27 May 21. Lockheed Martin Successfully Tests Navy’s Hypersonic Strike System. The Lockheed Martin (NYSE: LMT) and Northrop Grumman (NYSE: NOC) team successfully conducted a significant live fire hypersonic strike system test in support of the U.S. Navy’s Conventional Prompt Strike (CPS) and U.S. Army’s Long Range Hypersonic Weapon (LRHW) programs.
In this live fire ground test of the first stage solid rocket motor, the motor fired for the full trial duration and met performance parameters and objectives within anticipated ranges.
“We’re pleased to celebrate this important event with the U.S. Navy, Army and Northrup Grumman. This outcome today is due to our shared effort and determination to see this test on the Conventional Prompt Strike program succeed,” said Steve Layne, Program Director of Conventional Strike Programs at Lockheed Martin. “This live fire event is a major milestone on the path to providing hypersonic strike capability to the U.S. Navy and U.S. Army warfighters.”
Northrop Grumman developed the motor and Lockheed Martin serves as the prime weapon systems integrator to provide boost capability to the U.S. Navy and U.S. Army hypersonic strike missile.
“Northrop Grumman is proud to leverage our expertise in flight-proven solid rocket propulsion to support the nation’s efforts to develop an advanced end-to-end missile system capable of deterring emerging and future threats,” said Charlie Precourt, vice president, propulsion systems, Northrop Grumman.
CPS is a hypersonic boost glide missile and weapon system that enables long range flight with high survivability against enemy defenses. CPS and LRHW share a common all up round that can be launched from surface ships, submarines, and land-based mobile launchers. The U.S. Department of Defense has made developing hypersonic strike systems a top mission priority and Lockheed Martin’s investment in hypersonic innovation dates back more than 30 years.
25 May 21. APAC to Dominate the Riflescope Market. Telescopic sights and mounts have come a long way since their invention, especially since the end of World War II. Shooters can now see far away targets clearly and aim precisely at them. Scopes’ optical clarity, reliability, and accuracy have all significantly improved. In hunting scopes, adjustments are almost always made internally, and reticules remain centre. Leupold’s “Duplex” style reticules, which feature a thick crosshair with a fine centre cross area, have largely replaced the old standard crosshair, as well as the Lee floating dot and the post with a crosshair. Various sorts of range-finding reticules are also available.
The advent, and then dominance, of the variable power scope, has been one of the most significant changes. This was made possible by advanced, computer-assisted optical design and multi-layer anti-reflection coatings. Traditional 2.5x, 2.75x, and 3x scopes are almost extinct. The 1-3x, 1-4x, and 1.5-6x variable scopes have taken their place. Most manufacturers still offer the standard “all-around” 4x lens, but the 2-7x variable is typically the same physical size and more flexible. For long-range big game rifles and medium-range varmint rifles, some manufacturers still offer the conventional 6x scope, but the 3-9x variable is more common. Traditional high fixed power scopes have been replaced by high power variables of 4-12x and up on varmint weapons.
Manufacturing and selling optical sights is a fiercely competitive market, particularly after the entry of Japanese manufacturers. The selection of both telescopic and red dot sights has never been better. For handguns, electronic “red dot” sights are becoming increasingly common. The majority of these telescopic sights resemble small, fat, long eye relief telescopic sights, but they lack magnification. They project a red dot at the point of aim, located in the optical tube, where the crosshairs of a traditional telescopic sight would appear, using battery-powered electronics. In the same way, as a traditional scope has turrets with knobs for changing windage and elevation, red dot sights have them as well. Some red dot sights have dispensed with the tube entirely and now comprise a base with the optical and electronic systems that are needed to project the red dot in a “heads up” display.
The majority of red dot sights come with rings and clamp to standard Weaver-style scope bases. Like a traditional lens, the red dot sight’s optics place everything visible through it (red dot and target alike) in the same optical plane. Because of the long eye relief and zero magnification, a red dot sight is not needed. The brightness (intensity) of the red dot is adjusted by a knob, which normally ranges from very dim to bright enough for use in full sunlight. The glowing red dot serves as a highly visible targeting point.
Since red dot sights are powered by small coin-sized batteries, it is smart to have a spare set on hand. In regular usage, they use very little power, and a set of batteries normally lasts at least a couple of years. Red dot sights have proven to be extremely quick to acquire in competition, and since they have unity magnification, they can be used with both eyes open. They are great for pistol shooters, and they have even been used on “slug gun” shotguns.
Shooters require very bright lenses to see targets in low light. On their submarines, for example, the world’s navies usually use 7×50 binoculars. These have a 7.1mm exit pupil and collect all of the light that young eyes need, even at night. However, such binoculars and a rifle scope with a 50mm target are relatively heavy and bulky. Big game hunters rarely need 7x magnification and are typically best served by anything smaller. In either case, most jurisdictions consider night hunting illegal. A 5mm exit pupil is normally appropriate for hunting applications. A 5mm exit pupil is bright enough to enable the shooter to view into shadowed areas or in very low light, and the lens can be made small enough to not add too much weight to the rifle. This means that a fixed power scope with a 2.5x magnification only requires a 12.5mm clear aperture. The exit pupil of a 2.5x scope with a straight tube and a 20mm objective is actually 8mm. For a 5mm exit pupil, a 1-4x variable needs only a 20mm objective at maximum power. A user can get a 7mm exit pupil by setting the scope to 2.85x for night shooting.
