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12 Dec 19. Rheinmetall advances Next Generation 130 mm tank gun. Rheinmetall Weapons and Ammunition “has completed developmental efforts” of an initial new Next Generation (NG) 130 mm smooth bore tank gun, but some further design changes are expected, company officials told Jane’s.
The first NG 130mm smooth bore gun, unveiled at Eurosatory 2016 in Paris, is regarded as a technical demonstrator (TD) and Rheinmetall said it plans to offer this as the potential armament for the US Army Next Generation Combat Vehicle (NGCV). A Rheinmetall representative, who requested anonymity, said the weapon is an L51 cannon and uses new high-strength steel, is chrome plated with a vertical sliding breech mechanism, electrical firing mechanism, and an increased chamber volume so more propellant can be used to enable higher muzzle velocities and therefore greater armour penetration characteristics. It is fitted with a thermal sleeve and muzzle reference system, according to the representative. Rheinmetall said the 6.63m barrel weighs 3,000kg, including the recoil system, but without the mounting components. The company representative confirmed that, by November 2019, about 80 rounds had been fired at its proving ground. The representative said the chamber of the first NG 130mm has a volume of 15 litres and a design pressure of 880 MPa, but added that “due to the experiences and knowledge gained in the live firing trials, this data will be modified in the next stage of development.” One NG 130mm gun has been built by Rheinmetall using internal research and development funding, and a second weapon is now being built that will incorporate a number of modifications. The first 130mm round developed by Rheinmetall is an armour-piercing fin-stabilised discarding sabot – tracer (APFSDS-T) with a semi-combustible cartridge case, new high-energy propellant that is insensitive munition (IM) compliant, and a new advanced long rod tungsten penetrator for greater penetration characteristics. (Source: Jane’s)
12 Dec 19. Indian Army receives first lot of Sig Sauer assault rifles. The Indian Army has reportedly received the first lot of Sig Sauer assault rifles to boost its counter-terrorism operations. The army has started inducting the first batch of US-made Sig Sauer SIG716 7.62x51mm assault rifles on 10 December, reported Indian news agency Asian News International (ANI). The army’s Northern Command will use the rifles for combat missions in the state of Jammu and Kashmir.
Top Indian Army sources were quoted by ANI as saying: “The first lot of 10,000 SiG 716 assault rifles has arrived in India and has been sent to the Northern Command.”
Sig Sauer will soon deliver another lot of 10,000 rifles. The US firm was awarded a contract worth Rs7bn ($98.72m) to supply around 72,000 assault rifles to the Indian Armed Forces.
India is acquiring the rifles under the fast-track procurement (FTP) programme.
The new rifles will replace the existing Indian Small Arms System (Insas) 5.56x45mm rifles used by the forces and manufactured locally by the Ordnance Factories Board.
The Indian Army will get the majority of the rifles with a total of 66,000 units. The navy and the airforce will obtain 2,000 and 4,000 units respectively.
SIG716 uses the 7.62mm cartridge and provides enhanced functionality and reliability. The rifle has an advanced operating system that decreases excessive heat and carbon fouling. It features an adjustable gas valve to increase or decrease gas flow. The news agency also stated that the army has started receiving ammunition for its sniper rifles. India will also manufacture AK-203 assault rifles in collaboration with Russia. The plan is to produce more than 700,000 of these rifles. (Source: army-technology.com)
11 Dec 19. Lockheed Martin on Wednesday received a $22.4m to develop prototypes for a combined arms squad for the U.S. Army, the Department of Defense has announced. The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency began investing in combined-arms squads — military units consisting of both human and robot fighters — in 2016. In 2017 Lockheed received $12.9m for prototypes for equipment for combined-arms squads, and on Monday CACI Inc. was awarded $9.9m to develop combined-arms squad prototypes. $11.3m from Fiscal 2019 Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency funds were obligated at the time of the award. Work will be performed in Grand Prairie, Texas. The estimated completion date is Jan. 31, 2021. Lockheed was the sole bidder for the contract, for which applications were submitted through the Internet. (Source: Defense News Early Bird/UPI)
11 Dec 19. Thales’ Australian Munitions to support NZDF to 2037. The New Zealand Defence Force and Thales Australia’s Australian Munitions (AM) business have signed an agreement to continue the supply of small arms ammunition and explosive ordnance to the NZDF to 2037.
The new agreement includes the design and manufacture of bespoke small arms munitions including the 5.56mm training round F262T, a new product designed by AM in collaboration with the NZDF as a low-cost training cartridge tuned for optimal performance, and the NZDF Lewis Machine Tool MARS-L platform.
