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MISSILE, BALLISTICS AND SOLDIER SYSTEMS UPDATE

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11 Feb 20. U.S. Navy’s Aircraft Launch Rail Gun Revealed. Details of the U.S. Navy’s new generation, electrically powered aircraft launch and recovery system, currently under test for the first time on the USS Gerald R. Ford (CVN-78) carrier, are visible in a large-scale model at the Singapore Airshow.

The Electromagnetic Aircraft Launch System (EMALS) is in development to replace the traditional steam piston catapult launch system on current carriers. The new configuration also includes the electrically powered Advanced Arresting Gear (AAG), which replaces the hydraulic arresting gear in use on the Navy’s 10 Nimitz-class aircraft carriers.

The EMALS catapult, which is powered by a linear induction motor, is designed to accelerate aircraft more gradually than the steam system and put less stress on the aircraft. The system is also lighter and more flexible than the current design and is capable of launching a wider range of aircraft weights. The AAG is also designed for a broader range of aircraft, including UAVs.

The large-scale cutaway model shows the linear induction motors of the EMALs as well as the banks of rotary engines incorporated in the AAG. Fine control of the arresting forces is provided by a large induction motor, which is coupled to energy-absorbing water turbines.

Tests on the Ford, the eponymous lead ship of navy’s first new class of carriers since the 1970s, are part of efforts to assess the performance of the technology for launch and landing operations. The system has proved more challenging to develop than expected, and improvements are underway to boost reliability for the required sortie generation rate. The service is evaluating aircraft compatibility before the scheduled deployment of the Ford in 2022. (Source: AvWeek)

12 Feb 20. Accuracy International Ltd. (AI) today announced the launch of two new models, the AX MKIII and AX 50 ELR. These will be on display at the British Shooting Show being held at the NEC, Birmingham, UK from 14th to 16th February, 2020 and at EnforceTac, Nuremberg, Germany from 4th to 5th March, 2020.

The AX MKIII is the latest in a long and distinguished line of combat proven sniper rifles from AI and has been designed to meet current operational needs in Europe and around the world. Tested to current NATO requirements for Military Sniper rifles, it has evolved from the successful AXMC multi-calibre rifle and is a variant of the AXSR, produced for the US Market and shares many features.

The rifle as supplied is configured in .338 Lapua Magnum and has multi-calibre conversion kits that are user configurable and mission adaptable. AX MKIII features include an integral Arca-Swiss Style tripod mounting rail under the forend tube and forend grip, barricade supports, AI’s patented and Quickloc barrel system bolted to the aluminium chassis. Improved design features include the bolt, lock ring, ambidextrous 3 position safety catch and rubber AR style changeable pistol grip. The well proven and reliable AI detachable magazine is included in 10 round, double stack, CIP length for all calibres, without the need for a magazine adapter.

The AX 50 ELR long-range anti-materiel rifle is also a multicalibre rifle system. The rifle as supplied is configured in .50 BMG and can be converted to .408 CheyTac® or .375 CheyTac®. Features include Arca-Swiss Style tripod mounting rail under forend grip, barricade supports, AI’s patented Quickloc barrel system and 10 round double stack magazines.

13 Feb 20. Leaders Discuss Nuclear Modernization, Hypersonics Development. The nuclear triad of intercontinental ballistic missiles, submarines and strategic bombers, as well as the nuclear command and control system, are at the core of U.S. defense strategy, the commander of U.S. Strategic Command told a Senate panel.

“These capabilities are foundational to our survival as a nation,” Navy Adm. Charled A Richard told the Senate Armed Services Committee today, appearing at a budget hearing with Air Force Gen. Terrence J. O’Shaughnessy, commander of North American Aerospace Defense Command and U.S. Northern Command.

Modernization of the triad is essential for maintaining strategic deterrence, which is foundational for everything else the Defense Department does, Richard said, adding that Russia and China are heavily investing in these systems.

Over the decades, the return on investment in the nuclear triad has been enormous, the admiral said, noting that submarines designed to last 30 years have been in service 42 years. “What a credit to the people who designed it, built it and operated it,” he told the senators.

