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06 Feb 20. BDL unveils new Amogha-III ATGM. India’s Bharat Dynamics Limited (BDL) unveiled a model of a new, third generation anti-tank guided missile (ATGM) at the Defexpo 2020 defence exhibition in Lucknow from 05-09 February.
Designated ‘Amogha-III’, the new man-portable, ‘fire-and-forget’ missile has a conventional cylindrical body with eight mid-body foldable fins, and four relatively larger aft fins, for flight stabilisation.
Amogha-III has a comparatively simple configuration featuring a BDL-developed smokeless, signature free, dual-thrust solid rocket motor with thrust vector control (TVC) and a dual mode – imaging infrared (IIR) and electro-optical (EO) – seeker assembly for terminal homing. The missile is fired in lock-on-before launch (LOBL) mode, and can engage targets by using either top or direct attack mode.
The Amogha-III ATGM houses an anti-armour tandem warhead, which is claimed to be able to penetrate in excess of 650 mm beyond Explosive Reactive Armour (ERA). The weight class of the warhead has not been disclosed.
The Amogha-III – as displayed at the Defexpo show – has a stated operational range of 200-2,500 m and weighs 18 kg. BDL noted that the production model will be lighter, and that the company intend to keep the missile weight between 15-16 kg. The company declined to disclose the other specifications, including engagement speed of the Amogha-III ATGM.
The complete missile system features an Amogha-III missile and a tripod, and a command launch unit (CLU) with remote operation capability.
BDL has described the status of the missile as ‘under development’. “We have completed design and development of the missile within two years (began in 2017) and it is currently under [developmental] testing phase, but we have not yet completed the qualification of the missile. This is a completely internally funded project and after satisfactory test results, it will be offered to our (Indian Army) armed force,” BDL officials, told Jane’s. (Source: Jane’s)
06 Feb 20. Malaysia looking to buy new medium-range anti-tank guided missiles. Malaysia has requested bids for the supply of an undisclosed number of medium-range, anti-tank guided missiles (ATGMs) that are likely to be deployed from the Malaysian Army’s future 4×4 vehicles.
The request, which was published by the Ministry of Defense (MoD) in Kuala Lumpur on 24 January, invites responses by 18 February, but provides no further details.
Jane’s understands that the ATGMs are meant to arm 24 new 4×4 weapon carriers that the Malaysian Army is seeking to acquire. The request for bids for these vehicles was published in August 2019, with the document stating that the service is looking for four 4×4 variants capable of carrying different types of weapons, including ATGMs, 12.7 mm and 7.62 mm machine guns, and automatic grenade launchers. (Source: Jane’s)
06 Feb 20. Defexpo 2020: Almaz-Antey upgrades Club-T cruise missile system. Russian state-owned defence company Almaz-Antey has expanded its family of Club cruise missiles with an upgraded variant of the Club-T system, a company spokesperson told Jane’s at the 5-9 February Defexpo 2020 defence show in Lucknow, northern India.
“The Club-T system, which made its debut at the GDA [Gulf Defense & Aerospace] 2017 defence show in Kuwait, now incorporates not only the 3M-14E1 land-attack missile but also the 3M-54E2 anti-ship missile,” said the spokesperson, adding that the Club family – which is the export-oriented variant of the Kalibr missile family – now comprises four members: the submarine-launched Club-S; the ship-launched Club-N; the air-launched Club-A; and the multipurpose Club-T missile system, a scale model of which was shown at Defexpo carried on a MZKT 8×8 transporter-erector-launcher (TEL) vehicle.
The Club-T’s missiles, each of which weighs 1,700 kg and is armed with a 450 kg warhead, have a flight speed of about 240 m/s. According to the manufacturer, the system has a maximum circular error probable of 50 m in land-attack mode. (Source: Jane’s)
05 Feb 20. USAF base launches unarmed Minuteman III ballistic missile. The US Air Force (USAF) has announced the launch of an unarmed Minuteman III intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) during a developmental test from the Vandenberg Air Force Base (AFB).
Conducted by Air Force Global Strike Command, the missile launch was carried out with Vandenberg’s support. The Minuteman III launch is the first one hosted by the Vandenberg AFB since it became a part of the US Space Force. USAF 30th Operations Group commander Kris Barcomb was the decision authority for the missile launch.
Barcomb said: “We are very proud to have accomplished this operation with our long-standing mission partner, Air Force Global Strike Command. We look forward to building on this launch as we continue to provide robust, safe and reliable capabilities critical to the testing and evaluation of the ICBM programme, and many space and range programs to come.”
The 30th Space Wing offers critical technical capabilities supporting space launch and test customers to include telemetry and radar, command and control, optics, and communication.
USAF 30th Space Wing commander Anthony Mastalir said: “Our airmen remain laser-focused on the flawless execution of our launch and range missions.
“I am extremely proud of the continued collaboration between the 30th Space Wing and the 576th Flight Test Squadron, culminating in another successful demonstration of our steadfast commitment to mission success.”
With the launch of Minuteman III missile, the airforce will be able to test its systems and procedures.
In November 2018, the US Air Force (USAF) announced plans with regard to the testing of Minuteman III intercontinental ballistic missile from the Vandenberg AFB.
