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28 Oct 20. Russia Successfully Test-Fires New ABM Interceptor Missile. Russia’s Aerospace Force has successfully test-fired a new missile of the country’s anti-ballistic missile (ABM) defense system at the Sary-Shagan proving ground in Kazakhstan, the Defense Ministry of Russia announced on Wednesday.
“The combat team of the Aerospace Force’s air and anti-ballistic missile defense troops successfully conducted the next test-launch of a new missile of the Russian anti-ballistic missile (ABM) defense system at the Sary-Shagan proving ground (the Republic of Kazakhstan),” the ministry said in a statement.
Exclusive footage of a test launch of a new missile for the Russian missile defense system, posted by the Russian Ministry of Defence.
“The new interceptor missile of the ABM system reliably confirmed its stated characteristics after a series of tests while the combat teams successfully accomplished the task, striking the notional target with the pre-set accuracy,” Commander of Aerospace Force ABM Defense Formation Major-General Sergei Grabchuk said.
Last time, Russia’s Defense Ministry reported about the test-launch of a new interceptor missile from the Sary-Shagan proving ground on July 2, 2019. The interceptor missile also successfully coped with its task, striking the notional target with the required accuracy. Russia’s ABM system operational in the Aerospace Force is designed to defend the country against strikes by a potential enemy’s aerospace attack weapons. (Source: defense-aerospace.com/TASS)
27 Oct 20. PLA looking to expand use of exoskeletons. China’s People’s Liberation Army (PLA) appears to be aiming to expand the use of exoskeleton systems among some of its units to help soldiers carry heavy loads more easily.
Video footage released on 25 October by the state-owned China Central Television 7 (CCTV 7) channel shows soldiers at the Wuxi Joint Logistic Support Centre using what appeared to be a powered exoskeleton to carry 80 kg crates full of small arms and munition.
CCTV 7 stated in its report that the crates contained “obsolete weapons” that were about to be destroyed, suggesting that the soldiers shown in the footage may belong to an ordnance disposal unit. It also stated this was the first time the new exoskeleton system had been used in this context, suggesting that it is undergoing trials.
In a separate CCTV 7 video released that same day the system was also seen being used by troops carrying wounded soldiers in a stretcher as part of an exercise.
That said, no further details were provided about the system, including its weight, the materials it is made of, and whether it is also being trialled by other PLA units. (Source: Jane’s)
23 Oct 20. DARPA’s Hypersonic OpFires Aims For Army 1,000-Mile Missile. With ground tests this year and a full-up flight test in 2023, OpFires hopes to become the Army’s long-term solution for its Mid-Range Capability missile.
The Army has not yet said which off-the-shelf missile it will modify to field a thousand-mile Mid-Range Capability in 2023 — but DARPA is already working on a replacement.
DARPA is developing a new intermediate-range weapon it calls Operational Fires, a reference to the theater level of war, between tactics and strategy. This year, DARPA is ground-testing three rival designs for a revolutionary “throttleable” rocket motor, with the winner going on to a full-up flight test in 2023. By that point, according to the current modernization plan, the Army will already have started buying an off-the-shelf MRC missile to meet immediate needs – but DARPA will have to convince the service that OpFires is the long-term solution it really wants.
OpFires began 2017 as a joint Army-DARPA effort to develop a hypersonic weapon with a range between 500 and 5,500 kilometers (310 to 3,418 miles). That’s because the INF Treaty – later abrogated – banned cruise and ballistic missiles in that range band but (arguably) not hypersonics, which are neither. The Army provided $19m for OpFires in 2020 and requested another $28m for 2021 – but the service then decided to pull its funding.
Nevertheless, DARPA and prime contractor Lockheed Martin are still optimistic that what they’re building could be the Army’s long-term answer for its mid-range missile needs, and the service still gets regular briefings on OpFires’s progress. While the DARPA missile won’t be ready for fielding in 2023, it could “absolutely” lead to an operational Army weapon in the “later 2020s,” said DARPA’s program manager, Army Lt. Col. Amber Walker.
“We’re well-suited from a system development standpoint to catch them on the back end, [and] we are uniquely aligned to the Army’s medium-range gap,” Walker said in an interview. While the decision is up to the Army, she told me, “we certainly hope … it’ll be at least a compelling option for them to consider.”