However, Richard said, the submarines are reaching the end of their service. “We are reaching physics and engineering limits such that you cannot extend it,” he explained. Columbia-class submarines will replace the Ohio-class submarines, he said. Funding for the first Columbia-class submarine is in the proposed 2021 defense budget.

The 400 silo-based Minuteman III intercontinental ballistic missiles were also designed with a certain lifespan, but the Air Force was able to extend it, Richard said. It will need to be replaced by the Ground Based Strategic Deterrent, another type of ICBM, which is planned for full operational capability in 2036.

In addition, Richard said, the aging B-52 bomber will remain in service for an additional 30 years, albeit with more upgrades. The other strategic bomber, the B-2, is the only long-range, penetrating stealth bomber in the world. It will eventually be replaced by the B-21, he said. The initial operating capability of the B-21 is expected to be attained by the end of this decade,  with fielding in the 2030s.

O’Shaughnessy said the nation has to invest in defensive and offensive hypersonic weapons and research because China and Russia are doing so.

“Along with the weapons themselves, there needs to be a space-based sensor system and an over-the-horizon radar system for tracking and monitoring these and other weapons such as advanced cruise missiles,” he said. Hypersonic weapons are much faster than traditional ballistic missiles, he explained, and they’re also maneuverable.

In the past year, O’Shaughnessy said, DOD has observed a growing strategic cooperation between China and Russia — including a combined bomber patrol in July. The Chinese have also participated in multiple Russian exercises, the general said. (Source: US DoD)

11 Feb 20. Pentagon budget 2021: US Army zeros out funding for Bradley active protection system. Congressional cuts to the US Army’s M4 Bradley line this year forced the service to cancel its active protection system (APS) solicitation and halt plans to outfit the platform with Elbit Systems’ Iron Fist Light Decoupled (IF-LD).

Lieutenant Colonel Matthew Johnson, the army’s Bradley programme manager, spoke with Jane’s on 11 February about difficult budgetary decisions facing his programme after the fiscal year 2020 (FY 2020) Consolidated Appropriations Act stripped dollars from the vehicle line. This reduction then forced the service to decide where to make cuts and it opted to cancel its Bradley APS solicitation in late January. As a result, the service will not meet its 2021 first unit equipped date.

“While the requirement has not been cancelled, we did pull the solicitation… [and] due to impacts of the FY 2020 [appropriations bill] we needed to push procurement of the system,” he explained. “Our original plan was very aggressive, where we were going to test and produce the systems simultaneously in an effort to meet our first unit equipped date in fourth quarter 2021, but due to the funding impact to the Bradley programme, we have had to go back and re-evaluate our schedule.”

Beyond the enacted FY 2020 spending bill, however, the army’s newly released FY 2021 budget request also zeroes out funding for outfitting the Bradley with an APS. “No there is not production dollars identified [in the budget] for Iron Fist on Bradley,” Lt Col Johnson said, adding that he is “working diligently” with the army staff to find a way ahead.

For decades, though, army leaders have been working to outfit their fleet of ground combat vehicles with APS technologies to counter threats such as anti-tank guided missiles and rocket-propelled grenades, but have stumbled along the way. (Source: Jane’s)

12 Feb 20. Rafael demos Drone Dome-L with hard-kill laser capability. Rafael Advanced Defense Systems has conducted the first live demonstrations of its Drone Dome-L counter-unmanned aircraft systems (CUAS) system using an integrated hard-kill high energy laser effector.

The Rafael-sponsored demonstration, conducted in southern Israel in December 2019 but only disclosed by the company on 11 February, provided for end-to-end detection, tracking, and laser interception of “multiple UAS, including manoeuvring targets” by Drone Dome-L’s laser capability. The event was preceded by a two-year internal test campaign, which, in the past six months, has brought the Drone Dome-L system to a sufficient level of maturity to enable Rafael to stage the multiple intercept demonstration.

Rafael used Phantom-class quadcopter UAS systems as the threat targets in the demonstration; engagement ranges and specific laser dwell time required to defeat the threat was not disclosed.