Dion Habner, managing director of Australian Munitions, welcomed the announcement, saying, “I am delighted that the NZDF has chosen to continue our decade-long partnership. We will continue working to deliver high quality products for the NZDF well into the future.”
The 5.56mm training cartridge and others have been designed by AM to specifically meet the NZDF’s evolving capability requirements, suitable to meet littoral and amphibious needs for a full range of training situations.
AM is a business of Thales Australia and is the largest supplier of explosive ordnance to the Australian Defence Force, with a successful track record delivering ammunition, propellants, explosives and related services.
The company is also a principal supplier of small arms ammunition to the NZDF. AM also produces high quality propellant and ammunition for military and civilian domestic and international customers.
AM can trace its ammunition heritage back to the late 19th century, through the establishment of the Colonial Ammunition Company in Victoria, and played a key role restructuring the Australian munitions manufacturing industry landscape over the final decade of the 20th century.
Manufacturing is based at two main regional sites – Benalla in Victoria and Mulwala in NSW. The Benalla site produces ammunition, explosive ordnance and other munitions, while the Mulwala site focuses on high quality propellants and explosives.
AM is a manufacturer of military grade propellants, high explosives, pyrotechnics, small arms ammunition, medium/large calibre munitions, aerial delivered ordnance, grenades and explosive charges. (Source: Defence Connect)
10 Dec 19. Indian Army test-fires Excalibur ammunition from M-777 howitzers. The Indian Army has tested the newly acquired US-made Excalibur precision-guided artillery ammunition for the first time.
Excalibur ammunition was fired from the M-777 ultra-light howitzers at the Pokhran firing range in the state of Rajasthan. The test-firing was performed as part of the Indian Army’s training programme. Senior officials from the army witnessed the test-firing exercise.
The Indian Army inducted the Excalibur ammunition in its inventory in October under a government-approved fast track procedure to overcome shortages.
The ammunition provides improved accuracy and can strike targets at an extended range. According to Indian media sources, the army acquired two types of Excalibur rounds. One variant can hit targets at a distance of 20m and the other can strike at 2m.
In a statement posted on Twitter on 9 December, the US Embassy in India said: “Today adgpi conducted test-firing of the newly acquired US Excalibur precision guided munitions at Pokhran…a new capability that will integrate with the US-origin M777 Ultralight Howitzer.”
The rounds can be fired from the army’s 155mm calibre artillery guns, including the M777s, Bofors, K-9 Vajra, and Dhanush.
The firing also tested a precision-guided kit that is used to ensure the accuracy of the shell striking the target.
Raytheon, the manufacturer of the weapon, stated: “The Excalibur projectile’s precision, coupled with its ability to be integrated on multiple gun systems, enables both the US and its coalition partners to provide overmatch capabilities against land targets in a variety of combat environments.”
The Excalibur munition is used by the US, and international forces, including the Netherlands, India, Sweden, Canada and Australia. (Source: army-technology.com)
10 Dec 19. This is who Congress wants in charge of new hypersonic-tracking sensors. Congress wants the Missile Defense Agency to take the lead on developing a space-based sensor layer capable of tracking hypersonic weapons, despite a number of objections made by the Trump administration earlier this year.
The administration claimed in a Sept. 4 letter that selecting a lead agency for the sensor layer this early “would limit DoD’s ability to establish the most cost-effective missile defense architecture for the nation,” but the conference committee apparently brushed those concerns aside to place the project squarely in the hands of the MDA in their report on the annual National Defense Authorization Act, released Dec. 9.
The Hypersonic and Ballistic Tracking Space Sensor would be a new addition to the nation’s missile defense architecture, supplementing the current Space-based Infrared System and the future Next Generation Overhead Persistent Infrared system in detecting and tracking ballistic weapons from space. Unlike those two systems, however, HBTSS is specifically designed to detect and track hypersonic weapons as well.
Compared to traditional ballistic missiles, hypersonic weapons are faster, maneuverable and dimmer when viewed from space. Both SBIRS and Next Gen OPIR were designed for ballistic missile threats and are ill suited for tracking the dimmer, faster targets presented by hypersonics. HBTSS meets that challenge in two main ways. First, unlike the two previous systems operating in geosynchronous orbit, HBTSS will be located in low-Earth orbit — far closer to the action. Being that much closer allows them to overcome the dimness of hypersonic threats in order to effectively track them. Secondly, the HBTSS sensors are meant to pass information from satellite to satellite, allowing uninterrupted tracking even as the hypersonic weapons move quickly out of view of any one satellite.
