Sponsored by Arnold Defense www.arnolddefense.com
22 Apr 21. Thales 2.75-inch Rockets certified for firing from Arnold Defense Air and Land Launchers. Arnold Defense, the St. Louis based manufacturer of 2.75-inch rocket launchers, together with Thales, has achieved formal certification to fire the Thales FZ90 2.75-inch rocket from the complete range of Arnold Defense rocket launchers. Working in partnership with Thales, Arnold Defense successfully certified their long-standing LAU and M-Series (lightweight) air-to-ground range of launchers and their more recently released MLHS and FLETCHER ground-to-ground launchers. The certification was achieved following a live firing program that took place at Dillon Aero’s desert range facility near Phoenix, AZ, USA, 18-21 January 2021. Dillon Aero’s 950-acre test range can accommodate live firing of up to 30mm machine guns, 2.75-inch rockets as well as landing most aircraft on their 4500ft runway. During the tests, a significant number of rockets were fired from the entire range of Arnold Defense land, aerial and maritime launchers mounted on a helicopter for air-to-ground tests and on a vehicle integrated system for ground-to-ground tests. All of the launchers tested passed the certification process to allow Thales rockets to be fired by current and future users of Arnold Defense launchers. Arnold Defense has always positioned itself as ‘rocket agnostic’ allowing the user to select from a range of certified rocket systems to suit their specific needs or their in-service inventory. Adding Thales 2.75-inch rockets to the Arnold Defense certified rocket portfolio significantly extends the capability offering, globally. Thanks to features like its State of Art propellant grain and reduced FOD, the Thales 2.75-ich rocket is widely used worldwide by more than 75 armed forces across more than 50 countries. The rockets have also been officially adopted by many major platform OEMs where Its performance and reliability are clearly recognized.
Stéphane Bianchi, Director of the Airborne Armament business segment at Thales said: “This strengthening of the collaboration between Thales and Arnold Defence is good news for both entities. We will provide our expertise with the 70mm (2.75”) rocket systems, which already equip many platforms in the world and Arnold Defence will contribute their large expertise of rocket launchers and systems. This is a true win-win, at a time when our Customers are looking for operational efficiency and flexibility thanks to an extended and combined range of products”.
Doug Wallace, President at Arnold Defense said, “Arnold Defense is delighted to have achieved this certification following a highly successful series of live firing tests. We can now add the Thales 2.75-inch rockets to the range of rockets that can be fired from Arnold Defense launchers, increasing the flexibility on offer to the global user.” He added, “working with Thales on this certification program has solidified an existing partnership between the two companies and at the same time, significantly broadened the capability offering for anyone interested in 2.75-ich rocket systems launched from both air and ground, now and in the future.”
22 Apr 21. Lockheed, Thales to jointly develop Australian guided missile capability. The defence primes have formed a partnership aimed at advancing the development of locally-manufactured long-range, anti-ship missile technology.
Lockheed Martin Australia and Thales Australia have finalised a teaming agreement to facilitate co-operation in the design, development and production of Lockheed Martin’s Long Range Anti-Ship Missile – Surface Launch (LRASM SL) variant.
The agreement, which will specifically focus on booster and rocket motor technologies, is expected to bolster Australia’s national guided weapons enterprise, supporting the Commonwealth government’s objective of expanding the sovereign defence industrial and manufacturing capability.
“This is a step change for future weapons manufacture in Australia – through technology transfer and innovation we see the opportunity to drive the creation of a skilled local workforce, build resiliency in supply chains and help secure Australia’s sovereign defence capabilities for now and into the future,” said Lockheed Martin Australia chief executive Joe North.
“We are delighted to be teaming with Thales Australia and our agreement acknowledges the confidence we have in Thales Australia and its’ strong safety culture in the delivery of weapons capabilities.
“Lockheed Martin has a proud history of successfully developing and delivering world class capabilities to our customers.”
North added: “The opportunity to work with the team at Thales Australia, the largest manufacturer of explosive ordnance to the Australian Defence Force, with a successful track record of delivering ammunition, propellants, explosives and related services has the makings of a great partnership for the future.”
Chris Jenkins, CEO of Thales Australia, said the deal is further evidence of Thales’ commitment to supporting sovereign industrial capability.