Drone Dome-L is an end-to-end modular all-weather 360° system designed to offer protection against hostile micro- and mini- and micro UAS threats. The baseline Drone Dome-L configuration system comprises a RADA RPS-42 S-band multi-mission hemispheric radar, a long-range surveillance system (SPEED ER) developed by Controp, a communications package, and the C-Guard RD (rapid deployment) lightweight, fully programmable, portable jammer and NetSense Wideband detection sensor systems developed by Netline, all supported by advanced algorithms developed by Rafael. The company added the hard-kill laser beam director capability in mid-2017. The system can interface with various external systems and also supports future growth options, which includes additional sensors and effectors.

The RPS-42 is a four-panel (non-rotating) tactical air surveillance system delivering 360° coverage in azimuth and 90° in elevation. Optimised to detect, track, and classify all classes of UAS, the RPS-42 active electronically scanned array (AESA) software-defined radar has a detection radius of 30km – including the detection of a minimum target size of 0.002m² at a range of 3.2km – and at altitudes from 30-30,000ft. (Source: Jane’s)

11 Feb 20. Here’s how many bombs the US plans to buy in the next year. The Pentagon’s fiscal 2021 budget request seeks to buy fewer munitions needed for the fights in Afghanistan and Iraq as it attempts to pivot towards investments in the kind of weapons that will be used in a high-end fight against China or Russia.

The DoD has requested $21.3bn in munitions, including $6bn for conventional ammunition, $4bn for strategic missiles and $11.3bn for tactical missiles. Munitions and missiles make up 8.8 percent of overall procurement in the budget request.

The department is pursuing a two-pronged approach, according to a budget summary provided by the Pentagon. The first is to make sure “U.S. worldwide munition inventories are sufficiently stocked” for ongoing needs. The second is to ensure “sufficient procurement of more advanced high-end weapon systems, which provide increases standoff, enhanced lethality and autonomous targeting for employment against near-peer threats in more contested environment.”

Examples of that kind of high-end munition includes the Joint Air-to-Surface Standoff Missile (JASSM) and the Long-Range Anti-Ship Missile (LRASM), both of which have enhanced procurement in the budget request.

Major munitions buys in the budget include:

  • 20,338 Joint Direct Attack Munitions (JDAM) – $533m. That is down 8,050 units from the FY20 enacted.
  • 7,360 Guided Multiple Launch Rocket System (GMLRS) – $1.2bn. That is down 1,163 units from FY20 enacted.
  • 2,462 Small Diameter Bomb 1 (SDB 1) – $95.9m. That is down 4,616 units from FY20 enacted.
  • 1,490 Small Diameter Bomb II (SDB II) – $432m. That is down 197 units from FY20 enacted.
  • 8,150 Hellfire missiles – $517m. That is down 640 units from FY20 enacted.
  • 601 AIM-9X sidewinders – $316.6m. That is down 119 units from FY20 enacted.
  • 125 Standard Missile-6 – $816m. That is the same amount as purchased in FY20 enacted.
  • 400 Joint Air-to-Surface Standoff Missile (JASSM) – $577m. That is up 10 units from FY20 enacted.
  • 53 Long Range Anti-Ship Missile (LRASM) – $224m. That is up 36 units from FY20 enacted.

The slowdown of procurement for munitions comes as the U.S. dropped 7,423 munitions onto Afghanistan in 2019 —the highest number of bombs released in nearly a decade.

“For munitions, we continue to carefully manage production and stockpiles,” Pentagon comptroller Elaine McCusker said Monday. “The JADM stockpile is healthier due to our last four years of increased procurements. The SM-6 is being procured at the maximum rate of production, continuing a five-year, multi-year procurement contract.”

Keeping the munitions industrial base humming is important for the Pentagon. A May 2018 report identified major gaps in the munitions industrial base, warning that key components for America’s weapons could disappear entirely if a small handful of suppliers were to close up shop. (Source: Defense News)

11 Feb 20. UAE reveals SR5 MRL acquisition. The United Arab Emirates (UAE) Armed Forces revealed they are operating the Norinco SR5 multiple rocket launchers (MRLs) during a parade held on 9 February.

Attended by the crown princes of all seven emirates, the event was held at Zayed Air Base to celebrate the UAE’s military intervention in Yemen. Personnel from various military branches formed up on a parking apron flanked by military equipment that included an SR5 on each side.

