Sponsored by Arnold Defense
23 Jan 20. FN Herstal showcased the deFNder® Medium Remote Weapon Station at IAV. Belgium-based FN Herstal, one of the world’s leading designers, developers and manufacturers of small caliber weapons and weapon systems, showcased the combat-proven deFNder® Remote Weapon Station at the International Armoured Vehicles Conference in London, UK, from January 20 through to January 23, 2020.
The deFNder® family of Remote Weapon Stations is an example of integrated technologies that meet modern day defense and security challenges. It combines FN Herstal’s long-standing expertise in firearms, intelligent modular architecture and the latest integrated electronics, optronics and software innovations.
The combat-proven deFNder® Medium provides unparalleled performance in:
- infantry fire support
- combat missions
- operations in urban areas
- border control
- critical infrastructure protection
It can be integrated onto new and in-service mobile or static platforms, including unmanned ground vehicles (UGVs), and communicates with existing Battle Management Systems (BMS). (Source: Armada)
23 Jan 20. US Army develops armoured turret for anti-tank missile gunners. US Army engineers at Picatinny Arsenal, along with US Marine Corps (USMC) have developed a new armoured turret for anti-tank missile gunners. The enhanced protection will provide improved survivability to tubed-launched, optically tracked, wire-guided (TOW) missile gunners without the need for burdening the vehicles with additional weight.
Known as TOW Objective Gunner Protection Kit (TOGPK 2.0), the new turret provides an accurate balance of armour and weapon manoeuvrability with situation awareness.
The new capability is expected to protect troops and enable gunners to fight decisively.
Picatinny Arsenal armoured turret systems engineering design lead Thomas Kiel said: “The TOGPK 2.0 is the latest turret that we developed jointly with the US Marine Corps.
“The marine corps is an exceptional fighting force with very high expectations. Our close partnership with experienced warfighters during the design phase was especially helpful in meeting their needs.”
The new turret features armour materials provided by the Combat Capabilities Development Command Army Research Laboratory.
The system will be operational on the new Joint Light Tactical Vehicle (JLTV), which is replacing the existing Humvee military vehicle.
A variant of the JLTV, the Close Combat Weapons Carrier (CCWC) currently incorporates the TOGPK 2.0 turret and TOW missile system.
The decision authority over the final requirements and solutions of the turret is vested with the USMC System Command.
Gunner Protection Systems product director Narayan Bhagavatula said: “We develop our turret solutions in-house at the Armaments Center.
“This allows us to maintain full ownership of the designs and ultimately makes the system more affordable in production.” (Source: army-technology.com)
20 Jan 20. Over 120 Missiles for Russian S-400 Systems Delivered to Turkey, Says Source. More than 120 surface-to-air guided missiles have been supplied by Russia to Turkey along with a regiment set of S-400 air defense missile systems, a military diplomatic source told TASS on Monday.
“Turkey has received two S-400 battalions, more than 120 surface-to-air missiles, as well as auxiliary equipment, spare parts and tools,” the source said, adding that technology transfer, even partial, was not envisaged by the contract.
According to the source, the delivery and acceptance act was signed by the Turkish and Russian sides in Ankara in early December, giving the start to a 20-month warranty maintenance period. Rosoboronexport, Russia’s state-run arms exporter, refrained from commenting this information. Turkey’s National Defense Minister Hulusi Akar said on January 15 that Turkish military continued works to put the Russia S-400 missile systems into operation, promising to finish the process in April or May. Russia said in September 2017 that it had signed a $2.5bn contract for supplies of its S-400 missile systems with Turkey. The first batch under the contract was delivered to Ankara by air transport in July 2019. Russia’s S-400 Triumf (NATO reporting name: SA-21 Growler) is the most advanced long-range air defense missile system that went into service in Russia in 2007. It is designed to destroy aircraft, cruise and ballistic missiles, including medium-range missiles, and can also be used against ground-based targets. The S-400 can engage targets at a distance of 400km and at an altitude of up to 35km. (Source: defense-aerospace.com/TASS)
22 Jan 20. The Soft Kill Machine. Radar corner reflectors represent one valuable soft kill countermeasure which can be deployed against radar-guided anti-ship missiles. The naval soft-kill countermeasures engineer has their work cut out: “The evolution of missile technology is making the Anti-Ship Missile (AShM) more challenging to defeat,” asserts Andy Hogben, managing director of Chemring.
His views chime with those of Richard Morgan, business development manager for naval decoy systems at IrvinGQ: “Anti-ship missiles are increasing in threat level by becoming smarter, faster and more sensitive.”
