Sponsored by Arnold Defense www.arnolddefense.com
02 Feb 21. Arnold Defense teams with MSI Defense Solutions® as an integration partner to deliver FLETCHER. Arnold Defense, the St. Louis based manufacturer of 2.75-inch rocket launchers, has teamed with MSI Defense Solutions®, the North Carolina based specialist defense company to deliver integration solutions for Arnold’s unique FLETCHER land based, laser guided rocket launcher system. The FLETCHER precision guided 2.75-inch/70mm weapon system was first unveiled in 2017 at DSEi in London with several recent contracts being announced in October 2020.
Utilizing MSI Defense Solutions Vehicle Integration Kit (VIK) to mount the FLETCHER 2.75” launcher and firing APKWS® laser-guided rockets, the system has demonstrated exceptional performance. The VIK successfully completed its first ground based, APKWS guided rocket launch with impressive results. As an integrator with Arnold Defense’s recently announced FLETCHER launchers and BAE Systems’ APKWS laser-guided rockets, MSI has delivered rapid vehicle mounting options for the FLETCHER, fitting to a host of vehicle types and configurations.
Designed for transportability, efficiency, and ease of use, MSI’s VIK enables customer mission success. Following effective trials, the FLETCHER system has now been delivered, helping achieve defense superiority and safe standoff for armed forces. Leveraging features such as small form factor, vibration isolation, a customizable stowage solution, G-meter (with optional logging capability) aided by MSI’s aggressive delivery, customers now have immediate effectiveness in place. Precision strike capability has been delivered in near-record time to meet constantly emerging threats.
With the growing need for ground-based weapons system configurations, MSI is developing integration kits for a variety of platforms to meet the needs of its customers, providing rapid-capabilities to perform critical missions with success. Together with Arnold Defense, MSI are working on some interesting new concepts that will see FLETCHER integrated in the marine environment on a RHIB and, in the air.
MSI Defense Solutions President, David Holden, is excited about the VIK success: “we have shown that the flexibility of the VIK enables customers to install on nearly any make and model of turret fitment, providing world-renowned ground-based lethality and standoff capability. We have also shown that we can deliver it in a very compressed timeline. Our fitments are available for remote weapons stations (RWS) like the Terrahawk as well, so we are able to give our customers a unique breadth of choice for guided rocket launching”.
Doug Wallace, President at Arnold Defense said: “Arnold Defense is pleased to have teamed with MSI Defense to integrate our FLETCHER surface-based rocket launcher on a variety of platforms”. He added: “FLETCHER has generated huge interest globally with its unique capability to deliver organic, long-range precision firepower to even the smallest tactical element. Having a capable, flexible and reliable integration partner such as MSI Defense Solutions® allows us to deliver exactly what our customers need onto any platform be that land, sea or air based.”
04 Feb 21. USAF “Golden Horde” swarming munitions program to get a second chance this month. After the Air Force’s first test of “Golden Horde” swarming bombs was deemed a partial success, the service will give the technology a second shot later this month, the commander of the Air Force Research Laboratory said Thursday.
The Golden Horde program is one of AFRL’s three top priorities. The effort involves networking a swarm of munitions together and equipping them with an operational playbook, which gives them a set of predetermined rules for autonomous operations.
The Air Force conducted its first Golden Horde test Dec. 15. AFRL Commander Brig. Gen. Heather Pringle characterized that event as a “great learning opportunity.”
“We’re looking forward to two more flights this month, in fact, with four collaborative small diameter bomb weapons, and I’m looking at time on target to try to up the game a little bit,” Pringle said during a Feb. 4 event hosted by the Mitchell Institute for Aerospace Studies. “This program is still progressing, and we’re really excited about where it’s going in 2021.”
Although the program met nine of 13 objectives during the December event, Pringle acknowledged that not everything in the first test went according to plan.
During the flight, an F-16 dropped two Collaborative Small Diameter Bombs, a version of Boeing’s laser-guided Small Diameter Bomb I upgraded with a collaborative autonomy payload. According to an Air Force news release, the bombs were able to establish communication links with each other and detected an initial target — a GPS jammer.
However, the munitions are designed with an autonomy module that allows them to respond to changes on the battlefield, and the bombs sighted two higher priority targets, which had been determined by Air Force mission planners before the flight and programmed into the weapons’ rules of engagement.
Unfortunately, due to software issues, the swarm was not able to transmit guidance commands to the navigation system, and the weapons struck a failsafe target location instead.
“We had uploaded an [operational flight plan] that couldn’t accept updated flight profile information from the autonomous onboard processor. And so ultimately, the initial flight profile that was in it is where it ended up,” Pringle explained. “There was no update, and the flight never changed. But we have done the forensics on it, we’ve corrected what needed to happen.”
Despite the setbacks during the first test, the Golden Horde concept still shows much promise, Pringle said.
Next week, she intends to meet with Brig. Gen. Heath Collins, the Air Force’s program executive for weapons, to discuss the future of the program and how to eventually turn the technology into a product that can be used operationally.