The MRLs were each fitted with six-round pods for 220mm artillery rockets or King Dragon 60 laser- and GPS-guided surface-to-surface missiles with a maximum range of 70km. The system can also be fitted with two pods each with 20 122mm projectiles. The SR5 was not previously known to be in service with the UAE but has been seen in Algeria and Bahrain. (Source: Jane’s)

11 Feb 20. US clears possible sale of IADWS to India for $1.867bn. The US State Department has cleared a possible sale of an Integrated Air Defense Weapon System (IADWS) to the Government of India for about $1.867bn. The Defense Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA) notified Congress of the possible foreign military sale.

Under the deal, India will acquire an IADWS comprised of five AN/MPQ-64Fl Sentinel radar systems, 118 AMRAAM AIM-120C-7/C-8 missiles, three AMRAAM Guidance Sections, four AMRAAM Control Sections, and 134 Stinger FIM-92L missiles.

The sale also includes 32 M4A1 rifles, 40,320 M855 5.56mm cartridges, Fire Distribution Centers (FDC), handheld remote terminals, electrical optical / infrared (EO/IR) sensor systems, as well as AMRAAM Non-Developmental Item-Airborne Instrumentation Units (NDIAIU).

India will also acquire prime movers, generators, technical documentation, computer based training equipment, training towers, ammunition storage, training and maintenance facilities, and infrastructure improvements.

The deal also covers US Government and contractor technical support, provision of engineering and logistics support services, warranty services, systems and integration checkout (SICO), field office support and other related elements pertaining to logistics and programme support.

The proposed sale is expected to strengthen the US-Indian strategic relationship and support the foreign policy and national security of the US. (Source: airforce-technology.com)

11 Feb 20. The USAF just killed one of its hypersonic weapons programs. The Air Force has cancelled the Hypersonic Conventional Strike Weapon program, one of the two major hypersonic weapons being spearheaded by the service. While the development is a blow to Lockheed Martin, which was developing HCSW, it’s other hypersonic weapons program with the Air Force — the Air-Launched Rapid Response Weapon — will proceed, Air Force spokeswoman Ann Stefanek confirmed on Feb. 10.

Because of budget pressures, the Air Force was forced to choose between funding HCSW and ARRW in FY21, and opted to keep ARRW due to it being a more “unique glide body design” compared with HCSW, which was similar to hypersonic weapons under development by other services, Stefanek said. ARRW is on track for a early operational capability in FY22.

Click here for more from the FY21 budget.

“We will continue to work collaboratively with our sister services to see how we can most effectively leverage each other’s capabilities, ensuring the most prudent use of taxpayer dollars,” she said in an emailed statement.

Lockheed was notified on Monday that its work on HCSW will conclude after a critical design review this spring. The program’s cancellation was not due to poor performance, Stefanek added.

“The HCSW team pioneered significant advancements in hypersonic technology development and integration of existing, mature technologies for use in various hypersonic efforts across the Department of Defense, including Army, Navy, and Missile Defense Agency programs,” she said. “The HCSW team successfully met all developmental milestones. These advancements will serve to expedite the generation and demonstration of various hypersonic weapon capabilities in the near future.”

In total, the Air Force hopes to invest $382m on hypersonic prototyping in FY21, down from $576m in FY20.

The Air Force initially envisioned HCSW as a long-range stand-off missile capable of being launched from an aircraft and traveling faster than speeds of Mach 5.

Lockheed in 2018 won the HCSW contract, which had a value of up to $918m and covered “design, development, engineering, systems integration, test, logistics planning, and aircraft integration support.” Then the company selected Aerojet Rocketdyne in 2019 to provide the solid-fuel rocket motor. (Source: Defense News)

12 Feb 20. New MARTE ER missile on target in second test firing. MBDA’s Marte ER anti-ship missile has completed its second firing carried out at the PISQ (Poligono Interforze del Salto di Quirra) test range in Sardinia. This firing confirmed the overall design and performance of the missile marking a critical milestone in its development path.

Compared to the first firing, which took place at the end of 2018, several additional features and functionalities were tested. These included an integrated navigation system, proximity fly-over fuze, with weapon controller and actuation system in advanced configuration. The missile also featured the terminal guidance with a new seeker, engineered and developed by the MBDA Seeker Division.

