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19 Nov 20. Bold Quest Event Builds Interoperable Fires for Tomorrow. Despite coronavirus, the Joint Staff’s Bold Quest event at Camp Atterbury, Indiana, allowed the services and partners to demonstrate and assess U.S. and coalition interoperability.

The event concluded Nov. 4.

The event involved roughly 600 people — 400 in Indiana and roughly 200 attending virtually, said John Finch, the deputy demonstration branch chief with the Joint Staff’s J-6 directorate. Finch works with the Joint Fires Integration Division in the Deputy Directorate for C4Cyber Integration.

“We’re all about coalition interoperability in the kind of joint and combined fires and sensor-to-shooter interoperability,” Finch said in a telephone interview.

Bold Quest is an annual event that allows participants to assess systems and capabilities in a realistic operational environment.

At Camp Atterbury, Bold Quest assessed the way the U.S. services could work together and integrate different systems, as well as adding the capabilities of partner and allied nations, Finch said.

All of the capabilities in the demonstration work well in the laboratory, but Bold Quest tests to see if they will make the transition to the field. It is one thing for a system to work in a temperature-controlled lab, it is quite another to see if it works in a rainstorm or hurricane.

“Underneath that general heading, there are specific objectives that are determined by the priorities and the requirements that the services or the partner nations have at any given time,” he said. “Some of what we did in this event … was integration of some of those areas to look at interoperability and movement of data and information across that sensor-to-shooter chain.”

This means the integration of close-air support, tube artillery, rocket artillery, naval gunfire and more. It means combining intelligence from an observer with binoculars to unmanned aerial vehicles to manned platforms to satellites and more.

All these objectives were integrated to look at a broader picture of the interoperability across different processes related to joint fires, Finch said.

The services and international partners went to Indiana to assess their systems and the tactics, techniques and procedures that go with them. Bold Quest gave them the data needed to make decisions about what changes or improvements need to be made, Finch said.

The 400 participants at Camp Atterbury were scattered in different locations and buildings. The 2nd Battalion 150th Field Artillery of the Indiana National Guard provided the guns and fired more than 100 rounds over two days in support of Bold Quest.

COVID-19 severely limited international travel, but many international partners were able to take advantage of the distributed aspects of the event, Finch said.

There were six partner nations: Canada, Finland, France, the Netherlands, Norway and Sweden.

Finch hopes Bold Quest 2021 will allow partner nations to participate in person. His team is already planning what will occur at Camp Atterbury next year. (Source: US DoD)

17 Nov 20. Russia’s CBRN Troops test TOS-2 MRL. Russia’s Chemical, Biological, Radiological, and Nuclear (CBRN) Protection Troops are testing the TOS-2 Tosochka multiple rocket launcher (MRL), the service’s commander, Lieutenant General Igor Kirillov, told the Krasnaya Zvezda (Red Star) newspaper on 13 November.

“The TOS-2 is a new weapon system of the CBRN Troops. The first platforms were delivered to the troops this year, and they are going through operational evaluation. The system’s declared specifications were confirmed during Exercise ‘Kavkaz [Caucasus] 2020’,” the general said.

The existing TOS-1A Solntespyok (Sunburn) MRL’s crew protection, accuracy, and lethality are now being upgraded, according to Lt Gen Kirillov.

The CBRN Protection Troops are deeply involved in fighting the Covid-19 pandemic. “Some 10,000 servicemen and 3,500 vehicles are participating in this work. This contingent disinfected 113,000 objects totalling 25,000,000 m 2 , over 200 aircraft, and 19,000 vehicles,” Lt Gen Kirillov said. The CBRN Protection Troops used MKA PBA and KDA disinfection systems, UTM-80M decontamination vehicles, and ARS-14KM mobile refueling stations to fight Covid-19 in Russia, Italy, Serbia, and Bosnia-Herzegovina. (Source: Jane’s)

17 Nov 20. SIG SAUER Achieves Historic Program Milestones for U.S. Military Handgun. SIG SAUER, Inc. announced the recent achievement of two significant milestones of the Modular Handgun System (MHS) program; the delivery of the 200,000th MHS pistol manufactured at the SIG SAUER facility in Newington, New Hampshire, and the first month to have MHS pistols simultaneously delivered to all branches of the U.S. Military.

“These milestones are a testament to SIG’s ability to adapt and succeed amidst the extraordinary circumstances we have faced throughout this pandemic.  Our supply chain was challenged, and the strength of our manufacturing systems has proven that we will, without hesitation, continue to outpace the stringent demands of the delivery schedule of the MHS program,” said Ron Cohen, President & CEO, SIG SAUER, Inc.  “Throughout this period, our factory operations and our employees have been faced with unimaginable adversity.  Despite the unpredictability, we continue to consistently deliver M17 and M18 pistols that surpass the requirements for accuracy, and exceed expectations for both quality and reliability, to ensure our nations soldiers are prepared for the rigors of the battlefield.”