“General Collins and I have been reassessing what the overall long term scope is of this program and what the end deliverable will be,” Pringle said. “A major component of that is building a digital architecture that will allow more testing of various kinds of collaborative technologies and building in some containerized solutions that could be more plug and play across weapons. And I think ultimately, that will allow a lot more flexibility.”
Along with the CSDB, the Air Force is creating a second swarming munition under the Golden Horde program — the Collaborative Miniature Air-Launched Decoy, based on Raytheon’s Miniature Air-Launched Decoy.
Col. Garry Hasse, director of AFRL’s Munitions Directorate, told Defense News last year that the CMALD would be ready for its flight tests onboard a B-52 in summer 2021.
Eventually, AFRL will use the two systems together in an integrated swarm in a more complex scenario, currently scheduled around 2022, said Norma Taylor, the program manager for Golden Horde, during an interview last June.
The integration of hardware and software on the Golden Horde program is being performed by Scientific Applications and Research Associates Inc. — which won a $100m contract in 2019 for CSDB-1 — and Georgia Tech Applied Research Corporation, which won $85m for CMALD. (Source: Defense News)
03 Feb 21. L3Harris Technologies Wins Next Phase of Missile Defense Contract.
- Supports space-based sensor development program to detect and track missiles
- Follows 2019 U.S. Missile Defense Agency study award
- Leverages prime, payload and algorithms expertise to meet new technology requirements
L3Harris Technologies (NYSE:LHX) was awarded a $121m U.S. Missile Defense Agency contract to build space flight hardware to demonstrate the company’s solution for the Hypersonic and Ballistic Tracking Space Sensor (HBTSS) program.
“Our near-peer adversaries are making rapid advancements in missile technologies, posing a threat to our forward-deployed forces, allies and nation,” said Ed Zoiss, President, L3Harris Space and Airborne Systems. “L3Harris is leveraging our long-standing expertise in infrared remote sensing, advanced processing and communications, in addition to our recent wins in responsive space missions, to enable the Missile Defense Agency to quickly field significantly more capable and cost-effective mission solutions to address these threats.”
HBTSS is one of several proposed missions within the Department of Defense’s next-generation proliferated low-Earth orbit space architecture. The program’s objective is to detect and track traditional and emerging missile threats using infrared sensors and advanced processing capability.
The Missile Defense Agency awarded L3Harris a study contract in 2019 as the prior phase in this development program. L3Harris has also been competitively selected for two other layers of the missile warning and defense architecture. In December 2020, the Space Development Agency selected L3Harris to build and launch four space vehicles to detect and track ballistic and hypersonic missiles for launch in 2022. In April 2019, the U.S. Air Force selected L3Harris to design prototype payload and mission concepts for what has evolved into the U.S. Space Force’s medium-Earth orbit track custody demonstration. (Source: ASD Network)
03 Feb 21. Pakistan says it successfully test-fired short-range missile. Pakistan on Wednesday successfully test-fired a short-range surface-to-surface ballistic missile capable of carrying nuclear and conventional warheads up to about 180 miles, the military said.
In a statement, it said the launch of the Ghaznavi missile was the “culminating point” of an annual field training exercise by Pakistan’s Army Strategic Forces Command.
The statement said Lt. Gen. Muhammad Ali, who leads the command, commended the force’s “operational preparedness” and its “handling and operating the weapon system.”
Pakistan’s nuclear and missile program is primarily aimed at countering threats from neighboring India, which routinely conducts missile tests. Both nations have nuclear arms and have fought two of their three wars over Kashmir since gaining independence from Britain in 1947.
The disputed Himalayan region is split between them and claimed by both in its entirety. (Source: Defense News)
03 Feb 21. Update: Rafael unveils SPICE 250 ER development. Rafael Advanced Defence Systems has disclosed development of a powered, extended range (ER) variant of the SPICE 250 air-to-surface autonomous glide weapon system.
Designated SPICE 250 ER, the new variant incorporates a micro-turbojet engine with an internal JP-8/10 fuel reservoir to deliver what is understood to be a conservatively stated range “of at least 150km”.
Currently in high-volume production for a number of customers, the standard SPICE 250 is an all-up weapon system, unlike the heavier 1000 and 2000 family variants, which are essentially electro-optical/infrared (EO/IR) guidance and target acquisition add-on kits for 1000,lb and 2,000 lb general purpose and penetration warheads.
Weighing 250 lb (113 kg) and furnished with a 75 kg class warhead (blast fragmentation/penetration), the unpowered SPICE 250 variant is a lightweight day/night all-weather precision weapon with a stand-off range of 100 km and a stated circular error probable (CEP) of “better than 3 m.” Equipped with a mid-body fold-out wing assembly and rear cruciform tail control fin set, the weapon system features an improved EO/IR guidance package, midcourse INS/GPS navigation, a two-way datalink, and pre-set or cockpit selectable fuze options.