The floating target was hit with “almost zero” miss distance after a flight of about 100 km. The missile pushed its envelope to the limit with several major manoeuvres including very low sea skimming at very high speed.

Hitting the target confirmed the perfect behavior of the missile and the telemetry system recorded a huge amount of data. Flight data showed very good alignment with simulation outcomes.

The Marte ER programme is progressing at full speed in order to meet customers’ requirements and the full integration of  Marte ER on the Eurofighter Typhoon platform is proceeding at pace in order to implement an anti-ship capability onto the fighter.

13 Feb 20. US Army uses VR to gain feedback on hypersonic weapon prototype. US Army soldiers from Fort Sill, Oklahoma, are using a mix of virtual reality (VR), augmented reality and mixed reality technologies to help the hypersonic weapon prototype development. This innovative VR technology is providing the soldiers with a rare look at the components of the new prototype Long Range Hypersonic Weapon (LRHW).

The prototype has been perceived as an interactive, true-to-scale, three-dimensional model. This integration influences the design of the system with soldier feedback improving operation efficiency.

Design and development of the equipment are being carried in mixed reality Collaborative Human Immersive Laboratory (CHIL), owned by Lockheed Martin.

The company is the LRHW prototype system integrator and responsible for the delivery of the All Up Round plus Canister (AUR+C) consisting of the missile stack, the Common Hypersonic Glide Body and canister.

The CHIL lab allows collaboration in real-time using gear such as VR headsets, 3D glasses, holograms and handheld controllers.

It provides a virtual view from every angle and distance, manipulating the design according to the needs of the soldiers.

Additionally, soldiers provided feedback on low-technology items such as generator placement and access, generator exhaust routing, and specific locations for skid plates.

Fort Sill Directorate of Training and Doctrine Operational Training Division chief LTC Aaron Bright said: “We were able to stand as a group around an area called ‘the cave,’ which allowed all of us to see, in 3D, through special eyewear, the Transporter Erector Launcher and missile as one.

“I was able to grab pieces of the LRHW with my hands and move them weightlessly to the side to get a better look at another part, and to better understand how the system as a whole work. The kinds of things that would take hours with a crane, and several more hours with tools, we were doing on our own in seconds.”

The prototype system will include a 40ft Transporter Erector Launcher (TEL) with missiles and a Battery Operations Center (BOC).

Delivery of the prototype to a battery will be done by Army Rapid Capabilities and Critical Technologies Office (RCCTO). (Source: army-technology.com)

12 Feb 20. Here’s the US Marine Corps’ plan for sinking Chinese ships with drone missile launchers.  The U.S. Marine Corps is getting into the ship-killing business, and a new project in development is aimed at making their dreams of harrying the People’s Liberation Army Navy a reality.

Highlighted in the Department of the Navy’s 2021 budget book, the Marine Corps is looking to pair existing vehicle designs, existing anti-ship missiles and a launcher to create the Ground-based Anti-ship Missile and Remotely Operated Ground Unit Expeditionary (ROGUE) Fires Vehicle. The Navy is requesting about $64m for the project, according to the documents.

The program is an evolution of the Navy/Marine Expeditionary Ship Interdiction program that brought together anti-ship missiles with the Marine Corps’ High Mobility Artillery Rocket System (HIMARS). The Marines have been specifically eyeing the Kongsberg/Raytheon Naval Strike Missile, which was deployed to the Pacific last year on the littoral combat ship Gabrielle Giffords.

The plan for ROGUE Fires Vehicle is to develop an unmanned ground vehicle built on the chassis of the Army’s Joint Light Tactical Vehicle, as well as a launcher that’s “capable of mounting a wide range of missile systems,” the Navy’s budget book says.

As for the GBASM component, the effort will “prototype other-service-developed missiles to provide a ground-based anti-access/area denial, anti-ship capability.”

In January, the Navy’s top acquisition official James Geurts, assistant secretary of the Navy for research, development and acquisition, said the Marines and Navy have been working closely on fielding NSM as part of the effort.