The fate of the sensor layer has been up in the air for much of the year. The MDA didn’t include the effort in its fiscal year 2020 budget, but listed it among their unfunded priorities in a report to Congress, asking for $108m for the project. Authorization for that funding was included in both the House and Senate versions of the legislation, and unsurprisingly has been included in the conference report.
To date, HBTSS has been a combined effort split between multiple organizations — primarily the MDA, the Space Development Agency and the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency. While the MDA is in charge of the actual payload, DARPA’s Project Blackjack has served as a prototype effort for the design of the new sensor layer. Meanwhile, the SDA was established earlier this year to build a new multilayered space architecture in low-Earth orbit, of which HBTSS would comprise one layer.
The dividing issue between the two legislative bodies was whether to put the MDA firmly in charge of the operation or continue to let it develop between the MDA and the Space Development Agency, an organization stood up earlier this year to create a new space architecture comprised of hundreds of small satellites providing a variety of capabilities in low-Earth orbit. While the Senate wanted to have the MDA take the lead on development and deployment of HBTSS, the House supported a coordinated approach with responsibility shared between the MDA, the SDA and the Air Force.
“This is one of the interesting boundary cases that is going to keep coming up between what do you give to the space service and what do you keep in the other agencies and services,” said Todd Harrison, director of defense budget analysis at the Center for Strategic and International Studies. “In this case, the MDA had already been working on the payload, and so I think there was a lot of angst in taking the MDA’s work on that and giving it to another organization where it might lose some momentum.”
The conference report comes down on the Senate side of the equation, directing the secretary of defense to assign primary responsibility for the development and deployment of HBTSS with the MDA. The legislation would also require the secretary to submit a plan for how the agency will work with the SDA and the Air Force to develop and integrate the payload. (Source: Defense News)
10 Dec 19. Lockheed deems first test shot of precision strike missile a success, amid Raytheon delay. The first test shot of Lockheed Martin’s precision strike missile at White Sands Missile Range, New Mexico, was a success, the company said in a statement.
“All test objectives were achieved,” the statement read.
The PrSM was fired Dec. 10 from a U.S. Army High Mobility Artillery Rocket System launcher and flew roughly 240 kilometers to the target, the release stated.
“Today’s success validates all of the hard work our PrSM team has put into the design and development of this missile,” said Gaylia Campbell, the company’s vice president of precision fires and combat maneuver systems. “This test flight is the most recent success in a long line of product component and sub-component testing successes conducted as part of our proven development discipline to assure total mission success for our U.S. Army customer.”
The test objectives, according to Lockheed, included staying on course and maintaining the trajectory, range and accuracy.
The first flight tests for PrSM — meant to replace the Army Tactical Missile System — were delayed until the end of this year due to technical issues, the director in charge of Long-Range Precision Fires modernization, Brig. Gen. John Rafferty, said in July.
“There were a couple of technical issues that caused us to delay about 90 days for the flight test,” he said. “There was a mishap at a facility that caused some of the delay, followed by Mother Nature … extreme weather that made repair at that facility near impossible for a period of time.”
When pressed for specifics, Rafferty said the mishap was not at a Raytheon or Lockheed facility, but rather a sub-vendor used by both teams. Raytheon and Lockheed Martin have been in a head-to-head competition to deliver a future PrSM missile to the Army. While Lockheed was originally intended to test its missile in flight after Raytheon, the latter defense company experienced technical issues, according to sources, and had to push its flight test from November to early next year. The Army has a goal to initially field a new PrSM in 2023; it is one of the major development efforts within the Army’s long-range precision fires portfolio. LRPF is the Army’s top modernization priority.
The service has accelerated PrSM’s fielding timeline by several years and will stick to the baseline requirements for the missile to get there.
Each company will have subsequent flight tests after the initial shot to help garner further data for development and refinement, leading the Army to choose a winner.
The Army also plans to adjust its maximum range requirement following critical test shots of the two PrSMs. The missile’s current maximum range requirement is 499 kilometers, which is the range that was compliant under the now-collapsed Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty between the United States and Russia. The United States withdrew from the treaty in August, and so the Army no longer has to adhere to the range limit for its missiles.
Rafferty said the baseline missile could reach a range of 550 kilometers based on data from both companies competing to build the PrSM. But the Army won’t consider adjusting its requirements until each company has observed how their respective missile behaves in real flight tests. (Source: Defense News)
09 Dec 19. New Road-Mobile Missiles ‘Instrumental’ for Army Strategy. New road-mobile missiles that are under development will fundamentally change the Army’s offensive capabilities, the head of the service said Dec. 7. The types of systems in the works were previously banned under Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty with Russia. The INF Treaty was brokered in 1987 in the waning years of the Cold War. It prohibited the United States and Russia from deploying land-based nuclear or conventional missiles — both ballistic and cruise — with ranges of 500 to 5,500 km.