The Modular Handgun System includes the M17 Full-Size and M18 Compact 9mm, striker-fired pistols.  The MHS system is a P320-based platform, featuring coyote-tan PVD coated stainless steel slides with black controls, utilizes both 17-round and 21-round magazines, and are equipped with SIGLITE front night sights, removable night sight rear plates, and manual safeties.

18 Nov 20. Ukraine Unveils First Domestic Combat Drone. Kyiv-based Luch Design Bureau last week unveiled its Unmanned Aerial System (UAS) project, the Sokil-300 (Falcon-300), a strike drone slated to be the first designed and produced exclusively in Ukraine.

The opening presentation at the Vizar missile plant outside Kyiv featured a full-size model of the combat-ready UAS.

Chief designer, Oleh Korostyliov, explained the reason for developing a proprietary, strike-capable drone entirely in Ukraine.

“Why did we decide to start the development process? Because over the recent years, with all the projects we have completed, we have in fact cultivated most of the technologies needed to build a full-fledged aerial vehicle,” the Kyiv Post quoted him.

Design completion for the project has taken “almost a year and a half” for the development team, utilizing previous bureau-designed technologies from its RK-360MC Neptune missile system.

RK-360MC control points and software — widely regarded as a source of pride for the Ukrainian arms industry — will also be used in the Sokil-300.

Beyond this, the new UAS’ navigation components, such as its range measuring system, laser channel, and optics, are set to be manufactured in the Eastern European country. The drone’s thermal guidance system is its only navigational element to be outsourced.

Three Versions

Luch’s project proposal to the military features three different versions according to the engines they will use.

The “basic version” includes the MC-500B engine manufactured by Zaporizhia-based Motor Sich and will allow the Sokil-300 three hours of operation with a cruising speed of 335 kilometers (208 miles) per hour and a maximum range of 1,000 kilometers (621 miles).

A second version will include an engine produced by Ivchenko-Progress, the AI-450T2, which will allow five hours of flight time and a 1,300 kilometer (808 miles) range but a lower cruising speed of 275 kilometers (170 miles) per hour.

The final, long-range version features the Austrian, turbo-charged Rotax 914 engine with a maximum flight time of 26 hours, a distance of 3,300 kilometers (2,050 miles), but a comparatively snail-like cruising speed of 150 kilometers (93 miles) per hour.

Korostyliov explained, “That is the rule of machinery, [you] need to choose between high velocity and long operational ranges.”

Ukraine’s Accelerated Defense Technology Development

With this array of options, Ukrainian armed forces will decide which version suits their operational requirements best.

All versions can carry 4 RK-2P guided missiles with the portable Barrier anti-tank missile system or Luch RK-10 missiles, up to 300 kilograms of payload.

However, developers expect the system, which is operated by a two-man crew, to be deployed more in surveillance than for missile strikes.

The drone’s airframe, which was created under a slight influence of the General Atomics MQ-1 Predator system, has a wingspan of 14 meters and a length of 6.5 meters.

The UAS airframe, partly influenced by the General Atomics MQ-1 Predator, is 6.5 meters long with a 14-meter wingspan.

Total development costs of the Sokil-300 are expected to reach 40-45 million Ukrainian hryvnias ($1.4-1.6 million), a far less expensive option than purchasing similar drone systems abroad. (Source: UAS VISION/The Defense Post; Defense Express)

17 Nov 20. USN moving to put more ship-killer missiles on submarines. The U.S. Navy is pushing ahead with fielding more anti-ship cruise missiles on submarines in the Pacific, the head of U.S. Navy Submarine Forces said Monday.

As the U.S. fleet grapples with the rising threat of China’s expanding Navy, which now has more ships than the U.S. Navy’s fleet on both coasts combined, the service is packing its submarines with longer-range weapons, including the forthcoming Maritime Strike Tomahawk, Vice Adm. Daryl Caudle said.

“We’re increasing our range and how we deliver kinetic effects,” Caudle said. “Long-range torpedoes, of course, because that’s our clandestine weapon, but also bringing back Harpoon in the Pacific. We’ve tested that capability — we know it works. The weapon, as everyone knows, has limitations, but still gives us some stand-off capability. And we’re also pressing hard to get the Maritime Strike Tomahawk building as well.”

Adding the Maritime Strike Tomahawk, with a range of about 1,000 miles, will greatly extend the reach of its submarines in the Pacific.

The Maritime Strike Tomahawk is one of three Block V variants of the Navy’s stalwart cruise missile currently in development. The anti-ship missile, which incorporates a new seeker, is slated to start coming online in 2023.

