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03 Nov 20. UK, France to sign autonomous minehunting production contract. The UK and France will sign a production contract for the joint Maritime Mine Counter Measure (MMCM) project this month. The UK and France will sign a production contract for the joint Maritime Mine Counter Measure (MMCM) project this month.
The UK and France have been working together on the project to develop an autonomous minehunting capability. Recent trials off the coast of the UK and France proved the ability of the system to detect sea mines.
Following the production contract, The Royal Navy and Marine Nationale will achieve operational capability in 2022.
MMCM is a ‘system of systems’ including uncrewed surface vessels (USVs), uncrewed underwater vessels (UUVs), sensors, command and control systems, and mine neutralisation systems.
The UK and France revealed news of the impending production contract in a joint declaration by UK Defence Secretary Ben Wallace and his French counterpart Florence Parly, published by the two countries yesterday on the 10th anniversary of the Lancaster House Treaty’s signing.
The joint declaration reads: “Our joint Maritime Mine Counter Measures (MMCM) project has made significant progress in developing a world-leading autonomous mine hunting system. Sea trials conducted on the French and British coasts in 2020 have proved the autonomous vehicles’ capability to hunt sea mines.
“The production contract will be signed later in November and the first operational capabilities will be delivered in 2022.”
Trials of the system are ongoing and expected to wrap up by the end of the year. Results of the trials will inform acceptance of the final MMCM demonstrator.
The ongoing MMCM project is also being used by the UK to inform its Mine Counter Measures and Hydrographic Capability (MHC) programme, with the evaluation and trials of the former helping to inform future investment plans for the latter. (Source: naval-technology.com)
05 Nov 20. NAVAIR to launch AARGM-ER LRIP Lots 1 and 2. The US Naval Air Systems Command (NAVAIR) is poised to begin low rate initial production (LRIP) of the Northrop Grumman AGM-88G Advanced Anti-Radiation Guided Missile – Extended Range (AARGM-ER), with a sole-source contract notification posted on 4 November.
The notification on the US government’s beta.sam.gov procurement website said that NAVAIR intends to award to Alliant TechSystems Operations LLC (also referred to as Northrop Grumman Defense Systems [NGDS]) for LRIP Lot 1 and LRIP Lot 2 of the destruction/suppression of enemy air-defences (DEAD/SEAD) air-to-surface missile.
“NAVAIR intends to award a sole source firm fixed price (FFP) contract to Alliant TechSystems Operations LLC … for the procurement of all tasks required to manufacture, fabricate, assemble, inspect, test, integrate and deliver the AGM-88G AARGM-ER all-up rounds (AUR), AGM-88G captive air training missiles (CATM), spares, support equipment, and special test equipment (STE); and to provide programme management, systems engineering, system safety, configuration management, quality assurance, and integrated logistics support,” the notification said.
The command did not disclose when the LRIP contracts might be awarded and concluded, the number of missiles each might include, nor the planned award value. (Source: Jane’s)
04 Nov 20. India tests enhanced version of rocket used by Pinaka MRL. India’s Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) has successfully test-fired an enhanced version of the rocket used by the Pinaka multiple rocket launcher (MRL).
A total of six extended-range rockets were launched in quick succession on 4 November from the Integrated Test Range in Chandipur, said the Indian government’s Press Information Bureau (PIB), adding that the tests met the mission objectives.
The PIB said the DRDO decided to develop the new rocket variant “to achieve longer-range performance compared to the earlier design with reduced length”, adding that the enhanced version of the Pinaka rocket is expected to gradually replace the existing 214mm Pinaka Mk I rockets, which are currently under series production and have a range of between 38km and 48km.
No further details were provided about the dimensions or range of the new rocket variant, with the PIB stating only that the weapon was designed and developed by the DRDO’s Armament Research and Development Establishment (ARDE) and High Energy Materials Research Laboratory (HEMRL) in Pune. (Source: Jane’s)
04 Nov 20. Russia slated to field Sotnik soldier gear in 2025. Russia’s newest Sotnik (Centurion) soldier ensemble is to be developed from 2020-23 and in 2025 is set to begin replacing the Ratnik (Warrior) combat outfit, according to state corporation Rostec’s annual report for 2019, published in late October of this year.
Rostec’s Executive Director for Science and Technologies and Chairman of the corporation’s scientific council, Yury Koptev, said the ensemble comprises eight subsystems, including communications devices, protection, weapons, an information system, food, and more.