The most significant criterion for a scope that will be used at close range is the field of view. A telescopic sight with a broad field of view, such as a 1-4x variable or a 2x to 3x fixed power rifle scope, would be ideal for woods hunting. For general-purpose field usage, a 4x fixed power scope or a 2-7x variable scope is typically as good as it gets. These scopes are particularly well-suited to “all-around” rifles chambered in calibers.270,308, and.30-06. High magnification scopes can and are used by varmint shooters. For long-range varmint rifles, variable power scopes with a magnification range of 4-12x and higher are the most common.
Mountain or plains hunters are more likely than other big game hunters to shoot at longer ranges. However, not all of the shots will be long, and some of them will be very similar. A 3-9x variable scope is nearly perfect for long-range big game rifles. At 3x magnification, it provides a fair field of view, and at 6x to 9x magnification, it provides all the magnification a big game hunter would ever need for even the longest shots. A high magnification scope should never be used on a rifle designed for hunting dangerous games. Shots at dangerous games beyond 200 yards are usually frowned upon because all dangerous game animals are fairly big.
At the ranges where dangerous animals are normally engaged, a wide field of view is critical for quick target acquisition. A fixed 2x or 2.5x scope, or a 1-3x or 1-4x variable scope, is about right. In the presence of a dangerous game, high magnification variable scopes may be fatal. If the hunter forgets to reset the scope to low magnification after using the high magnification to look or shoot at anything at long range, the shortened field of view at the higher power could be lethal in the event of a resulting accidental hit. (Source: ASD Network)
25 May 21. North Carolina National Guard receives Paladin howitzer system variant. The 30th Armored Brigade Combat Team (ABCT) becomes first US National Guard unit to receive newest iteration of A7 Paladin variant. Soldiers with the North Carolina National Guard’s 1-113th FA, fire newly fielded M109A7 Self-Propelled Howitzer Systems at Fort Bragg, North Carolina, May 20, 2021. Credit: Staff Sgt. Mary Junell.
The 1st Battalion, 113th Field Artillery Regiment (1-113th FA) of the 30th Armored Brigade Combat Team (ABCT) has conducted an ‘artillery live-fire exercise’.
The exercise was undertaken with the newest M109A7 self-propelled howitzer system variant at Fort Bragg, a military installation of the United States Army in North Carolina.
It was carried out on 20-21 May.
The 30th ABCT is the first National Guard unit to receive newest iteration of the Paladin artillery system.
This unit was trained for almost two weeks before the live-fire event.
During the two-day training, the 1-113th FA soldiers learnt the ‘differences’ between the old hydraulic system and the new electric system.
1-113th FA C Battery section chief Staff Sergeant Cody Fields said: “The new weapons system allows us to do it a little bit faster. Everything went from hydraulic to electric.
“It allows us to mitigate some of the maintenance issues we had in the past.”
Manufactured by BAE Systems, the Paladin M109A7 next-generation artillery system is a significant upgrade to the combat-proven M109A6 Paladin cannon artillery system.
The 30th ABCT Commander colonel Wes Morrison said: “The 1-113th, with their history and the leadership they show in the field artillery community, they’re certainly deserving.
“To get such a brand new piece of equipment and be able to come out post-deployment and modernise as we talk about in the Army; post-deployment you modernise on equipment, and then you start a new training cycle, so it’s perfect for them.”
Soldiers firing the new howitzer system were received hands-on-training on the operation of the new equipment.
With the new A7 variant, the 1-113th replaced its entire fleet of Paladin systems. (Source: army-technology.com)
24 May 21. Raytheon to deliver latest version of Patriot systems to Romania. Raytheon Missiles & Defense is slated to deliver the latest version of the Patriot system to Romania next year.
Raytheon Missiles & Defense, a business segment of Raytheon Technologies, is set to deliver the latest version of the Patriot air and missile defence system to Romania.
The announcement came after the company secured necessary approval following a critical design review (CDR) of the new upgrades by the US Army.
Raytheon Missiles & Defense Romania Patriot programme senior programme manager Patrick Griffin said: “The success of this review fast-tracks our ongoing work in providing the latest versions of our combat-proven fire units.
“It’s a major milestone in making the entire defence solution even more capable worldwide.”
The review involved a demonstration of enhancements to the radar, the engagement control station and other aspects of the command-and-control technology.
Griffin added: “Essentially, what we showed in the CDR was a soup to nuts survey of the readiness and maturity of the design to move forward.”
Patriot system comprises radars, command-and-control technology and multiple types of interceptors working together to intercept ballistic missiles, cruise missiles and advanced aircraft.
The company will now work to advance the unit’s documentation to detail the assembly process and procure necessary materials from the supply chain.
The improved features are also being tested before their integration with the system. Once the testing process is complete, Raytheon will advance to manufacturing and assembling the new versions.
The new missile defence systems are expected to be delivered in the second half of 2022.