The Minuteman weapon system was conceived in the late 1950s, which was followed by the deployment of the Minuteman I in the early 1960s. (Source: airforce-technology.com)
05 Feb 20. MDA taps industry to build interceptor to defend against hypersonic threats. The Missile Defense Agency is tapping industry to design and build an interceptor capable of defending against regional hypersonic weapons threats, releasing a draft request for proposals to build prototypes.
The request directs industry to submit white papers by March 19 to build a Hypersonic Defense Regional Glide Phase Weapons System (RGPWS) interceptor with plans to select at least one prime contractor to build a prototype that would culminate in a flight test, according to the draft RFP issued Jan. 30 and posted to the Federal Business Opportunities website.
The agency notes that negotiations following review of white papers and oral presentations could result in no awards, one or multiple.
By building a flight test vehicle under the program, MDA hopes to better understand the technical utility of such a regional hypersonic defensive system and “will provide a pathway to subsequent tactical interceptor and fire control capability,” the document states.
“The purpose of this effort is to reduce interceptor key technology and integration risks, anchor modeling and simulation in areas of large uncertainty and to increase the interceptor technology readiness levels (TRL) to level 5,” the document notes.
TRL level 5 means the prototype is at a stage where it can reasonably be tested in a simulated environment.
The draft RFP notes that an intercept flight experiment is currently outside of the scope of the effort and the plan is to conduct a non-intercept flight demonstration as the culminating step in the prototype project.
MDA does not provide much in the way of a timeline for the effort, noting that the base period prior to an initial design period will not exceed 18 months. The length of time for design, building and testing the interceptor prototypes “will be negotiated prior to agreement award and revised as needed,” the document states.
The agency plans to prioritize technical approach as the most important factor in assessing merits of proposals. Industrial capability and experience comes next followed by schedule. Price is the least important factor, according to the draft RFP.
While MDA is focused on the defense against hypersonic threats, the Defense Department is also making headway on the development and testing of offensive hypersonic weapons with a plan to test fly a prototype as early as this spring, working rapidly to keep pace with hypersonic developments of near-peer competitors China and Russia.
Each of the services are working together to build offensive hypersonic weapons but tweaking them as needed for service specific requirements.
The Navy wants its ship-launched capability fielded in 2023 followed by a submarine-launched missile in 2024.
The Air Force wants to field its air-launched version in 2022.
And the Army’s plan is to field a long-range hypersonic weapon that will launch from a mobile ground platform by fiscal 2023. (Source: Defense News Early Bird/Defense News)
05 Feb 20. US Weapons-Makers Plagued by Industrial Espionage, Cyberattacks, Report Finds. The U.S. defense industrial base received a “mediocre C” report-card grade as it struggles to stay ahead of adversaries, such as China, that rely on stealing American military secrets to remain competitive, according to a new report from the National Defense Industrial Association (NDIA).
“Vital Signs 2020: The Health and Readiness of the Defense Industrial Base,” a data-based report compiled by NDIA and the data analytics firm Govini, analyzed 44 statistical indicators ranging from potential threats to digital systems to surge capacity over the last three years.
The report then graded eight performance areas — on a scale of 100 — for an average grade of 77 for 2019.
Vital Signs “2020’s mediocre ‘C’ grade reflects a business environment characterized by highly contrasting areas of concern and confidence,” the report states. “Deteriorating conditions for industrial security and for the availability and cost of skilled labor and materials emerge from our analysis as areas of clear concern.”
Related: Report: Pentagon Weapons Systems Vulnerable to Cyber Attacks
The U.S. defense industrial base is “an element of national power and is key to national security,” retired Air Force Gen. Hawk Carlisle, NDIA president and CEO, told defense reporters Wednesday during a roundtable discussion on the report’s release.
“This is really about encouraging the dialogue. The Department of Defense is well aware of this, and they are working hard on it,” Carlisle said, referring to the Pentagon’s separate assessment of the defense industrial base it released in 2018.
The intent behind Vital Signs 2020 is to build a path forward from the Pentagon’s assessment and begin an annual, unclassified discussion with the public about how the defense industrial base needs to improve.
“I think there is a tendency to say, ‘Well, we have the greatest military in the world — which we do — and the greatest capability and the greatest equipment in the world’ … but we won’t stay that way if we don’t address this problem now,” Carlisle said.
Vital Signs 2020 rated industrial security as the weakest area of the industrial base, giving it a failing score of 63. Defense contractors have “endured brazen acts of industrial espionage and data breaches by state and non-state actors in recent years,” the report states, adding that cyber vulnerabilities within information systems have led to increased security breaches.
“If we look at where we have been over the past 30 years, particularly since the end of the Cold War, our adversaries, China in particular and Russia as well, have attacked our industrial capacity and tried to gain technological superiority,” Carlisle said. “If you look at what China has done over those 30 years, they have watched how we fight, they have watched what we have done and attacked us everywhere they can. … Trillions of dollars a year are taken from our country with intellectual property theft, with data breach … and unfair trade practices of the Chinese in particular.”
The NDIA report gave the area of production inputs a grade of 68, partly because the defense industry workforce has shrunk from 3.2 million in the 1980s to about 1.1 million currently. Another reason for the low rating on production inputs is the backlog of security clearance applications for workers, the report states.