Sotnik is expected to field new ammunition, firearms, anti-blast boots, a low-infrared emitting uniform, and an anti-radar suite. Commands and digital maps are to be projected to the user via the kit’s protective goggles.
According to the report, miniaturised quantum sensors to monitor a servicemember’s health could be embedded in the kit’s fabric. “The quantum sensors may be used in the new suite’s fabric. They are programmed to allow a soldier to estimate his condition and send this information to a higher level of command,” said Koptev.
Rostec previously reported that the Sotnik ensemble, which is being developed by the corporation’s TsNIITOChMASh design bureau, will integrate micro-unmanned aerial vehicles (micro-UAVs) connected to an automated control system. The images captured by the micro-UAVs would be projected via the protective goggles.
The kit’s armour is to retain its current protective features but at reduced weight. Compared to Ratnik, Sotnik’s overall weight is to be reduced by 20% and reach about 20 kg.
An electrically controlled material, known as electrochrome, which changes its colour depending on the environment, is planned to be used in the new suite as well. A prototype of an electrochrome helmet was unveiled at the Army 2018 defence show. (Source: Jane’s)
03 Nov 20. The Ministry of the Armed Forces Launches the SLAM-F. Florence Parly, Minister of the Armed Forces, on October 27, 2020 approved the launch of the Système de Lutte Anti-Mines – Futur (SLAM-F), or future mine warfare weapons program. This new system will allow sailors to operate remotely from the danger zone through the use of underwater and surface drones. Placed under the contracting authority of the General Directorate of Armament (DGA), the program is intended to renew French naval mine warfare capabilities. SLAM-F will eventually replace all current mine warfare means (Tripartite mine hunters, sonar towing vessels, and mine clearance diver support vessels).
In particular, it will contribute to ensuring the freedom of navigation of the nuclear submarine deterrent force by securing the operations of the French Navy’s strategic ships, including its ballistic missile-launching nuclear submarines and aircraft carriers.)
It will thus make it possible to protect access to French ports and, depending on the circumstances, to support the deployment of a naval action force, to secure the evacuation of nationals, to participate in crisis prevention or to intervene in contested environments.
The SLAM-F program consists of four main components:
— drone systems that can be remotely piloted from the ground or from a dedicated vessel. These are the heart of SLAM-F and are the subject of Franco-British cooperative effort called Maritime Mines Counter Measures (MMCM), within the framework of the Joint Organization for Cooperation in Armaments (OCCAr);
— mine warfare vessels (Bâtiments de Guerre Des Mines, BGDM) which will deploy and operate the remotely-piloted drones;
— new-generation mine clearance diver support vessels (Bâtiments Bases de Plongeurs Démineurs de Nouvelle Génération, BBPD NG);
— a mine warfare data operating system (Système d’Exploitation de Données de Guerre des Mines, SEDGM).
The program, as defined by the 2019-2025 military programming law, provides for eight anti-mine drone systems (four of which are to be delivered by 2024), four to six mine warfare vessels and five new support vessels for mine clearance divers, to be delivered around 2030.
The design study and the production of the prototypes of the drone system have been awarded to Thales, with the company Études et Constructions Aéronautiques (ECA) as main French subcontractor.
The industrial organization of SLAM-F will be gradually defined during the award of the contracts relating to the various components of the program.
(defense-aerospace.com EDITOR’S NOTE: According to present plans, France will order the following components as part of the SLAM-F program:
— 8 mine detection, identification and neutralization modules, each with two Unmanned Surface Vessels, two Autonomous Underwater Vessels, one Remotely Operated Vessel with towed sonar;
— 4 to 6 BGDM minehunters which will replace the ten Tripartite-class minehunters currently in service;
— 5 BBPD-NG new-generation diver support vessels.
The contract to be awarded this month will launch production of the Anglo-French Maritime Mines Counter Measures by Thales, with initial deliveries due by 2022.)
(Unofficial translation by Defense-Aerospace.com) (Source: defense-aerospace.com/French Armed Forces Ministry)
03 Nov 20. China Unveils Wing Loong-10 at Nanchang Airshow. China has unveiled its new Wing Loong-10 attack drone at the Nanchang Airshow 2020, which started on Saturday.