Notably, Romania, a Nato member, will be the first country to field the newest version. The European nation received the first Patriot fire unit in September last year. (Source: army-technology.com)
24 May 21. Indonesia’s ‘tank boat’ prototype undergoes sea, weapon trials. Indonesian state-owned company PT Pindad announced on 23 May that the recently launched ‘Antasena Tank Boat’ prototype has undergone a series of sea and weapon trials in waters off East Java. The company said that the 18 m-long catamaran-type vessel, which was developed by an Indonesian consortium led by PT Pindad, test-fired its 30 mm automatic cannon at the Indonesian Navy’s (Tentara Nasional Indonesia – Angkatan Laut’s, TNI–AL’s) Paiton weapons range after having travelled there from Banyuwangi.
The prototype vessel, which was launched on 28 April, then returned to Banyuwangi, with PT Pindad saying that the total distance travelled for the trials amounted to 170 n miles.
According to PT Pindad, the fire-support craft, which has an overall beam of 6.1 m and a draught of 1 m, can accommodate up to 60 passengers and five crew members, has a top speed of 40 kt and a maximum range of about 600 n miles at 9 kt.
The craft is fitted with a Cockerill 3030 remote turret mounting a Northrop Grumman Mk44 30 mm automatic cannon. It is also armed with two 12.7 mm heavy machine guns mounted on separate remote weapon stations located at different parts the vessel.
The craft is meant to support the Indonesian Armed Forces in conducting patrols along Indonesia’s seas, rivers, and coasts, a take on operations associated with the coast guard, said PT Pindad in its statement, adding that the programme is being supported by the Indonesian defence ministry. (Source: Jane’s)
24 May 21. Ramjet Shells Could Triple US Artillery Range. The Army’s ERAMS program will soon announce development contracts for howitzer shells capable of firing over 100 km (62 miles) to counter Russian and Chinese artillery.
The Army is about to award development contracts for future artillery shells that will look more and more like missiles, with precision guidance, fins, and even ramjet engines. The program – part of a much wider buildup of US missile and cannons – aims to boost both range and accuracy far beyond anything possible with gunpowder alone. The goal: enable the currently outgunned and outranged US artillery force to compete with more advanced Russian and Chinese guns.
The US Army has long had rocket-boosted howitzer shells. The Cold War M549A1 has a range of roughly 30 kilometers (not quite 19 miles). The new XM1113 Rocket Assisted Projectile goes 40 km (25 miles) or more from the current M109 Paladin cannon and 70 km (44 miles) from the XM1299 Extended Range Cannon Artillery (ERCA) now in development. But to break triple digits – 100 kilometers (62 miles) and more – you can’t rely on rockets: You need something much more powerful, like a ramjet.
There are three main ways you can extend the range of a projectile, and the Army’s Extended Range Artillery Munitions Suite is exploring all of them in combination for the future XM1155 shell, ERAMS project manager Nick Berg told me in an interview:
- Increase muzzle velocity. The faster the projectile comes out of the gun barrel, the farther it can go before drag and gravity bring it down to earth. Higher muzzle velocity is the emphasize of the XM1299 ERCA howitzer, which has a longer barrel and more powerful propellant than the current Paladin.
- Add lift surfaces. Basically, this means adding wings and fins to the shell – like a missile or miniature aircraft – to make it more aerodynamic. The more lift generated, the longer the projectile can fly. Of course, the wings, fins, and electronics all have to survive the brutal shock of being fired from a cannon.
- Add “post-launch propulsion.” This is where rockets and ramjets come in: They kick in after the projectile has cleared the gun barrel (hence “post-launch”) to give it an extra burst of thrust. Again, the motors first have to survive the shock of launch.
“We’ve actually investigated and looked at all of those areas,” Berg told me. “We really have focused on lifting surfaces to increase your glide [distance], but then also we’ve looked at solid fuel ramjets as a post-launch propulsion mechanism to boost you out to extended ranges.”
Why ramjets over rockets? The basic difference is that rockets contain their own oxidizer to burn their fuel, while jets of all kinds – from ramjets to turbofans – get their oxygen from the atmosphere. (Hence the name “air-breathing engine”). That saves weight, since you don’t have to carry oxidizer; it improves safety, since the fuel doesn’t ignite as easily; and it extends endurance, since the jet can keep thrusting as long as it has air and fuel. (A longer, gentler burn is also more aerodynamically efficient, reducing drag). A rocket-boosted artillery shell might burn for just 10 seconds, Berg told me, while a jet could conceivably last much longer.
How does a ramjet differ from other kinds of jet engines? All jets work by sucking in air at the front end, compressing it, mixing it with fuel, and igniting it, blasting thrust out the back end. (The shorthand is “suck, squeeze, bang, blow.”) At subsonic speeds, you need to mechanically compress the air with some kind of fan, like the one on the front of an airliner’s turbofan engine. But at supersonic speeds, around Mach 2, the air is coming in the front of the engine so fast that it compresses itself, without mechanical assistance: That’s a ramjet.
A ramjet’s actually mechanically simpler than a conventional jet, since it doesn’t need a compressor, which is one less thing that might break when shot out of a cannon. Historically, the hard part with ramjets has been that they don’t work at speeds below Mach 2 – but being shot out of a cannon gets you to those speeds.
So ramjets are in some ways a natural fit for artillery propulsion. That doesn’t make them easy to build.
“The ramjet does offer a little more technical challenge,” Berg told me, because you have to fit sophisticated, shock-resistant electronics into a small package along with inlets to feed air to the ramjet itself.