However, Washington accused Moscow of cheating and the U.S. withdrew from the arms pact in August. The move made it possible for the Army to pursue road-mobile, conventional weapons with greater ranges that will be play an “instrumental” role in the service’s multi-domain operating concept, Secretary of the Army Ryan McCarthy told reporters at the Reagan National Defense Forum in Simi Valley, California.
“What’s changed in particular is our long-range precision fires portfolio,” he said.
“There are two systems now that you can implement.” One is an extended-reach Precision Strike Missile, or PrSM, which will replace the Army Tactical Missile System and have twice the range, he said.
“If you were to deploy that along the … second island chains or to countries surrounding the South China Sea, you can alter the anti-access/area denial-type of investments that China has made, for example,” he said. “It would fundamentally change the geometry of the battle space. … You can rapidly deploy and you can put into a position in the very near future to be able to have the range of 550 to 600 kilometers.”
“Initially you will shoot very short distances to test the fundamentals” at ranges of 50 to 100 kilometers, he explained. Those ranges will be extended as the testing regime evolves, and within 18 months or so the weapons will fly farther than the old INF Treaty limits, he said.
PrSM testing is slated for next year. The Army aims to field the systems by late 2022. Anti-ship variants will come later, he noted.
The service is also developing new hypersonic missiles that will be able to travel at speeds of Mach 5 or faster and be highly maneuverable, making it difficult for enemy systems to defeat them. The weapons, with ranges that exceed 1,000 kilometers, could be deployed around the world including in Europe, Asia or the Middle East, he noted.
“It would fundamentally alter the dynamics” in those regions, McCarthy said. “It’s a very unique sets of capabilities.”
McCarthy compared the strategic implications of fielding hypersonics to the U.S. deployment of nuclear-armed Pershing II road-mobile missile systems in Europe during the 1980s.
“You saw when those systems were deployed, the types of investments that Russian made to try to counter that,” he said.
The hypersonics program is on track, McCarthy said. Testing is slated for next year and the Army plans to begin fielding the weapons no later than 2023.
“We’re going to make a lot of them very quickly” once production is ready to be scaled, he said. “It’s going to take time and effort, but we have a very aggressive investment profile for the next five years.”
The fiscal year 2021 defense budget request, which is expected to be released in February, will include a funding boost for the technology, he noted.
McCarthy said he anticipates hypersonic weapons development in the United States will continue regardless of who wins the presidential election next year. “It’s going to be a place that will have a tremendous amount attention no matter what administration is here a year from now,” he said. ”This is a national-level priority.”
New missiles such as hypersonics and the PrSM will not only bring new capabilities, but could also help reshape the entire Army, McCarthy said. “New materiel that we’re bringing into the [acquisition] system is going to make us look at our formations and see if we’re right-sized,” he said.
The Army is creating new task forces that will implement the service’s new multi-domain operating concept.
“Once you stand these up and you bring new materiel into the fold, it will make us take a hard look at our brigade combat team structure and say that maybe that’s not the right type of formation we need in the future,” he said.
“We’re going to change,” he added. “The metaphor I use is like going from a pro-style offense [in football] to the spread — different players, different style. So it’s everything from how you train your people, the type of people you recruit, to how they operate the systems and how you employ them. We’re fundamentally changing the offense in the U.S. Army.” (Source: glstrade.com/NDIA)
09 Dec 19. US Army picks two vehicle protection systems to evaluate realm of the possible. The U.S. Army has picked two active protection systems to evaluate next fall for possible applications on a variety of ground combat vehicles.
A Rheinmetall and Unified Business Technologies team received an $11m contract from the Army to provide its StrikeShield APS system for the evaluation. And a DRS and Rafael team received a similar contract to participate, the Army confirmed to Defense News.
After evaluating two active protections systems — StrikeShield and Rafael’s Trophy VPS — in a 2018 demonstration, and determining neither were the right fit for an interim APS capability for the Stryker combat vehicle, it appears the door is opening back up for that capability.
It is likely the solution the Army is evaluating from DRS and Rafael is Trophy VPS, Rafael’s lighter version of its Trophy APS system that is being fielded on Abrams tanks.
The Army found interim APS solutions for both its Abrams tanks and Bradley Infantry Fighting Vehicles, but the service has struggled to find one for the Strykers. The service moved quickly over the past several years to field combat vehicle protection against rocket-propelled grenades and anti-tank-guided missiles while it develops a future system.
The service’s new evaluation effort — conducted through the its new Vehicle Protective Systems (VPS) program office — will begin in October 2020 at Redstone Test Center in Huntsville, Alabama.