All current production SPICE variants – 250, 1000, 2000 – are furnished with an Automatic Target Acquisition (ATA) capability: an autonomous electro-optic scene matching technology designed to overcome GPS-jamming, navigation and target location errors in the engagement of fixed targets. On approach to the target, the scene-matching algorithm compares the electro-optical image received in real-time via the weapon seeker with mission reference data stored in the weapon’s computer memory. (Source: Jane’s)
03 Feb 21. Kazakhstan receives first Buk-M2E air-defence system from Russia. Kazakhstan’s Ministry of Defense (MoD) announced on 1 February that it has taken delivery of its first battalion set of the Russian-made 9K317M2E Buk-M2E (SA-17 ‘Grizzly’) self-propelled air-defence system, which is the export variant of the Buk-M2 used by the Russian military.
The ministry said in a statement that the mid-range surface-to-air missile (SAM) system, which was acquired from Russian company Almaz-Antey under a contract announced in 2018, is expected to soon enter service with the Kazakhstan Air Defence Forces (KADF) and supplement the country’s air-defence capabilities, which already include the S‐300PS mid‐to-long range SAM system.
Delivery of the Buk-M2E was initially expected in 2020 but was delayed, likely owing to the Covid-19 pandemic. Russian media outlets have reported that the country has been in talks to acquire another battalion set of the Buk-M2, but based on a wheeled platform known as the Buk-M2EK.
This variant uses the MZKT-6922 6×6 wheeled platform developed by the Minsk Wheeled Tractor Plant (Volat) in Belarus as the system’s transporter-erector-launcher and radar (TELAR) vehicle in place of the GM-569M tracked chassis used by the Buk-M2E.
While such options remain on offer, Russia has also been pushing for the development of several domestic wheeled platforms to decrease its reliance on Belarus. These efforts have not been looked upon favourably by Minsk, which stands to lose an important pillar of its MZKT export market share. (Source: Jane’s)
03 Feb 21. Egyptian Air Force displays SCALP cruise missile. An MBDA SCALP cruise missile appeared for the first time in official Egyptian military media when one was seen in a 2 February video of a joint exercise with the French Air Force. The SCALP was partially seen in both a photograph and a video released by the Ministry of Defence showing the exercise. It was displayed inside a hangar with other weapons arranged around a Rafale fitted with a Talios targeting system.
The hangar appeared to be at Gebel el-Basur Air Base, which is the home of the Egyptian Rafales and was used by the French Rafales and Mirage 2000s that took part in the exercise.
The SCALP was reportedly one of the weapons Egypt ordered for its 32 Rafales but the French newspaper La Tribune has reported that the United States was able to block the sale as the missile includes US-controlled technology.
La Tribune reported in April 2019 that the US had lifted its objection to the sale of MBDA Meteor long-range air-to-air missiles to Egypt, with the newspaper saying this could help persuade Cairo to order 12 more Rafales. That order has yet to be announced.
The range of an Egyptian SCALP would have to be reduced below 300km to comply with the Missile Technology Control Regime. (Source: Jane’s)
02 Feb 21. Israel touts upgraded Iron Dome capabilities against land, maritime threats. An upgraded version of the Iron Dome air defense system has reached a “significant milestone” after contending with advanced threats in a test, Israel’s Ministry of Defense announced Feb. 1.
The Iron Dome is part of Israel’s multilayered air defense and has been in service for a decade with more than 2,400 interceptions, mostly of projectiles launched from the Gaza Strip by militants. Two Iron Dome batteries were delivered to the U.S. Army in the last six months.
“The Israel Missile Defense Organization (IMDO), in the Directorate for Defense R&D of the Israel Ministry of Defense, and Rafael Advanced Defense Systems have completed a successful series of flight tests of the Iron Dome weapon system,” Israel’s Ministry of Defense said. “The Israeli Air Force (IAF) and Navy also participated in the test, which was conducted in a base in central Israel. The test campaign was held in a number of scenarios simulating advanced threats with which the Iron Dome is expected to contend during times of conflict — whether on land or in the sea.”
The new system is expected to be delivered to the Israel Air Force for operational use — though it’s unclear when — and then later installed on Israel’s new Sa’ar 6 corvette, which arrived last year from Germany. It is expected to equip this new class of warships, which will be equipped with a variety of advanced Israeli systems in the coming years.
The new ships are supposed to defend Israel’s exclusive economic zone off the country’s coast. Israel has expanded its infrastructure off the coast in the last several years due to natural gas discoveries in its exclusive economic zone, and the country signed a deal to build an Eastern Mediterranean pipeline to Greece via Cyprus last year. In the 2006 Lebanon war, the militant group Hezbollah fired a C-802 missile at a Sa’ar 5 ship. Egyptian and Saudi Arabian ships have also contended with anti-ship missile threats in recent years from Sinai and Yemen, respectively.
Israel’s Rafael would not elaborate on specifics of the test or the new capabilities. The ministry also would not provide further details beyond its statement.
Video released by the ministry showed the logos of the companies involved, including the prime contractor Rafael; IAI, whose subsidiary Elta Systems is the maker of the multimission radar; and mPrest, which produces the BMC command-and-control system.