“High performance propellants and explosives for warheads, solid fuel rocket motor manufacturing and associated R&D and support services delivered by Thales Australia are essential to achieve sovereign guided weapons capability and we are looking forward to working with Lockheed Martin in support of the Australian Defence Force’s (ADF) objectives,” he said.
“Thales currently employs over 650 skilled staff to manufacture munitions systems for the ADF and allied forces. And we work with over 500 Australian small and medium enterprises and a large range of weapons systems Primes to ensure the ADF receives the locally manufactured munitions they need.
“Through the signing of this agreement with Lockheed Martin, we look forward to expanding our existing booster and rocket motor production lines to design, develop and manufacture LRASM SL.” (Source: Defence Connect)
21 Apr 21. US Government to Shell Out $15bn for Hypersonics. Between fiscal years 2015 and 2024, federal agencies will have spent about $15bn on hypersonic weapons and related technologies, according to projections by a watchdog group.
The Government Accountability Office has identified 70 efforts across the Defense Department, Department of Energy and NASA, according to its recent report, “Hypersonic Weapons: DoD Should Clarify Roles and Responsibilities to Ensure Coordination Across Development Efforts.”
“DoD accounts for nearly all of this” $15bn in projected spending during the aforementioned 10-year period, the study said. “The majority of the funding is for product development and potential fielding of prototype offensive hypersonic weapons. Additionally, it includes substantial investments in developing technologies for next-generation hypersonic weapons and a smaller proportion aimed at countering hypersonic threats.”
The Air Force, Army and Navy are all pursuing these types of capabilities, and other agencies such as the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency have been involved in advancing the technology.
“Hypersonic weapon systems are technically complex, and the DoD has attempted to address challenges posed by immature technologies and aggressive schedules by pursuing multiple potential technological solutions so that it has options,” the study noted.
However, there is room for improvement, according to GAO.
The Defense Department “has not documented the roles, responsibilities and authorities of the multitude of its organizations, including the military services, that are working on” these capabilities, the report said. As a result, “DoD is at risk of impeding its progress toward delivering hypersonic weapon capabilities and opening up the potential for conflict and wasted resources as decisions over larger investments are made in the future.”
To address this problem, the secretary of defense should define and document the roles, responsibilities and authorities of the leadership positions and organizations in the department responsible for the development and acquisition of hypersonics, GAO recommended. The Pentagon concurred with the recommendation, according to the report.
Dr. Mark J. Lewis, executive director of the National Defense Industrial Association’s Emerging Technologies Institute, said the Pentagon has made remarkable advances and is getting closer to fielding systems.
“We can always improve the technology, but at this point I honestly believe our remaining challenges are more policy and infrastructure than technical,” he told National Defense. “We know hypersonic systems work. Now it’s just a matter of being able to design, test and deploy these systems in a timely and efficient manner.” (Source: glstrade.com/National Defense)
21 Apr 21. China’s CH-6 armed reconnaissance UAV development breaks cover. Chinese defence prime China Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation (CASC) is developing a new medium/high-altitude, long-endurance (MALE/HALE) armed reconnaissance unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) called the CH-6 (Cai Hong 6, or Rainbow-6), industry sources have confirmed with Janes. A commemorative model of the yet unannounced CH-6 UAV was observed in a 19 April posting by CASC’s China Academy of Aerospace Aerodynamics – also known as the 11th Academy – on its official Wechat account, in which CAAA president Hu Meixiao and secretary Wang Xianyu were seen presenting the model to Hunan Provincial Committee secretary and Hunan Provincial People’s Congress Standing Committee director Xu Dazhe during an official visit to the provincial capital of Changsha on 16 March. Visual analysis of the CH-6 design depicted by the model clearly shows that CAAA engineers have implemented an unconventional approach to its airframe design. Unlike the typical air vehicles of its class, which generally feature a low wing monoplane and slender cylindrical fuselage configuration with a V-tail empennage, the CH-6 adopts a visibly wider fuselage with a prominently chined forebody with a pair of sharp edges leading aft from either side of the nose along the fuselage and blending into a robust centre wing box. An electro-optical/infrared (EO/IR) ball turret is also seen affixed to the underside of the nose. (Source: Jane’s)
21 Apr 21. Israel says Iranian missile could have 5,000km range. A ballistic missile based on Iran’s new Zoljanah satellite launch vehicle would be able to carry a 1 tonne warhead 5,000 km, according to an estimate of the rocket’s capabilities that Israel’s ambassador to the UN submitted to the Security Council in a letter dated 7 April.