A Navy brief says the Maritime Strike Tomahawk’s new seeker “enables the capability to hit moving maritime targets through mid-course guidance via third party or seeker mode, to a terminal seeker area of uncertainty.”

U.S. Navy and senior defense leaders have long pointed to submarines as the ace up its sleeve in a potential conflict with China, though the numbers of submarines in the fleet is declining as the Los Angeles-class attack submarines are decommissioning. The Navy expects to drop from around 50 today to 42 attack boats by the late 2020s. The service is exploring extending the service life of up to five of its LA class to blunt the worst effects.

There is a growing consensus among military leaders that holding off the Chinese fleet is an imperative in any potential conflict, with the Air Force, Marine Corps and even the Army investing in anti-ship missiles.

Michèle Flournoy, who many believe could be the incoming secretary of defense in the Biden administration, in a June editorial in Foreign Affairs said the military should be able to “credibly threaten to sink all of China’s military vessels, submarines, and merchant ships in the South China Sea within 72 hours.” (Source: Defense News)

17 Nov 20. Pentagon Expands Hypersonics Transition Office. The Defense Department’s joint hypersonics transition office is working with the Naval Surface Warfare Center Crane Division to expand its engineering expertise, according to the group’s director.

“One thing that we kind of thought it was missing was a rigorous systems engineering approach,” Gillian Bussey said in an interview.

The organization — which is nestled under the office of the undersecretary of defense for research and engineering — was set up in April to help move hypersonic weapons from research-and-development efforts to official programs of record, she noted.

The technology is listed as the Defense Department’s third R&D priority, but it does not have any efforts that have reached Milestone C. The transition office’s responsibilities include examining hypersonics projects from companies and universities that may be relevant to the Defense Department’s needs, Bussey said. The organization is exploring topics such as thermodynamics systems and engineering and design.

“We’ll go through the list of projects and identify the priority ones and the ones that we can fund,” Bussey said. “We have a call every year for members of our [integrated product teams], who are all plugged into these programs, … to propose projects, and these projects all have to be tied to the programs, they have to be tied to specific capabilities.”

Mark Lewis, acting deputy undersecretary of defense for research and engineering and director of defense research and engineering for modernization, said in a news release: “We often have difficulty transitioning department-funded basic research from universities through industry to operational applications. It is a particular challenge in hypersonics, where multiple disciplines must intersect precisely to move forward.”

One of the most prominent initiatives includes the air-launched rapid response weapon, or ARRW. In 2018, the Air Force service awarded Lockheed Martin a $480m contract to develop the product. ARRW was tested on an Air Force B-52 Stratofortress at Edwards Air Force Base, California, in August.

The new partnership with Crane will help the transition office identify suitable milestones and deadlines for these types of technologies, Bussey noted. The office hopes to have the division work on ARRW and any other hypersonic cruise missile program to develop a plan to integrate new technologies into platforms.

The intent is to have “an integrated, collaborative, enterprise-wide plan for putting capability via these new technologies into these systems,” she said.

Manufacturing is one of the biggest challenges of transitioning hypersonic weapons from R&D to a program of record, she noted. Many of the systems in development have been one-off demonstrations that require participation from companies across the country, she said. This makes it more difficult to manufacture items at a large scale and at an affordable price.

“If we’re going to have a program of record, we can’t take nine months or several months to build a thermal protection system or to build an engine. We need to have that happen such that we’re producing 20, 50, 100 of these things a year,” Bussey said.

Crane is assisting the office to ensure that this is taken into account when funding projects and writing contracts, she noted.

“Figuring out what things we need to write into the contracts from the beginning to ensure a better transition and better manufacturability of these technologies is something that we’re going to do,” she said.

(Source: Defense News Early Bird/NDIA.org)

17 Nov 20. U.S. Successfully Conducts SM-3 Block IIA Intercept Test Against an Intercontinental Ballistic Missile Target. The U.S. Missile Defense Agency (MDA), and U.S. Navy sailors aboard the USS John Finn (DDG-113), an Aegis Ballistic Missile Defense (BMD) System-equipped destroyer, intercepted and destroyed a threat-representative Intercontinental Ballistic Missile (ICBM) target with a Standard Missile-3 (SM-3) Block IIA missile during a flight test demonstration in the broad ocean area northeast of Hawaii, Nov. 16.

At approximately 7:50 p.m. Hawaii Standard Time, (12:50 a.m., Nov. 17, Eastern Standard Time), the ICBM-representative target was launched from the Ronald Reagan Ballistic Missile Defense Test Site, located on Kwajalein Atoll in the Republic of the Marshall Islands, toward the broad ocean area northeast of Hawaii.  In this developmental test, the destroyer used engage-on-remote capabilities through the Command and Control Battle Management Communications (C2BMC) network as part of a defense of Hawaii scenario.  After receiving tracking data from the C2BMC system, the destroyer launched a SM-3 Block IIA guided missile which destroyed the target.