The health of the defense industrial base, however, is stronger in the area of productive capacity and surge readiness, a critical area that earned a higher score of 77, according to the report.
“The capacity of the defense industrial base to grow its output and fulfill a surge in military demand stands as a key test of its health and readiness,” the report states. “Productive capacity and surge readiness earned an index score of 77 for 2019, a 9-point increase from its 2017 index score.”
The next step is to open a discussion with Pentagon officials, members of Congress and the defense industry to search for solutions that will strengthen the defense industrial base, said Wesley Hallman, NDIA senior vice president of strategy and policy.
“Our goal is to develop an open-sources, data-driven model from which we can assess the health and readiness of the defense industrial base on an annual basis,” he said. “We make no specific recommendations; we do this because we want the broader community to see this as a baseline for the discussion.” (Source: Defense News Early Bird/Military.com)
05 Feb 20. Indian Army stockpiling ammunition for 10 days of ‘intense war.’ The Indian Army (IA) is looking to boost its depleted ammunition stocks to enable it to sustain 10 days of ‘intense’ combat by 2022-23, after which it aims to further stockpile its munition reserves for 40 days of combat. Senior IA officers told Jane’s on 3 February that the service aims to overcome enduring shortages by sourcing ammunition from not only the state-owned Ordnance Factory Board (OFB) – which currently supplies 90 of the 163 munition types it uses – but also from private local vendors and foreign manufacturers. The IA’s ammunition requirements include assorted 155 mm rounds for howitzers, varied 125mm shells for T-72M1 and T-90S main battle tanks, anti-tank guided missiles (ATGMs), 30mm high-explosive incendiary rounds, 122mm BM-21 rockets, and 40mm low-velocity grenades. (Source: Jane’s)
05 Feb 20. Australian Army to acquire Rafael Spike LR2 missile system.
The alignment with the Combat Reconnaissance Vehicle will allow the army to deliver improved operational effects for the ADF in sustainment. Credit: Australian Government Department of Defence. The Australian Army and the Australian Defence Force (ADF) are set to acquire the Rafael Spike LR2 missile system under the Lethality System project (Land 159).
The missile system will serve as the army’s Long Range Direct Fire Support Weapon capability and would help it maintain a competitive edge against evolving threats.
Australian Army chief lieutenant general Rick Burr said: “The Long Range Direct Fire Support Weapon capability will enable our dismounted teams to engage armoured targets faster at an increased range and with improved accuracy.
“New technology and capabilities enable the army to challenge its adversaries in complex, remote and hostile environments. The army must be equipped and always ready to deal with warfare at all ranges, at all times.”
Furthermore, the alignment with the Combat Reconnaissance Vehicle (Land 400 Phase 2) will enable the army to deliver improved operational effects for the ADF in sustainment, training and maintenance.
With the acquisition of the Rafael Spike LR2, the army will be equipped with a modern dismounted anti-armour guided missile system to target contemporary armoured threats. (Source: army-technology.com)
05 Feb 20. Defexpo 2020: Uralvagonzavod unveils upgraded AU-220M remote weapon station. Russian company Uralvagonzavod (UVZ), a subsidiary of state corporation Rostec, has unveiled a combat-ready variant of its Burevestnik AU-220M remotely controlled weapon station (RWS) at the Defexpo 2020 defence exhibition in Lucknow, northern India, taking place on 5–9 February. Georgy Zakamennykh, director general of UVZ’s TsNII Burevestnik research institute, told Jane’s that the upgraded RWS features increased firepower against heavier targets.
“The RWS’s 57 mm main gun engages almost all types of targets on the battlefield, except for heavy ones. To hit main battle tanks and heavy field installations, the station can now optionally carry a protected bank of two ready-to-use Ataka or Khrizantema anti-tank guided missiles,” said Zakamennykh. (Source: Jane’s)
05 Feb 20. Defexpo 2020: SSB Defence displays new sniper rifles. Indian company Stumpp Schuele & Somappa (SSS) Defence displayed two new sniper rifles during the 5–9 February Defexpo 2020 exhibition in Lucknow, northern India.
Managing Director Satish R Machani told Jane’s that the company holds the proprietary rights for the locally developed sniper rifles – called Viper and Sabre -, pointing out that the weapons will be fully manufactured in India.
“The bolt-action Sabre and Viper rifles are chambered for the .338 Lapua Magnum and the 7.62 × 51 NATO calibres, respectively,” added Dinesh Shivanna, the company’s chief technology officer. The Sabre is fitted with an aluminium alloy receiver coated with black oxide and cerakote, and features a MIL-STD-1913 (Picatinny) rail system at the 3, 6, 9, and 12 o’clock positions. (Source: Jane’s)
05 Feb 20. Raytheon Company’s (NYSE: RTN) new Excalibur® S precision-guided munition scored direct hits on moving targets in a U.S. Navy test. Testing validated the projectile’s ability to survive the shock and stress of a howitzer firing, then transition from GPS to laser guidance and hit a moving target. Excalibur S uses the Excalibur Ib variant’s GPS technology and incorporates a semi-active laser seeker to engage mobile land and maritime targets at comparable ranges. Existing Ib projectiles can be upgraded with Excalibur S capabilities.