“Just yesterday [Jan. 14] we had the team in that has the Naval Strike Missile on LCS working hand-in-hand with the Marine Corps,” Geurts told a group of reporters at the Surface Navy Association symposium. “The Marine Corps does ground launchers, we do command and control. We’ll make that immediately available to the Marine Corps.”

The contractors working on the project are Raytheon, maker of the Naval Strike Missile, and Oshkosh, which makes the JLTV.

On the agenda for the ROGUE Fires vehicle in 2020 is to develop a working prototype, including the vehicle and launcher and start conducting off-road testing. The Corps plans to issue a launcher development contract in the first quarter of 2021, according to Navy budget documents. And for the missile itself, the documents call for a Navy and Marine Corps flight test in the second quarter of 2021.

The GBASM and ROGUE Fires Vehicle development project are part of a new concept that the Marines are moving out on to fight and defeat China in a Pacific conflict.

The Marine Corp’s concept of operations, as outlined by Commandant Gen. David Berger in last year’s planning guidance, calls for the Marine Corps to more intimately align itself as an arm of naval power than it has been during two decades of wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. As part of that, the Marines want to be able to spread their forces in small groups around islands in the Pacific and deny freedom of maneuver to the Chinese fleet.

Marine Corps requirements and development chief Lt. Gen. Eric Smith told reporters last year during the Expeditionary Warfare Conference that the Marines want to fight on ground of their choosing and then maneuver before forces can concentrate against them.

“They are mobile and small, they are not looking to grab a piece of ground and sit on it,” Smith said of his Marine units. “I’m not looking to block a strait permanently. I’m looking to maneuver. The German concept is ‘Schwerpunkt,’ which is applying the appropriate amount of pressure and force at the time and place of your choosing to get maximum effect.”

Smith describes a concept where the U.S. fleet can herd Chinese ships into a contested area where the Marines can do damage from the shore.

“So, if I’m maneuvering in support of the fleet commander in a contested, confined space, through the mobility I bring in air and with surface connectors I can get to a point and block or strike something that has been herded into a contested space – something that has been herded into that space by the fleet commander.” (Source: Defense News)

07 Feb 20. Defexpo 2020: Development of Hanwha Defense’s Chungum air-launched ATGM to be completed by end of 2020. Development of South Korea’s air-launched Chungum anti-tank guided missile is expected to be completed by the end of 2020, Hanwha Defense officials told Jane’s at the 5-9 February Defexpo 2020 exhibition in Lucknow, northern India.

The weapon, which is being developed by South Korea’s Agency for Defense Development in association with Hanwha Defense, is expected to arm the Korea Aerospace Industries (KAI) Light Armed Helicopters (LAHs) on order for the Republic of Korea Army. An LAH can carry a maximum four of these missiles (two on each side).

The weapon, development of which began in 2017, will also be offered for export, with India being mentioned by company officials as a possible market.

A model of the Chungum ATGM displayed at Defexpo 2020 was shown fitted with four fold-out (backwards) mid-body fins and four fold-out (backwards) aft fins for flight stabilisation. The missile, which is 120 mm in diameter and weighs 16 kg, has four major subsections: seeker, propulsion, control mechanism, along with battery and optical fibre cable at the rear. It has two mid-body nozzles for thrust control. (Source: Jane’s)

11 Feb 20. Singapore Airshow 2020: Schiebel explores ASW innovations. Austrian company Schiebel is exploring anti-submarine warfare (ASW) roles among potential new applications for its Camcopter S-100 UAV platform.

Neil Hunter, director of business development at Schiebel, explained to Shephard: ‘We’re now looking at maritime radars for the obvious reasons. And then, if you see the number of submarines that are being procured around the world by various nations, we’re starting to look into anti-submarine warfare.’

Hunter noted that sonobuoys have been getting smaller as technology improves, adding that Schiebel is also looking at an active dipping sonar that could be lowered by cable from the central fuselage section of the S-100.

He acknowledged that this ASW development work is at an early stage, but Schiebel has already identified two companies ‘who have that capability and who are very keen to work with us’.

Hunter expects it to take another 12 months before Schiebel could demonstrate these new capabilities.