“This was an incredible accomplishment and critical milestone for the Aegis BMD SM-3 Block IIA program,” said MDA Director, Vice Admiral Jon Hill. “The Department is investigating the possibility of augmenting the Ground-based Midcourse Defense system by fielding additional sensors and weapon systems to hedge against unexpected developments in the missile threat.  We have demonstrated that an Aegis BMD-equipped vessel equipped with the SM-3 Block IIA missile can defeat an ICBM-class target, which is a step in the process of determining its feasibility as part of an architecture for layered defense of the homeland.  My congratulations to the entire test team, including our military and industry partners, who helped us to achieve this milestone.”

Based on preliminary data, the test met its primary objective: demonstrate the ability for the SM-3 Block IIA missile to intercept an ICBM target.  Program officials will continue to evaluate system performance based upon telemetry and other data obtained during the test.

This event, designated Flight Test Aegis Weapon System-44 (FTM-44), was the sixth flight test of an Aegis BMD-equipped vessel using the SM-3 Block IIA guided missile. FTM-44, originally scheduled for May 2020, was delayed due to restrictions in personnel and equipment movement intended to reduce the spread of COVID-19.

FTM-44 satisfies a Congressional mandate to evaluate the feasibility of the SM-3 Block IIA missile’s capability to defeat an ICBM threat before the end of 2020.  The SM-3 Block IIA was originally designed and built for the Intermediate-range Ballistic Missile threat set.

The Aegis Ballistic Missile Weapons System is the naval component of the U.S. Missile Defense System.  The MDA and the U.S. Navy cooperatively manage the Aegis BMD system. Aegis BMD ships (and Aegis Ashore) receive track data via the C2BMC system, build the fire control solutions, then launch and guide the SM-3 family of missiles to destroy incoming threats.

MDA’s mission is to develop and deploy a layered Missile Defense System to defend the U.S., its deployed forces, allies, and friends from missile attacks of all ranges in all phases of flight.

An animation of the test, as well as additional information about all elements of the U.S. Missile Defense System can be found at https://www.mda.mil/index.html (Source: US DoD)

17 Nov 20. Mission Success: Aegis Combat System Supports Layered Homeland Defense. The USS JOHN FINN (DDG-113), supported by the U.S. Navy, Missile Defense Agency and Lockheed Martin (NYSE: LMT), successfully conducted a remote engagement (lethal intercept) of an Intercontinental Ballistic Missile (ICBM) target. The Flight Test Maritime (FTM) – 44 test marks the first demonstration of an Aegis Baseline engagement of an ICBM-representative target.

This vital test demonstrated the latest Aegis Baseline 9.C2.0 capability against an ICBM class threat and introduces the ability to provide layered Homeland Defense with Aegis. The target was launched from the Reagan Test Site (RTS) to conduct an Aegis Engage on Remote (EOR) mission.  As designed in the current U.S. command and control architecture, the remote target track and discrimination data was provided by the MDA’s Command, Control, Battle Management and Communications (C2BMC) system and forwarded to Aegis for prosecution.

“This successful intercept is a tremendous accomplishment and confirms we have inherent capability against long range ballistic missile threats that can be deployed to all our Aegis Baseline 9 ships and Aegis Ashore sites – at any moment.  The success of this mission has significant underpinning to the Aegis system’s strategic ability to provide Layered Homeland Defense,” said Jim Sheridan, vice president and general manager at Lockheed Martin.

With the successful completion of four Aegis Baseline 9.C2.0 European Phased Adaptive Approach (EPAA) Phase 3 intercepts of Intermediate Range Ballistic Missile (IRBM), this test demonstrated the ability to provide a globally deployed defensive weapon system. This missile defense system will defend the United States, its friends and allies from hostile ballistic missiles from all regions, all ranges, and during all phases of flight by a single integrated system that is capable of comprehensive layered defense.  As C2BMC capability continues to advance, it will help to unlock even more Aegis weapon system capability and lethality.

Working as the Aegis Combat System Engineering Agent (CSEA), Lockheed Martin engineers updated the Aegis weapon system to integrate the SM-3 IIA weapon and adapted the system to target, identify, and intercept the ICBM threat.

“We have evolved Aegis to perform a mission for which it wasn’t originally designed. The flexibility and adaptability of the total system – as well as our industry and government engineering teams — allows Aegis to answer the call when needed,” Sheridan added.

Engineered to meet any ballistic missile defense need, the Aegis Weapon System is built on 50 years of constant evolution and innovation. Its flexible architecture enables it to fulfill a variety of missions – which is why it’s one of the most deployed combat system in the world.