“Using artillery to engage moving targets gives soldiers more flexibility,” said Sam Deneke, Raytheon Land Warfare Systems vice president. “Artillery is typically used to hit stationary objects, but Excalibur S expands the capability of artillery on the battlefield.”
Excalibur is a true precision weapon, impacting at a radial miss distance of less than two meters from the target. Widely used by U.S. and international artillery forces, Excalibur has been fired more than 1,400 times in combat.
05 Feb 20. LRASM integration planned for P-8A Poseidon. The US Navy (USN) is moving forward with the integration of the Lockheed Martin AGM-158C Long Range Anti-Ship Missile (LRASM) on the Boeing P-8A Poseidon maritime patrol aircraft, and has also revealed plans to integrate a range of additional weapon systems in due course.
In a pre-solicitation notice released on 28 January, the Naval Air Systems Command’s (NAVAIR’s) Maritime Patrol and Reconnaissance Aircraft programme office (PMA-290) said it was requesting information from industry to “determine potential contractors who have the skills, experience, qualifications, and knowledge required to perform aeromechanical and software integration of [LRASM] onto the P-8A aircraft”, adding, “Engineering tasks for this effort includes, but are not limited to upgrades to the Boeing Tactical Open Mission Systems (TOMS) and Stores Management Computer (SMC) software and interfaces, test planning, execution, data reduction, and reporting on flight test efforts.” (Source: Jane’s)
05 Feb 20. Greece prepares to deploy Patriot to Saudi Arabia. A Greek Patriot air-defence unit was activated on 20 January ahead of its deployment to Saudi Arabia, government spokesman Stelios Petsas said in a radio interview on 3 February. He said about 130 personnel will be deployed to Saudi Arabia, which is covering all the costs. Petsas said the deployment “contributes to ensuring stability in the region and to energy security that has been affected in the past and has a major impact on the Greek economy”. He added that Greece is “trying to re-energise” relations with the Gulf Arab countries as part of its response to Turkish provocations but stressed the Patriot deployment would not jeopardise its relations with Saudi Arabia’s neighbours as it is a purely defensive system. (Source: Jane’s)
04 Feb 20. Dillon Aero is developing a new .50 caliber Gatling gun, known as the 503D. This gun system will be lighter, faster, and smarter than existing .50cal machine guns. It will fire 1,500 shots per minute with the ability to adjust the precise firing rate based on platform integration to optimize mission performance. The gun is designed to have integrated immunity to internal component damage from ammunition feed jams. The current gun weighs 84 lb (38 kg).
The technology used in the gun system provides the operator unlimited information on how the weapon operates, and possible failures that could be prevented with current maintenance data, and increased safety.
- Chambered in NATO .50 BMG (12.7×99mm NATO)
- Firing rate of 1,500 rounds per minute (25 rounds per second)
- Gun weighs 84 lb (38 kg)
- Designed for component damage immunity
- Lighter, faster, smarter
24 Jan 20. Elbit’s Iron Fist engages kinetic energy round.
- An Iron Fist Light Kinetic (IFLK) round has successfully intercepted an APFSDS projectile in tests
- It is unclear how interchangeable the IFLK is with the Iron Fist Light Decoupled (IFLD) system ordered by the US and Israeli militaries
Elbit Systems’ Iron Fist active protection system (APS) has successfully engaged a 120 mm armour-piercing fin-stabilised discarding sabot (APFSDS) projectile under test conditions, Adam Griffiths, programmes and engineering director at Elbit Systems UK, told the International Armoured Vehicles (IAV) conference in London on 21 January.
The presentation included video footage of what Griffiths described as a “miss-to-kill” interceptor that was launched by the Iron Fist Light Kinetic (IFLK) system exploding near an APFSDS, thereby altering its trajectory. This would result in it hitting a vehicle fitted with the APS at a less-optimal angle, reducing the resulting penetration.
The development raises the prospect of armoured vehicles effectively defending themselves against main battle tanks as well as man-portable anti-tank weapons.
Griffiths said the IFLK is designed to intercept APFSDS and anti-tank guided missiles, while the Iron Fist Light Decoupled (IFLD), a system already ordered for the US Army’s Bradley and Israeli military’s new Eitan infantry fighting vehicles, is better suited to rocket propelled grenades (RPGs) and recoilless rifle projectiles.
He did not explain how the two systems differ or say whether the IFLK interceptor requires a different launcher.
He said Iron Fist includes a solution to the problem of APS radar emissions giving away the location of vehicles but did not explain how this has been achieved.
The problem was touched on during a later presentation by Rheinmetall Protection Systems, which indicated that an APS with a 200 W-radar system could be detected from a range of 500 km by electronic intelligence assets. (Source: Jane’s)
04 Feb 20. L&T-MBDA JV establishes missile integration facility in Tamil Nadu. The Larsen & Toubro (L&T) and MBDA Missile Systems joint venture (JV) L&T MBDA Missile Systems (LTMMSL) has set up a missile integration facility in the Indian state of Tamil Nadu. LTMMSL has established the 16,000m² assembly, inert integration (without explosives) and testing facility for missile sub-systems and missile weapon launch systems in a special economic zone at Coimbatore.
The move comes as the company focuses on domestic and global markets.