What would OpFires offer the Army it can’t get otherwise? It’s important that it’s both intermediate-range and hypersonic. In 2023, the Army plans to deploy both its first hypersonic missile, the Long-Range Hypersonic Weapon (LRHW), and its first intermediate-range missile since the Cold War Pershing III, the Mid-Range Capability (MRC). But it won’t have a weapon that’s both intermediate-range and hypersonic.
LRHW will be bigger, faster, and longer-ranged than MRC, flying “thousands of kilometers” as opposed to 1,800 km (1,118 miles). LRHW will also be much more expensive and relatively rare, reserved for the most important, distant, and difficult targets.
But just this year, the Army decided it needed MRC as well as a cheaper, more numerous weapon to strike larger numbers of less distant targets. That late start meant the Army couldn’t develop a new weapon by 2023, so it would need to modify a US or allied missile already in service – and none of those is hypersonic.
Having a smaller, cheaper hypersonic option alongside LRHW would be intriguing for Army commanders. “We view ourselves as complementary [to LRHW] and not duplicative,” Walker emphasized.
“Our ability to get out from underneath our infrastructure is probably our biggest challenge,” Lt. Gen. Tim Haugh, head of 16th Air Force, says.
Significantly, Lockheed Martin has already selected the hypersonic glide body that will carry the missile warhead, coasting to the target (hence “glide body”) at Mach 5-plus once the rocket motors cut off. That glide body is the one Lockheed is already developing for the Air Force’s ARRW program (Air-launched Rapid Response Weapon). While the exact sizes of these weapons are classified, both DARPA and Lockheed Martin confirmed for me that the ARRW glide body is smaller than LRHW’s. That would allow the whole weapon to be smaller, which would make it cost less, too.
Why OpFires Would Be Revolutionary
OpFires isn’t just about building a smaller, cheaper hypersonic missile. If it were, DARPA wouldn’t bother, since the agency’s whole mission is high-risk, high-reward R&D. The “DARPA hard” part of the OpFires program is developing a revolutionary technology known as a “throttleable” rocket motor: In layman’s terms, a rocket that you can turn off at will, instead of having to wait until it burns through all its fuel.
You see, modern solid-fuel rocket motors have basically one setting: ALL AHEAD FULL. Once they’ve started burning and emitting thrust, you can’t turn them down or turn them off. (Liquid-fuel rockets don’t have this issue, but they pose other major problems in a military application). As a result, a solid-fuel rocket has trouble hitting targets that are significantly closer than its maximum range. You can make a long-range rocket hit a short-range target, but if you make it dive back towards the ground a lot earlier than it’s designed to do, that puts tremendous stress on the weapon, which could make it miss or even break apart in flight. That’s especially true for a rocket powerful enough to get the warhead moving at hypersonic speeds.
Simply put, Walker told me, “if you give it a lot of energy, it’s going to go far, and it’s actually really hard to make it go less far… without actually breaking it in the process.”
So instead of having a rocket motor you have to fight to rein in, you want a rocket motor you can just turn off when you’ve reached your target – a throttleable rocket. But that’s not easy either. For reasons of safety and reliability, solid rocket fuel is carefully formulated so it doesn’t either start or stop burning by accident, and historically no one tried to make it stop burning in mid-flight on purpose.
“Rocket motors are built to burn, and in this case, we’re trying to stop it when we want to,” Walker told me, “and, oh, by the way, also make it temperature-insensitive and safe for transport.” Army missiles in particular have to endure all sorts of conditions, from Arctic cold to desert heat to swampy humidity, and still fire reliably on command – and only when commanded to.
So in 2018, after a year of studies and consultation with the Army, DARPA contracted with three companies to develop throttleable rockets: Aerojet, Exquadrum, and Sierra Nevada Corporation (SNC). All three successfully demonstrated miniature versions of the motor and got further awards to build and ground-test a full-scale version. Exquadrum has completed that ground test, while Aerojet and SNC hope to do theirs before the end of the year. It’ll be up to Lockheed Martin, the prime contractor, to pick which of the three designs to use for the actual missile to be flight-tested in 2023.
A further wrinkle: The throttleable rocket motor will be the second stage of the OpFires rocket booster. The first stage launches the weapon and boosts it through the thickest part of the atmosphere, which requires different performance characteristics; it will be tested separately in November or December of next year.