This capability would make the missile by far the most powerful in Iran’s arsenal as the longest range it can currently achieve is 3,000 km with the Khorramshahr liquid-propellant missile, fitted with a 750 kg warhead, according to a European estimate submitted to the Security Council in March 2019. A 5,000km range would ostensibly enable Iran to target every European country, including Iceland.
The Zoljanah was unveiled with a suborbital flight test on 1 February 2020, when it was described as having two solid-propellant motor stages with 1.5 m diameters and a smaller liquid-propellant third stage that enables it to put a 220 kg payload into a 500 km orbit. A spokesman said at the time that the Zoljanah could use a mobile launcher to reach different orbits.
“Mobile launchers make prelaunch detection more complex and are typically used for the rapid deployment of surface-to-surface ballistic missiles,” the Israeli letter said. “This activity casts further doubt as to whether Iran’s space programme is really for peaceful purposes, as the regime claims.”
“These latest technological advancements point once again to the close link between Iran’s space and military programmes, which work in tandem to develop its capacity to carry nuclear warheads,” it added.
Iran’s UN ambassador responded with a letter to the Security Council dated 14 April that insisted his country’s space programme is for peaceful purposes only. (Source: Jane’s)
21 Apr 21. UK Warrior upgrade cancellation makes sale of CT40 cannons likely. Surplus CTA International 40 mm CT40 cannons worth over GBP70m (USD97.7m) are expected to be put up for sale by the UK Ministry of Defence (MoD) following the cancellation of the Warrior infantry fighting vehicle (IFV) upgrade programme in the UK government’s 22 March Defence Command Paper. Surplus CTA International CT40 cannons are expected to be put on sale by the UK MoD following the cancellation of the Warrior Capability Sustainment Programme. There had been speculation that the cannons could be reused and installed in Boxer mechanised infantry vehicles to create an IFV variant for the British Army, but on 19 April the service told Jane s it had no intention to develop such a vehicle.
“There are no current plans to commission Boxer into an armoured infantry role,” said a British Army spokesperson. “We are assessing potential lethality options for the Boxer.”
In 2015 the MoD contracted BAE Systems-Nexter partnership CTA International for 515 Case Telescoped Armament System (CTAS) cannons for the Warrior Capability Sustainment Programme (WCSP) and the Ajax armoured vehicle project in a deal worth GBP150m. Apart from 25 cannons used for trial purposes, the order was split evenly between the Warrior and Ajax efforts. The purchase of the cannons was executed by the ministry’s Defence Equipment & Support procurement organisation and they were then to be delivered to the prime contractors as government-furnished equipment for installation in the vehicles. (Source: Jane’s)
BATTLESPACE Comment: This is a sign that the British Army is moving away from CT40 as the medium calibre weapon of choice. Lockheed Martin is believed to be working on its own Boxer solution whilst Rafael already have the 30mm Samson turret already chosen by Lithuania for their Boxers. The Royal Navy already has 30mm so ammunition supply would be nor problem and its is NATO standard unlike CT40 ammo. Tie will tell whether GDUK solves the reported ‘wobble’ problems encountered with their Ajax CT40 turret. Sources close to BATTLESPACE suggest that Ajax has failed another firing trial of the CT40 Lockheed Martin turret for the fourth time. The source suggested that a joint GDLSUK/ DE&S mediation session was held last week to try and repair the relationship, it didn’t go well. Given that the MoD has put the Warrior CT40 canons up for sale, will the Ajax canons go the same way and end a very expensive project to be replaced by 30mm? The Editor has asked for LM and GDUK to comment.
19 Apr 21. US Army picks 5 innovators to help increase its howitzer firing rate. The U.S. Army has picked five small business innovators to build prototypes intended to help increase the rate of fire of self-propelled howitzers as well as in future systems, Brig. Gen. John Rafferty, who is in charge of the service’s Long-Range Precision Fires modernization efforts, told Defense News on April 15.
