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26 Mar 20. Raytheon Company’s (NYSE: RTN) Missile Systems business has reached a $1bn, five-year strategic agreement to purchase propulsion systems from Aerojet Rocketdyne for Standard Missile products. The deal represents a supply chain centerpiece of multi-year Standard Missiles contracts that Raytheon recently received.
“Moving to multi-year, rather than annual-year contracting enables Raytheon and its supply chain to deliver even more value to our Missile Defense Agency and U.S. Navy customers, and the taxpayer,” said Eugene Jaramillo, Raytheon Missile Systems vice president of Global Supply Chain Management. “These multi-year agreements also allow our suppliers to transform the way they do business with Raytheon.”
Aerojet Rocketdyne provides propulsion systems spanning Raytheon’s Standard Missile family. For the SM-2™ missile, SM-3® interceptor and SM-6® missile, Aerojet Rocketdyne supplies the majority of the solid rocket motors for these systems. Also, for SM-3, the company produces the Divert and Attitude Control System, a high-precision, quick-reaction propulsion system that positions the interceptor to defeat incoming ballistic missiles.
“Aerojet Rocketdyne has supported one or more variants of the Standard Missile program for more than three decades; we are proud of our contributions to these vital defense products,” said Eileen Drake, Aerojet Rocketdyne CEO and president. “This significant agreement on multi-year contracts strengthens our current relationship and positions Aerojet Rocketdyne favorably for future business opportunities and continued growth.”
Work on the programs will be spread across Aerojet Rocketdyne sites in Orange County, Virginia, the Solid Rocket Motor Center of Excellence in Camden, Arkansas, and at its Advanced Manufacturing Facility in Huntsville, Alabama. Raytheon produces SM-2 in Tucson, and SM-3 and SM-6 in Huntsville.
26 Mar 20. JSOW ER initial development contract expected Q3 2020. The United States Naval Air Systems Command (NAVAIR) is expected to award a sole-source contract to Raytheon Missile Systems (RMS) in the third quarter of 2020 for concept refinement and evaluation of an extended-range variant of the baseline AGM-154C-1 Joint Stand-Off Weapon (JSOW) air-to-surface glide munition. The US Navy (USN) has proposed funding in excess of USD700m up to fiscal year (FY) 2025 for the development and fielding of JSOW ER, with production commencing in fourth-quarter 2022. The US Department of Defense (DoD) has already conducted a number of successful technical demonstrations/test flights of this next-generation weapon system. (Source: Jane’s)
20 Mar 20. Ubiquitous Mobile Firepower. Oshkosh Defence Joint Light Tactical Vehicle (JLTV) fitted with Elbit RWS armed with 12.7mm MG showing ammunition box on one side and sensor suite on other.
An increasing number of countries are now providing their tracked and wheeled armoured personnel carriers (APC), and in some cases protected patrol vehicles (PPV) and logistic support vehicles (LSV), with enhanced protected firepower. The norm has been for mobile platforms to be fitted with unprotected weapons or protected weapon stations (PWS) which are typically armed with an unstabilised 7.62mm or 12.7mm machine gun (MG) or a 40mm automatic grenade launcher (AGL). These have limited capabilities and cannot provide accurate firepower under all weather conditions or when the platform is moving.
The new trend is to go for Remote Weapon Stations (RWS) with the advantage that the gunner is under full armour protection inside the platform and aims the weapon using a flat panel display (FPD) and associated controls. The alternative to this is to opt for fully enclosed and protected one or two person turrets.
Remote Weapons Stations (RWS)
Latest RWS are typically armed with a stabilised weapon with the sighting system consisting of day/thermal cameras and sometimes a laser rangefinder for increased first round hit probability against stationary and moving targets while the platform is stationary or moving.
These RWS can also be coupled to an acoustic gunshot sensor which picks up the incoming threat and, if confirmed as hostile, swings the RWS onto the target, with the gunner then having the option as to whether to engage the target or not. The RWS can also be fitted with banks of electrically operated grenade launchers.