Since the throttleable rocket motor is so tricky, DARPA and Lockheed Martin are trying to keep the rest of OpFires as simple as possible. Besides borrowing the ARRW program’s glide body, it’ll use the existing Army fire control system, AFATDS.It will require no new specialized support equipment; and its launcher will fit on the back of a common Army cargo truck, the 10-wheeler Palletized Load System (PLS). The weapon will fire from the back of the PLS in both the 2021 first-stage-only test and the 2023 full-up flight test.
What happens after that? TBD, Walker told me. DARPA’s job is to prove new technologies work, not to field them as integrated, combat-ready weapons systems: That’s the armed services’ job.
“A plan beyond 23? I can’t say that I have one today, but that’s clearly what we’re working to over the next year or two,” Walker told me. “In the ideal world, a service picks that up.”
The Navy might just be interested in OpFires as a lower-cost alternative to its own version of the long-range hypersonic weapon now that the White House wants to place hypersonics on all US destroyers. But DARPA’s big bet is on the Army. (Source: Breaking Defense.com)
29 Oct 20. VEM Technologies sets up advanced Seeker facility in Hyderabad. The company has been working on building Seeker manufacturing capabilities since 2013. The new facility set up at Hardware Park in Tukkuguda near Srisailam Road with an investment of over Rs 100 crore is spread across 1,25,000 sq ft, with amenities required to carry out the assembly, integration and testing of sub-systems required for radio frequency (RF) and imaging infrared radar (IIR) Seekers under one roof, GP Sarma, senior vice-president, Marketing, VEM Technologies told Telangana Today.
VEM Technologies, had been founded by V Venkata Raju, who is also the chairman and managing director of VEM, with an aim to make the company as a systems engineering company offering solutions to the Armed services making the country self-reliant.
The company has been working on building Seeker manufacturing capabilities since 2013.
Seekers help missiles track and strike the targets with accuracy.
Sarma said, “We are looking to cater to domestic needs for RF Seekers. Very few countries in the world have Seeker manufacturing capabilities. Countries such as the US, Russia, France, Israel and India have the capability to make them. There is however a good scope for exporting IIR Seekers.”
VEM’s Advanced Systems Division, which was recently inaugurated by Dr G Satheesh Reddy, secretary, Department of Defence R&D & chairman-DRDO, has the capacity to manufacture about 60 RF Seekers per month and about 300 IIR Seekers per month.
“The facility will cater to IIR Seekers for various missile programmes. The company can augment the capacities based on the orders,” Sarma added. The company has received a soft financial assistance from Technology Development Board, Department of Science & Technology, Government of India, to a tune of Rs 25 crore for the ‘Development & Commercialisation of RF Seekers’.
Praveen P A, director, Aerospace & Defence, Government of Telangana said, “Despite Covid, Hyderabad defence and aerospace ecosystem is attracting fresh investments and most players are expanding capacities to meet the opportunities presented by indigenisation goals and Aatma Nirbhar Bharat drive in defence production.” (Source: Google/https://telanganatoday.com/)
26 Oct 20. Kongsberg delivers 20,000th Protector RWS to US Army. Kongsberg Defense & Aerospace (KDA) has achieved a milestone with the delivery of the 20,000th Protector Remote Weapon Station (RWS) to the US Army.
Kongsberg Defense & Aerospace (KDA) has achieved a milestone with the delivery of the 20,000th Protector Remote Weapon Station (RWS) to the US Army.
So far, the company has handed over more than 17,000 stations were delivered to the US. The system can be integrated with weapons ranging from 5.56mm rifles to 30mm cannons and other platforms.
The 20,000th delivery is a Protector Low Profile. It will be installed on the US Army’s M1V3 Abrams Main Battle Tank (MBT).
Production teams in Kongsberg, Norway, and Johnstown, Pennsylvania, US, are involved in the production of the system along with a team of over 200 engineers for the development of the RWS.
Kongsberg Defence & Aerospace Land Systems executive vice-president Pål Bratlie said: “Kongsberg is proud to be the world’s leader in remote weapon station technology and related technology integration such as battlefield management and control of unmanned platforms.
“Our product’s maturity is far beyond just being a concept, the Protector has millions of hours of operational experience with militaries around the world.
“Kongsberg is leading the development of wireless and remotely controlled weapon systems, integrated on manned and unmanned vehicles, enabling capabilities that will secure our soldiers mission and safety to an even greater extent.”