Aegis Baseline 9.C2.0 is built from the Common Source Library (CSL) and can rapidly integrate new capabilities, including solutions for both SPY-1 and the growing SPY-7 family of radars. (Source: ASD Network)

17 Nov 20. Missile Defense Agency completes unprecedented homeland defense test. Raytheon Missiles & Defense’s SM-3 IIA intercepts ICBM target, creating new option for missile defense.

As part of a historic Missile Defense Agency demonstration and for the first time ever, an intercontinental ballistic missile target was intercepted and destroyed outside Earth’s atmosphere by an advanced SM-3® Block IIA ballistic missile defense interceptor made by Raytheon Missiles & Defense, a Raytheon Technologies (NYSE:RTX) business. The interceptor was co-developed with Japan’s Mitsubishi Heavy Industries.

“This first-of-its-kind test shows that our nation has a viable option for a new layer of defense against long-range threats,” said Bryan Rosselli, vice president of Strategic Missile Defense at Raytheon Missiles & Defense.

The SM-3 family of ballistic missile defense interceptors has executed more exo-atmospheric intercepts than all other missiles combined and is the only weapon of its kind employed from both ships and land. Raytheon Intelligence & Space sensors were also part of the historic test from low-earth orbit. The sensors detected and tracked the target and relayed the data to decision makers in a demonstration of space-based early warning. Raytheon Technologies’ missile defense portfolio combines sensors, effectors, C2 and integration work to deliver the most advanced missile defense capabilities available to the U.S. and its allies today.

17 Nov 20. The Missile Defense Agency successfully intercepted a Northrop Grumman Corporation (NYSE: NOC) built Intercontinental Ballistic Missile (ICBM) target that was launched during a flight test from the Reagan Test Site in the Kwajalein Atoll. FTM-44 satisfies a Congressional mandate to demonstrate that the MDA can use the Navy’s Aegis Combat System equipped with the Standard Missile 3 Block IIA (SM-3 IIA) to intercept intercontinental threats.

“As the ICBM target prime contractor for the Missile Defense Agency, we understand how critical it is to launch a realistic threat target to ensure our nation’s defense systems work when called upon,” said Scott Lehr, vice president and general manager, launch and missile defense systems, Northrop Grumman. “With this successful test, the MDA has successfully demonstrated critical capabilities for the defense of our country utilizing many of Northrop Grumman’s missile defense capabilities.”

Northrop Grumman is also the prime contractor on the Intermediate-Range Ballistic Missile (IRBM) target, which is air-launched from a C-17 aircraft to provide the MDA with flexibility in mission engagement scenarios. To date, the company has supported three ICBM target launches and five IRBM target launches with 18 more on contract for future test missions with the MDA. Northrop Grumman also offers additional short, medium and long-range targets to meet evolving threats.

17 Nov 20. Leonardo and LACROIX Sign a Cooperation Agreement in the Naval Countermeasures Sector.

  • The agreement will see the partners integrate Leonardo’s MJTE anti-torpedo countermeasures with LACROIX’s SYLENA MK2 decoy launching system
  • The SYLENA MK2, which can fire a variety of countermeasures, to protect ships from OPV to large frigates, allows the expansion of MJTE market to reach small and medium-sized of vessels

Leonardo and LACROIX have signed a strategic agreement which will see the partners working together to develop and integrate solutions in the naval countermeasures sector. The collaboration, which will look towards new technologies as well as new business opportunities, initially provides for the creation of the SYLENA Mk2/MJTE solution. This will see LACROIX’s SYLENA MK2 DLS (Decoy Launching System) integrated with Leonardo’s MJTE (Mobile Jammer Target Emulator) anti-torpedo countermeasures.

The MJTE is Leonardo’s latest-generation torpedo jamming solution. It can emulate the signature and acoustics of its host platform and emit a powerful jamming signal to create convincing false targets, allowing the targeted vessel to perform an effective evasive manoeuvre. Compared to other solutions on the market, the new MJTE packs a number of protective techniques into a low cost unit and performs effectively at short range.

The MJTE is part of Leonardo’s new anti-torpedo suite, which includes the towed Black Snake sonar, the new OTO Decoy Launching System 20 (ODLS20) and the company’s software package which calculates optimum release timing for countermeasures and escape routes for the host vessel.

The cooperation agreement between Leonardo and LACROIX will expand the accessible market for both the MJTE countermeasure and the SYLENA MK2 launch system. The compact and lightweight form factor of the SYLENA MK2 makes it suitable for small and medium-sized vessels, expanding the potential user base for the MJTE. Meanwhile the cutting-edge new capabilities brought by the MJTE will improve the utility of the SYLENA MK2 system.

Andrea Padella, Head of Defense Systems, Leonardo Electronics said: “This agreement reaffirms Leonardo’s ability to interpret, respond to and often anticipate market needs. There is clear synergy in this partnership with LACROIX as together we can offer a sophisticated anti-submarine countermeasure solution, even for platforms with limited space. These require compact and lightweight launch systems which can simultaneously deliver Anti-Air Warfare and Anti-Submarine capabilities”.