“It provides a pathway to potential utilization of the system on vehicles in the current Army vehicle fleet as well as vehicles fielded in the future,” according to a Rheinmetall statement issued earlier this month.
The Army will evaluate StrikeShield “as part of a larger effort to characterize APS performance against a wide variety of anti-armor threats,” Rheinmetall’s statement read. “This significant contract award represents the first funded APS testing the Army will undertake of the StrikeShield system.”
Rheinmetall and UBT funded the previous evaluation of the system for Stryker at the invitation of the Army.
Based in Unterluess, Germany, Rheinmetall has been pushing to get its active defense system in front of the Army and under consideration for integration into U.S. combat vehicles for several years. The company seemed poised to be selected as the interim solution for the Stryker prior to the Army’s demonstration last fall.
The Army also considered Herndon, Virginia-based Artis Corporation’s Iron Curtain APS for Stryker through a more extensive evaluation, but decided in August 2018 not to move forward in fielding it to Stryker units.
The new round of evaluations considers limited characterizations focused on platform agnostic testing to garner additional data on hard-kill APS, the Army told Defense News in a written statement.
The APS will be installed on a vehicle agnostic test riq, the service said, to inform APS considerations for “multiple ground combat platforms.”
“The results of this activity will be leveraged to inform the Army’s approach to future hard kill APS acquisitions,” the service added.
While the Army has looked and, in some cases, acquired APS for the Stryker, Bradley and Abrams, it is also considering what protection systems are needed for its armored multipurpose vehicle, mobile protected firepower capability and Bradley’s future replacement, the optionally manned fighting vehicle (OMFV). (Source: Defense News Early Bird/Defense News)
09 Dec 19. Abrams crews will be using new kit in Europe in 2020 to counter proliferation of portable rockets, missiles. The U.S. Army will new test active protection systems on M1 Abrams tanks during Defender Europe 2020 this spring, as well as send the service’s first set of the new missile and rocket countermeasures to outfit an armored brigade on the continent.
Made by Israeli manufacturers, Trophy active protection kits use sensors to knock down incoming rocket-propelled grenades and anti-tank guided missiles, or ATGMs, shot by roving enemy troops.
Tanks aren’t permanently affixed with Trophy kits, however, and that’s part of what soldiers will practice for during Defender 2020, according to Army Europe commander Lt. Gen. Christopher G. Cavoli.
Because of the 2.5-ton weight of the kits, as well as their self-contained munitions, they’re stored separately from tanks. But brackets have to be welded to the vehicle so a kit can even be equipped when needed.
“What we’re going to do for Defender 2020 is practice that at the company level. We’re going to equip one company,” Cavoli said at the Pentagon on Monday. “It’s the first time the U.S. Army is going to take an organic unit, a real live combat unit, and say ‘here’s your Trophy stuff, here’s your supporting welders, get to work and mount it.’”
The need for these systems is driven by real-world observations.
Russian 9M133 Kornets, American BGM-71 TOWs, Chinese Red Arrows, and Iranian Toophans are a staple of modern Middle East conflicts, as evidenced by videos across the internet of them destroying Syrian Army T-72 main battle tanks, among other vehicles.
Meanwhile, Israeli armor crews reported safely intercepting a range of projectiles with their Trophy systems during the 2014 Gaza Strip conflict.
“We have seen a proliferation of ATGMs — high-quality ATGMs like the Kornet advanced models — throughout the world,” Cavoli said. “Those can’t be defeated without active protection systems, a combination of reactive tile armor and active shoot-down systems.”
Trophy kits have computer processors that detect, classify and track incoming rounds. Israeli firms producing the equipment advertise that Trophy kits can also locate the source of an incoming shot, allowing for counter-fire if the anti-tank shooters haven’t scurried off.
Soldiers using the new Trophy systems during Defender 2020 will draw from prepositioned stock already in Europe.
To put the kits on, ballast and additional armor first has to be welded onto the tank, making a roughly 65-ton Abrams about 5,000 pounds heavier.
Radars, sensors and explosive devices that counter incoming rounds are mounted as well. In order to put on the heavier equipment, a tank also needs adjustments to its turret.
During 2017 tests, crews noticed some turret imbalance problems from the additional weight, according to a Pentagon report that year.
Gen. Gustave F. Perna, who helms Army Materiel Command, will take the lead on studying the deployment of the Trophy system so the service can better understand what the process actually entails.
Trophy kits have also been tested on Stryker personnel carriers and Bradley fighting vehicles, as the service works to upgrade its armor formations to counter peer adversaries.