The company has sold the Protector RWS to 23 countries, including Norway and the UK. (Source: army-technology.com)
27 Oct 20. US Navy Air Systems Command reportedly looking to beef up Poseidon strike capability. As the US grapples with a growing decline in the capability of its ageing bomber force ahead of the introduction of the B-21 Raider, the US Navy’s Naval Air Systems Command (NAVAIR) has been quietly redoubling efforts to enhance the strike capability of the P-8A Poseidon platform, with potential opportunities for Australia to fill its long-range strike gap in a cost-effective, timely manner.
Long-range strike has emerged as one of the key battlegrounds and capability gaps for both the US and its allies, particularly in the Indo-Pacific as they grapple with the realities of overcoming or in some cases out manoeuvring increasingly complex and deadly integrated air defence systems and anti-access/area denial (A2/AD) systems.
While much of the current US Air Force bomber fleet, made up of the Cold War-era B-52H Stratofortress, B-1B Lancer and B-2 Spirit stealth bombers enjoyed great success during the two decades immediately following the end of the Cold War, being employed to great effect against extremist organisations and low order nation state adversaries, the new strategic challenges have meant the US and its allies need to think outside of the box to provide a distributed, cost effective and survivable long-range strike platform.
In response, the US Navy’s Naval Air Systems Command (NAVAIR) has moved to redouble efforts to provide US decision makers with a cost effective platform capable of supporting the navy and deployed ground forces whether they are Marines or Army units with reliable, survivable and networked precision strike capabilities.
At the forefront of this push is the US Navy’s push to up-arm the Boeing-designed and built P-8A Poseidon platform, originally conceived of as a next-generation anti-submarine warfare, maritime patrol and maritime search and rescue platform to replace the fleet of ageing Lockheed-produced P-3 Orion series aircraft.
Earlier this year, NAVAIR requested a solicitation for information from industry to “determine potential contractors who have the skills, experience, qualifications, and knowledge required to perform aeromechanical and software integration of the Long Range Anti-Ship Missile (LRASM) onto the P-8A aircraft”. While that in and of itself might seem fairly innocuous, it was the following that shed light on the thinking behind expanding the long-range strike capabilities of the Poseidon.
The NAVAIR solicitation also included a request for industry to provide feedback on the integration of a range of additional weapons systems into the Poseidon platform, including, “500-pound (226-kilogram) to 2,000-pound (907-kilogram) class of Joint Direct Attack Munition (JDAM) variants, Mk62/63/65 mines, Small Diameter Bomb (SDB-II), Miniature Air Launched Decoy (MALD), Bomb Rack Unit BRU-55, and Universal Armament Interface (UAI). Engineering tasks for this effort includes, but are not limited to upgrades to the Boeing Tactical Open Mission Systems (TOMS) and Stores Management Computer (SMC) software and interfaces, test planning, execution, data reduction, and reporting on flight test efforts”.
Interestingly, shortly after the original NAVAIR solicitation for information, the US Defense Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA) approved the $1.47bn acquisition of the Long-Range Anti-Ship Missile (LRASM) for the Royal Australian Air Force as part of a larger push, further outlined by the Prime Minister during the launch of the 2020 Defence Strategic Update and 2020 Force Structure Plan which have seen a growing push to expand the nation’s long-range strike capabilities.
LRASM is a long range, precision-guided anti-ship missile leveraging off its Joint Air-to-Surface Standoff Missile-Extended Range (JASSM-ER) heritage and is designed to meet the needs of US Navy and Air Force warfighters.
Australia intends to use the missile on its fleet of F-18E/F Super Hornet aircraft, with the DSCA identifying: “The proposed sale of the missiles and support will increase the Australian Navy’s maritime partnership potential and align its capabilities with existing regional baselines. This is Australia’s first purchase of the missiles. Australia will not have any difficulty absorbing these weapons into its armed forces.”
This push is part of important adjustments to defence policy are set out in the 2020 Defence Strategic Update to respond to the rapid changes in the strategic environment. The Strategic Update replaces the Strategic Defence Framework set out in the 2016 Defence White Paper with three new strategic objectives:
- To shape Australia’s strategic environment;
- To deter actions against Australia’s interests; and
- To respond with credible military force, when required.
The US solicitation identifies a major sense of urgency behind the proposal, with the US expecting the contracting period to exist from January 2021 through January 2026 – meaning the US Navy’s fleet of P-8A Poseidon’s will field an increasingly potent array of strike capabilities.
The LRASM platform will play a significant role in ensuring military access to operate in open ocean/blue waters, owing to its enhanced ability to discriminate and conduct tactical engagements from extended ranges.