The video also showed target drones launched over the water before Iron Dome intercepted them. It also showed several other quadcopter-style drones prior to takeoff, but it’s unclear if they were targets in the drill.
In mid-December, Israel launched an unprecedented integration test of its air defense systems, including Iron Dome, David’s Sling and Arrow. During the test, Iron Dome was used to intercept cruise missiles — a new capability for the system. Drones and cruise missiles were used by Iran in September 2019 in an attack on Saudi Arabia, which led to concerns at the time over whether air defense systems were ready to confront drone swarm attacks or contend with slow and low-flying, maneuverable missiles.
Iron Dome has received U.S. funding that tops about $500m annually for joint air defense projects with Israel. In August 2020, Rafael and American firm Raytheon Technologies agreed to a joint venture to build Iron Dome in the United States. The facility builds the system and its Tamir interceptor, which is called SkyHunter, in the U.S. At the time, the system was said to be capable of intercepting cruise missiles, unmanned aircraft, rockets, artillery and mortars.
When Israel completed the delivery of its second battery to the U.S. on Jan. 3, 2021, Israeli Defense Ministry Benny Gantz said he was “confident the system would assist the US Army in protecting American troops from ballistic and airborne threats as well as from developing threats in the areas where US troops are deployed on various missions.”
Subsequent reports in Israeli media hinted that the U.S. might deploy the system to the Gulf where it has bases. Israel’s MoD did not comment on the reports. The U.S. previously sent Patriot batteries as well as counter-rocket, artillery and mortar systems to defend against threats in the Gulf region. (Source: Defense News Early Bird/Defense News)
03 Feb 21. Rafael extends SPICE 250 range with new turbojet engine. At the Aero India 2021 exhibition, Rafael Advanced Defense Systems Ltd. is unveiling a new variant of its SPICE 250 air-to-surface munition, with the addition of an integrated turbojet engine.
The new variant dubbed SPICE 250 ER (Extended Range) is based on the smallest of the SPICE Family, which includes the SPICE 250, SPICE 1000 and the SPICE 2000 guidance kits. SPICE is a stand-off, autonomous, air-to-surface weapon systems that strike targets with pinpoint accuracy and at high attack volumes, independently of GPS navigation, based on its autonomous electro-optic Scene-Matching Artificial Intelligence (AI) Algorithms.
SPICE 250 ER will incorporate a miniature turbo-jet engine with an internal JP-8/10 fuel system, providing the weapon a range of at least 150 km, while retaining the same mission-planning system, aircraft interfaces and aircrew operation.
SPICE 250 uses a common aircraft interface and sophisticated Smart Quad Rack (SQR) which simplifies the effort needed for aircraft integration. Four SPICE 250 weapons are carried on each SQR. SPICE 250 can be directly mounted on light attack aircraft store stations, thanks to its small size and light weight.
The SPICE 250 ER retains the identical external form-factor as the gliding variant using all existing SQR and aircraft interfaces, enabling the same load-out. The extended-range variant also features the same capabilities as the gliding variant, including the recently-unveiled ATR (Automatic Target Recognition) capability, Automatic Target Acquisition (ATA) and Moving-Target-Detection homing modes.
The newly-unveiled ATR feature is a technological breakthrough, enabling SPICE 250 ER to effectively learn the specific target characteristics ahead of the strike, using advanced AI and deep-learning technologies.
Before or during flight, target type, location and strike characteristics are defined for each weapon, either by the automated mission-planning or by the pilot. The weapons fly towards the targets, using their INS for initial navigation. When approaching the target area, the weapons use their ATA and ATR modes for detection and recognition of the targets and precise aim-point. Each weapon homes-in on the pre-defined target, either autonomously or with a human-in-the-loop, aided by the ATR algorithm.
The combination of the increased loadout of SPICE 250 variants, the unique homing methods for various scenarios, and the extended range, enable a high volume, autonomous, precision-strike capability against multiple target types, with assured very low collateral damage and at a cost-effective price-point.
SPICE is combat-proven and in operational service with a number of international customers.
Alon Shlomi, VP, head of Rafael’s Air-to-Surface systems directorate: “SPICE is combat-proven, with outstanding operational benefits and achievements. This future capability will offer users the unique combination of a combat-proven system with unparalleled state-of-the-art technologies, while taking advantage of existing infrastructure, without the need for new integration. The significantly-enhanced stand-off range will enable pilots greater operational maneuverability, safety and mission assurance.
02 Feb 21. Israeli firm sells Harop, Rotem kamikaze drones to several Asian countries. Israel Aerospace Industries on Monday announced more than $100m in contracts for loitering munitions in three deals that include the Rotem VTOL and the Harop drones. The latter was sold in its land and naval versions.
In keeping with the usual policy in Israel, the company did not reveal its customers, only saying that a foreign country acquired Rotem, while the naval and ground versions of Harop were sold in Asia.
IAI said the contracts are proof of the importance that modern armies place in having accurate munitions, noting the deals may serve as a “harbinger of additional business activity.”