Many end users have a competition for the platform and another one for the RWS or turret with a trend now to have a common RWS across their whole vehicle fleet with this especially applying when a new fleet of vehicles are being procured.
These RWS are often supplied to the end user as Government Furnished Equipment (GFE) as are the communications equipment.
Kongsberg Protector RWS
The market leader is the Norwegian company of Kongsberg Defence & Aerospace who have now supplied almost 20,000 RWS units to at least 23 countries.
Kongsberg’s most widely used RWS is the Protector which is normally armed with a 7.62mm or 12.7mm MG or a 40mm AGL with the Danish Ministry of Defence and Acquisition and Logistics Organisation (DALO) being the latest customer having placed a contract worth 270 MNOK in December 2019 for installation on their new fleet of General Dynamics European Land Systems – MOWAG (GDELS) Piranha 5 (8×8) APC and variants.
Kongsberg Protector Medium Calibre Remote Weapon Station installed on an AMV. This is also fitted with a standard Protector RWS armed with a .50 MG and a Javelin anti-tank missile.
The largest user of the Protector is the US Army where the system is called the M153 Common Remotely Operated Weapon Station (CROWS II) with production undertaken in the USA. This is standard fit on their General Dynamics Land Systems (GDLS) Stryker (8×8) infantry carrier vehicle (ICV) and some variants and is provided with day and thermal cameras.
More recently the US Army has taken delivery of the Stryker Dragoon (8×8) which is fitted with the Kongsberg Protector Medium Caliber RWS (MCRWS) armed with an Northrop Grumman, Armament Systems 30mm XM813 dual feed cannon and 7.62mm co-axial MG. In addition it can have a standard Protector RWS on top which would be used as a commander’s sight to provide a hunter/killer target engagement capability.
Prime contractor for the Stryker Dragoon is GDLS who produced eight prototypes and 83 production vehicles with first fielding in Germany 15 months after contract award.
The French Army currently uses a number of older RWS but is now in the process of procuring a fleet of new wheeled AFV’s including the Jaguar (6×6) reconnaissance vehicle, Griffon (6×6) and Serval (4×4) APC and variants. Griffon is the first to enter service with 92 delivered by the end of 2019.
These are fitted with a new generation of RWS developed under the leadership of Arquus called Hornet and there are three members which share many common components to reduce through life cycle costs.
These are the T1 for Griffon armed with a stabilised 12.7mm MG, T2 for Griffon armed a stabilised 7.62mm MG and T3 for the Jaguar which is armed with a stabilised 7.62mm MG and also acts as the co-axial weapon for the 40mm Case Telescoped Armament System (CTAS) which is the main weapon of Jaguar.
The German Army had a competition for a new series of RWS and this was won by Krauss-Maffei Wegmann with their FLW series which comprises the FLW 100 and FLW 200 and are both now deployed.
The FLW 100 is the lighter one and typically armed with a 5.56mm or 7.62mm MG while the heavier FLW 200 can also be armed with heavier weapons such as the 12.7mm MG or a 40mm AGL with typical installations being the German Army Boxer (8×8) MRAV.
There are two contractors in Israel supplying RWS, Elbit and RAFAEL Advanced Defense Systems, both of which have won significant home and export contracts.
Following a competition, in December 2019 it was announced that a $35m contract to supply Montenegro’s new Oshkosh Defense Joint Light Tactical Vehicle (JLTV) with a RWS had been won by Elbit with the contact running for three years plus logistic support for seven years.
Elbit’s smaller calibre RWS are also used by many other countries including Austria and Slovenia. Their larger UT30 Unmanned Turret is typically armed with a Northrop Grumman, Armament Systems 30mm MK44 dual feed cannon, 7.62mm co-axial MG and option of anti-tank missiles (ATM) such as the RAFAEL Spike. UT30 is already deployed by a number of countries including Belgium, Brazil and Portugal.