The air-launched variant provides an early operational capability for the US Navy’s offensive anti-surface warfare Increment I requirement. With the recent EOC declaration by the US Air Force for the B-1B, the focus is now on the US Navy’s F-18E/F Super Hornet in 2019.
Australia’s interest in the LRASM platform will focus on the integration of the platform with the RAAF’s F-18E/F Super Hornets and F-35A Joint Strike Fighter fleets to enhance the stand-off, deterrence and strike capabilities of the platforms. The LRASM platform is also configurable and compatible with the Navy’s Mk 41 vertical launch system (VLS) launcher, currently in service on board the Hobart Class guided-missile destroyers, Anzac Class frigates and is expected to form the basis of the Hunter Class guided-missile frigates’ VLS capacity.
The US Navy’s push to develop and enhance the strike capability of the P-8A platform provides an interesting avenue for enhancing the stand-off and long range strike capabilities of the Royal Australian Air Force’s existing fleet of P-8A Poseidon aircraft in a cost effective, timely and collaborative manner, enhancing the interoperability and capability aggregation of the P-8A Poseidon fleet operated in the Indo-Pacific.
Australia’s first aircraft arrived in Canberra on 16 November 2016, and the remaining 11 will be delivered by March 2023. Initial operational capability of the first eight P-8A aircraft is scheduled for 2017-2020.
The P-8A Poseidon has advanced sensors and mission systems, including a state-of-the-art multi-role radar, high definition cameras, and an acoustic system with four times the processing capacity of the AP-3C Orions. The P-8A is built specifically as a military aircraft. It is based on the proven commercial designs of Boeing’s 737-800 fuselage, but has been substantially modified to include:
- A weapons bay;
- Under wing and under fuselage hard points for weapons, and
- Increased strengthening for low level (down to 200 feet) operations and high angle turns.
The P-8A aircraft has an extensive communications system including radios and data links across VHF, UHF, HF and SATCOM.
An internal fuel capacity of almost 34 tonnes allows the P-8A to conduct low level anti-submarine warfare missions at a distance of greater than 2,000 kilometres from base. The P-8A has recently completed certification making it compatible for air-to-air refuelling with the KC-30A MRTT. (Source: Defence Connect)
26 Oct 20. Leonardo Presents Lionfish® Family of Naval Defense Turrets. Leonardo expands its range of naval defense products with Lionfish®, the new family of small-caliber remotely controlled turrets.
Completely designed and developed by Leonardo, the new line consists of four models, which feature the most advanced technologies available on the market today, including: Ultralight, Inner Reloading and Top of 12.7 mm caliber, and the model 20 of 20 mm caliber.
Equipped with a common architecture, the Lionfish® family of turrets has a compact and low weight structure. The different models proposed make it a highly versatile solution suitable for installation on board any type of ship, as a primary and secondary defense system. The new technologically advanced human-machine interface systems are easy to use, reducing crew training times to a minimum and the architectural solutions adopted also guarantee excellent reliability and minimum maintenance times.
The remote control of the turrets, which takes place via a local control console, and the suite of Leonardo’s state-of-the-art electro-optical sensors which they are equipped with, allows the identification of targets with extreme precision, both at night and during the day.
Border control, prohibition of maritime traffic, self-protection and the defeat of any type of threat such as asymmetrical surface, including helicopters and drones, are among the operating scenarios in which the system is able to guarantee high effectiveness. Designed to meet the most stringent customer needs, Lionfish® integrates technologies in line with the highest market standards, and offers a great balance between cost and offered performance.
Leonardo, a global high-technology company, is among the top ten world players in Aerospace, Defense and Security and Italy’s main industrial company. Organized into five business divisions, Leonardo has a significant industrial presence in Italy, the United Kingdom, Poland and the USA, where it also operates through subsidiaries such as Leonardo DRS (defense electronics), and joint ventures and partnerships: ATR, MBDA, Telespazio, Thales Alenia Space and Avio.