Loitering munitions are sometimes referred to as kamikaze drones because they can be used as a weapon by crashing into a target. These weapons can also hunt down enemy air defenses, among other critical targets.
The Harop maritime variant provides an operational solution for a range of vessels, IAI said. “In a complex naval theater, the Harop system gives mission commanders in a fleet of ships the capability to independently and organically collect intelligence, assess targets and strike,” the firm has said. It can also be used as an alternative to or complement sea-to-sea missiles, and is useful in both low- and high-intensity conflict as well as counterterror operations, according to the company. It is also equipped with day and night cameras.
The Harop is sometimes seen in sets of nine on land vehicles but can be configured to a different format for use at sea. The electro-optical assets of the Harop aid the man-in-the-loop operator and also provide for deep strike air superiority capabilities, IAI said.
The Rotem is a vertical-takeoff-and-landing drone used by several countries. “The system provides a reconnaissance, observation and attack envelope with maximum autonomous performance, integrating a simple and intuitive operation interface that can be used by a single fighter from a touchscreen tablet,” IAI said.
According to Yoel Guzansky, a senior fellow at the Institute for National Security Studies at Tel Aviv University, the recent Abraham Accords that saw relations improve between Israel and its neighbors, including the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain, has opened a niche in which Israel is more “kosher” to do deals with. That opens doors in the Gulf region and to Muslim countries globally, where Israeli sales would otherwise be viewed skeptically or be very sensitive.
Other events boosting sales, he noted, include tension with Iran and the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, during which Azerbaijan used loitering munitions against Armenian forces.
Israel often doesn’t identify the countries to which it sells defense systems because it doesn’t want to appear to be part of conflicts, Guzansky explained. But “usually in reports when they don’t disclose, it can be an Arab or Muslim country or Singapore, so usual suspects could be Taiwan, Singapore, Philippines, etc.,” he added.
“Israel must be sensitive, to think hard at what kind of weapon systems and to whom [it is selling],” Guzansky said, as the government doesn’t want to become entangled in a conflict between rival countries or have its arms end up in the hands of those for which they were not intended.
Tal Inbar, an expert on defense and missile systems and a former chief of the Space Research Center at the Fisher Institute, also pointed to the recent Armenian-Azeri conflict as showcasing the use of loitering munitions. Amid the Abraham Accords, “I believe we will see [a] dramatic increase in [sales of] Israeli products.”
Three and a half decades of experience in producing UAVs has led IAI to this point. Its family of systems also include the Harpy, Mini Harpy and Green Dragon. The Harpy was developed with an anti-radiation seeker to suppress surface-to-air missile radar. IAI predicts a future where militaries will use multiple layers of unmanned and remotely operated systems.
The company sees the systems as appropriate for a variety of customers, from wealthy nations seeking high-tech weapons to those customers that require an affordable option to compensate for a lack of fifth-generation warplanes. (Source: Defense News)
02 Feb 21. Huge Boost for Australian Missile Program. With ranges hundreds of kilometres greater than the current inventory, new anti-ship and surface-to-air missiles are being considered as part of a $1bn investment into advanced guided weapons for Navy under Project SEA 1300 Phase 1.
The project includes long-range maritime strike missiles, extended-range surface-to-air missiles and advanced lightweight torpedoes.
Head Navy Capability Rear Admiral Peter Quinn said this investment would maintain Navy’s capability edge into the future.
“Guided weapons are an integral part of the ADF’s ability to ensure military advantage by holding adversary forces and infrastructure at risk at greater distances from Australia,” he said.
The project combines multiple weapons development and acquisition activities and will be synchronised with naval shipbuilding and combat system development programs being delivered by Australia’s skilled combat system enterprise workforce.
The Standard Missile family of weapons integrates seamlessly into the Aegis combat system, the backbone of Navy’s integrated air and missile defence capability.
Rear Admiral Quinn said compatibility of weapons and systems across the Joint Force and with Australia’s allies was the key focus of the project.
“Coordinating these programs ensures our Navy will remain a lethal and highly responsive deterrent as we keep pace with changes to threats and technology,” Rear Admiral Quinn said.
The commitment announced by Defence Minister Linda Reynolds on January 25 is part of a planned investment of up to $24bn over the decade.
“The planned acquisitions will build a lethal and highly responsive Navy for decades to come,” Senator Reynolds said.
“These new capabilities will provide a strong, credible deterrent that will ensure stability and security in the region.
“The project also seeks opportunities to broaden Australia’s weapons manufacturing base, reinforcing this government’s long-term commitment to Australian industry and delivering sovereign capabilities.”
Defence is planning for the introduction of new long-range air defence weapons, replacement of the current anti-ship missile with an advanced maritime and land strike capability and development of the next generation light weight torpedo through an armaments cooperation program with the United States Navy.
While no down selection of a long range anti-ship missile has yet been made, the first weapon to be introduced will be the Evolved Sea Sparrow Missile (ESSM) Block 2, which is being developed in conjunction with Australia’s allies through the NATO Sea Sparrow Consortium.