Oshkosh Defence Joint Light Tactical Vehicle (JLTV) fitted with Elbit RWS armed with 12.7mm MG showing ammunition box on one side and sensor suite on other.
RAFAEL Samson family of RWS
RAFAEL Advanced Defense Systems market the Samson family of RWS with the largest being the Samson MkII which can be armed with a wide range of weapons including a 30mm cannon and 7.62mm MG coupled to an advanced computerised fire control system (FCS). Unlike many other RWS, a key feature of this RWS is that the weapons can be reloaded under armour protection.
The Italian company of Leonardo (previously Oto Melara) have developed the Hitrole series of RWS which are already deployed by a number of countries including Italy were it is installed on the Iveco Defence Vehicles Light Multi-Role Vehicle (LMV) and this can be armed with a variety of stabilised weapons.
Turkey is now firmly established as a leading manufacturer of tracked and wheeled AFVs and the local companies of Aselsan, FNSS and Otokar have all developed RWS and turrets for installation on not only AFVs produced in Turkey but also other customers platforms.
John Cockerill Defense Turrets
John Cockerill Defense (previously CMI Defence) has developed and placed in production the C3000 series of modular two person turrets which can be armed with a wide range of weapons from a 30mm cannon up to a 105mm high pressure rifled gun.
Production has been underway for installation on the General Dynamics Land Systems Canada LAV (8×8) for the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and more recently the C3105 has been selected for the Tiger medium tank developed by FNSS of Turkey and Pindad of Indonesia
Nexter Systems Turrets
The French Nexter Systems T40 turret is being offered in manned and unmanned configuration and is currently armed with a CTAI 40mm Case Telescoped Armament System (CTAS) and a 7.62mm MG and there are a number of options including an ATM either side.
The T40 turret is very similar to that fitted to the French Army’s new Jaguar (6×6) reconnaissance vehicle and this turret also has the Hornet RWS and a retractable pod of two MBDA Missile Moyenne Portee (MMP) ATM on the right side which enable targets to be engaged well beyond the range of the 40mm CTAS.
The new French Jaguar (6×6) reconnaissance vehicle is fitted with a two person turret armed with a 40mm CTAS, roof mounted Hornet RWS and a pod of two MMP anti-tank missiles.
Rheinmetall Defence Turrets
Rheinmetall Defence have considerable experience in the design, development and production of RWS and turrets.
Their Lance turret is being marketed in unmanned and manned versions armed with a Mauser 30mm dual feed cannon, 7.62mm co-axial MG and options of ATGM.
First customer for Lance was the Spanish Marines for installation on a batch of their GDELS-MOWAG Piranha 3 (8×8) amphibious APC and more recently Lance has been selected for installation on some of the 211 Boxer (8×8) ordered by Australia as the replacement for their currently deployed GDLS LAV (8×8) reconnaissance vehicles.
ARTEC Boxer (8×8) MRAV fitted with Rheinmetall Lance two person turret armed with Mauser 30mm dual feed cannon and 7.62mm co-axial MG.
Leonardo Defence Systems Turrets
In addition to manufacturing RWS, the Italian company of Leonardo Defence Systems have also developed a range of two person turrets with their HITFIST 25 being deployed by the Italian Army on its Freccia IFV (8×8) armed with a stabilised 25mm cannon and 7.62mm co-axial MG. Poland has fitted a locally manufactured version of the HITFACT 30 armed with a 30mm MK44 dual feed cannon and 7.62mm co-axial MG on their locally manufactured Finnish Patria Armoured Modular Vehicle (AMV) which is known as the Rosomak.
Denel Land Systems Modular Turret System
Denel Land Systems of South Africa originally developed their Modular Turret System (MTS) for installation on their version of the AMV called Badger.