During 2018 congressional testimony, then-Army Chief of Staff Gen. Mark A. Milley spoke with lawmakers about concerns that the United States was behind Russia in the development of active protective systems.
He also stressed that Abrams and Bradleys are due for retirement, dating back to when he was commissioned as a second lieutenant.
“They have served the nation extraordinarily well, but they are fundamentally at the end of their lifespan,” Milley said in April 2018. “We’ll probably get, max, another ten maybe 15 years out of these vehicles. We have maxed out their weight, the technological upgrades that we can do. So, hence, the modernization program of a next generation combat vehicle.”
“We are aggressively upgrading Abrams and Bradley and Stryker in all of our formations throughout the Army,” he added. “And I’m very confident that those weapon systems will continue to serve us well, even against a Russia or China in the near term.”
The Pentagon plans to outfit four brigades with the Trophy system under contracts valued at roughly $200m.
“The first set of Trophy is going to be delivered [and] stored in Europe,” Cavoli said, noting that one set is designed to outfit one armored brigade combat team. (Source: Defense News Early Bird/Army Times)
10 Dec 19. India and Philippines in talks over BrahMos missile purchase deal. BrahMos successfully test firing as part of service life extension programme, from the Integrated Test Range (ITR), in Odisha on 21 May 2018. Credit: Ministry of Defence.
Indian and the Philippines officials are reportedly negotiating the price terms of a potential sale of the BrahMos supersonic cruise missile to the Philippines.
The two countries are looking to finalise a deal for the purchase of the cruise missile in 2020, the Hindustan Times reported citing people familiar with the matter.
If a deal is sealed, it would represent a significant achievement for the BrahMos missile, which is developed jointly by India and Russia.
The Philippines would become the first nation to purchase the missile if the two parties manage to strike an agreement.
Talks will focus on the cost of the contract and the number of missiles to be procured.
The Government of the Philippines is keen on procuring the land-based version of the missile.
The land-based weapon system features global positioning system and inertial navigation system. It includes a mobile command post that controls four to six mobile autonomous launchers.
An unidentified source was quoted by the publication as saying: “As far as the Philippines Army is concerned, the consensus on the BrahMos system is a done deal. Now, it’s all about the price negotiations and we hope the deal will be finalised next year.
“Various options are being looked at, whether it should be internal funding or a preferential loan, and whether there will be some preferential terms offered for the sale. The cost will determine how many systems are bought.”
The missiles will be used for the Philippines Army’s first land-based missile system battery.
The BrahMos land-variant was displayed at an expo in Manila last week.
India is also looking to sell the missile to Indonesia, Thailand and Vietnam, among others. (Source: army-technology.com)
09 Dec 19. DARPA OpFires programme makes progress. Aerojet Rocketdyne has carried out a series of subscale propulsion-system test firings for the DARPA Operational Fires (OpFires) programme. Under OpFires, DARPA is working to develop a ground-launched hypersonic missile for tactical use. The programme is developing a two-stage missile capable of engaging high-value, time-sensitive targets from stand-off range in contested environments. The effort to date has advanced the technology for an upper stage featuring a tunable propulsion system, and the preliminary design review is now complete. Aerojet Rocketdyne was awarded a $4.6m Phase 1 contract in 2018 to design propulsion concepts and technologies for OpFires. The contract included an $8.8m option for Phase 2 of the programme, which is expected to culminate in late 2020 with multiple test firings. (Source: Shephard)
06 Dec 19. Ukraine begins trials of Limpid see-through armour. The Ukrainian Army has begun trials of Limpid Armor’s Land Platform Modernisation Kit (LPMK), a see-through armour situational awareness system, on one of its BTR-4E infantry fighting vehicles, Limpid Armor CEO Mykhailo Grechukhin announced on 5 December.
The announcement came after a demonstration of the system at a military proving ground near Lviv, where the driver of the BTR-4E was required to navigate a marked out course through off-road terrain using only the LPMK headset and cameras. In an interview with Jane’s, Grechukhin said that Limpid Armor has given the Ukrainian Army an initial set of its LPMKs, which consist of eight situational awareness cameras, a central server, and an augmented reality headset, to conduct initial tests. He added that any feedback from the Ukrainian Army would be used to refine the system before providing an additional five LPMKs for a full set of trials. The duration of the trials is unclear but the company plans to get all the paperwork for and acceptance of the system completed by the end of 2020, Grechukhin said. He expects it to be considered for all Ukrainian vehicle types, adding that the BTR-4E was chosen by the Ukrainian Army to demonstrate how the system works. (Source: Jane’s)
09 Dec 19. Royal DSM, a global science-based company in nutrition, health and sustainable living, today announces new sustainability ambitions for Dyneema®, the world’s strongest fiber™. In doing so, DSM aims to realize a more transparent and circular value chain for Dyneema®, including improved sustainable business operations together with partners and suppliers.