The ESSM Block 2 fields an advanced dual-mode seeker to maintain Navy’s short-range integrated air and missile defence capability edge.
With production having commenced in 2019, the ESSM Block 2 is expected to be initially employed in the Anzac-class frigate in the next few years. (Source: ASD Network/MoD Australia)
02 Feb 21. Northrop Grumman Corporation (NYSE: NOC) and UK-based Ultra (LSE: ULE) equipped a modified, manned Bell 407 (acting as an MQ-8C Fire Scout surrogate) platform with Ultra sonobuoys, receiver and processor to complete an unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) anti-submarine warfare (ASW) capability demonstration.
This successful demonstration of the UAS ASW mission on October 29 was the first time a vertical takeoff surrogate unmanned aerial system (VTUAS) had been used to conduct a large area multistatic acoustic search. The mission payload and effects were controlled from the ground with the resultant ASW picture disseminated to locations across the globe.
“Adding an ASW capability to Fire Scout’s existing multi-mission capabilities would further enhance this highly-versatile platform,” said Dan Redman, Fire Scout maritime mission expansion lead, Northrop Grumman. “This ASW capability would offer commanders flexibility to employ not only UAS systems in this particular ASW role, but also utilize the increased availability of crewed aircraft more incisively against an expanded mission set. This would increase the total available effect of the manned/unmanned teamed force mix.”
By jointly developing and demonstrating UAS ASW capabilities, initially on an MQ-8C Fire Scout manned surrogate as part of an industry-led initiative, the two companies are combining their world-leading expertise and experience with the aim of bringing unique ASW solutions to global customers. While the U.S. Navy has not yet identified a clear requirement for UAS ASW capability, it has shown interest in the development and continues to support and monitor progress.
“Operating prototype hardware in a high-pressure real-world environment can be challenging,” said Thomas Link, president of Ultra Maritime. “Our partnership will bring an innovative and leading ASW capability into operation, combining both manned and unmanned ASW systems that will help defend our warfighters and provide increased capability to our forces.”
The MQ-8C Fire Scout can fly missions in excess of 12 hours, providing commanders an unrivaled level of layered multi-source/sensor intelligence, surveillance, reconnaissance (ISR) and command and control/comms relay capabilities over land and sea. When operating in a manned-unmanned teaming concept, Fire Scout enables commanders to employ manned assets in a more focused manner, allowing them to exploit hybrid manned/unmanned teaming opportunities.
Ultra are applications engineers and trusted partners in the design, development and production of the key elements of mission critical, intelligent and highly regulated systems.
02 Feb 21. SIG SAUER Completes Final Delivery of Next Generation Squad Weapon System to U.S. Army. SIG SAUER, Inc. announced the final delivery of the Next Generation Squad Weapons (NGSW) systems to the U.S. Army, consisting of the revolutionary 6.8×51 hybrid ammunition, the NGSW-AR lightweight belt-fed machine gun, the NGSW-R rifle, and suppressors.
“This historic moment is the culmination of an incredible collaboration between the U.S. Army and SIG. We commend Army leadership for having the vision to undertake this monumental procurement process and for remaining vigilant in their mission to bring a modern, transformational weapon system to the battlefield,” began Ron Cohen, President and CEO of SIG SAUER. “Throughout the program we have been given unprecedented access to the soldiers and Marines who will ultimately field these weapons. These soldier touchpoint events have led to rapid advancements over the current weapons systems and resulted in our delivery of the most innovative Next Generation Squad Weapons system to the U.S. Army.”
02 Feb 21. Pentagon’s Hypersonics Director Rebuts The Critics. Independent experts and the Pentagon’s hypersonics R&D director tell us a study of hypersonics by the Union of Concerned Scientists overlooks the very real advantages the new weapons offer the US – and its adversaries.
Pentagon’s director for hypersonics R&D and a range of defense experts are pushing back against a skeptical study of hypersonic weapons by arms control advocates at the Union of Concerned Scientists. The UCS gets something wrong at every step of their analysis, they say.
The study, released days before President Biden’s inauguration and touted in The New York Times, argues that the investment for hypersonics is out of all proportion to the strategic benefits. The Union of Concerned Scientists argues that hypersonics aren’t the unstoppably fast superweapons that they are often described as, not only in news stories but even in serious academic articles. So, at about $3.2bn in R&D for 2021 alone, “the current number is pretty excessive, based on what we know about the performance, what these can do relative to what the weapons we already have,” Cameron Tracy, the lead author of the UCS study, told me. “We’re not really arguing against research on hypersonic flight, [but for] a significant reduction in funding for development of these weapons.”
But that conclusion is built upon a fatally flawed analytical foundation, argue our sources in the Pentagon and defense thinktanks.