The first customer for the MTS was however Malaysia for installation of their FNSS Pars (8×8) family of vehicles. A total of 257 Pars 8 are being supplied under the local name AV-8 Gempita of which 122 are the MTS with 68 armed with a 30mm CI30 dual feed cannon and 7.62mm co-axial and remaining in the anti-tank role also armed with 30mm CI30 dual feed cannon and a pod of Ingwe laser guided missile either side.
The latest Turkish one person turret to enter production is the FNSS Savunma Sistemleri Saber-25 armed with a stabilised 25mm dual feed cannon and 7.62mm co-axial MG which are coupled to a digitalised FCS than includes day/thermal channels and an eye safe laser rangefinder.
Lockheed Martin UK Turrets
Lockheed Martin UK is one of the more recent contractors to enter the turret market and are currently involved in two major turret programmes for the British Army.
They are prime contractor for the new turret being installed on the British Army’s Warrior IFV as part of the Warrior Capability Sustainment Programme (WVSP). Under contract to General Dynamics Land Systems UK (GDLS) they are supplying 245 turrets for installation on the GDLS UK Ajax reconnaissance vehicle. In both cases main armament of this turret is a CTAI 40mm Case Telescoped Armament System (CTAS) which is provided as GFE under a separate contract. (Source: Armada)
25 Mar 20. UVZ demonstrates Msta-S to Middle Eastern clients. Rostec company Uralvagonzavod (UVZ) demonstrated the upgraded Msta-S self-propelled howitzer to undisclosed Middle Eastern customers at the Nizhny Tagil Institute of Metal Testing’s (NTIIM’s) Staratel Proving Ground.
The new variant of Msta-S uses a NATO-standard 155mm calibre and is specifically designed to destroy artillery and mortar batteries, tank columns and command and control posts.
In a 25 March statement, Viktor Kladov, Director for International Cooperation and Regional Policy at Rostec, said: ‘This combat vehicle has powerful artillery armament and road performance that are not inferior to modern armoured vehicles.’
He added: ‘It is equipped with advanced communications, satellite navigation and surveillance systems. During the tests, the Msta-S showed excellent results in target engagement using an automated fire control and the Orlan-10E unmanned aerial reconnaissance system.’
Msta-S was also used by the Southern Military District’s 49th Combined Arms Army during live-fire training exercises on 16 March. (Source: Shephard)
24 Mar 20. US Army removes Raytheon from PrSM competition, leaving only Lockheed Martin. The US Army decided not to provide Raytheon additional funding for the Precision Strike Missile (PrSM) prototyping competition, leaving Lockheed Martin as the only remaining competitor.
The move comes after Raytheon was unable to test fly its PrSM bid, its DeepStrike missile, due to what the company said were “technical issues”. Since then, the army and Raytheon had been in discussions to determine if Raytheon could move forward with the prototyping competition.
“The army made a decision not to provide additional funding to Raytheon at this time. Raytheon’s current period of performance ended on 20 March,” the service’s programme manager for Strategic and Operational Rockets and Missiles under the Program Executive Office for Missiles & Space told Jane’s.
Raytheon did not immediately respond to a request for comment. However, on 20 March a company spokesperson told Jane’s that it had resolved the technical issues that had sidelined flight testing, and was still in talks with the army over how to proceed.
“Raytheon has resolved the technical issue that delayed our planned DeepStrike flight test last November,” the spokesperson said at the time. “The company is working with our US Army customer to plan the next steps in the competition for the PrSM programme.” (Source: Jane’s)
24 Mar 20. US Army to soon wrap up early testing of short-range air defense system. The U.S. Army will wrap up developmental testing of its Interim Maneuver Short-Range Air Defense (IM-SHORAD) system by June, paving the way for operational testing in the fall ahead of fielding, according to Col. Chuck Worshim, program manager for cruise missile defense systems with the Army’s Program Executive Office Missiles and Space.