Some of technology involved gets pretty exquisite, even exotic. The munition’s control system needs to sense airflow, pressure, heating, including phenomena that don’t happen at lower speeds, said Bob Bakos, CEO of Innoveering, a small firm working with the Picatinny Arsenal Armaments Center on the ramjet ammo. “You’re talking about thousands of degrees” of heating from, essentially, the friction of the air, he told me. To steer in such extreme conditions, he went on, the projectile needs the traditional flaps and fins, but it might be possible to use tiny air ducts, electromagnets, or even plasma to affect the airflow and correct course.
Once the XM1155 shell is developed, a future “cargo” variant could be used to deliver other payloads besides explosives, such as sensor packages and jamming pods.
The Army’s already run Phase I of the ERAMS program, with participation by Boeing, General Dynamics, Northrop Grumman, and Raytheon. Now it’s working on two contracts for Phase II, with awards expected within two weeks. A Raytheon spokesman confirmed they’re no longer working on the program, while Boeing confirmed they’re competing. (Source: Defense News Early Bird/Breaking Defense)
25 May 21. GB sharpshooters aim for success with Dstl science. Two members of Great Britain’s Long Range Shooting Team have been given special access to the Defence Science and Technology Laboratory’s specialist indoor firing range. The facility has a number of unique sensors and cameras that can help the team perfect their firing skills as well as refine the accuracy of their rifles.
Team GB’s Vice Captain Jonathan Longhurst, and Wind Coach Ewan Campbell have been given access to state-of-the-art scientific equipment with Dstl scientists producing key data for the team. This allows them to accurately determine various issues with their firing system, enabling them to refine both their rifles and ammunition as well as identify human error.
Dstl’s lead scientist Brett, said:
It’s a real honour to have 2 shooting champions here on the Dstl site. We normally deal with painted and camouflage weapons for the British Army, so to see high specification champion style bare equipment is really exciting and interesting for us.
I think the team GB guys are really thrilled to be here also – they have access to very specialist scientific equipment and knowledge, which they can’t get hold of anywhere else in the UK.
Dstl possesses a unique array of measurement instrumentation and the team GB research helps validate the capability of its systems. In this piece of work, scientists are able to accurately measure the different speeds of a bullet as it is fired from the rifle. Dstl also uses high speed cameras which capture precisely the horizontal and vertical movement of each bullet, unseen by the naked eye.
Dstl scientists and shooting champions are also assessing how the weight of a rifle and other factors may affect its accuracy. This includes the type of support rests the rifle sits on, the type and weight of a bullet and the stock material, which may affect the precision of the shot.
Jonathan Longhurst, the Vice Captain of Team GB for F class, said:
We shoot up to 1,200 yards, so the knowledge and tech that Dstl scientists have to offer is massively helping us towards our goal of winning gold at the World Championships in South Africa. Before the science of Dstl we have previously relied on theories, but Dstl scientists have helped us to confirm and de-confirm if those theories are correct. It’s an incredible facility at Dstl and encouraging to see defence scientists keen to support us and see what we can achieve too.
Dstl’s indoor firing range is specifically set up to test the latest military and police hand-held and sniper weapons, using its scientific expertise to assure and protect military personnel.
Ewan Campbell is the Wind Coach for the F class GB Team. He said:
We’re looking at ways to try and make our rifle systems more accurate which will give us as much of a competitive edge as possible. It’s fantastic to be here: the Dstl team have worked really hard to set up the tests and have put a lot of effort in to supporting us. As for the equipment ‘wow!’ I want to take it home with me – it’s helping us to look the finest of differences, something we’ve not been able to do before.
The GB Long Range Shooting Team are targeting the World Championships and Dstl is aiming to help them secure top marks. (Source: https://www.gov.uk/)
25 May 21. NIOA establishes sovereign guided weapons spin-off. The local munitions manufacturer has set up a new business dedicated to enhancing Australia’s sovereign guided missile capability.
Brisbane-based defence company NIOA has established the Australian Missile Corporation, a wholly-owned subsidiary focused on supporting the Commonwealth government’s $1bn Sovereign Guided Missile Enterprise.
The new NIOA business aims to foster collaboration between government, industry, and academia, in support of the initiative, announced in March by Prime Minister Scott Morrison.
The new national enterprise is estimated to be worth up to $40bn over the next two decades, generating 2,000 jobs nationwide.
NIOA CEO Robert Nioa said the firm leveraged the government’s “Smart Buyer” process — an expenditure decision-making framework developed by the Capability Acquisition and Sustainment Group (CASG).
“NIOA is strongly aligned with the Commonwealth government’s mission to accelerate sovereign industrial capability and we are excited about this next phase,’’ Nioa said.
“As we have seen over the past 12 months with the COVID-19 pandemic, it’s prudent for Australia to be more self-reliant.
“Defence is a manufacturing sector with enormous opportunity for growth. Investing in capabilities that assure supply of weapons for ADF is not only critical for the nation’s security, but it will create jobs and new business opportunities.”
Nioa added that many local and international firms have expressed interest in pulling together resources to advance the country’s sovereign guided missile capabilities.
“Since the Prime Minister’s announcement, many companies [have] contacted NIOA seeking guidance as to how best they could participate in the future guided weapons enterprise,” Nioa said.