“The [UCS] analysis compares intercontinental ballistic missiles to hypersonic glide bodies, and the authors then make the conclusion that hypersonic glide bodies don’t offer much benefit for that mission, because they don’t significantly reduce time to target and they can theoretically be detected,” Michael White, the principal director for hypersonics in the Pentagon undersecretariat for research & engineering, told me. “But for that mission, the fact that you get there five or 10 minutes faster is not the value proposition, and just because you can detect an incoming hypersonic missile that does not mean you can shoot it down or determine where it is going to impact.
“The key attribute for a hypersonic weapon is the trajectory uncertainty due to maneuverability enabled by high speed flight within the atmosphere,” he said.
In other words: The primary reason Russia and China want hypersonic weapons is that they’re extremely hard to intercept, even more so than ballistic missiles. Moscow has been paranoid about US missile defenses neutralizing their nuclear arsenal at least since Ronald Reagan announced the Strategic Defense Initiative back in 1983, even though “Star Wars” never materialized. Beijing has a relatively small ICBM arsenal, so they keep a careful eye on any improvements to America’s current, very limited ballistic missile defense.
“Their math is relatively simplistic and their assumptions are wrong,” one senior defense official told us, “and they’ve done analysis in a [mission] that’s irrelevant to the DoD investment strategy.”
“Their criticisms of some claims surrounding hypersonic weapons are accurate, but the subset of claims they chose to address were among the least compelling ones,” Bryan Clark, a retired Navy strategist and submariner now with the Hudson Institute, said.
“In several respects, the authors set up a straw man and then demolish it,” Tom Mahnken, a former defense official and Navy veteran who now heads the Center for Strategic & Budgetary Assessments, argued. “The authors are looking at one particular case: intercontinental boost-glide vehicles…but I don’t know many folks who envision the US, Russia, or China investing in large numbers of intercontinental hypersonic boost-glide vehicles.”
“I don’t think you can use this analysis to draw broader conclusions about the types of shorter-range, conventionally-armed hypersonic weapons that states are also investing in,” agreed CSBA scholar Evan Montgomery.
And those shorter-range hypersonic missiles are what the US is actually building, not intercontinental weapons.
“What we are doing is developing a family of air, land, and sea-launched, theater-range, conventionally armed systems to defeat targets of critical importance so that we can maintain tactical battlefield dominance in a high-end fight,” said White.
“In the theater mission, when we look at comparing a long-range strike with a traditional subsonic cruise missile, to that same mission using a hypersonic glide vehicle or cruise missile, the speed difference is a factor of at least 10,” White said. “So instead of taking two hours to fly the route, we can get there in 12 minutes.”
With that kind of speed, and a range that – while shorter than ICBMs, is longer than many existing US missiles – theater hypersonics can perform time-critical strike missions that US forces simply can’t do today.
Now, Russia and China are developing intercontinental hypersonics – so does the UCS analysis apply to those weapons?
To an extent, said CSBA’s Montgomery. “If those weapons are not as fast as, and more detectable than, sometimes portrayed, that should probably limit concerns about the risk they pose,” he told me. “If the technical analysis is correct, then it would suggest hypersonic weapons are unlikely to seriously erode strategic stability.”
The US has no such anxieties about its ICBMs being countered. But it sees theater hypersonics as a way to penetrate theater air and missile defenses that could keep its current missiles, fighters, and bombers at bay in a conventional conflict.
“The warfighting effect of these capabilities is transformational,” White said. “We’ve done the analysis, and fighting the tactical fight with and without them, there’s a huge difference.” (Source: Breaking Defense.com)
01 Feb 21. Beretta Holding expands its presence in the UK with the prestigious acquisition of Holland & Holland. Beretta Holding has signed an agreement for the acquisition of 100% of Holland and Holland Ltd. The deal takes effect from February 1, 2021 (terms and conditions are not disclosed).
Holland & Holland is one of the foremost brands in British gun-making, serving elite international clients with the world’s finest handmade shotguns and rifles.
Beretta Holding has been looking to acquire a premium luxury brand, and Holland and Holland is a fitting partner, fulfilling all the elements of finest gun making; a rich history, independent manufacturing facilities and outstanding products.
Beretta Holding wishes to preserve the precious heritage of Holland & Holland in the United Kingdom with a high dedication to skilled craftmanship.
Pietro Gussalli Beretta, President and CEO of Beretta Holding has declared: “This is a truly exciting development and a great achievement for the Beretta family, further increasing the Group’s international footprint. Faced with the Brexit challenges, I am very pleased to increase our direct presence in the important UK market, where we are already active with our well-established distribution subsidiary.”
Included in the deal is the prestigious Holland & Holland Shooting Ground, located in West London, which boasts some of the finest facilities in the UK.
Beretta Holding is committed to the shooting sports sector and has a proud history of investing in brands that come under its umbrella and will continue to do so with its newest acquisition, Holland & Holland, to the benefit of this famous gunmaker.
01 Feb 21. Pearson Engineering launches mine detect and displace systems. Pearson Engineering has launched ‘Threat-Sense’ and ‘Threat-Pathway’, a camera-based mine detection system and deployable plough designed to allow any military vehicle to detect and displace scatterable-mine threats.