The Army selected a Stryker combat vehicle-based system that included a mission equipment package designed by Leonardo DRS. That mission equipment package includes Raytheon’s Stinger vehicle missile launcher.
The Army has been racing to bring an interim SHORAD capability to fruition since the service identified a capability gap in the European theater in 2016. The service received a directed requirement to build an IM-SHORAD system in February 2018.
The service went through a selection process that included a shoot-off at White Sands Missile Range, New Mexico, to determine the best collection of vendors to build nine prototypes.
The developmental testing includes just five prototypes, Worshim told Defense News in a recent interview. The vehicles are spread out across different installations to undergo a variety of tests and safety certification procedures.
One prototype is located at White Sands Missile Range undergoing weapons safety testing. Another two are going through automotive and road safety testing as well as some weapon safety testing at Aberdeen Proving Ground, Maryland. Another one is located at Redstone Arsenal, Alabama, undergoing cyber and electromagnetic spectrum testing.
The fifth prototype remains with lead integrator and Stryker-manufacturer General Dynamics Land Systems, where logistics and technical manual validation is ongoing, Worshim said.
The developmental testing will wrap up in June, he added.
Through testing, “we are learning some things, which testing is all about,” he said. “We’re seeing where we will have to have some corrective actions put in place as we move forward into more operational testing.”
While he would not detail the corrective actions, Worshim emphasized they are not improvements, is “nothing that can’t be overcome in a short period of time” and “nothing that is so far out of the box that we have to go back to the drawing board.”
Needing corrective actions, he said, is expected given the accelerated timeline for the program.
The Army expects to receive safety releases, which will allow soldiers to drive and operate the vehicles, he said, adding that soldiers have been involved since the beginning of the process to provide input but have yet to get inside and put the entire system to the test.
The service anticipates beginning operational testing in the fall, likely in September, which will last roughly two months, Worshim said. Should everything go well, additional procurement of the vehicles will move forward, he noted.
If the solution meets requirements, production efforts to build 144 systems — a total of four battalions — will move forward, depending on funding.
While the original plan was to rapidly field the IM-SHORAD systems to Europe in response to the capability gap there, Worshim explained, “there are multiple options of where the vehicles or the capability would be sent. At this time, I know the Army is reassessing where the greatest need for these vehicles are.”
The Army intends to use SHORAD as part of a layered air and missile defense architecture to include Indirect Fire Protection Capability, which defends against rockets, artillery and mortars as well as unmanned aircraft systems and cruise missiles. Other parts of that layer include systems aimed to protect against regional ballistic missile threats like Patriot and the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense system.
With recent Iranian attacks on U.S. installations in Iraq, some have pushed to also see a SHORAD capability in that theater. (Source: Defense News Early Bird/Defense News)
24 Mar 20. Rheinmetall NIOA Munitions set to produce and export medium-calibre ammunition for US Joint Strike Fighter programme. In an Australian first, Rheinmetall NIOA Munitions (RNM) is set to produce and export ammunition for the US F-35 Joint Strike Fighter programme.
RNM has announced that it will begin production of 25mm Frangible Armoured Piercing (FAP) projectiles at the federal government-owned Benalla plant in Victoria.
The deal marks the first expansion of the RNM joint venture beyond its $60m artillery shell forging plant in Maryborough, Queensland.
Rheinmetall Waffe Munitions is a global multinational weapons manufacturer, while Australian-owned NIOA is the leading supplier of weapons and munitions to the Australian Defence Force.
The new Load Assemble Pack (LAP) line at Benalla will be capable of producing 20mm to 35mm medium-calibre ammunition.
Rheinmetall Waffe Munitions aims to serve as a secondary source supplier to the US government for the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter programme.
Werner Kraemer, chairman of the board of directors at RNM, said that with the Maryborough project on track, it was time to expand the footprint and capabilities of the joint venture company in Australia.