“Building upon our experience as Australia’s No.1 Defence prime, NIOA’s response has been to establish the Australian Missile Corporation as a team of like-minded Defence organisations willing and able to support the new enterprise.”
Stakeholders have been invited to register their interest on the newly established Australian Missile Corporation’s website.
NIOA’s new push to promote local collaboration comes just a month after Lockheed Martin Australia and Thales Australia 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 will specifically focus on booster and rocket motor technologies. (Source: Defence Connect)
26 May 21. New artillery, air-defence assets enter service with China’s Xinjiang Military Command. China continues to bolster the capabilities of the People’s Liberation Army Ground Force’s (PLAGF’s) Xinjiang Military Command, with Chinese state media revealing on 25 May that new wheeled artillery and air-defence assets have entered service with a combined arms formation in the region.
Via its Weibo account, broadcaster China Central Television (CCTV) released footage of an induction ceremony for about 50 wheeled platforms, broken down into an air-defence formation of 25 vehicles, and an artillery formation of at least 23 vehicles.
The air-defence formation displayed consists of two batteries of HQ-17A short-range air-defence (SHORAD) systems, while the artillery formation comprises an estimated two batteries of PHL-11 122 mm multiple rocket launchers (MRLs). Both formations were shown with their related transporters and transloaders as well as accompanying CSK181 4×4 protected mobility vehicles. These batteries are understood to be the organic artillery and air-defence components of a larger wheeled mechanised formation.
The ceremony for the combined arms formation was held on a plateau – presumably within the Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region (XUAR) – at an altitude of more than 4,500 m above sea level, according to CCTV, which also showed the equipment being used during training.
25 May 21. IRGC unveils short-range SAM. Iran’s Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) unveiled a new, shorter-range version of its 3 Khordad surface-to-air missile (SAM) system on 21 May.
Often compared to the Russian Buk family of mobile SAM systems, the 3 Khordad was unveiled in 2014 and credited with shooting down a US Navy RQ-4A Global Hawk unmanned aerial vehicle flying over the Gulf of Oman at a range of a 70 km on 20 June 2019.
Named after a Persian date like the 3 Khordad, the new 9 Dey variant that was displayed used what looked like an identical transporter erector launcher and radar (TELAR) unit but with two pods, each with four smaller missiles in cannisters, attached to its three missile-launch rails.
“It is capable of firing advanced short-range missiles and countering imminent threats such as cruise missiles, drones, helicopters, and bombs dropped by aircraft,” said Brigadier General Amir Ali Hajizadeh, commander of the IRGC Aerospace Force.
The IRGC released footage of the system being tested and senior IRGC commanders were shown inspecting a missile production facility, indicating mass production has begun.
In an analysis of the 9 Dey, the Tasnim News Agency noted that some of the missiles seen in the facility had ‘command guidance’ written on them in Persian, indicating they do not have their own radar seekers and are instead directed towards the target by their TELAR.
While those Persian words could not be seen clearly in the available footage, the missiles appeared to lack the radio frequency-transparent nose cones that would be needed for a radar seeker. They also had four strakes that could be antennas used to receive guidance commands from the TELAR. (Source: Jane’s)
25 May 21. South Korea’s ADD develops laser-power enhancing technology. South Korea’s Agency for Defense Development (ADD) announced on 25 May that it has developed a laser-power enhancing technology for use in future weapon systems, with the most immediate application being a laser-based air-defence system. The agency said in a statement that the technology combines multiple lasers with different wavelengths into a single beam, which is understood to refer to a technique known as spectral beam combining. The Defense Acquisition Program Administration (DAPA)-led project, which began in 2015 and was completed in 2020, saw the ADD apply the spectral beam-combining technology to a 1 kW-class laser module and manage to integrate five 1 kW-class fibre lasers into one 5 kW-class high-quality laser module. The use of fibre lasers presents several advantages in terms of miniaturisation, weight, handling, and maintenance. If developed as a weapon system, it can be used for air defence against threats such as unmanned air vehicles (UAVs) and/or missiles, said the ADD. (Source: Defense News Early Bird/Jane’s)
25 May 21. Hall & Watts Australia Receive Significant Order for Mini-DRFD as part of LAND 154. Hall & Watts Australia have been awarded a multi-million pound order for the supply of MAS Zengrange Remote Initiation Systems to the Australia Defence Forces.
John Hoskins, Managing Director of Hall & Watts commented, “This contract goes further towards cementing our position in the Global Remote Initiation Market and we are delighted to continue supporting the ADF with their requirements.”
Following on from earlier success with Project SEA 1778, where Mini-DRFD was selected as the command initiation system for the Royal Australian Navy’s mine clearance capability, Mini-DRFD has recently been chosen under the auspices of project LAND 154 to equip units of both the Australian Army and the Royal Australian Air Force to conduct demolition tasks.
Mini-DRFD M3.0 is a UHF digital radio-controlled initiation system designed for the remote or timed initiation of munitions and explosives, and is now the joint service remote firing device for the Australian Defence Force. With this acquisition, the ADF joins over 30 countries across the tri-service spectrum who are all using Mini-DRFD for explosive demolition operations.