From this year, the new missile integration facility will start the deliveries of weapon systems using test equipment such as missile launchers and airframe segments, including control actuation units for export markets.
L&T MBDA Missile Systems chairman J D Patil said: “L&T MBDA Missile Systems has been working proactively to offer advanced missiles and missile systems to the Indian Armed Forces through domestic production.
“The creation of this new integration facility at Coimbatore is the first step in this direction. We are showcasing some of these next-gen offerings at the DEFEXPO20 to be held at Lucknow.”
At its new facility, LTMMSL will build complete missile systems for the Indian Armed Forces.
L&T MBDA Missile Systems vice-chairman and board member Pasquale Di Bartolomeo said: “The setting up of this new state-of-the-art facility in Coimbatore is an exciting and highly significant milestone for the L&T MBDA Missile Systems joint venture and for the Indian defence industry sector.
“With the technical and human capabilities offered by this site, India will be ideally placed to offer its armed forces and the export market the very latest generation of defence equipment technology.”
Going forward, the JV will supply the Exocet MM 40 Block 3 anti-ship missile, and an Indian-designed, developed and manufactured fifth-generation anti-tank guided missile (ATGM5) to the country’s armed forces.
Additionally, LTMMSL will supply a short-range surface-to-air missile system (SRSAM) to the Indian Navy.
The JV was established by L&T and MBDA in February 2017 for the development of missiles and weapon systems in India for the armed forces.
L&T owns a 51% stake in LTMMSL, while the remaining 49% stake is held by MBDA. (Source: army-technology.com)
04 Feb 20. Indonesia completes CIWS installation on second Martadinata frigate.
- Work to install weapon systems on Indonesia’s second Martadinata-class frigate has begun
- The vessel is expected to be fully operational for high-tempo operations by early 2021
Indonesian state-owned shipbuilder PT PAL has completed installation of the Rheinmetall Oerlikon 35 mm Millennium Gun on the country’s second Martadinata (SIGMA 10514)-class guided-missile frigate, KRI I Gusti Ngurah Rai (332). However, the vessel has yet to receive other weapons, including the VL MICA air defence missile system, for which it has been fitted, an industry source confirmed with Jane’s on 3 February.
Like the first-of-class, Raden Eddy Martadinata (331), I Gusti Ngurah Rai was delivered to the Indonesian Navy (Tentara Nasional Indonesia – Angkatan Laut: TNI-AL) in the ‘fitted for but not with’ (FFBNW) configuration for its major weapon systems, except for the Leonardo (Oto Melara) 76/62 Super Rapid gun. (Source: Jane’s)
03 Feb 20. Newer F-35As cracking due to gun use. Key Points:
- Lot 9 and newer F-35As have developed cracks after gun use
- The aircraft variant’s gun inaccuracy has stumped the programme for years
The Pentagon has restricted gun use on Lot 9 and newer Lockheed Martin F-35A Lightning II Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) conventional variants to combat-only after discovering cracks in the aircraft after gun operation.
Robert Behler, director of operational test and evaluation (DOT&E), said in his fiscal year 2019 (FY 2019) report released on 30 January that units flying these newer F-35As discovered cracks in the outer mold-line coatings and the underlying chine longeron skin, near the gun muzzle, after the gun was used. F-35A Lot 9 aircraft were delivered in 2017.
All three variants have a 25 mm gun. The F-35A gun is internal while the F-35B short take-off and vertical landing (STOVL) model and the F-35C aircraft carrier variant each use an external gun pod.
Differences in the outer mold-line fairing mounting make the gun pods unique to a specific variant. For example, a F-35B gun pod cannot be mounted on a F-35C aircraft. Lockheed Martin spokesperson Brett Ashworth said on 1 February that the B- and C-models carry a low observable belly gun pod mounted on the centreline.
Most of the FY 2019 report repeats the same concerns about the F-35A gun from the previous year’s report – that the gun’s accuracy is unacceptable. On the other hand, the F-35B and C-model air-to-ground accuracy results so far have been consistent and meet the contract specifications. DOT&E said the results do not show the accuracy errors of the internal F-35A gun.
Ashworth said that the F-35 programme has made significant progress on the F-35A gun since the data used for the DOT&E report. The programme has implemented software updates and installed a field gun alignment aid to ensure proper gun barrel position. (Source: Jane’s)
04 Feb 20. Statement on the Fielding of the W76-2 Low-Yield Submarine Launched Ballistic Missile Warhead. The following statement is attributable to Mr. John Rood, Under Secretary of Defense for Policy.