The aircraft is a ground-attack version of Wing Loong. It uses a ZF850 engine that costs about $ 57,000, according to Chinese media reports
Developed by the Chengdu Aircraft Industry Group, the Wing Loong or Pterodactyl-I is a medium-altitude and long-lasting drone (MALE) used for aerial surveillance and reconnaissance. It is capable of being equipped with air-to-surface weapons for use in a UCAV function. It can carry 440 combined pounds of weapons and reconnaissance equipment, has a range of 2,500 miles and can remain in the air for 20 hours.
The Wing Loong UAV was used by Saudi coalition forces in Yemen and by the National Settlement Government (GNA) in Libya.
The drone can be equipped with a variety of sensors, including an infrared tower and synthetic aperture radar. Intended for use as an aerial surveillance and reconnaissance platform, the drone can be equipped with air-to-surface weapons for use in unmanned aerial combat vehicles (UCAV).
Based on the official marketing material released by CADI, the Pterodactyl can transport the BA-7 air-to-ground missile, the YZ-212 laser-guided bomb, the YZ-102A antipersonnel bomb and the 50kg miniature guided bomb LS-6 . (Source: UAS VISION/alKhaleej Today)
02 Nov 20. Russia test fires Pantsir-M naval AAGM system in Baltic. The crew of Russia’s Project 22800 (Karakurt-class) corvette Odintsovo has tested the Pantsir-M naval anti-aircraft gun-missile (AAGM) system against aerial targets in the Baltic Sea, the press department of the Baltic Fleet announced on the Russian Ministry of Defence (MoD) website on 27 October.
M-6 compact air-launched targets released by Naval Aviation Su-27 combat aircraft were employed during the test.
Set to join the Russian Navy (VMF) in 2020, Odintsovo is the first Project 22800 corvette armed with the Pantsir-M naval AAGM system. The Baltic Fleet now operates two ships of the class, Mytishchi and Sovetsk with two AK-630 close-in weapon systems each instead of the Pantsir-M.
The Project 22800 corvette is 67 m long and 11 m wide, and has a drought of 4 m. It is powered by two 7,360 kWt M507D1 diesel engines and a 8,830 kWt M70FRU gas-turbine engine. The corvette has a top speed of 30 kt, a range of 2,500 n miles, and an endurance of 15 days. Its armament suite comprises a nose-mounted AK-176MA 76 mm naval gun, an aft-mounted Pantsir-M system, and a superstructure-mounted eight-cell 3S14 vertical-launch system with Kalibr missiles. The corvette can carry an Orlan-10 navalised unmanned aerial vehicle. (Source: Jane’s)
02 Nov 20. Rafael launches improved Typhoon weapon station. The newest member of Rafael’s Typhoon family of naval remote weapons systems, the Mk-30c includes upgraded capabilities for engaging aerial targets, such as automatic target acquisition, classification, and tracking of small airborne unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), the company noted.
More than 750 Typhoons have been installed on vessels operated by more than 20 navies since 1997, according to Oren L (full name withheld), head of the Naval Remote Weapon Systems business line. “Almost every tier-one navy in the world is our client,” he told Janes.
The Mk-30c, which uses the 30 mm MK44 Bushmaster gun, was developed over the past two years during an upgrade project with one of Rafael’s largest naval clients, he said. It offers new solutions for airborne threats, including UAVs and commercial multicopters that Oren said can be 300 times smaller than the surface-level targets that previous Typhoons are designed to counter.
This is partly a result of an improved stabilisation mechanism to make the weapon more accurate as the vessel it is mounted on rolls with the sea. The electro-optical system has also been upgraded to include a wider-angle camera to improve the detection, identification, and tracking of targets. An improved laser rangefinder has also been added that emits five pulses per second, as opposed to the previous one pulse per second, for faster measurements of smaller objects, Oren said. (Source: Jane’s)
02 Nov 20. SNMCMG1 completes HODOPS in Estonian territorial waters. Standing NATO Mine Countermeasures Group One (SNMCMG1) has completed a historical ordnance disposal operation (HODOPS) in the territorial waters of Estonia. Standing NATO Mine Countermeasures Group One (SNMCMG1) has completed a historical ordnance disposal operation (HODOPS) in the territorial waters of Estonia. The operation was carried out between 20 and 29 October and saw the clearance of 20 historical ordnance objects, including two torpedoes. It also saw participation from seven different countries, which included the Estonian Navy. The Nato group is made up of LNS Jotvingis, which carried international staff and six mine countermeasures vessels, ENS Admiral Cowan, BNS Crocus, FGS Sulzbach-Rosenberg, LVNS Imanta, HNLMS Schiedam, and HNoMS Maaloy.