The SPARTN Fire Faster project is one of three lines of effort in which the Army is engaged to increase the rate of fire and smooth out the process of loading artillery pieces.
SPARTN stands for Small Business Innovation Research-based (SIBR) Special Program Awards for Required Technology Needs, which is the contracting mechanism used to launch the program.
How the Army handles ammunition in an artillery battalion hasn’t changed in over 50 years, a fact that leaves Rafferty “a little bit embarrassed,” according to a previous interview with Defense News.
The five small businesses who will continue on in the program, chosen from a larger pool generated from a solicitation posted last year, are Austin, Texas-based ARM Automation; Carnegie Mellon Robotics (CR) Tactical in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania; San Diego, California-based Dynovas; H.A. Eckhart in Lansing, Michigan; and another Pittsburgh-based company, RE2 Robotics.
CR Robotics, which specializes in robotic sensors and platforms, is also one of three companies involved in the Army’s Field Artillery Autonomous Resupply (FAAR) effort being run through the Army Applications Lab.
While Fire Faster is focused on the interior of the Howitzer, FAAR is helping to solve handling artillery through automation across the logistics chain. The Army picked six companies to work on the effort at the beginning of 2020 and down-selected to three companies who are working to deliver prototypes.
While the Army cannot disclose the specific technology each company has pitched, ARM Automation, since 1993, has been focused on automated manufacturing solutions for a variety of industries, and CR Tactical is focused on robotic sensors and systems used across a variety of applications from defense to agriculture to mining among others.
Dynovas has been working in both the aerospace and defense fields developing mechanical and munitions handling systems for over 30 years.
H.A. Eckhart is a company with experience in robotics and automation as well as 3D printing and additive manufacturing. It was established in 1974.
Using intelligent mobile robotics, RE2 Robotics’ speciality is helping organizations improve worker safety, productivity and efficiency.
In this phase of the program, the companies will have 24 months to further develop concepts and detailed designs although some may finish as early as 18 months depending on the project, Rafferty said. Companies could receive up to $2.5m in contracts or matching funds.
The Army will continue to use soldiers and users to offer frequent feedback to the developers throughout the process, he said, with resulting prototype technology that is proven at a component level or at a system level in expected operational environments.
At the end of the period, the service will evaluate prototype performance to determine next steps.
While Rafferty could not discuss specific reasons why each company was chosen, he said a panel of evaluators, using a process that eliminates bias, looked at a number of criteria to make determinations.
The panel focused on “concept maturity, feasibility and the impact to reducing the rate of fire,” Rafferty said.
The Army took pains to map its entire logistics and operational process to fire artillery in great detail for the companies involved. Once the companies fully understood that process, they had to clearly articulate how their technologies would impact that process, according to Rafferty.
In addition to the Fire Faster and FAAR efforts, the Army is also working on its own, internally developed autoloader intended to be integrated into its Extended Range Cannon Artillery (ERCA) system in development.
Rafferty told Defense News last year the service was reconfiguring the existing architecture of its original prototype autoloader by reducing its capacity in order to make it easier to integrate.
At the end of March, the Army demonstrated the original, full-capacity design at Yuma Proving Ground, Arizona. Rafferty said it was a “very impressive” event and a “real engineering feat that our Armaments Center should be very proud of.”
The Army “wanted to take it all the way to this demo to do a couple of things,” he said, “and it was to validate the software, the hardware and to improve the model that we have been using to develop the technology and integrate it into the howitzer.”
A 23-round autoloader is the objective, reduced-capacity system that the Army is continuing to mature. Rafferty said he expects a fully integrated demonstration later this year.
“The original design proved really too cumbersome and too many trades for mobility and survivability and reliability that we weren’t willing to make,” Rafferty said, “so scaling that thing down to 23 rounds, like I said, using the existing architecture. It wasn’t a clean sheet.”
The demonstration of the 23-round autoloader coming this year is reliant on the same hardware infrastructure and software used in March.
While the Army had planned previously to deliver a prototype in 2024, Rafferty said that is no longer a “viable option for us anymore, and that’s okay.”