The new targets for DSM’s Dyneema® portfolio address industry-specific demands and are fully aligned with DSM’s commitment to create brighter lives for all and focused on the three key areas in which DSM is driving sustainable markets: Nutrition & Health, Climate & Energy and Resources & Circularity. This follows DSM’s strategy ‘Growth & Value – Purpose led, Performance driven’.
People protected – 40 million by 2023
With Dyneema®, DSM is continuously raising the bar when it comes to realizing healthier and safer working conditions, with a specific focus on personal protection wear and equipment for first responders, law enforcement officers, heavy industry workers and sports enthusiasts across the world. Today, products and solutions with Dyneema® protect 30 million people per year and by 2023 the aim is to protect at least an additional 10 million people for a total of 40 million people per year.
Bio-based feedstock – 60% by 2030
DSM is also introducing a bio-based feedstock for Dyneema®. By 2030, at least 60% of Dyneema® fiber feedstock will be sourced from bio-based raw materials enabling our customers to seamlessly shift to a more sustainable product and solution, without compromising on fiber performance. In this way, DSM is taking the next major step in its sustainability journey, introducing the first ever bio-based ultra-high molecular weight polyethylene fiber and further reducing its reliance on fossil-based resources. A mass-balancing approach will be used for the new bio-based Dyneema®. The Dyneema® bio-based material will be supplied to customers carrying the globally recognized ISCC Plus sustainability certification and will not require re-qualification of downstream products.
Recycling Dyneema® at end-of-use
By 2020, DSM will establish an industry coalition consisting of customers, waste processors, and recycling companies to address the recycling of end products made with Dyneema® fiber. As a first step, a DSM Circularity Summit with some key partners and recyclers took place in Brussels in November 2019. During the event the participants jointly created and committed to joining the Coalition while also setting clear priorities, establishing a vision of success, creating an action plan, and identifying opportunities to accelerate the transition to a circular economy. DSM believes that the transition towards a more circular economy is only possible by collaborating across the entire value-chain. Wilfrid Gambade, President DSM Dyneema said: “With our Dyneema® portfolio we actively contribute to the development of more sustainable and life-saving products. We are aware of the sustainability challenges concerning our markets and industries and strongly believe that we can set an example by improving our own operations. At the same time, by working closely together with our partners and suppliers, we aim to grow performance and quality when it comes to protecting people and the environment they live in – because all life is precious.”
DSM will continue driving its sustainability strategy across all the industries in which Dyneema® is used, including law enforcement and personal protection, heavy lifting, maritime, renewable energy, sports and fashion.
07 Dec 19. American Missile That Uses Sword Blades Instead of Explosives Has Struck Again In Syria. For the second time this week, the secretive AGM-114R9X Hellfire missile has punched a hole through a car’s roof and sliced its target to death. There are no confirmed reports as to who was targeted in this latest strike, which occurred near the town of Afrin in Aleppo Governorate, although there are some unconfirmed claims. Supposedly, three people were killed in the vehicle when the bladed weapon smashed through the roof of the vehicle. We followed up our report on a similar strike earlier this week in which an AGM-119R9X was used with a photo of the missile’s blade-wielding metallic core that survived the impact with the vehicle (see below). It provided great insight into how the weapon actually works, which confirmed our suspicions.
After the most recent known use of the AGM-114R9X Hellfire missile, a weapon that uses blades instead of explosives to kill its target with minimal collateral damage, literally smashing and slicing through them, evidence of exactly how the bizarre weapon works has come to light. Imagery from the scene of the attack, located less than 10 miles from where Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi was killed in Syria, shows what appears to be the core of the weapon and its deadly appendages. It appears to be a gruesome, but stunningly effective device.
The image, seen at the top of this story, shows a thick central hub structure that would act as a penetrator with six swing-out skeletonized blades. Basically, anything in the radius of the blades would die.
The standard AGM-114 flies at roughly 1,000 miles per hour. It isn’t clear if this version of the weapon hits those speeds, but there is no indication otherwise. It’s unclear when exactly the blades deploy during use, but it is likely that they extend out from the missile via fairings that pop-off shortly before its flight ends or swing-out through slots in the missile’s body. A fuze system or direct inertia system could deploy them once the missile makes contact with a surface, as well.
The Hellfire is just over five feet long, with its warhead section taking up the central area of the missile’s tube-like body. You can see how this payload would slot into where the explosive warhead would otherwise go in the image below: The payload area is roughly a foot and a half long and let’s say the swords are roughly the same length, this would provide about a three and a half foot diameter kill zone, which is similar to what we see in the images of the vehicles that have been struck. It is the ultimate precision air-to-ground weapon—surgical both in metaphor and application.