Nato teams, along with the Estonian mine countermeasure vessels, discovered and disposed of 19 ordnance objects, as well as another eight that were identified in previous operations.
At a depth of 27m, the group also uncovered a previously unchartered shipwreck, which had a length of 85m.
The historical ordnance disposal activities that were carried out were done along with and with approval from the Estonian authorities.
SNMCMG1 (Lithuanian Navy) commander Audrius Venckunas said: “The Baltic Sea region is of high strategic importance to Nato and its allies.
“Standing Nato Mine Countermeasures Group One returned to Estonia for the second time this year.
“This time the main focus was on historical ordnance disposal operations.
“Heavy minelaying was conducted during both World Wars in the Baltic Sea, and some of the most affected areas are adjacent to Estonia.
“It was a great opportunity to practice SNMCMG1’s capability of locating and neutralising the threat posed by historical sea mines.”
In September this year, seven Nato allies participated in the Dynamic Mariner-20 (DYMR20) exercise taking place off the coast of France. (Source: naval-technology.com)
02 Nov 20. US DOD rewrites hypersonic weapons acquisition rules. The US Department of Defense (DOD) has rewritten the acquisition rules to fast-track the delivery of hypersonic weapons to the warfighter. Air Force Cadet 2nd Class Eric Hembling uses a Ludwieg Tube to measure the pressures, temperatures and flow field of various basic geometric and hypersonic research vehicles at Mach 6 in the US Air Force Academy’s Department of Aeronautics. The US Department of Defense (DOD) has rewritten the acquisition rules to fast-track the delivery of hypersonic weapons to the warfighter.
The existing regulations delayed the acquisition of advanced technology, according to the DOD. The changes could help to rapidly build a hypersonic arsenal.
US Acquisition and Sustainment Defense Undersecretary Ellen Lord said: “We need to build a more lethal force and speed delivery of capability to the warfighter. In other words, DOD acquisition needs to move at the speed of relevance.”
“One of my team’s most significant accomplishments has been rewriting the DOD 5000 series, the overarching acquisition policies that focus on what I call creative compliance so that acquisition professionals can design acquisition strategies that minimise risk.”
One of the areas that the new policy is paying attention to is the early consideration of the sustainment of weapons systems.
Lord added that the change in the acquisition policy could help to decrease the sustainment costs by around 20%.
There are six acquisition pathways included in the 5000 series’ ‘Adaptive Acquisition Framework’ to drive capability fielding faster and affordably.
They are urgent capability, major capability, software, services defence business systems and middle tier.
Lord said: “These pathways implement the six main tenets of the Defense Acquisition System: to simplify policy, tailor in approaches, and empower programme managers, facilitate data-driven analysis, actively manage risk and emphasise sustainment.” (Source: army-technology.com)
02 Nov 20. Thales and Rheinmetall unveil latest-generation digital 70 mm rocket launcher for Germany’s Tiger Mk III helicopters.
Thales, in partnership with Rheinmetall, has unveiled a new 70 mm rocket launcher after a series of tests conducted in the summer of 2020 in Herstal, Belgium demonstrated the high level of technological readiness of the new solution. The FZ606 is a six-tube rocket launcher for FZ275 laser-guided rockets and the first product of its kind to offer a Lock On Before Launch capability.
The FZ606 modular launcher can deliver six type FZ275 guided rockets or a combination of guided and unguided rockets. It is the first rocket launcher with a Lock On Before Launch function, usually only available in missile systems, to offer significantly higher reliability and safety than conventional 70 mm rocket systems and deliver weapons even within the most restrictive rules of engagement. With the Lock On Before Launch function, helicopter crews can be sure that the weapon is successfully locked on to its target before it leaves the platform, reducing risks to military personnel and to the surrounding area.
Design, development and production of the new NATO-calibre system are part of a European collaborative project conducted by Thales and Rheinmetall under a partnership agreement signed by the two companies at the end of 2019.
The new rocket launcher is designed to equip latest-generation attack and fire support helicopters on new or retrofit programmes such as the German Tiger UHT upgraded to the Airbus Helicopters Tiger Mk III standard.
Thales’ 70mm rocket systems are already in service in more than 30 countries on 25 different platform types.
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.