The guidance the service received from senior leaders, he said, was to prioritize range and lethality with the ERCA system and then “rate of fire when we are ready with the right alternative to provide soldiers and units in the field.”
The Army hasn’t changed its approach, Rafferty said. “We want to make sure we get it right.”
In this case that means scaling the capacity of the autoloader down to 23 rounds as the “sweet spot for weight and center of gravity and on-board kills.”
Through the effort “we learned a lot,” he noted. “We know what it is going to take for the ERCA platform to be successful.” (Source: Defense News)
19 Apr 21. Naval Group delivers French frigate with bolstered capabilities. Naval Group has delivered the FREMM Alsace, the first multimission frigate with enhanced air defense capabilities, to the Organisation for Joint Armament Co-operation, which received it April 16 in the Mediterranean port of Toulon on behalf of the French Navy.
OCCAR is a European intergovernmental group that manages cooperative defense equipment programs. It is managing the FREMM program for the French and Italian navies.
The on-schedule delivery comes in the framework of the French Navy’s plan to renew its frigate fleet and have 15 front-line frigates by around 2030 to better protects its vast maritime economic exclusion zone, the biggest in the world due to overseas territories and departments it has in every ocean.
Alsace’s role will be to provide anti-aircraft defense around the French aircraft carrier Charles de Gaulle or around the Mistral-class helicopter landing docks as part of a naval air and amphibious group.
The first six FREMMs (Aquitaine, Provence, Languedoc, Auvergne, Bretagne and Normandie) were delivered between 2012 and 2019. They were designed for anti-submarine warfare. Alsace and the eighth frigate, Lorraine, which is scheduled for delivery next year, will have exactly the same anti-submarine warfare tools as the first six, but with the addition of strengthened anti-aircraft capabilities. Both frigates have an enhanced combat system, an optimized mast and a radar with greater range; they can also carry 10 extra crew members.
Like her sister ships, Alsace is armed with the 32 Aster 15 and 30 vertically launched missiles; eight Exocet MM40 Block 3 anti-ship missiles; 19 MU90 torpedoes; one 76mm main naval gun; four 12.7mm machine guns; two Narwhal 20mm remotely operated weapons; and one NH90 Caiman naval warfare helicopter.
Unlike the other FREMMs, however, the vessel has a new radar and an electro-optical fire control system; increased radar and communication capabilities; and Naval Group’s SETIS combat management system equipped with specific air defense functions.
The 6,000-ton FREMM frigate is 142 meters (466 feet) long and 20 meters wide. It can reach a maximum speed of 27 knots and has a range of 6,000 nautical miles at 15 knots. (Source: Defense News)
19 Apr 21. Luftwaffe Eurofighters get Meteor BVRAAM. The German Air Force (Luftwaffe) has begun equipping its Eurofighter combat aircraft with the MBDA Meteor beyond-visual-range air-to-air missile (BVRAAM), the service announced on 16 April. The installation of the first Phase 2 Enhancements B (P2Eb) software aboard Luftwaffe Eurofighters means that for the first time the service is able to carry the Meteor BVRAAM for homeland air-defence and NATO air-policing duties.
“A new milestone in our Eurofighter fleet,” the Luftwaffe announced. “The new P2Eb software allows us to use Meteor. The update was made for the first time by TLG [Taktisches Luftwaffengeschwader: Tactical Air Force Wing] 74 [at Neuburg Air Base near Munich].”
With a published speed of more than Mach 4 and a range in excess of 100 km, the Meteor has been described by industry and military officials as providing a step-change in air-to-air combat capabilities. Whereas similar-type missiles have a relatively short boost-phase after launch, after which they glide to the target while bleeding energy, the Meteor’s ramjet means it is propelled up to the point of impact. This reduces the adversary aircraft’s chances of escaping the missile and gives the pilot more assurance of success when engaging enemy aircraft. (Source: Jane’s)
19 Apr 21. Rheinmetall and Northrop Grumman agree to strategic partnership for precision-guided enhanced range artillery ammunition. Rheinmetall and Northrop Grumman have formalized an agreement to cooperate in the field of precision-guided enhanced range artillery ammunition. Rheinmetall’s South African subsidiary Rheinmetall Denel Munition and Northrop Grumman signed a 10-year strategic partnership agreement to this effect in February 2021. During this period, the two companies plan to cooperate together in order to offer forward-looking ammunition technology to the international market, including the United States, to support future artillery operations.
