has been a true partnership between SIG SAUER and the U.S. Army which has resulted in the overwhelming success of the program, and ensuring that the M17 and M18 handguns are entering service, and in the field with our military,” concluded Cohen.

22 Nov 19. MBDA positions ‘disruptive’ interceptor solution for TWISTER missile defence project. MBDA is positioning a developmental disruptive endo-atmospheric missile concept for the interceptor component of the nascent European Timely Warning and Interception with Space-based TheatER surveillance (TWISTER) missile defence capability project.

The Council of The European Union (EU) on 12 November signalled its approval for the implementation of TWISTER within the framework of the EU’s Permanent Structured Cooperation (PESCO) accord. Introduced by the Treaty of Lisbon in 2009, and formally established in December 2017, PESCO is an EU treaty-based framework and process, which enables willing and able member states to jointly plan, develop, and invest in shared capability projects, and enhance the operational readiness and contribution of their armed forces.

PESCO is run closely with the European Defence Fund (EDF) to help reinforce member state defence capabilities and accelerate the development of those defence capabilities. For projects that are started through the PESCO system, member states can also get additional funding from the EDF. As a collaborative construct, PESCO focuses on finding programmes that are joint- or inter-operable systems and concepts, making it easier for multiple partners to operate a single system and improve co-operation.

TWISTER, one of 47 Projects that is being developed within the context of PESCO, currently comprises two key components: a space-based early detection capability and a next-generation interceptor component.

Co-ordinated by France, the project is seeking to develop, with support from the EDF, a European multirole interceptor to address emerging threats and be brought into service in the 2030 timeframe. Currently, five Member States – Finland, France, Italy, the Netherlands, and Spain – have already committed to the project.

“The spectrum of threats on the European territory is evolving towards more complex and evolving air threats, notably in the missile domain,” said PESCO. “The project therefore aims at strengthening the ability of Europeans to better detect, track, and counter these threats through a combination of enhanced capabilities for space-based early warning and endo atmospheric interceptors. (Source: IHS Jane’s)

21 Nov 19. In First, NATO Ships Share Target Data & Knock Down Ballistic Missiles. Warships from several NATO allies tracked and knocked down ballistic missile targets from the sea for the first time sharing targeting information across a shared alliance network.

The multinational, live-fire Formidable Shield exercise, which took place in May off the coast of Scotland, saw a French frigate knock down a supersonic target with an Aster 15 missile, while the Royal Canadian Navy tracked and hit another supersonic target with an Evolved Sea Sparrow missile. Both were firsts for the respective sea services.

The exercise, which simulated both ballistic and cruise missile threats, was a key test for integrating NATO’s sea forces across a single network that can push information across a deployed task force, something of incalculable importance in the confined spaces of Baltic Sea or North Atlantic if Russian missiles were launched from Kaliningrad or the Kola Peninsula.

“As we look for opportunities to expand our network of partnerships, we need to take care that our partners and allies can operate in our networks,” Kevin Gillis of the Navy’s Integrated Warfare Systems told the American Society of Naval Engineers. “This is a trend that’s here to stay and its confirmed by the number of cooperative deployments occurring with our allies …this is a key to success in the ‘fight tonight’ ethos our combatant commanders practice today.”

While the French and Canadians hit their targets as NATO AWACS aircraft cleared airspace around the drill, Formidable Shield also marked the first key test of a new NATO command and control structure, including the first at-sea deployment of Naples, Italy-based Commander Task Group 64, which runs the integrated air and missile defense mission for US Naval Forces Europe-Africa and the commander of 6th Fleet.

The 13-ship task force, which included Canada, Denmark, France, Italy, the Netherlands, Norway, Spain, UK and the US, merged tactical information using NATO’s Air Command and Control System to coordinate movements, Gillis said, and was able to link sea and shore-based units together — including a simulated Aegis Ashore unit which successfully simulated the launch of SM3 BlockIIA missiles at a ballistic target. Several allies were also able to track ballistic missile targets and share space tracks over tactical data links with the entire task group, Gillis added.

The Missile Defense Agency emulated threats for the exercise, while the US Air Force Europe used F-16s to launch AQM-37 supersonic target drones.

Speaking earlier in the day at the same conference, MDA chief Vice Adm. Jon Hill said it’s getting harder to track new ballistic and cruise missile threats as technologies mature more quickly and more countries develop their own capabilities.

“Speed is a big deal,” he said. “We are driven by the threat, and it is amazing what we’re up against … It is stunning. What also is stunning is how the threat is changing.” Working with the Navy is also a growing part of what his organization does, since sea-based deterrence is increasingly important. “Defense itself is deterrence … as a cost-imposing measure on the adversary.” (Source: glstrade.com/Breaking Defense.com)

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Arnold Defense has manufactured more than 1.25 million 2.75-inch rocket launchers since 1961 for the U.S. Army, U.S. Navy, U.S. Air Force and many NATO customers. They are the world’s largest supplier of rocket launchers for military aircraft, vessels and vehicles. Core products include the 7-round M260 and 19-round M261 commonly used by helicopters; the thermal coated 7-round LAU-68 variants and LAU-61 Digital Rocket Launcher used by the U.S. Navy and Marines; and the 7-round LAU-131 and SUU-25 flare dispenser used by the U.S. Air Force and worldwide.

Today’s rocket launchers now include the ultra-light LWL-12 that weighs just over 60 pounds (27 kg.) empty and the new Fletcher (4) round launcher. Arnold Defense designs and manufactures various rocket launchers that can be customized for any capacity or form factor for platforms in the air, on the ground or even at sea.

Arnold Defense maintains the highest standards of production quality by using extensive testing, calibration and inspection processes.

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