The U.S. Navy has fielded the W76-2 low-yield submarine-launched ballistic missile (SLBM) warhead. In the 2018 Nuclear Posture Review, the department identified the requirement to “modify a small number of submarine-launched ballistic missile warheads” to address the conclusion that potential adversaries, like Russia, believe that employment of low-yield nuclear weapons will give them an advantage over the United States and its allies and partners. This supplemental capability strengthens deterrence and provides the United States a prompt, more survivable low-yield strategic weapon; supports our commitment to extended deterrence; and demonstrates to potential adversaries that there is no advantage to limited nuclear employment because the United States can credibly and decisively respond to any threat scenario. (Source: US DoD)
03 Feb 20. Researchers Take Body Armor to the Next Level with High Energy Fibers. FAU’s College of Engineering and Computer Science Awarded $569,482 from Combating Terrorism Technical Support Office. The fibers in an armor absorb ballistic energy and dissipate it as quickly as possible when the projectile strikes. Fiber strength, modulus and fracture strain are key parameters for absorption and
It sounds like something out of the movie “Iron Man,” where the fictional American superhero builds an armored suit to fight terrorists and overturn his captors. For researchers at Florida Atlantic University’s College of Engineering and Computer Science, developing and enhancing materials to improve the performance of military helmets and body armor is definitely not fictional. They have received $569,482 from the Combating Terrorism Technical Support Office (CTTSO) under the advanced Armor Materials Program, to develop advanced fibers for body armor. Ballistic or bullet-proof armor performance is heavily dependent on the base material properties, which have changed little in recent years.
The CTTSO identifies and develops capabilities to combat terrorism at home and abroad and irregular adversaries and to deliver these capabilities to United States Department of Defense components and interagency partners through rapid research and development, advanced studies and technical innovation, and provision of support to U.S. military operations.
“Composite fiber plays a very important role in the performance of ballistic armor, and its mechanical properties are integrally related with kinetic energy absorption and dissipation,” said Stella Batalama, Ph.D., dean of FAU’s College of Engineering and Computer Science. “However, in recent years there have not been any significant advances in ballistic fiber properties, resulting in limited improvements of armor performance. With this important effort, our researchers will be able to enhance the properties of the fiber that will potentially lead to greater energy absorption and ballistic performance, and ultimately, greater protection of the women and men who serve in the United States military.”
The fibers in an armor absorb ballistic energy and dissipate it as quickly as possible when the projectile strikes. Fiber strength, modulus and fracture strain are key parameters for absorption and dissipation. FAU’s two-year project, “Hybridization of Ultrahigh Molecular Weight Polyethylene (UHMWPE) with Nylon and Carbon Nanotubes for Improved Ballistic Performance,” is aimed at improving the properties of UHMWPE fibers that are used in ballistic applications. The project involves two phases consisting of both experimental and computational approaches to investigate manufacturing, testing, and predicting the performance of the modified fiber. Testing of fibers will be performed at various rates of strain ranging from quasi-static to ballistic.
“Although current body armor provides increasingly advanced protection to our soldiers, it comes at a cost. It’s heavy, cumbersome, and way above the desired aerial density, which limits mobility and physical performance of our soldiers,” said Hassan Mahfuz, Ph.D., principal investigator, an expert in nanocomposite and structured materials and a professor in FAU’s Department of Ocean and Mechanical Engineering. “For more than a decade, considerable efforts have been made in carrying out various experimental, analytical and numerical investigations to identify and explain penetration-failure mechanisms under ballistic loading. We are hopeful the hybridized nanocomposite fiber we are developing will help to take body armor to the next level. We expect that it will possess excellent strength, modulus and fracture strain, which will lead to high energy absorption, and fast dissipation.”
The FAU project is led by Mahfuz, Oren Masory, Ph.D., a professor and an expert in robotics, rehabilitation engineering, and computerized manufacturing; and Leif A. Carlsson, Ph.D., the J.M. Rubin Foundation Professor and an expert in composite materials and solid mechanics, both in FAU’s Department of Ocean and Mechanical Engineering, in collaboration with the Naval Surface Warfare Center Panama City Division, and North Carolina State University. (Source: Newswise)
02 Feb 20. USAF set to field StormBreaker on F-15E. The US Air Force (USAF) is expected to declare an initial operating capability (IOC) with the Raytheon Missile Systems GBU-53/B StormBreaker glide munition on the Boeing F-15E Strike Eagle multirole combat aircraft in the first half of this year, following compliance with a Required Assets Available (RAA) milestone, which is anticipated in the next few weeks.
The StormBreaker RAA is the pre-IOC benchmark capability to arm 12 USAF F-15Es with two, fully-loaded (four weapons) BRU-61/A carriage systems each for 1.5 sorties (144 assets total).
Optimised to address moving battlefield targets, StormBreaker – formerly designated ‘Small Diameter Bomb II’ – is a 250 lb-class, air-launched unpowered glide weapon system furnished with a unique tri-mode seeker, which combines millimetre wave (MMW) radar, imaging infrared (IIR), and semi-active laser (SAL) sensors with a GPS/inertial navigation system (INS) autopilot (the provider for which is undisclosed) for precision accuracy in adverse weather conditions. The seeker’s optical dome is protected by a clamshell shroud, which is jettisoned before the seeker is activated. A Rockwell Collins TacNet bi-directional dual-band datalink enables Joint Tactical Information Distribution System (JTIDS) connectivity with aircraft and an ultra-high frequency (UHF) link with a ground designator.