Mr. Hogben cites the use of exotic materials in the construction of AShM airframes as an evolution making these weapons harder to detect. For example, the joint Indo-Russian BrahMos surface-to-surface missile, which could emerge as a potent AShM, is thought to use sophisticated non-metallic composites to reduce the missile’s chances of being detected by a ship’s radars. A warship’s other means of detecting an incoming AShM is by using its electronic support measure to detect radar emissions from the AShM as it activates its radar.
However, increasingly sophisticated radar waveforms employed by AShM radar seekers which use low probability of interception/detection and frequency-agile techniques frustrate the work of the ESM, Mr. Hogben continues: “Early detection and classification is key, as is the ability to employ the most appropriate effector, whether hard or soft kill, or a combination of both, at the right time.”
Similarly, a written statement supplied by Etienne Lacroix to Armada Analysis warned of “future radar seekers which will have higher performance analysers and algorithms to enhance their capabilities.” It added that such advancements could have implications for current soft kill techniques: “Due to technological evolutions, it is now quite easy to integrate a chaff discriminator feature inside the radar seeker, making decoy techniques based solely on chaff less effective.”
Speed is another areas of concern. Emerging AShMs such as the BrahMos can reach hypersonic velocities; that is speeds above 3,333 knots (6,172 kilometres-per-hour) which “reduce ships’ defence response time, requiring more sensitive, earlier warning sensors,” asserts Mr. Morgan. Echoing trends in the anti-tank guided missile domain, these weapons may attack a ship from above to “exploit defensive vulnerabilities.”
Given the potent nature of the threat, Mr. Hogben asserts that soft kill countermeasures cannot be developed in a vacuum, and must instead be realised in a holistic fashion involving other stakeholders developing warship self-protection systems: “The challenges we face are to gain the threat information of evolving threats, understand how to exploit their weaknesses and then work in conjunction with the end user to develop an appropriate countermeasure.”
This includes a close integration of the ship’s hard kill and soft kill capabilities “to allow a wider choice of responses to enable effective anti-ship missile defence.” Etienne Lacroix agrees, stressing the importance of “being able to quickly fire a decoy before engaging the hard kill capability which enhances survivability for the vessel.”
Arguably not discussed as much as it perhaps should be is the financial cost of vessel AShM defence. Alongside soft kill countermeasures, a warship will be equipped with Surface-to-Air Missiles (SAMs) and Close-In Weapons Systems (CIWS) which can be brought to bear against an AShM threat. However, is it always appropriate to use a SAM or CIWS ammunition, both of which maybe costly and difficult to replenish at sea, when a soft kill countermeasure maybe just as capable of defeating the threat, but at lower cost?
“The challenge we have is then to develop and produce this capability at an affordable cost, i.e. the decoy is a lower cost solution than a SAM, of which the latter cannot be replenished at sea and must be retained for the higher capability threats,” says Mr. Hogben.
“Currently there is almost a one to 100 cost ratio of countermeasures to SAMs. While this will decrease as countermeasures become more complex, they remain highly viable as they can defeat up to 70 percent of the current missile threat and can be replenished at sea to sustain units on operations.”
Mr. Morgan adds that the increasing sophistication of the threat will demand soft kill decoys that can “present a more complex signature through a full 360 degrees.”
One solution is combining soft kill countermeasures when responding to an AShM threat: “This can be achieved through passive decoys working in combinations, with for example, a large spherical floating decoy producing a core bulk radar cross section, complemented when required by other passive RF decoys and infrared flares to create a complex radar decoy image that is quick to deploy and difficult to discriminate from the real target.”
All three companies have a proven track record in developing and producing soft kill countermeasures for navies around the globe, and such countermeasures are very much here to stay: “In the future, passive decoys will remain essential so as to add credible targets in the field of view of the missiles,” says Etienne Lacroix. The continuing proliferation of sophisticated radar-guided AShMs means that they have their work cut out for many years to come. (Source: Armada)
20 Jan 20. Dstl and QinetiQ complete trials to assess a system to protect combat vehicles and their occupants. October 2019 marked the completion of the Medusa Technology Assessment Programme (TAP), which has been running for the last 3.5 years. As part of the overall Dstl Active Integrated Protection Systems Research Project (under the Land Systems research programme), Dstl contracted QinetiQ Ltd to conduct Medusa, assessing a commercial-off-the-shelf soft kill Active Protection System. The Hensoldt MUSS® system was selected and evaluated by QinetiQ supported by a team of industrial and MOD partners (QinetiQ, Hensoldt, BAE Systems, Frazer-Nash Consultancy, Textron ESL).