“We are totally committed to this joint venture and the Australian market. By committing to develop this medium-calibre production capability here in Australia, we will not only create local jobs and build a supply chain, we will also be developing a proven and sustainable export market,” Mr Kraemer said.
NIOA managing director Robert Nioa noted that the Benalla project would enable development of a true sovereign capability in medium-calibre munitions in Australia.
“The establishment of this new capability at Benalla is a first for Australian industry. On the back of a 100 percent private sector investment, we will ensure that future munitions supplied to the ADF will be made right here in Australia,” Mr Nioa said.
The line is scheduled to be installed in the first half of 2021 and be at full production by September that year.
24 Mar 20. US reportedly to deploy Patriot to protect Ayn al-Asad in Iraq. The US military intends to establish a new base for a Patriot air-defence system near Ayn al-Asad Air Base in western Iraq, Al-Ahad News cited a security source in Al-Anbar province as saying on 23 March.
The source said the new base would be at Umm Samij, north of Al-Baghdadi, a town on the Euphrates northeast of the airbase.
Iran attacked Ayn al-Asad Air Base with ballistic missiles on 8 January in retaliation for the US airstrike that killed Major General Qasem Soleimani at Baghdad International Airport five days earlier.
US Central Command commander General Kenneth McKenzie confirmed in a 13 March press briefing that the US would deploy Patriot batteries to Iraq. (Source: Jane’s)
24 Mar 20. US DoD conducts second Common Hypersonic Glide Body test. The US Army and US Navy, under the auspices of the US Department of Defense (DoD), jointly executed the second test of the developmental Common Hypersonic Glide Body (C-HGB) in a flight experiment conducted from the US Navy’s Pacific Missile Range Facility in Kauai, Hawaii, on 19 March.
According to a DoD statement, issued on 20 March, the C-HGB “flew at hypersonic speed to a designated impact point”. In parallel, the US Missile Defense Agency (MDA) monitored and gathered tracking data from the flight experiment to inform its ongoing development of systems designed to defend against adversarial hypersonic weapons.
“Information gathered from this and future experiments will further inform DOD’s hypersonic technology development, and this event is a major milestone towards the department’s goal of fielding hypersonic warfighting capabilities in the early-to mid-2020s,” the DoD statement noted.
“This test builds on the success we had with Flight Experiment 1 in October 2017, in which our C-HGB achieved sustained hypersonic glide at our target distances,” said Vice Adm Johnny R Wolfe, Director, Navy’s Strategic Systems Programs, the lead design authority for the C-HGB. “In this test we put additional stresses on the system and it was able to handle them all. Today we validated our design and are now ready to move to the next phase towards fielding a hypersonic strike capability,” he added.
Mike White, Assistant Director, Hypersonics, at US Office of the Undersecretary of Defense, Research, and Engineering (Modernisation), said that the glide body tested on 19 March “is now ready for transition to army and navy weapon system development efforts”.
C-HGB is a weapon system that uses a booster rocket motor to accelerate to way above hypersonic speeds and then jettisons the expended rocket booster. In August 2019 Dynetics Technical Solutions (DTS) – now a wholly-owned subsidiary of Leidos – was awarded a USD351.6m Other Transaction Agreement (OTA) contract to produce 20 glide body prototype assemblies for use by the US Army, US Navy, and the MDA, with an option for the manufacture of additional quantities. (Source: Jane’s)
23 Mar 20. India signs USD117.8m deal with IWI for LMGs. India’s Ministry of Defence (MoD) signed an INR8.8bn (USD117.8m) contract with Israel Weapon Industries (IWI) on 19 March for 16,749 Negev NG-7 7.62×51 mm light machine guns (LMGs) for the Indian Army (IA).