Furnished with a deployable wing assembly to achieve stand-off engagement ranges in excess of 70 km, StormBreaker incorporates a multifunction warhead (blast, fragmentation, and shaped charge jet) designed to defeat armoured and non-armoured targets; a redesign of the warhead was performed during the development cycle to provide the capability to disable or defeat main battle tanks. The warhead fuze can be set to initiate on impact, at a pre-set height above the intended target, or in a delayed mode. The munition operates in three principal attack modes: normal attack (NA), laser-illuminated attack (LIA), and co-ordinate attack (CA). (Source: Jane’s)
03 Feb 20. MDA issues DRPP for new hypersonic defence programme. The US Missile Defense Agency (MDA) on 28 January released a pre-solicitation notice – in the form of a draft request for prototype proposal (DRPP) and system requirements document (SRD) – for a Hypersonic Defense Regional Glide Phase Weapon System (RGPWS) prototype development programme. The DRPP/SRD release follows the publication in mid-December 2019 of a sources sought notification for the same programme.
According to the MDA, “competitive procedures will be used to enter into one or more agreements(s) leading to the design, development, and demonstration of a Prototype Weapon.” In support of the DRPP – which the MDA said “is being provided to initiate dialogue on the RGPWS requirement” – the agency noted that it intends to issue a classified technical data library containing items such as the system requirements document (SRD), threat data, trajectories, and other technical data.
A draft timeline issued in the same release, provides for Industry Day one-to-one sessions for 4-8 February, responses to the DRPP by 11 February, following which the agency expects to release a final request for prototype proposal in early April. No further detail has been publicly disclosed on the RGPWS requirement.
The RGPWS programme is intended to complement another MDA hypersonic defence initiative – designated the Hypersonic Defense Weapon System (HDWS). The agency selected 21 proposals from industry in September 2018 for concept definition studies, from which it subsequently selected five concepts in late August and early September 2019 for a nine-month concept-refinement phase. Those selected proposals included four kinetic concepts: two from Lockheed Martin (Valkyrie and Dart), one from Raytheon (SM-3 Hawk) and one from Boeing (Hypervelocity Interceptor – HYVINT) and another Raytheon proposal based on a directed-energy system. (Source: Jane’s)
03 Feb 20. South Korea relies on Thales’ systems to avoid friendly fire incidents.
- At the heart of coalition missions in the theatre of operations, it is essential for the forces to distinguish between friendly and enemy targets in order to avoid friendly fire incidents.
- South Korea’s Defense Acquisition Programme Administration (DAPA) has awarded a contract to LIG Nex1 who is Thales’ local partner for the supply of IFF (Identification Friend or Foe) systems to replace Mode 4 with Mode 5 for enhancement capability.
- Short range TSA 1412 interrogators will be produced by local partners based on license production supported by Thales and will be Mode 5 compliant and certified to the latest NATO standard, which will soon be mandatory on coalition operations. The mid-range TSA 2522 interrogators will be upgraded.
Thales IFF systems will be integrated by LIG Nex1 who has been selected by DAPA, South Korea’s Defense Acquisition Program Administration, to supply TSA 1412 IFF (identification Friend or Foe) interrogators for integration with man-portable missile systems and TSA 2522 for air defence vehicles. For this contract, Thales has teamed with a South Korean partner, LIG Nex1 and will transfer production to local SMEs. This is the third major order for the TSA 1412, which is the most compact Mode 5 IFF interrogator on the market and has also been sold to the United States and Japan as well as several European countries including the United Kingdom and Sweden.
Thales and South Korean partner LIG Nex1 were selected after a request for proposals to support the country’s air defence capabilities. The key success factor was Thales’s capacity to work with South Korean industry, and in particular with smaller partner companies that will produce the equipment locally.
IFF systems identify friendly platforms in the theatre of operations to prevent incidents of friendly fire and contribute to air traffic surveillance. The TSA 1412 is part of Thales’s BlueGate family of IFF systems. This short-range/very short-range interrogator is the most lightweight on the market (less than 2 kg) and is ideally suited to man-portable weapon systems and short range air defence systems (SHORADS). It will be integrated with South Korea’s K-SAM, Biho-hybrid, TPS-830K and KP-SAM defence systems.
The TSA 1412 implements Mode 5 certification, which is mandatory for NATO-led coalition forces from 2020. Certification was awarded by AIMS1, the United States body that guarantees interoperability of US and NATO systems.
Thales is a world leader in the IFF market and offers a complete range of systems designed to meet the full spectrum of current and future IFF requirements for the armed forces. More than 20,000 Thales IFF systems are in service on more than 100 types of air, land and naval platforms in 70 countries.
Thales’s IFF solutions have also been selected by South Korea for Land, Air and Naval forces.
“This latest contract award is a strong endorsement of our partnership with LIG Nex1 and the benefits of technical and commercial cooperation with local industry, and in particular with the South Korean SMEs that will produce our systems, which will support the South Korean defence industry’s moves to scale up production of high-end products.” Sandy Gillio, Thales Country Director in South Korea.
1 AIMS: Air Traffic Radar Control Beacon System Identification Friend or Foe MKXIIA System. AIMS is directed by the US Department of Defense and provides an independent office for the certification of IFF systems that is recognised around the world.
03 Feb 20. IDF chooses RAFAEL’s FIRE WEAVER networked Sensor-to-Shooter system for its digitized battlespace. The Israeli Ministry of Defense (IMOD) has announced the acquisition of ‘FIRE WEAVER’ – a networked sensor-to-shooter system. The game-changing system will serve the IDF’s ground forces divisions, and become operational in the coming year.