Hall & Watts is a company specialising in the production and supply of Opto-mechanical instruments, design and refurbishment expertise and is well known to the UK Ministry of Defence and Defence Forces worldwide. Hall & Watts is proud of its position in the defence optics industry and continues to provide high quality products, technical and training support as it has done for many decades. Innovative, simple, yet cost effective designs of products have been identified as major factors in our success together with a thorough understanding of the military market through specially selected personnel in engineering, sales and product support areas within the company. Hall & Watts is headquartered in St Albans, UK, where our global operations are based. Hall & Watts Australia, based in Melbourne, supports business covering the Australian Defence Market, as well as acting as the in country agent for MAS Zengrange Ltd. With representation in over 20 countries worldwide, Hall & Watts has manufactured and supplied Optical Instruments for over 70 years, and continues to do so with the highest levels of commitment and expertise.
24 May 21. Washington, Seoul agree to scrap restrictions on South Korean ballistic missiles. The governments of the United States and South Korea announced on 21 May that they have agreed to scrap the ‘Revised Missile Guidelines’ agreement that had limited the range of South Korean ballistic missiles to 800km. The decision, which effectively allows South Korea to develop and deploy missiles of unrestricted range, was announced in a joint statement issued during a meeting between US President Joe Biden and his South Korean counterpart, Moon Jae-in, at the White House. The two sides also reiterated their commitment to the conditions-based transition of wartime operational control of South Korean troops from Washington to Seoul, and agreed to deepen co-operation in the cyber and space domains to “ensure an effective joint response against emerging threats”, according to the statement. The first US-South Korean ‘Missile Guidelines’ agreement was signed in 1979 as Seoul wanted to acquire US technologies to develop its own missiles. In return, South Korea agreed to limit the range of its missiles to 180km with a maximum payload 500kg.
The guidelines were revised several times over the years to counter growing threats posed by North Korea. For instance, a revision allowed South Korea to develop a ballistic missile carrying a 500 kg warhead with a maximum strike range of 300km. This missile, initially known as the Hyunmoo-2 (also spelled Hyeonmu-2), is now known as the Hyunmoo-2A.
24 May 21. Aimpoint Launches the Next Generation of Acro™ Red Dot Sights. Aimpoint®, the originator and worldwide leader in reflex sighting technology, has once again advanced the standard for pistol mounted optics with the release of the next generation Acro™ red dot sights. This second-generation sights incorporate an improved LED emitter coupled with a higher capacity CR2032 battery to provide five years (50,000 hours) of constant-on power while getting you on target faster and more accurately. Designed to endure the physical forces generated by semi-automatic pistol slides,the Acro™ series was the first pistol sight to offer a fully enclosed optical channel to protect the LED emitter. Built to exceed the requirements of the users, the Acro series sights has been tested and proven to withstand the extreme shock, vibration, temperatures, and material stresses generated by firing over 20,000 rounds of .40 S&W ammunition. The new high efficiency LED emitter provides a crisp 3.5 MOA dot. Protective clear front and rear glass lenses protect the advanced reflective lens system. The new digital intensity adjustment keypad provides a more distinct tactile feel when adjusting the dot intensity, and these controls are now placed next to the battery compartment to help protect the power adjustments against unintentional changes. The recessed edges of the housing at the front and rear of the sight allow for additional flip-up lens covers when mounted on a rifle or shotgun. To stand up to the high expectations of professional users such as the Law Enforcement market, the Acro P-2™ is built and tested to withstand extreme environment stress while the Acro C-2™ is an alternative for the commercial market. Themounting interface for the next generation Acro is the same as its predecessor with a one-piece adapter plate for mounting directly to the optic-ready pistols. The sights can also be mounted on Weaver and Picatinny rail interfaces with a quick detachable mount available in various optical-axis heights. And several adapter plates are available, including a plate for Micro™ mount interface, allowing compatibility with all Micro™ sights mounting solutions. Specialized accessories such as mounts and flip-up lens covers are available for a wide variety of hunting rifles. “Aimpoint engineers more than tripled the Acro next generation battery life and managed to fit a larger battery into the sight while keeping it accessible to the user and maintaining the exact same compact footprint as the Acro first generation, a daunting task that only our engineers could achieve,” said Erik Jeppsson, Sales & Marketing Director for Aimpoint AB. Primarily designed for use on handguns, the Acro next generation can also be mounted on carbines, shotguns and hunting rifles or utilized as a backup sight on magnified scopes and thermal imagers. These versatile optics are night vision compatible and are the ultimate solution for extremely low-profile, compact sighting needs.
21 May 21. Almost exactly two years ago the Estonian Defence Forces ordered the LMT Defense 5.56mm MARS-L assault rifle, known as the R20 RAHE, reports Bob Morrison.
Yesterday, during the initial unit training phase of Exercise KEVADTORM (SPRING STORM) 21 on the Central Training Area near Tapa we were able to photograph the R20 RAHE (which translates as HAIL in English) being carried by conscripts tasked with providing security for a deployed headquarters.
The 5.56mm R20 is a version of the LMT Modular Ambidextrous Rifle System – Light, or MARS-L, produced specifically for Estonian military requirements and in due course it will replace the legacy stocks of 5.56mm IMI Galil and and 7.62mm G3 assault rifles fielded primarily by 1st and 2nd Infantry Brigades respectively. First examples were fielded last summer, but COVID-19 travel restrictions prevented either Carl or myself visiting Estonia last year so yesterday was our first opportunity to document the new rifle; incidentally, the New Zealand Defence Force has also re-equipped with an LMT MARS-L version.