It’s not clear what has caused what seems like a sudden uptick in the use of this highly unique weapon, but it appears that it is becoming the weapon of choice for targeted assassinations by the U.S. in Northern Syria. Still, one thing remains unclear about this missile system—its guidance system. (Source: defense-aerospace.com/The Drive; posted Dec. 07, 2019)
06 Dec 19. First ERCA prototype nearly complete, US Army prepares for ‘shakedown’ testing. The US Army is set to ‘accept delivery’ of its first Extended Range Cannon Artillery (ERCA) prototype and move into the next testing phase.
Brigadier General John Rafferty, the service’s head of the Long Range Precision Fires Cross-Functional Team, spoke with Jane’s on 4 December about ERCA Increment 1 development, moving out with the government-designed autoloader and plans to field the weapon at the division level.
The first ERCA prototype is currently at the army’s Picatinny Arsenal in New Jersey where the service is “tightening the bolts” and non-commissioned officers are conducting a soldier touchpoint to “work through a couple of design issues” that will help guide the designs of later prototypes, the one-star general explained. (Source: Jane’s)
09 Dec 19. Philippines in talks with India to procure BrahMos supersonic cruise missile. The Philippines is seeking to acquire the BrahMos supersonic cruise missile system from India. Official sources told Jane’s on 9 December that officials from New Delhi and Manila are in advanced negotiations about the number of missiles to be procured and the overall contract value, adding that they expect a deal to be signed “sometime in 2020”. Also part of the negotiations are after-sale logistics to induct the 292-km range BrahMos, as well as the instruction of the Philippines Army’s 1st Land-based Missile System Battery (1LBMS Btry), which was activated in October at Fort Magsaysay, to maintain and operate the weapon system. (Source: Jane’s)
06 Dec 19. First Indonesian PKR frigate completes combat systems upgrade. Damen Schelde Naval Shipbuilding (DSNS) and its Indonesian partner PT PAL have completed the embodiment, integration, and test of a package of combat system enhancements on the first of the Indonesian Navy’s (Tentara Nasional Indonesia – Angkatan Laut [TNI-AL]) two SIGMA 10514 Perusak Kawal Rudal (PKR) guided missile frigates.
KRI Raden Eddy Martadinata was formally handed over in Surabaya on 4 December after completing a series of acceptance trials. Re-delivery was completed “on time and on budget” according to DSNS.
Construction of the two PKR vessels, both of which were commissioned into the TNI-AL in 2017, was shared between the Vlissingen, Netherlands, facility of DSNS and the PT PAL shipyard in Surabaya, with final assembly, integration, and testing performed in Indonesia. (Source: Jane’s)
09 Dec 19. BIRD Aerosystems, the leading developer of Airborne Missile Protection Systems (AMPS) and Special Mission Aircraft Solutions (ASIO), introduces the AeroShield(M): a compact version of its combat-proven all-in-one AeroShield pod. Equipped with BIRD’s field-proven AMPS solution, AeroShield is an all-in-one Pod solution for protection of narrow and wide-body aircraft. The AeroShield pod offers the most comprehensive anti-missile protection by uniquely using both BIRD’s SPREOS DIRCM and Flares and enabling customers to fly fully protected in the most challenging theaters.
AeroShield(M) is a compact and lightweight version of the AeroShield Pod. AeroShield(M) is tailored to support the installation of BIRD’s AMPS on medium size VIP jets such as the Falcon and Gulfstream. Easily installed, the compact AeroShield(M) POD integrates Missile Launch Detection Sensors (MILDS) and Flare Dispensers, and can incorporate either the MACS sensor or SPREOS DIRCM – according to the specific needs of each customer.
Integrating BIRD’s AMPS in a smaller and more compact all-in-one pod, AeroShield(M) ensures the highest aircraft survivability while reducing the aircraft signature and drag. Unveiled by the company for the first time, the AeroShield(M)POD is already fully certified, and will be installed and operational in the coming months.
Ronen Factor, Co-Chief Executive Officer and Founder at BIRD Aerosystems: “AeroShield(M) is a compact version of BIRD’s renowned AeroShield POD, which is already installed on numerous aircraft around the world, protecting them against the growing threat of MANPADS. Smaller and lightweight, AeroShield(M) ensures maximum aircraft protection with reduced drag and minimal interference. Easily installed and can be simply transferred between different platforms, AeroShield(M) is an ideal pod solution for medium-size VIP jets.”
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.