FIRE WEAVER was developed jointly by the IDF’s ground forces, DDR&D (The IMOD’s Directorate of Defense Research and Development) and RAFAEL, as part of the IDF’s battlefield digitization process. The system connects all battle participants to enables closing rapid, precise, effective and secure sensor-to-shooter loops. As a result, FIRE WEAVER considerably maximizes the operational performance and decreases the battle duration.
FIRE WEAVER provides the tactical forces with a GPS-independent geo-pixel-based tactical common language among all the sensors and shooters which grants optimal situational awareness and improved understanding of the battlefield. Targets, blue forces, sensitive locations and other points of interest, are shared immediately and accurately and are augmented on the system sights, based on 3D models using RAFAEL’s advanced computer vision technology. This enables fighters to perceive the precise location of the enemy from any vantage point and any distance regardless of their own position.
In addition, FIRE WEAVER utilizes RAFAEL’s advanced artificial intelligence algorithms, processes the battle data, analyzes it, and prioritizes fire allocation. FIRE WEAVER calculates the optimal shooter for each target, based on parameters such as location, line-of-sight, effectiveness, current ammo status etc., while minimizing collateral damage and fratricide, taking into consideration the rules of engagement in real time.
The system includes a Fire Management Terminal application, which provides the commander with a full control of the entire process, including cases of multiple sensor-to-shooter loops in parallel.
FIRE WEAVER is complementary to any C4I system. While ordinary C4I systems are designed for HQs and the commander level, FIRE WEAVER provides the fighters with real-time accurate battle information, displayed directly on their weapon sights, and prevents mistakes. Furthermore, FIRE WEAVER is fully compliant with the MIL STD 882 safety standard.
Last month RAFAEL announced that FIRE WEAVER had also been selected as part of a study by the German Federal Office for Equipment, Information Technology and Use of the Federal Armed Forces (BAAINBw), for Creation of a glass battlefield to support dynamic operations (ErzUntGlas).
Lieutenant Colonel R, Project Leader at DDR&D said, “FIRE WEAVER is a main milestone in the IDF’s battlefield digitization effort. The innovative system essentially creates an ‘operational internet’ and brings to the battlefield the same innovation that the internet brought to the civilian world, the smart home and the smart cities. FIRE WEAVER enables operational connectivity between Joint forces and simplifies integration processes between naval, air and ground forces”.
Brig. Gen. (Ret.) Shmuel Olanski, head of RAFAEL’s Land Innovation Center said, “FIRE WEAVER is a significant force-multiplier, and it joins RAFAEL’s vast portfolio of ground-braking systems, integrating top notch technologies. In line with RAFAEL’s vision of connecting the capabilities, FIRE WEAVER will help the IDF in its efforts to prepare for the challenges of the multidimensional battlefield.”
30 Jan 20. Japanese MoD confirms plans to acquire stand-off missiles amid ‘severe’ security environment. Japanese Ministry of Defense (MoD) officials have confirmed Tokyo’s plans to acquire the Lockheed Martin AGM-158B Joint Air-to-Surface Standoff Missile – Extended Range (JASSM-ER) and the AGM-158C Long Range Anti-Ship Missile (LRASM) to meet a requirement for air-launched stand-off missiles for the Japan Air Self-Defense Force’s (JASDF’s) multirole fighter aircraft.
Speaking to Jane’s in Tokyo on 27 January, an MoD official said that Tokyo is intending to procure these weapons from the United States “as soon as possible” for fitment onto JASDF F-15J Eagle fighters to enhance the platform’s capabilities to effectively counter attacks at longer ranges. According to Jane’s Air-Launched Weapons, both the JASSM-ER and LRASM have a maximum range of 926 km, allowing them to strike ground and naval targets at stand-off ranges. (Source: Jane’s)
30 Jan 20. US Navy deploys low-yield Trident W76-2 nuclear submarine warhead. The US Navy has deployed the new low-yield Trident W76-2 warhead on a nuclear submarine. The warhead is believed to be deployed on the Ohio-class ballistic missile submarine USS Tennesse (SSBN-734). The submarine is currently on patrol in the Atlantic Ocean, according to the Federation of American Scientists (FAS). The first production unit (FPU) of the W76-2 was completed at Pantex in February 2019. Approximately 50 W76-2 warheads would have been produced. However, the National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) has not disclosed the total number of planned W76-2 warheads. The desire to produce the W76-2 was announced in the February 2018 Nuclear Posture Review (NPR). It is being developed for existing submarine-launched Trident II (D-5) missiles. Around $65m has been devoted by Congress for work on the W76-2 warhead in FY2019, with $10m allocated to complete the work in FY2020. It is a low-cost add-on to improve the W76 Mod 1 strategic Trident warhead. The armoured weapon system is configured for primary-only detonation and is lighter than the current W76-1 warhead.
FAS nuclear information project director Hans Kristensen was quoted by The Guardian as saying: “We have had conversations with people inside, and they’ve been pretty clear that this has happened.
“They see a need to talk about it to some extent because if people don’t know it’s out there, then how can it deter?
“This is a very rapid mind quick turnaround for a nuclear weapon, and that’s obviously because it was a fairly simple adjustment of an existing warhead.
“They have argued that this is to deter Russia, but it also has clear implications or potential use against other adversaries, not least North Korea and Iran.” (Source: naval-technology.com)
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.