According to the Iowa-based (Eldridge) manufacturer: “The LMT Modular Ambidextrous Rifle System MARS, is a true fully ambidextrous system – featuring a left and right sided safety selector, mag release button, bolt release, and bolt catch. All MARS rifles feature a robust Monolithic Rail Platform, MRP upper receiver.”
The company’s product sheet on the MARS-L states the firearm is milled from a single solid piece of aerospace aluminum [i.e. aluminium] forging and it utilises two locking bolts accessible from the side of the receiver to lock in the barrel extension. This patented technology engages the barrel extension for a full 360 degrees around the extension and makes the barrel removable within seconds with a return to zero of the same barrel. One receiver can utilise numerous barrels of varying length, material, and calibre. The upper receiver has 14.5? of uninterrupted 1913 Picatinny rail on the 12 o’clock position and the remaining 7 sides provide M-LOK compatible attachment points. Monolithic rail platform barrels utilise a low profile gas block and straight gas tube. They possess proprietary coating and are cryogenically treated for long term durability. The MARS-L ambidextrous lower receiver features LMT ergonomic textured grip and SOPMOD stock, and the ambidextrous features include bolt catch, magazine catch, and safety selector.
LMT Defense (formerly known as Lewis Machine & Tool) announce the award of the firearms contract for Estonian Defence Forces.
After an extensive two year tender and testing process, the Estonian Defence Forces have selected LMT Defense. The original competition had 12 companies respond to the call for tenderers. This week LMT Defense was finally confirmed as the chosen winner. LMT Defense is honoured to be selected to supply complete small arms solutions to the Estonian Defence Forces, EDF. The rifle selected is the LMT MARS family of rifles, including the AR 15 and AR 10, in addition to 40mm Grenade Launchers.
The initial deliveries of rifles and accessories will commence in 2019 and is projected to be completed by 2021 with options for future modernisation over the next 20 years. “We are committed to making the best weapons in the world”, said Karl Lewis. “This long term partnership between LMT Defense and EDF reflects our commitment to support our NATO Partners and worldwide allies.”
To assist with providing the best AR 15 in the world, LMT Defense has partnered with Milrem LCM and Visible Assets. Milrem LCM is an Estonian Defense Lifecycle Management provider to help conduct in country logistical support. Milrem LCM has been a partner with EDF since 2014 and has developed extensive knowledge through support of EDF armoured combat vehicles. Visible Assets has created the latest technology of wireless shot counter and armoury electronics to support EDF logistical capabilities. RuBee technology uses magnetic fields that provide battlefield security but provide the armoury with automatic notifications of maintenance and security.
These weapons utilise the LMT Defense monolithic upper on the MARS rifle system. The MARS was developed in 2014 and was initially delivered under contract to New Zealand Defence Force. The MARS weapon platform is a completely ambidextrous rifle system including ambidextrous bolt catch, bolt release, safety selector, magazine release and charging handle.
Over the next week or so I hope to have the opportunity to photograph more Estonian troops out in the field during the main combat phase of KEVADTORM 21 which, although much reduced in size and scope from the 2017 and 2019 iterations which I had the chance to cover, should still be a very interesting exercise involving the NATO eFP (enhanced Forward Presence) Battle Group Estonia and a Danish contingent which deployed into theatre last week. (Source: joint-forces.com)
17 May 21. KEVADTORM (SPRING STORM) 21, the largest annual exercise of the Estonian Defence Forces, is now underway in Northern and Central Estonia, reports Bob Morrison.
Yesterday at rail and bus stations across Estonia, Reservists kissed loved ones farewell and headed to their bases to join Regulars and Conscript plus Allied troops for the 2021 KEVADTORM deployment; indeed I even witnessed this annual occurrence myself while passing Tallinn’s Balti Jaam transport hub.
Over the next three weeks around 7,000 personnel from the Estonian Defence Forces and from Denmark, France, Italy, Latvia, Poland, the United Kingdom and the United States will participate in multinational manoeuvres to train in inter-operability. For a comparatively small nation like Estonia, the part Reservists play is of the most critical importance to the activities of the Defence Forces but COVID-19 considerations are this year limiting their numbers to around just 300 who will perform the most necessary roles.
On account of pandemic control restrictions this year KEVADTORM, which we covered in 2017 and 2019, will not involve anything like as much free play on public land and will mostly be concentrated on the Central Polygon (Training Area) near Tapa but we hope to still be able to provide readers some unique first-hand coverage in due course. In the meantime these images, taken earlier today before the recent run of fine weather broke by Nooremseersant (Junior Sergeant) Mark-Erik Tölpt, showing Estonian troops loading up prior to leaving one of their bases should help set the scene.
Of course although KEVADTORM 21 only officially starts today, many EDF personnel have already been hard at work organising support to ensure the exercise runs smoothly. On Saturday I travelled a couple of hours south of the capital to a Support Command base (sorry, no photos here I’m afraid) to discuss a specific aspect of exercise logistics and witnessed a forward command post had already been set up and was fully operational.