Leonardo is committed to securing and protecting people and communities around the world through its leadership in next generation technologies. Collaboration within industry, with government and between individuals to offer superior security capabilities is part of its ‘Be Tomorrow – Leonardo 2030’ strategic plan.

François MOULINIER, COO of LACROIX Defense said: “Following the work we have undertaken with Leonardo to integrate SYLENA within their Athena-C combat management system as part of ongoing contracts, this collaboration is a natural next step in the development of joint solutions. Leonardo is a major player in the European Industrial and Technological Defense Base (BITD) and this partnership proves the maturity of our solutions and the unmatched modularity and versatility of our range of systems.”

Following its customers’ requests, LACROIX has developed, since 2012, a range of new generation Decoy Launching Systems (DLS) to protect and significantly increase vessel survivability ratio, from patrol boats operating the SYLENA® Lightweight to destroyers operating the SYLENA® MK1 and MK2. SYLENA® launchers are capable of employing the latest generation of SEACLAD® ammunition, corner reflectors and IR decoys as well as ASW solutions with the SEALAT dedicated to the SYLENA® MK2.

The SYLENA® MK2 DLS, which is the first “in-service” static anti-missile system in the world operating both corner reflectors (SEALEM) and anti-torpedo countermeasures, maximizes vessel protection with a highly reliable system at a low operating cost.

The fact that the SYLENA® DLS static launcher fires only mortars without any pneumatic constraints and has a low footprint on deck along with a low recoil force allows for limited acquisition and integration costs. Therefore the system has already convinced numerous navies to either retrofit or fit out their vessels. (Source: ASD Network)

14 Nov 20. China’s ‘Aircraft-Carrier Killer’ Missiles Successfully Hit Target Ship in South China Sea, PLA Insider Reveals. The two “aircraft-carrier killer” missiles that China launched in August travelled thousands of kilometres and hit their designated target, a moving ship, near the Paracel Islands in the South China Sea, according to a Chinese military expert. This is the first time the Chinese side has revealed details of the missile launches, which were first reported by the South China Morning Post in August. The news was later confirmed by the US military. After the launches it was reported that the missiles fell into the South China Sea, but Wang Xiangsui, a former senior colonel who now works as a professor at Beihang University in Beijing, said they hit a ship, their intended target. One of the missiles, a DF-26B, was launched from the northwestern province of Qinghai, while the other, a DF-21D, lifted off from Zhejiang province in China’s east. “So, several days later [after the aircraft carrier manoeuvres], we launched the DF-21 and DF-26, and the missiles hit a vessel sailing south of the Paracel Islands,” Wang said at a closed-door meeting in Zhejiang last month. The details of his speech were published for the first time on Wednesday. (Source: defense-aerospace.com/South China Morning Post; published Nov. 14, 2020)

16 Nov 20. Nexter proposes CAESAR for US Army’s mobile howitzer competition. Nexter is joining the field vying to win the US Army’s towed howitzer replacement competition, and is proposing its CAmionÉquipé d’un Système d’ARtillerie (CAESAR) truck-mounted 155 mm artillery system, Janes has learned.

The company submitted its proposal to the service in October and included information on both the 6×6 and 8×8 truck chassis versions. The former is currently on the Arquus Sherpa Medium and Mercedes-Benz/Soframe UNIMOG U2450L, while the 8×8 is on the Tatra Trucks FORCE T815-7 chassis.

For now, the French contractor said it is competing on its own but noted that it may opt to partner with a US company or use a US chassis.

The CAESAR system can be equipped with a protected cab, inertial navigation system, muzzle velocity radar, ammunition and charge loading system, thermal camera for direct firing, improvised explosive device (IED) jamming unit, communications suite, and a ballistic computer. Provisions are also available to link it with artillery command, control, communications, computers, and intelligence (C4I) systems. (Source: Jane’s)

16 Nov 20. Kingfisher takes a dive towards sonobuoy deployment. BAE Systems is continuing development of its private-venture Kingfisher gun-launched, multi-purpose carrier round, with plans now taking shape for firing trials with a sonobuoy payload.

In development since 2018, Kingfisher was originally conceived as a low cost means to deliver an explosive payload at range from a 5-inch (127mm) gun. While concept development has been financed through BAE Systems’ own innovation fund, the company has engaged with the UK Defence Science and Technology Laboratory and the Maritime Capability (MARCAP) staff in Navy Command Headquarters to refine its thinking. Initial engineering feasibility efforts have involved BAE Systems’ Weapon Systems business in Louisville, Kentucky (manufacturer of the Mk 45 Mod 4 gun).