“The provisioning of this operationally urgent and critically needed weapon will boost the confidence of the [army’s] frontline troops and provide much needed combat power to the armed forces” said the MoD in a statement issued that same day. These LMGs, it added, will enhance the “lethality and range” of army soldiers compared to those provided by the currently used weapon. The Negev NG-7 was ordered after numerous setbacks – including at least one tender cancellation – under the Fast Track Procedure (FTP) initiated in May 2019 as part of the MoD’s overarching Defence Procurement Procedure-2016 (DPP-2016) to meet the IA’s 11 year-old demand for a new LMG. (Source: Jane’s)
24 Mar 20. SIG SAUER, Inc. is pleased to introduce the 716i TREAD, a direct impingement, AR-10 platform that provides versatility for long range shooting and hunting while maintaining a lightweight design for easy carry. The 716i TREAD is easily customizable with existing TREAD branded accessories.
“The TREAD brand has gained recognition for offering premium products, at a competitive price point, that are designed, engineered and built with the same quality and innovation consumers expect from any SIG SAUER product,” said Tom Taylor, Chief Marketing Officer and Executive Vice President, Commercial Sales. “The 716i TREAD brings the power of the AR-10 platform to the TREAD series and is an exciting expansion to the line. The rifle is lightweight with premium features right out of the box, and consumers can anticipate an affordable price point below $1,400 in stores. For those consumers that want to customize their rifle, they have the freedom to grow with TREAD branded accessories already available in stores that fit the 716i TREAD.”
The SIG SAUER 716i TREAD is a lightweight, forged aluminum receiver, direct impingement rifle that comes optics ready and features a precision nitride coated, carbon steel barrel, an ambidextrous lower receiver, a free floating M-LOK™ handguard, a 2 stage Matchlite Duo Trigger, a six position adjustable stock, and comes chambered in 308 WIN.
716i TREAD Specs:
Overall Length: 37in.
Overall Height: 8in.
Overall Width: 2.5in.
Barrel Length: 16in.
Barrel Twist: 1:10in.
Weight (incl. magazine): 8.5lbs.
The SIG SAUER 716i TREAD is currently shipping and available for purchase at retailers nationwide. Complete product specs and information for the 716i TREAD are available at sigsauer.com.
23 Mar 20. USAF Research Lab Tests Low-Cost Turbojet Engine. The US Air Force Research Laboratory working with Northrop Grumman and Technical Directions Inc. (TDI) recently tested a first-of-its-kind, low-cost turbojet engine under the low-cost cruise missile program known as Gray Wolf. The TDI-J85 engine underwent a successful flight test campaign culminating in multiple inflight engine starts and operation at high altitude. The engine met performance expectations for thrust and surpassed fuel efficiency expectations. The engines tested accumulated sufficient inflight operating time, building confidence in the design durability. The engine design focused on affordability and manufacturability, which enables increased production.
Test results proved the engine capability. It is the first engine in its class and price point to successfully operate at altitude. With the success of this test, AFRL is one significant step closer to launching a low cost cruise missile.
Gray Wolf is an Office of Secretary of Defense (OSD) directed prototype production and demonstration of low-cost cruise missile. These low-cost cruise missiles will offer a stand-off solution with a variable payload capability, meaning the missiles are designed to cruise for distances greater than 250 nautical miles and can accommodate multiple mission profiles. Additionally, the program explored using multiple Gray Wolf missiles in a networked swarm to meet an evolving warfighter mission requirement.
“The success of this test greatly increases our confidence in the performance of the engine and weapon systems as a whole. Developing the TDI-J85 engine in parallel to the cruise missile has proved challenging, but the collaborative partnership between AFRL, TDI, and Northrup Grumman has been outstanding.” – Col Garry Haase, AFRL/RW Director
AFRL and our partners will utilize the recent flight test data to integrate the TDI-J85 engine into the Gray Wolf Flight Test vehicles. As part of the weapon system integration and demonstration phase, the team will modify and verify the interfacing operating software, perform captive flight test, and conduct a missile release test to demonstrate the low cost cruise missile concept. (Source: UAS VISION)
20 Mar 20. USAF tests engine for Gray Wolf low-cost cruise missile. The US Air Force (USAF) has tested a new low-cost turbojet engine to power air-launched cruise missiles being developed under the Gray Wolf programme. The Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL) announced on 19 March that, along with Northrop Grumman and Technical Directions Inc. (TDI), it had for the first time flight-tested the TDI-J85 engine. This test, the AFRL said, involved multiple inflight engine starts, as well as operation at high altitude.