Leonardo competes in the most important international markets by leveraging its areas of technological and product leadership (Helicopters, Aircraft, Aerostructures, Electronics, Cyber Security and Space). Listed on the Milan Stock Exchange (LDO), in 2019 Leonardo recorded consolidated revenues of €13.8bn and invested €1.5bn in Research and Development. The Group has been part of the Dow Jones Sustainability In d ex (DJSI) since 2010 and became Industry leader of Aerospace & Defense sector of DJSI in 2019. (Source: Al Defaiya)
26 Oct 20. General Atomics, Boeing Partner on High Energy Laser Weapon System. General Atomics Electromagnetic Systems and Boeing announced they are partnering to jointly pursue opportunities for a 100 kW-class scalable to 250 kW-class High Energy Laser (HEL) weapon system to support a variety of air and missile defense applications. The partnership combines both companies’ expertise in directed energy to build a best-in-class HEL solution capable of delivering superior, combat-ready protection for the warfighter on an accelerated timeline.
The HEL weapon system will combine GA-EMS’ scalable distributed gain laser technology, HELLi-ion battery systems and integrated thermal management with Boeing’s beam director and precision acquisition, tracking and pointing (ATP) software. In addition to meeting the high-output power, range, adaptability and precision ATP requirements necessary to defeat an increasing array of emerging threats, the HEL weapon system’s compact footprint will offer a reduced logistics footprint and greater configurability for both stand-alone use and integration with a variety of mobile ground, sea and air-based platforms.
“GA-EMS has made significant advancements in developing and demonstrating highly scalable laser technologies to facilitate high output power in smaller, lighter weight packages,” said Scott Forney, President of GA-EMS.
“We look forward to working with Boeing to deliver a laser weapon system with capabilities designed to meet current operational requirements, while providing the flexibility and adaptability to suit emerging platform requirements supporting missions across a multi-domain battlespace,” he added.
“Our partnership with General Atomics will deliver an innovative HEL force protection capability to the warfighter that is capable of supporting future needs and modernization objectives,” said Norm Tew, Boeing Missile and Weapon Systems Vice president and General Manager, and Huntsville Site Senior Executive.
“Together, we’re leveraging six decades of directed energy experience and proven, deployed technologies to rapidly field a next-generation solution with unmatched precision, performance, safety and affordability,” he stressed/
General Atomics Aeronautical Systems, Inc. (GA-ASI), an affiliate of General Atomics, is a leading designer and manufacturer of proven, reliable Remotely Piloted Aircraft (RPA) systems, radars, and electro-optic and related mission systems, including the Predator® RPA series and the Lynx® Multi-mode Radar. With more than six million flight hours, GA-ASI provides long-endurance, mission-capable aircraft with integrated sensor and data link systems required to deliver persistent flight that enables situational awareness and rapid strike. The company also produces a variety of ground control stations and sensor control/image analysis software, offers pilot training and support services, and develops meta-material antennas. (Source: Al Defaiya)
26 Oct 20. DOD Awards Applied Hypersonics Contract to Texas A&M University. Texas A&M University’s Engineering Experiment Station, or TEES, has been awarded a $20m per year contract to establish and manage a University Consortium for Applied Hypersonics, or UCAH.
The award, which was announced today by the Pentagon, has a base year and four additional option years of $20m, with a total value of up to $100m.
“This first-of-its-kind consortium will be critical to advancing hypersonics research and innovation, a key priority of the Department of Defense,” Michael Kratsios, acting undersecretary of defense for research and engineering, said.
“Importantly, through collaborative industry and academic partnerships, it will also accelerate technology transfer and strengthen workforce development to meet the nation’s future warfighting needs,” he added.
The UCAH, which is expected to begin operations over the next several weeks, will work closely with the military services, defense research agencies, and other government organizations, such as NASA and the Energy Department. The consortium also collaborates with small and large companies and other academic research centers to pursue promising basic and applied research and then transition that research into future systems.
One of the most important and game-changing aspects of the consortium is its strong focus on applied hypersonics research and modeling and testing which will facilitate transitioning academic research into developing systems. The consortium will also work with the department to reduce system development timelines while maintaining quality control standards.
“We often have difficulty transitioning department-funded basic research from universities through industry to operational applications,” Dr. Mark Lewis, acting deputy undersecretary of defense for research and engineering and director of defense research and engineering for modernization, said. “It is a particular challenge in hypersonics, where multiple disciplines must intersect precisely to move forward. The consortium will help us link a deeper understanding of our operational requirements to the exceptional research being conducted across the nation.”
In making the selection, the department’s Joint Hypersonics Transition Office sought input from academic institutions across the nation, said its director, Dr. Gillian Bussey. “We had a highly competitive source selection process for establishing and managing this consortium with many high-quality submissions,” she said.