“We started out with a discussion of how we could replace the old Mk 11 Depth Charge with a more novel option,” said Murray Thomson, chief technologist for the Underwater Weapons business of BAE Systems Maritime Services in the UK. “Drawing on technologies and expertise from across BAE Systems, we developed the idea of an underwater explosive charge contained in a round fired from [an] Mk 45 gun.”

The charge would provide ‘escalatory’ effects according to the prevailing rules of engagement, according to Thomson. “It could be a warning shot, it could be a barrier of charges for area denial, or it could be used to disrupt sonar,” he told Janes. (Source: Jane’s)

13 Nov 20. Iron Dome batteries activated to fill cruise missile defense gap. The Army has activated two air defense artillery batteries at Fort Bliss, Texas, that will evaluate the Iron Dome system for possible integration into the Army’s air-and missile defense architecture, according to a Nov. 13 statement from the service.

The Iron Dome batteries will serve as an interim capability to fill a cruise missile defense gap. The change was mandated by Congress while the Army determines a long-term solution to combat such threats in addition to countering rockets, artillery, mortars and drones.

The Army took receipt of the first Iron Dome battery in Israel in October. The Fort Bliss-based units are expected to receive one Iron Dome system in December followed by the second in January.

To stand up the two batteries, the Army is converting a Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) battery and realigning resources from the U.S. Army Air Defense Artillery School — which is a part of the Army’s force realignment initiative — according to the statement.

The move is expected to be complete by Nov. 16 and will result in 26 additional personnel at Fort Bliss. The Army chose Fort Bliss because of its proximity to White Sands Missile Range, New Mexico, where the systems will be tested and evaluated.

The units will spend the next year training, testing and working with the systems to prepare Iron Dome for operation deployment by late 2021.

Part of the effort, according to the statement, will include integration of Iron Dome into the Army’s Integrated Battle Command System, which is the command-and-control element of the service’s future Integrated Air and Missile Defense architecture. The IBCS system is expected to reach a production decision this month and will undergo an initial operational test and evaluation in 2021. Northrop Grumman is the prime contractor on the program.

The Army plans to make a final stationing decision on where and how to employ the systems “through either a forward stationing decision and/or Dynamic Force Employment concept in response to contingency operations” when the batteries reach operational deployment capability, the statement notes.

The service plans to hold a shoot-off to determine an enduring capability for its Indirect Fires Protection Capability Increment 2 system — designed to defend against C-RAM, UAS and cruise missile threats — in the spring of 2021. Elements of the Iron Dome system will be part of that shoot-off.

Iron Dome has a long track record of operational success in Israel and is produced through a partnership with Israeli-based Rafael and Raytheon.

Those companies are making plans to produce Iron Dome systems in the United States and are expected to pick a location for production by the end of the year. (Source: Defense News)

13 Nov 20. MBDA to develop the combat missile for the Tiger helicopter. French Minister for the Armed Forces Florence Parly has announced that MBDA is to develop the Future Tactical Air-to-Surface Missile (MAST-F) program as the main French Army air to ground armament for the Tiger combat helicopter.

MBDA was selected after proposing to the Direction Générale de l’Armement (DGA – French Procurement Agency) its MHT/MLP concept (Missile Haut de Trame / Missile Longue Portée –  high tier missile / long-range mobile missile)  that builds on the technologies of the mid-range MMP, the first 5th generation land combat missile to enter service around the world. Its modular architecture enables easy integration of the MHT/MLP onto a variety of land or air combat platforms in addition to the Tiger.

The MHT/MLP is characterised by its high operational effectiveness. Weighing 20% less than other missiles in its category provides a weight saving of nearly 100 kg for the Tiger helicopter, which can carry up to eight missiles in combat configuration. Exploiting this weight saving increases the Tiger’s fuel capacity and so its combat endurance, with a significant gain in “Playtime”.

The MHT/MLP has a range of over 8 km, even when fired from a stationary platform at low altitude. Its multi-effect warhead can handle a wide variety of targets, from modern battle tanks to hardened combat infrastructure. The MHT/MLP performs day or night, including in beyond-line-of-sight (BLOS) mode, with a two-way data link that sends images from the missile’s high-resolution visible and infrared optronic seeker back to the operator. The crew of the Tiger can use this imagery to choose the missile’s point of impact or to select a new target in flight, making the weapon suitable for fluid battlefield situations.

Commenting on the launch of the programme, MBDA CEO Eric Béranger declared: “The MHT/MLP missile combines new technologies, developed with the support of the DGA, with the tried and tested components of the MMP, making it an effector at the forefront of today’s tactical land combat missiles. It offers a flexibility of use unmatched in today’s armed forces, while minimising development risks. And with its all-European design authority, the MHT/MLP programme will fully contribute to the strategic autonomy objectives set by France and the European Union.”

“With nearly 350 jobs per year over the next five years and, ultimately, around 250 annual jobs in France during the first 10 years of its production, the development and production of this new missile will help maintain of the national industrial and technological base, and in particular in the Centre region”, he added.