“The engine met performance expectations for thrust and surpassed fuel efficiency expectations. The engines tested accumulated sufficient inflight operating time, building confidence in the design durability,” the AFRL said. (Source: Jane’s)
19 Mar 20. Pearson Engineering reveals route-clearance multi-tool system. The United Kingdom’s Pearson Engineering has developed a route proving and clearance (RP&C) multi-tool system that it is offering for export.
The company said that its RP&C multi-tool system, which was developed using internal research and development funding, is currently at technology readiness level 6 (TRL 6), meaning that it has been demonstrated in a ‘relevant environment’. The company said that further trials were due later in 2020.
Jason Riby, engineering director at Pearson Engineering, said, “The RP&C multi-tool provides military commanders with a counter-mine and IED [improvised explosive device] route clearance solution without the need for multiple vehicles.” Riby said that the concept “has gathered significant interest amongst the NATO community”.
The system is fitted to the front of a platform, typically a 4×4 or 6×6 mine-resistant ambush-protected (MRAP)-type vehicle, and is designed to facilitate route proving and clearance capabilities that have traditionally been done by at least two platforms. The operator is seated in the MRAP under armour protection.
The RP&C is fitted with elements including, at the very front of the system, ground-penetrating radar (GPR) to detect metallic and non-metallic buried threats. A metal detection (MD) element is to confirm metallic threats and reduce GPR false/positive rates that can slow down operations.
Infra-red (IR) and visible-light vision systems provide the operator with visual detection of surface threats, and there is a laser spectrometer for threat confirmation and substance identification from a safe distance.
Mounted above the rollers is an excavator manipulator arm (EMA) that can be fitted with attachments depending on the mission, including a sensor head and heavy explosive ordnance disposal (EOD) tools such as pincers. A sensor head integrated threat marker (TM) is fitted also, enabling ‘mark and leave’ procedures so buried threats can be located for subsequent interrogation and clearance. (Source: Jane’s)
19 Mar 20. New Future Long Range Assault Aircraft phase features greater government cost share. Key Points:
- The FLRAA programme is entering a study phase in which the US Army will provide two-thirds of the funding
- Previous efforts under JMR-TD had the contractors making greater contributions
The next phase of the US Army’s Future Long Range Assault Aircraft (FLRAA) programme will feature the service contributing two-thirds of the funding, a greater share of the costs than in previous phases.
In this new study phase, contractors will better learn US Army requirements for the FLRAA aircraft through tasks such as a system requirements review (SRR) and a system functional review (SFR). Bell will start laying the groundwork for turning its V-280 Valor tiltrotor, which it developed under the US Army’s Joint Multi-Role Technology Demonstrator (JMR-TD) effort, into an aircraft ready for combat.
US Army spokesperson Sarah Tate said on 19 March that the cost sharing for JMR-TD varied across the four vendors who participated, but that the average cost sharing ratio was 3-to-1, industry to government. Keith Flail, Bell vice president for vertical lift systems, told Jane’s on 18 March that the company is very comfortable with this new cost share arrangement where industry contributes one-third of the funding.
Flail said that Bell, in this next FLRAA phase, will show the service trade space opportunities such as what the company can do if the US Army wants a specific capability. Bell, he said, could put more fuel in the V-280’s wings or it could put fuel overhead above the fuselage if the US Army wanted greater fuel capacity. Items that could go on the V-280 as it becomes a combat-capable aircraft could be survivability pieces such as inlet barrier features and infrared (IR) suppressors, he added. (Source: Jane’s)
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.