The partnership will focus, above all, on achieving an enhanced range 155mm artillery round fitted with an integrated M1156 precision guidance kit (PGK), as well as on developing a new 155mm projectile with an improved integrated propulsion system.
In service with a number of armed forces, the M1156 PGK is an inexpensive, immediately available means of enhancing the accuracy of existing types of artillery ammunition. In combination with Rheinmetall’s V-LAP projectile, which currently achieves the longest maximum range of any conventional artillery projectile, the M1156 PGK results in a swiftly available solution, proven in numerous combat operations, for long-range precision-guided munitions. The longest range ever attained by a conventional artillery projectile currently stands at 76 kilometres, achieved in 2019 at the Alkantpan test range with a non-NATO Joint Ballistics Memorandum of Understanding (JBMOU)-conforming 52-calibre gun and RDM 155mm projectile.
The armed forces of more than twelve nations now use enhanced range Rheinmetall artillery ammunition from South Africa. The integration of tried-and-tested technologies results in a quick increase in capabilities and combat power. Furthermore, other NATO nations and non-JBMOU users can adopt this solution based on Rheinmetall’s existing artillery portfolio.
Rheinmetall and Northrop Grumman have conducted testing of the V-LAP projectile variants and PGK in South Africa early in 2021, and are intending to demonstrate it later at the US Army proving ground in Yuma, Arizona.
16 Apr 21. EXPAL expands 155mm ammunition family. Following final firing trials, by mid-2021, Spain’s EXPAL and the Spanish Ministry of Defence (MoD) are expected to have qualified the latest two 155mm artillery projectiles for the Spanish Army, enabling EXPAL to offer for export a suite of 155mm artillery projectiles plus the associated fuzes and modular charge systems (MCS). EXPAL told Janes in a statement that firing trials are to STANAG 4224 and are being carried out at the National Institute of Aerospace Technique, which belongs to the Spanish MoD. The latest two 155mm artillery projectiles being qualified are multi-spectral smoke (designated 155 SMK RP ER02A1) and illuminating (designated 155 ILLUM ER02A1). Both can be supplied as a boat tail (BT) or base bleed (BB) munition. Maximum range of the ER02A1 projectiles – including the in-production high-explosive (HE) variant – when fired from a 155/52 calibre ordnance is 30,000m with a BT design and 39,000m with a BB design. These 155mm projectiles meet the NATO Joint Ballistic Memorandum of Understanding for 155mm artillery projectiles and can be fired from 155 mm 39/45/52 calibre weapons and used with older bag type charges or the latest MCS, according to EXPAL. The smoke projectile has a payload of four canisters containing a chemical mixture based on red phosphorous that produces a dense smoke screen in visible and infrared. According to EXPAL, one projectile will form a smoke screen about 30 m wide and 6 m high, lasting for more than 120 seconds, but these figures depend on ambient conditions such as wind speed. (Source: Jane’s)
14 Apr 21. Nexter prepares the future of battle tank armament with the ASCALON concept designed to cope with the latest generation of heavy armour. Leaning on its expertise in battle tank armament, illustrated by the Leclerc’s self-loading gun, and on the excellence of its ammunition activity, Nexter (KNDS group) is presenting a new main armament concept for main battle tanks, designed to deal with future heavily armoured threats. This breakthrough weapon represents a major contribution by the French industry to achieve at the end of a cooperative development: a new common solution for France and Germany enhancing the value of distributed activity and balanced skill contributions within the European DTIB.
By 2040-2050, allied nations will potentially face the return of high-intensity confrontations. In the land domain, armies will have to equip themselves with modern means for tactical superiority, manned or unmanned, integrating numerous systems, reaching the highest levels of protection for the crew and the capacity to neutralize the adversary. Faced with numerous and hardened threats, winning the battle from the outset will require shooting faster, farther and with a higher destructive capacity on the first shot, while reducing logistical and ergonomic constraints.