The performance and utility of the system was evaluated with respect to subsystem and system performance, system integration, human factors integration as well as its safety, security and legality, and the operational impacts associated with use and deployment of such a system. The integration assessment included the installation of a MUSS® system to a Challenger 2 Main Battle Tank, coupled with assessment by the Army to understand the benefits and challenges associated with such equipment across the Defence Lines of Development (DLODs). The laboratory testing and trialling of the system culminated in a full end-end system evaluation during missile live fire trials held in Woomera, South Australia during October 2018, conducted as part of the AUS/UK bi-lateral partnership between Dstl and DST Group (Australia), and also supported by the Anglo-German MOU held with BAAINBw.
Medusa has provided vital insights in to the capabilities, benefits and limitations of such equipment, and will be used to inform future direction for both APS research and evaluation activities, and support to potential future acquisition programmes. As part of the Army’s future APS strategy, the Leonardo-led Icarus programme is developing an open modular architecture specification for active protection as a cross-fleet capability, with a view to publishing the Modular Integrated Protection System (MIPS) standard as a NATO Standardisation Agreement (STANAG). Soft kill subsystems and technologies will form a key part of this future modular and scalable approach to land active protection.
Medusa has demonstrated an effective and productive partnership between industrial partners and MOD, and has effectively utilised IRC agreements to deliver a successful and mutually beneficial package of work. (Source: ASD Network)
20 Jan 20. Russia to deliver six Pantsir-S1 air defence systems to Serbia. Russia is reportedly set to deliver up to six Pantsir-S1 air defence missile systems to Serbia as part of a contract between the two countries. According to news published on the Sputnik Russian press agency website, the systems will be delivered this year. The Pantsir-S1 system has been designed to offer protection against a precision-guided air attack from low and extremely low altitudes. Its mobile version includes a combat vehicle, surface-to-air guided missiles, 30mm rounds and a transporter-loader vehicle. It also has maintenance and training facilities. The system, which is currently used by countries such as Vietnam, Syria, Jordan, Iran, Iraq and the UAE, protects military units or installations against aerial threats.
Designed by the KBP Instrument Design Bureau of Tula, Russia, and manufactured by the Ulyanovsk Mechanical Plant, Pantsir-S1 has a sensor package that comes with a target detection and designation radar, target and missile tracking radar, and electro-optical sensor systems.
Each Pantsir system is capable of guiding up to four missiles at a time.
Sputnik quoted a source in the defence cooperation sector as saying: “Russia and Serbia signed a deal on one battery made up of six Pantsir-S1 missile systems. The work on it is underway and will be completed in 2020.”
Pantsir-S1 armament comprises 12 57E6 surface-to-air guided missiles and two 2A38M30mm automatic guns.
The air defence system was initially unveiled to the public in 1995 during the MAKS Air Show that held in Zhukosvsky, Moscow.
In March 2010, the Russian Air Force had inducted the first ten Pantsir S1 (SA-22 Greyhound) anti-aircraft surface-to-air missile systems. (Source: airforce-technology.com)
20 Jan 20. Here’s the New Light Machine Gun SOCOM Is Evaluating. Sig Sauer gave a live-fire tour of its new .338 Norma Magnum machine gun — a lightweight weapon that U.S. Special Operation Command recently selected for evaluation. The Sig MG 338 general-purpose machine gun weighs just over 21 pounds and fires at a rate of 600 rounds per minute, delivering potent .338 Norma Magnum rounds out to ranges of 1,500 meters. The Army and Marine Corps-issue M240 machine gun in 7.62 x 51mm NATO can weigh up to 27 pounds, and has an effective range out to approximately 800 meters.
“Our impetus is we wanted to provide one machine gun that could do both jobs,” Sig Sauer’s Jason St. John said Sunday at Sig’s pre-SHOT Show 2020 range day.
“So, the .338 Norma Magnum, when you compare it to 7.62mm — 7.62 has an effective range of 800-plus meters and .338 Norma Magnum is going to have 1,500-plus meters. So you have twice the distance and a system that is about four pounds lighter than what we currently have.”
The new machine gun has come a long way from the prototype that Sig unveiled at SHOT Show last year. Earlier this month, Sig delivered 10 MG 338 machine guns, .338 Norma Magnum ammunition and its proprietary suppressors to U.S. Special Operations Command for evaluation, St. John said.
The MG 338 features a short-stroke gas piston system and a proprietary recoil mitigation system which radically reduces the felt recoil of the larger .338 round, St. John said.