13 Nov 20. Rheinmetall supplies South African National Defence Force with new 40mm medium-velocity ammunition. Rheinmetall is supplying the South African military with new 40mm medium-velocity ammunition, underscoring its role as the world’s leading one-stop-shop for 40mm ammunition systems. In October 2020 Rheinmetall Denel Munition officially completed Project Kamogelo on behalf of the South African Department of Defence, Armscor and the South African Army. What makes Project Kamogelo so special is not only the introduction of a new 40mm medium-velocity (MV) weapon system: it also marks the first successful Expedited Armament Acquisition Process (EAAP) project in response to an urgent operational requirement of the South African Army.

The South African Army initiated the project in 2016 with the aim of fielding a new grenade launcher and family of 40mm ammunition. Armscor, the nation’s arms procurement agency, approved the procurement plan in February 2018, subsequently overseeing testing and evaluation of the Milkor Y4 multi-shot weapon. This involved firing Rheinmetall Denel Munition’s less-lethal, low-velocity and medium-velocity ammunition. Particular emphasis was placed on speed and accuracy.

The South African Army procured more than 20,000 rounds of medium-velocity ammunition, including high explosive ammunition, high explosive dual-purpose ammunition, practice ammunition, practice tracer ammunition, red phosphorous smoke rounds and orange target marker ammunition.

Rheinmetall Denel Munition’s medium-velocity ammunition has a maximum range of 800 metres, exceeding conventional extended range low-velocity (LV) variants by up to 375 metres while delivering unparalleled accuracy. The company’s ammunition suite currently encompasses nine different MV variants, six of which formed part of this procurement package.

“This day marks … an important milestone in the history of the Department of Defence, in particular the South African Army, as we witness the handing and taking over ceremony of the 40mm medium-velocity grenade launcher,” said Rear Admiral A.A.A. Morris, Chief Director Defence Acquisition Management, Material Division.

“We’re proud to be able to offer our new medium-velocity 40mm family to our home market, the SANDF. With this solution we offer the soldier a unique product solution: a quick-firing multiple grenade launcher with a standoff range in excess of 800 metres”, said Jan-Patrick Helmsen, CEO of Rheinmetall Denel Munition.

Rheinmetall – the leading one-stop-shop for 40mm systems

In the infantry toolbox, the versatile 40mm ammunition pallet closes the gap between hand grenade and mortar. It therefore serves as a veritable combat multiplier for infantry and other dismounted troops. Rheinmetall is one of the world’s leading suppliers of ammunition, weapon systems and fire control systems and therefore serves as a one-stop-shop for 40mm systems.

Widely used today, Rheinmetall’s 40mm x 46 low-velocity ammunition (LV, velocity: 78 m/s) is available in many different versions, including HE/fragmentation, shaped charge with fragmentation jacket (HEDP/high explosive dual purpose) as well a number of other service and practice rounds, together with non-lethal payloads such as kinetic impact munitions or irritant. The range of ammunition is constantly being expanded and new capabilities added.

With Rheinmetall Denel Munitions’s handover, Rheinmetall has taken the first step as the leading maker of new 40mm medium-velocity (MV, ca. 100 m/s) ammunition. The company is currently expanding its MV product. It now includes the new generation of 40mm MV ammunition, which has a maximum effective range of 800 metres, doubling the gunners’s operational reach and providing a flatter trajectory for those crucial close-in, accurately placed shots MV ammunition is. Currently undergoing NATO qualification, Rheinmetall’s 40mm MV ammunition family will soon be available in service and practice versions. It can be used with the multi-shot grenade launchers Milkor US M32A1 and AV 140. Furthermore, Rheinmetall’s 40mm Magazine-Fed Grenade Launcher (MFGL) is currently under development.

The Group’s 40mm x 53 high-velocity (HV) ammunition reaches a velocity of 240 m/s and has a maximum effective range of 2,200 metres. Here, too, the Group supplies a wide assortment of different cartridges, including newly developed HE and HEDP airburst ammunition programmed by an infrared programming unit. The airburst function also makes this type of ammunition suitable for engaging small unmanned aerial systems. Among other things, it is earmarked for the Bundeswehr’s Qualified Air Defence project.

Rheinmetall’s family of fire control systems enhances combat effectiveness enormously. It provides users with a broad range of enhanced capabilities, increasing the effectiveness of the gunner while maximizing the potential of the host weapon system and the accompanying munitions. The family consists of various fire control solutions, providing increased accuracy and performance: Vingmate FCS 4500 for high-velocity automatic grenade launchers and heavy machine guns, MR-500 and MR-800 for low- and medium-velocity 40mm grenade launchers and Vingmate SL 1000 for shoulder-launched weapons.


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.


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