Next generation large-calibre weapons will have to be able to guarantee the armed forces tactical superiority not only tomorrow (2035), but also for the following decades. In order to meet this ambitious objective, Nexter is developing an innovative concept that has the potential to evolve and deliver performance that current technologies no longer offer. Taking advantage of its long experience with the 120mm smoothbore gun of the Leclerc tank, its mastery of telescoped ammunition as well as the maturity achieved during firing campaigns with a 140mm calibre, Nexter is proposing the ASCALON concept (Autoloaded and SCALable Outperforming guN) designed to cope with the latest generation of heavy armour while staying ahead of the threats of the next half-century.
Based on technical solutions that will be fully mature by 2025, ASCALON offers an open architecture designed to serve as the basis for cooperative development under the Franco-German MGCS programme. This concept lays the foundations for the future European battle tank gun and ammunition standard, drawing on previous experiences with allies, such as in the 140mm FTMA gun programme.
Thanks to its breakthrough features, ASCALON is characterised by:-
- A wide choice of terminal effects: the enlarged calibre enriches the range of ammunition for an optimal effect on the target thanks to rods of unparalleled length. It also makes it possible to foresee intelligent ammunition for firing beyond direct sight (BLOS/NLOS), which will provide new capacities while reducing the vulnerability of the tank.
- Compact ammunition: with a maximum length of 130 cm, ASCALON telescoped ammunition will be more compact than an equivalent calibre ammunition. It can be stored and integrated in a self-loading turret, a technology mastered by Nexter and proven over many years on the Leclerc tank.
- Increased firepower: the optimised chamber offers exceptional operational performance with an energy level close to 10 megajoules for kinetic ammunition, while remaining below the internal pressure level of current calibres. This untapped potential will enable the weapon to evolve to a performance class of 13 megajoules capable of addressing any threat over the next 50 years.
- A controlled blast effect: an innovative muzzle brake, adjusted external pressure fields and an optimised firing impulse will strongly limit the blast effect of the shot. ASCALON will thus allow the presence of infantrymen in the vicinity of the tank for joint combat, particularly in urban areas.
- Exceptional integration capacity: thanks to a controlled impulse, ASCALON will have a recoil and acceleration effort compatible with mobile and projectable platforms weighing less than 50 tonnes, while preserving the vehicle’s layout capabilities.
Relying on Nexter’s long experience in the field of tank guns and telescoped ammunition, offering an architecture conducive to balanced industrial cooperation, the ASCALON concept has all the assets to become the standard gun for future heavy battle tanks. Its dedicated ammunition is the only one technological and tactical superiority for the coming decades. ASCALON is a breakthrough weapon for breakthrough land combat systems. (Source: www.joint-forcescom)
15 Apr 21. Indian Army seeks active protection systems for its T-90S/SK MBTs. The Indian Army (IA) has invited responses from local vendors by 12 May regarding the supply of 818 modular active protection systems (APSs) to enhance the survivability of its T-90S/SK ‘Bhishma’ main battle tanks (MBTs).
In a 13 April expression of interest (EOI) the IA said the new protective systems for these tanks, which are “likely to remain in service beyond 2050”, are to be acquired under the ‘Indigenously Designed Developed and Manufactured’ (IDDM) category of the Ministry of Defence’s (MoD’s) Defence Acquisition Procedure 2020, and will need to have a “50% indigenous design and development content”. Prospective vendors will be permitted to enter into arrangements with foreign manufacturers to develop the equipment.
The APSs are required to have both hard-kill and soft-kill capabilities. The soft-kill component must provide both smoke discharge and infrared jamming effects, and provide audio-visual warnings when the tank is either lased or fired upon.
The hard-kill component is required to be capable of engaging shaped-charge threats such as rocket-propelled grenades (RPGs), anti-tank guided missiles (ATGMs), and high-explosive anti-tank (HEAT) rounds fired from tank guns. The protection level required was quantified at 90% against ATGMs, rockets, and RPGs, and 70% against incoming 125 mm HEAT rounds. A non-required, but “desirable” request was for the APS to be capable of defeating kinetic energy (KE) projectiles. That said, the system is required to at least have upgrade potential to defeat KE threats in the future. (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.