Schiebel’s most recent achievement in Asia was winning a contract from the Royal Thai Navy (RTN) in November 2019 against contenders from Europe and Asia. Schiebel will provide a full system, MX-10 sensors and a full eight-week training package in conjunction with local partner MoraThai Defence Company.

At this stage it is unclear on which ships the RTN plans to use these rotary-winged UAVs, but the navy recently introduced a South Korean-built frigate. The RTN is expected to operate the systems from land initially before attempting to take them to sea.

Other S-100 customers in the region are Australia, Malaysia and South Korea, with the latter placing a follow-on order in 2019 according to chairman Hans Georg Schiebel. The Republic of Korea Navy lodged its first order with Schiebel in 2011.

Australia acquired S-100s with S2 heavy fuel engines, which passed verification tests in Austria last November. These diesel engines offer better fuel consumption, more power and therefore an enhanced payload capacity and higher service ceiling, said Schiebel.

The S-100’s maximum take-off weight is 110kg and it can carry a 50kg payload. Half of that payload can consist of fuel and the other half the sensors. The Camcopter’s typical endurance is 6h, but this can rise to 10h when an external fuel tank is added. (Source: Shephard)

11 Feb 20. Singapore Airshow 2020: Upgraded SRAMS mortar is unveiled. The SRAMS MkII 120mm mortar system, installed in the rear cabin of a Bronco 3 articulated tracked vehicle, made its maiden public appearance at Singapore Airshow 2020.

Manufactured by ST Engineering, key changes on the SRAMS MkII, which stands for Super Rapid Advanced Mortar System, are the inclusion of an all-electric drive system plus the ability to rotate a full 360° on its turntable.

The new electric drive system allows the 120mm smoothbore weapon to be stowed more horizontally – to around 10° elevation – than the old SRAMS. Its operational elevation range is 45° to 80°.

The electric system’s speed is controlled in order to maintain operator safety, meaning it does not lay any faster than the hydraulic drive used on the original SRAMS. On the old system, the angle of rotation on each side was only 500mil. In case the electrical drive system fails, there is a manual backup system available.

The original SRAMS from ST Engineering was procured by the Singapore Army and by two customers in the Middle East – Jordan and the UAE – according to Shephard’s Defence Insight database.

The SRAMS can be installed on wheeled or tracked vehicles, an example of the former being the Belrex 4×4 tactical vehicle that is now being operated by the Singapore Army.

Its rate of fire is listed as ten rounds per minute and a crew of either two or three soldiers operate it, thanks to the inclusion of an autoloader.

Three types of regular 120mm rounds can be fired by the SRAMS – high explosive, smoke and illumination. ST Engineering also offers the PM120 precision-guided round. This includes a GPS kit to give a CEP of 10m at the weapon’s maximum range of 8.5km.

ST Engineering literature also noted the SRAMS MkII is ‘capable of future remote manned/unmanned operations’. (Source: Shephard)

10 Feb 20. DOT&E warns on DDG 1000 self-defence capability. Test events conducted on the US Navy’s (USN’s) Self-Defense Test Ship (SDTS) have revealed significant problems affecting the ship self-defence capability of the new DDG 1000 Zumwalt-class destroyer, according to the Pentagon’s Director, Operational Test and Evaluation (DOT&E).

The poor results to date have forced the navy to suspend the test programme while the root cause of the problems is identified. In the meantime, there is a risk that key command and sensor equipment will be removed from the one-of-a-kind SDTS asset before the live-fire test programme completes. Three DDG 1000 Zumwalt-class ships are being built for the USN, with the first, USS Zumwalt, currently completing combat system activation activities. (Source: Jane’s)

07 Feb 20. Raytheon-Lockheed JV and BDL to make Javelin missile system in India. Raytheon and Lockheed Martin’s Javelin Joint Venture (JJV) has signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with Indian company Bharat Dynamics (BDL) for exploring co-production of the Javelin anti-tank missile system in the country. The production of Javelin is aimed at fulfilling potential requirements of the Indian Ministry of Defence in the future. Javelin is a versatile one-man-portable and platform-employed anti-tank and multi-target precision weapon system and is currently used in 18 allied countries. It is expected to be in the US Military’s operational inventory through 2050.