Pearson Engineering has launched ‘Threat-Sense’ and ‘Threat-Pathway’, a camera-based mine detection system and deployable plough designed to allow any military vehicle to detect and displace scatterable-mine threats.
Developed to overcome the threat of mines highlighted by conflict in Donbass, Ukraine, the systems can be used separately or together to protect armoured and non-armoured vehicles from mine strikes.
The detection component Threat-Sense uses artificial intelligence and deep learning algorithms to analyse camera feeds and detect surface threats and indicate on a screen where they are, allowing vehicle commanders to avoid them.
The passive system is capable of analysing imagery from thermal and visual cameras in real-time, analysing potential objects of interest against a trainable threat library to classify potential mines. Once a mine is found, it is highlighted on a screen, and an audible warning is played.
Pearson Engineering said the system would ‘reduce the cognitive effort’ required by vehicle operators ‘without overriding human decision making’.
Threat-Pathway, a deployable plough system comes into play for areas where there is no safe alternative route. Capable of being deployed and recovered under armour, the system can be carried by most military vehicles instead of just being fitted onto specialist engineering platforms.
Threat-Pathway is designed to support a vehicle’s ‘self-extraction’ from an area laid with air-delivered scatterable-mines and supports manoeuvre if a vehicle enters a minefield.
Threat-Pathway’s focus is for it to be deployed in urgent scenarios where a vehicle may face a mine threat but cannot be supported by other vehicles or personnel. Pearson Engineering adds that the system can be removed after use and easily replaced if needed.
Threat Pathway is capable of providing full-width clearance for a vehicle, even at full steering lock, and can follow the contours of the ground to sweep away threats.
During development, Pearson Engineering told Army Technology that the system had been tested and integrated with a several, light and medium weight vehicles as well as non-armoured platforms. (Source: army-technology.com)
29 Jan 21. Indian Army receives first batch of Negev LMG. Indian Army has received the first batch of Negev Light Machine Guns (LMG) from Israel as it seeks to boost the firepower of frontline troops.
Indian Army has received the first batch of Negev Light Machine Guns (LMG) from Israel as it seeks to boost the firepower of frontline troops.
Last year, India’s Defence Ministry signed an Rs8.8bn ($120.57m) capital acquisition contract with Israel Weapons Industries to procure 16,479 LMGs under the Fast Track Procedure.
In the first batch, 6,000 guns were delivered, while the remaining units are expected to be supplied by March.
The weapons are currently undergoing inspections, according to local media sources.
The Negev 7.62X51mm LMG is a combat-proven weapon system and is used by several countries. The LMG has a higher range, as well as greater lethality compared to the currently used weapons system by the Indian Armed Forces.
The LMG was needed to meet urgent operational requirements.
Notably, India has been engaged in a border standoff with Chinese forces in the Ladakh region since May. Recently, the two sides held the ninth round of talks to resolve the impasse.
The military face-off has accelerated defence acquisitions and development in India.
Recently, India unveiled the locally developed machine pistol ASMI for the defence forces. The weapon is in Israel’s class of the Uzi series guns and has a range of around 100m.
This pistol is expected to replace the 9mm pistols currently used by the armed forces.
The defence forces have also completed the final phase of user trials of the locally developed 5.56×30mm protective carbine clearing its induction into the services. (Source: army-technology.com)
29 Jan 21. A new sniper rifle for the US Army, Marines and SOCOM. The great sniper rifle replacement across the Army, Marine Corps and SOCOM has begun with the newest sniper rifle and it’s the Barrett Multi-Role Adaptive Design rifle chambered in three calibers.
Over the next five years, the MRAD will replace the Army’s existing M107 sniper rifle and M2010 Enhanced Sniper Rifle under the Precision Sniper Rifle program, and all bolt action rifles in the Marines, delivering conversion options so that snipers can choose from 7.62mm, .300 Norma Magnum and .338 Norma Magnum, depending on their shooting needs.
The military designation for the rifle will be the Mk22, which is the nomenclature for the PSR.
“The Army plans to purchase Multi-Role Adaptive Rifle (MRAD) systems for Foreign Military Sales and Precision Sniper Rifles (PSR) systems for Army Snipers and EOD personnel,” PEO Soldier spokesman told the website Task & Purpose. “The MRAD is one component of the PSR.”
Marine Corps budget documents from early 2020 noted that the “ASR will replace all current bolt-action sniper rifles in the Marine Corps.”
Those documents cited a purchase of 250 MRAD rifles for the Corps.
That means the decades-old M40, which has been in service midway through the Vietnam War. The M40, was scheduled to be replaced by the Mk13 Mod 7.
SOCOM awarded a contract for the MRAD back in March 2019 and deliveries were scheduled to start this January, according to a Barrett company release.
The search for the convertible rifle began back in 2016 with a SOCOM request.
The original plan was for the Army to buy 536 MRAD rifles under the previous program, a PEO Soldier spokesman told Task & Purpose that the new plans will include purchasing an estimated 2,800 rifles over the next five years. (Source: Defense News Early Bird/Army Times)
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.