Today’s announcement reflects the feedback of about 70 schools across 48 states, she said. “The leadership, enthusiasm and focus they provide will help ensure that the consortium will be effective and that our nation’s best minds and researchers will be participating.”
Bussey noted that the UCAH will be managed by Dr. Rodney Bowersox of TEES, who is considered one of the nation’s foremost hypersonic researchers.
While UCAH will be leading the research, their efforts will be overseen by an interim governing board of national experts from Texas A&M, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, the University of Minnesota, the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, the University of Arizona, the University of Tennessee Space Institute, Morgan State University, the California Institute of Technology, Purdue University, the University of California-Los Angeles and the Georgia Institute of Technology.
“We are very fortunate to have the breadth of expertise and diversity of experience on the interim governing board, whose members are some of the world’s experts in their area of hypersonics,” Bussey said.
Among other things, the board will help align team consortium members within and across disciplines through both technical area membership alignments and cross-functional teams, generating the collaboration needed to tackle tricky cross-disciplinary research problems.
The board will also work to address how the department can best engage with academic institutions, industry and the national laboratories to both transition ready technologies into operational capabilities and to develop the hypersonics workforce needed, Bussey added.
Collaboration will play a key part in hypersonics research, Bussey mentioned. TEES has already identified 41 institutions from at least 23 states that are committed to participating in the UCAH. Bussey said she expects this number to increase in upcoming months to include additional institutions from across the U.S., as well as Australia, Canada and the United Kingdom. (Source: US DoD)
22 Oct 20. PLAGF bolstering capabilities of its artillery units with new equipment deliveries. China’s People’s Liberation Army Ground Force (PLAGF) continues to modernise its artillery brigades, with units under the 72nd Group Army and the Tibet Military District now seen operating new equipment aimed at enhancing their lethality and reconnaissance capabilities.
Video footage released by state-owned broadcaster China Central Television (CCTV) on 19 October showed that the wheeled PCL-181 155 mm self-propelled howitzer (SPH) is also being operated by the 72nd Group Army, after having been observed in service with the 73rd, 74th, and 75th Group Armies as well as the Tibet Military District.
The broadcaster showed several examples of the 6×6 SPH, which is manufactured by China North Industries (Group) Corporation (Norinco) and has been in PLAGF service since early 2019, taking part in a live-fire exercise in China’s eastern Anhui Province.
The 25-tonne SPH features an automatic gun-laying system, a semi-automatic ammunition loading system, a digitised control board, and has room for six personnel in the cabin area (including the driver).
In a separate news report the CCTV 7 channel revealed on 20 October that the Tibet Military District is operating a truck-mounted launch system for unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs). More specifically, the footage shows that the 4×4 system carries what appears to be a rocket-launched UAV that is similar in appearance – but not identical – to the ASN-207 UAV used by several PLA units. (Source: Jane’s)
23 Oct 20. Indonesia takes delivery of torpedo countermeasures from Turkey. A consignment of acoustic torpedo countermeasure jammers and decoys meant for the Indonesian Navy’s (Tentara Nasional Indonesia – Angkatan Laut: TNI-AL’s) Nagapasa (Type 209/1400)-class diesel-electric submarines has arrived in-country.
The equipment, which was delivered by Turkish defence company Aselsan as part of a contract signed in 2019, arrived in Indonesia on 22 October, Janes has confirmed with an industry source close to the matter.
Citing an official from Aselsan, Janes first reported in March 2019 that Indonesia had selected the Zoka range of jammers and decoys for the Nagapasa class.
The jammers work by emitting noises that saturate the acoustic operating frequencies of known torpedoes on the market, while the decoys can be programmed to simulate the acoustic and hydrographic characteristics of its host submarine.
These effectors are launched from Aselsan’s Zargana dispenser system, which can deploy up to 24 decoys or jammers in single-shot or salvo modes, without generating any air bubbles that may compromise the host submarine’s position.
This dispenser system is platform- and system-agnostic, and can be integrated into the host vessel’s existing combat management systems without the need for dedicated consoles.
State-owned shipbuilder PT PAL will be working with engineers from Aselsan to integrate the system onboard all three Nagapasa-class boats.
Indonesia signed for three Type 209/1400 boats with South Korean company Daewoo Shipbuilding and Marine Engineering (DSME) in 2011. The TNI-AL has inducted two boats in the class, Nagapasa (403) and Ardadedali (404), and is awaiting the commissioning of the final boat, Alugoro (405). (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.