Finally, a Danish contingent has rapidly deployed into Estonia for KEVADTORM 21 – their armoured vehicles arrived by sea at the end of last week and their COVID-tested crews flew in yesterday. We plan to cover this next. (Source: joint-forces.com)
13 May 21. Comprehensive training in ATGM firing took place near Voronezh with tank crews and motorised riflemen of the combined arms army of the ZVO. Servicemen of the tank and motorised rifle regiments of the combined arms army of the Western Military District (ZVO) were trained in anti-tank missile systems (ATGM) at the Pogonovo training ground in the Voronezh Region.
The lesson included the study of the methodological part, training on virtual training complexes and training points, as well as live shooting at targets at a distance of up to 2,200 metres.
In the course of combat firing, the servicemen fulfilled the standard for high-speed deployment of the Fagot PRTRK, followed by target detection and firing from the fortification shelter. The calculations of the complexes were supposed to aim and destroy the notional enemy tank in a specified time.
Also, during the training, the tankers practised hitting targets from smooth-bore guns of T-72B tanks, adapted for firing the Reflex anti-tank guided missile. This missile is guided by a laser designator and is capable of hitting the enemy at a distance of up to 5 kilometres, penetrating up to 900 millimetres of even dynamic armour.
In total, about 500 servicemen of the tank and motorised rifle regiments of the combined arms army of the Western Military District took part in the complex exercises. They fired about 100 combat shots with anti-tank guided missiles. (Source: joint-forces.com)
21 May 21. US Army: Proposals For Cruise Missile Killer Due June 4. In August, the Army will pick a single vendor to build the Indirect Fire Protection Capability (IFPC), focused on countering cruise missiles and larger drones. Later upgrades will add lasers and counter-rocket capability.
The Army has completed a “shoot-off” between competing air & missile defense interceptors and is awaiting final proposals from the companies, generals said this afternoon.
Each competitor got up to three shots at live targets at White Sands Missile Range, said Maj. Gen. Robert Rasch, program executive officer for missiles & space. That followed “a year of learning” that began with high-fidelity computer simulations of how the competing interceptors would work with Army systems, then moved to hardware testing in Army labs and finally to the live fire shoot-off in late April and early May.
The crucial consideration for the Army: Not only must the interceptors be highly effective, they must work seamlessly with the service’s new missile defense command-and-control network, IBCS. (IBCS is expected to be a key part of the Army’s contribution to a future all-service Joint All Domain Command & Control meta-network as well). The shoot-off fed targeting data from a Sentinel radar through IBCS to the competing launchers.
The companies have digested the live-fire data and are preparing final, formal proposals. Those are due June 4. The Army aims to pick a single winner in August, Rasch said. That vendor will face the daunting task of delivering 16 combat-ready launchers and 80 interceptor missiles – what the Army refers to as “fieldable prototypes” – before the fall of 2023. That’s a test of the maturity both of the weapons system itself and the winning team’s ability to manufacture it quickly and affordably, Rasch said.
That initial version of IFPC will focus on countering cruise missiles and larger drones, which the Army has identified as the biggest “gap” in its current defenses when it came to a future conflict “with China [or] with Russia,” Rasch told reporters.
Later upgrades, circa 2026, will add the capability to counter lower-end threats, like the unguided rockets used en masse by Hamas in its recent conflict with Israel. Such “Rocket, Artillery and Mortar” (RAM) threats are considered a lesser danger, both because they’re less accurate and because the Army already has two systems designed to counter them: C-RAM, a modified Navy gatling gun used to defend forward bases, and Iron Dome, the Israeli system that intercepted 95 percent of targets in the Gaza conflict.
“We’re going to have to have a system that does more than RAM,” said Brig. Gen. Brian Gibson, director of Air & Missile Defense modernization for Army Futures Command.
Manufacturer Rafael says they’ve upgraded Iron Dome to deal with cruise missiles as well, and a modified Iron Dome’s Tamir interceptor, called SkyHunter, is the Raytheon-Rafael offering for IFPC. Other competitors haven’t been publicly disclosed, but our colleague Jen Judson reported one other: a Dynetics team using a ground-launched version of the AIM-9X Sidewinder air-to-air missile.
Meanwhile, the Army is also developing a 300-kilowatt high energy laser, IFPC-HEL, as a complement to kinetic interceptors. (Source: Breaking Defense.com)
Arnold Defense has manufactured more than 1.25 million 2.75-inch rocket launchers since 1961 for the U.S. Army, U.S. Navy, U.S. Air Force and many NATO customers. They are the world’s largest supplier of rocket launchers for military aircraft, vessels and vehicles. Core products include the 7-round M260 and 19-round M261 commonly used by helicopters; the thermal coated 7-round LAU-68 variants and LAU-61 Digital Rocket Launcher used by the U.S. Navy and Marines; and the 7-round LAU-131 and SUU-25 flare dispenser used by the U.S. Air Force and worldwide.
Today’s rocket launchers now include the ultra-light LWL-12 that weighs just over 60 pounds (27 kg.) empty and the new Fletcher (4) round launcher. Arnold Defense designs and manufactures various rocket launchers that can be customized for any capacity or form factor for platforms in the air, on the ground or even at sea.
Arnold Defense maintains the highest standards of production quality by using extensive testing, calibration and inspection processes.