It features a collapsible AR-style buttstock that folds and locks into position for more compact transport.
The MG 338 also comes with an AR-style pistol grip and selector switch which can be set to full-automatic and semi-automatic.
“This machine gun has the capability to shoot in full-auto and semi-auto; the primary purpose for that is if you wanted to have 800, 1,200 and 1,500-meter … more accurate fire, you could fire one shot at a time,” St. John said.
The MG 338 features ambidextrous controls as well as a switchable feed tray and charging handle that can be alternated to either side depending on operator preference.
Instead of a traditional flip-up design, the feed-tray cover flips open to the side, so it doesn’t interfere with optics and other accessories mounted in front of the feed tray.
“I can also load this whether the feed tray is open or the feed tray is closed,” St. John said.
The belted ammunition features a clip-on “spoon” designed to make it easier to push the belt into the feed tray when the cover is closed.
St. John demonstrated by pushing two rounds into the weapon — “I go one click, two clicks and I am loaded … it’s a one-hand operation,” he said.
“I can also load it traditionally, setting the rounds on the feed tray and close the feed tray cover.”
A box-style, 50-round magazine mounts to the underside of the weapon by pushing the special adapter up into the magazine well until it clicks.
The MG 338 also features a free-floating barrel with a quick-release latch to change barrels to control overheating.
Many of the features of the MG 338 were designed into the automatic rifle prototype that Sig submitted as part of its entry into the Army’s Next Generation Squad Weapon competition.
“There is a lot of shared technology; this machine gun was first built three years ago, and we used lessons learned and design features from this one into our Next Gen Squad Weapon,” St. John said. (Source: Military.com)
20 Jan 20. Chinese Type 052D destroyer fitted with possible anti-ship missile decoy launchers. Images have emerged of a Chinese Type 052D (Luyang III)-class destroyer fitted with what appears to be an anti-ship missile countermeasures system. The photographs, which were taken during the nine-day ‘Sea Guardian 2020’ maritime exercise between the People’s Liberation Army Navy (PLAN) and the Pakistan Navy (PN), show that the destroyer Yinchuan (pennant number 175) has been modified, with a pair of tubes installed on each side of the hangar roof, which appear to be roughly 500 mm in diameter and perhaps 2 m in length.
The system is similar in appearance to the US Navy’s (USN’s) Mk 59 decoy launch system, which can deploy an expendable inflatable decoy designed to seduce an incoming anti-ship missile. The Mk 59 was first fitted to Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Ramage in late 2013.
The joint ‘Sea Guardian 2020’ exercise, which ended on 14 January, involved four PLAN surface vessels, two PN frigates and two missile boats, together with embarked helicopters and a total of about 120 marines.
The exercise was held in two parts, with shore-side briefings followed by a 72-hour phase at sea.
At the outset of the exercise the PLA-sponsored ChinaMil.com.cn website commented that the exercise was aimed at “enhancing the capabilities of the two navies to jointly cope with maritime terrorism and crime”, adding that the manoeuvres had “nothing to do with the regional situation” and were not targeted at any third party.
It also reported that during the concluding debrief Senior Captain Ye Dan, commander of the Chinese naval fleet, had commented that “the first actual troop submarine rescue exercise at sea greatly improved the emergency underwater rescue capabilities of the two navies”. (Source: Jane’s)
20 Jan 20. Exquadrum concludes hot-fire test of new OpFires rocket system. Exquadrum has completed the Technology Maturation Event (TME) hot-fire test of its new Operational Fires (OpFires) rocket system.
The new rocket is being developed to accomplish the objectives of the US Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) OpFires advanced tactical weapon system mission.
The TME test is the culmination of the Phase 1 portion of the $15.1m prime contract secured by Exquadrum in September 2018.
This phase demonstrated the team’s critical technologies over a period of one year and included a preliminary design review, culminating in the system-level hot-fire TME test of the propulsion system.
It has demonstrated Exquadrum’s new rocket propulsion system at full-scale at the company’s rocket test facility located at the Southern California Logistics Airport in Victorville, California, US.
Exquadrum CEO Kevin Mahaffy said: “DARPA challenged Exquadrum to take our innovative propulsion technology from a pre-proposal feasibility test all the way to a full-scale demonstration in one year and Exquadrum, along with our partner, Dynetics, achieved that goal.”
The Exquadrum and Dynetics team are currently are working together to develop the second stage of the OpFires weapon system.
The Phase 2 option on the contract was awarded to Exquadrum for the development and demonstration of a flight-weight stage in preparation for a flight test programme.