Javelin Joint Venture vice-president David Pantano said: “We look forward to working with BDL, a leading guided weapon system manufacturer, to evaluate the possibility of manufacturing Javelin in India.

“With BDL’s 50 years of experience, combined with Javelin’s reliability and proven performance, we are excited to see how this partnership will support the needs of the Indian Ministry of Defence.”

BDL chief managing director Siddharth Mishra said that the company will continue to invest in infrastructure, automate its production lines, adopt continual process improvement and exports in the coming years. Javelin uses fire-and-forget technology that can defeat targets up to 4km in most operational conditions and is capable of guiding itself to the target without external commands, controls or target designation.

The optimised trajectory, automated guidance and high penetration capability of the missile provides improved performance against heavy and light armour in all weather conditions and geographic regions.

Operator proficiency is established and maintained through only 72 hours of simulation on an indoor trainer with Javelin’s user intuitive features. The JV has produced more than 45,000 rounds for the US and foreign militaries. In September 2016, JJV signed a letter of intent with India’s Tata Power to co-develop and produce the Javelin missile system. (Source: army-technology.com)

07 Feb 20. Defexpo 2020: DRDO developing extended-range variant of Prahaar CRBM. India’s state-run Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) is developing an extended-range variant of its Prahaar close-range ballistic missile (CRBM) system, DRDO officials told Jane’s at the 5–9 February Defexpo 2020 exhibition in Lucknow.

Designated Pranash, the 200 km-range weapon “is a tactical surface-to-surface ballistic missile being developed to meet a requirement by the Indian armed forces”, the officials said, adding that the missile, which will be powered by a single solid-propellant rocket motor, will be fitted with a conventional warhead. (Source: Jane’s)

07 Feb 20. Defexpo 2020: DRDO says ASAT weapon system is ‘ready for further limited production.’ Officials from India’s state-owned Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) have said that the anti-satellite (ASAT) weapon system tested by New Delhi in March 2019 is now “ready for further limited production”.

However, speaking to Jane’s at the 5-9 February Defexpo exhibition in Lucknow, the officials pointed out that any decision on the further production will have to come from the Indian government.

The ASAT weapon demonstrated its capabilities as part of ‘Mission Shakti’ when it was used to shoot down an Indian satellite. According to data provided by the DRDO, the 18.87 tonne, three-stage interceptor missile – a 1:1 scaled model of which was displayed at Defexpo 2020 – features two-stage solid-propulsion rocket motors with flexible nozzles, and a kill vehicle.

The first stage takes the missile, which is 13.164 m long and 1.4 m in diameter, to a designated altitude with an average thrust of 43.1 tonnes for a burn time of 74.8 seconds, after which the second stage ignites, providing an average thrust of 20.8 tonnes for a burn time of 37.7 seconds. (Source: Jane’s)

12 Feb 20. In a recent demo conducted in Israel, RAFAEL’s Drone Dome C-UAS system performed interceptions of multiple drones, including maneuvering targets, using its hard-kill LASER BEAM director. The system achieved 100% success in all test scenarios. The stages of the interceptions included target detection, identification, and interception with a high-power LASER beam. Drone Dome is an innovative end-to-end C-UAS solution for securing air space from hostile drones. Fully operational and deployed globally, Drone Dome offers a modular and robust infrastructure, comprised of electronic jammers and sensors, allowing effective detection, full identification and neutralization of multiple Micro and Mini UAV threats employing its unique algorithms.

One of Drone Dome’s unique capabilities is integrating laser technology for hard-kill capabilities. When the C4I performs a positive identification, the system allocates the target to the laser effector, which locks and tracks the target and performs hard-kill.

Drone Dome is designed to address threats posed by hostile drones both in military and civilian sites, offering advanced solutions for maneuvering forces and military facilities, critical border protection, as well as civilian targets such as airports, public facilities, or any other sites that might be vulnerable to the increasing threat of both terror and criminal drones.

Drone Dome is a member of RAFAEL’s family of active air and missile defense technologies, which includes the operational and combat-proven Iron Dome, David’s Sling, and the SPYDER family. All together they make up a suite of multi-layered solutions against a variety of aerial threats.

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

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

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

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