The award of this phase option will mature the propulsion system and the booster design over another year, highlighted by a critical design review and flight-weight system demonstrations.
Overall, the programme is aimed at developing a new ground-launched system for hypersonic boost glide weapons to penetrate modern enemy air defences.
Dynetics Strategy for Space director Andy Crocker said: “For the past year, our engineers have worked diligently to design and test the booster system and meet the hot-fire test’s objectives.
“This test shows our ability to collaborate with Exquadrum and execute efficiently on a programme that is essential to our nation’s defence.”
In November 2018, the US Army selected Aerojet Rocketdyne, Exquadrum and SNC to commence the OpFires programme together with the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA). (Source: army-technology.com)
20 Jan 20. India test-fires locally developed K-4 SLBM. India’s government-run Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) successfully test-fired on 19 January its locally developed, nuclear-capable K-4 intermediate-range submarine-launched ballistic missile (SLBM) off the country’s east coast to its longest range so far, military sources revealed on 20 January. Although no official confirmation has yet been provided by the DRDO of the 19 January day-time firing of the SLBM, the sources told Jane’s on condition of anonymity that the 12m-long K-4 was launched from an underwater pontoon near Visakhapatnam out to a distance of about 2,200km. This was 1,300km short of the maximum 3,500km range claimed by the DRDO, but reportedly “far in excess” of the range the missile had achieved in its previous test-firing from a similarly submerged platform in March 2016, the sources stated. (Source: Jane’s)
20 Jan 20. Indian Air Force commissions first squadron of Su-30MKI fighters armed with the BrahMos-A missile. The Indian Air Force (IAF) commissioned on 20 January its first squadron of Sukhoi Su-30MKI multirole fighter aircraft armed with the BrahMos-A (Air) supersonic cruise missile.
IAF officials told Jane’s that the recently re-activated No. 222 ‘Tiger Sharks’ Squadron at Thanjavur Air Force Station (AFS) on India’s southeast coast, which will be tasked with “monitoring” India’s eastern and western seaboards and the wider Indian Ocean Region (IOR), is also the IAF’s first Su-30 MKI squadron to operate from southern India.
Air Chief Marshal R K S Bhadauria, who presided over the induction ceremony alongside India’s newly appointed Chief of Defence Staff General Bipin Rawat, said the decision to deploy the Su-30MKIs from Thanjavur was taken because of the AFS’s “strategic location”. (Source: Jane’s)
17 Jan 20. U.S. eases firearms export rules, officials say. U.S. firearms makers will be able within days to export as much as 20% more guns, including assault rifles and ammunition, under rules the Trump administration announced on Friday.
The change, which had been contemplated for more than a decade, will officially move oversight of commercial firearm exports from the State Department to the Commerce Department, where export licenses will be much easier to obtain.
The move here by President Donald Trump’s administration will generate business for gun makers such as American Outdoor Brands Corp (AOBC.O) and Sturm Ruger & Co (RGR.N), while increasing the sale of weapons abroad. Relaxing the rules could increase foreign gun sales by as much as 20%, the National Shooting Sports Foundation has estimated.
The Department of Commerce is “better oriented for the kinds of licensing requirements that we are going to be enforcing.” Rich Ashooh, the U.S. Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Export Administration told reporters in a conference call.
A draft of the rules was published on Friday, with publication in the Federal Register expected next week, said Clarke Cooper the State Department’s Assistant Secretary for Political-Military Affairs.
“While we are providing industry a some regulatory relief and a cost savings, it does improve enforceability,” Cooper said.
U.S. Senator Bob Menendez (D-N.J.), Ranking Member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, said the administration “is choosing a path that puts the gun industry’s profits ahead of the safety of families.” The guns “are easily modified, diverted, and proliferated, and are the primary means of injury, death, and destruction in civil and military conflicts throughout the world.”
U.S. Representative Ted Lieu, a California Democrat, called the move “bad,” at Tuesday’s Forum on the Arms Trade Annual Conference, in comments that echoed arms control advocates. Under the change, Lieu said, more weapons will be sold overseas and “give Congress even less authority as a check and balance on those sales.”
Under the new rule, 3D printed guns will still be regulated. “This control will help ensure that U.S. national security and foreign policy interests are not undermined by foreign persons’ access to firearms production technology,” a version of the rule posted on the Federal Register said.
Reuters first reported on the Trump administration’s interest in the oversight shift in 2017 here The action is part of a broader Trump administration overhaul of weapons export policy.(Source: glstrade.com/Reuters)
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.