10 Aug 22. The U.S. Army Is Hunting For More Soldier-Connected Tech. A recent solicitation calls for soldier-centered networking and information technology that will link existing and prototype technologies together. The Army wants a small business to supply tech that can support and integrate everything from sensors to 5G and augmented reality headsets, in an effort to “optimize the ground soldier’s ability to shoot, move, and communicate.”
The Ground Soldier Technology Workflow, Integration, and eXperience—or GS-TWIX—is an effort to link several technologies through both hardware and software, according to a solicitation notice.
The Army first revealed its intentions earlier this year with a request for information that highlighted six elements, including tech that can optimize sensor data; communications, like with the Nett Warrior program; and other ground-based systems needed for displaying information collected by sensors or other means. Other task elements focus on improving the survivability of these systems if exposed to chemical, biological or nuclear attacks, and the tactical implications of using 5G.
GS-TWIX seems to represent a piece of the Army’s ambition to more intricately connect data to troops and decision makers through improved sensors and networking capabilities. It also specifically calls for integration with the Army’s augmented reality headset, the Integrated Visual Augmentation System, which could indicate longer-term plans as the Army works out the system’s future.
“All applications shall be integrated with the software code base and hardware system for either Nett Warrior or IVAS,” the notice states, adding that the contractor must also supply a technical report on Chemical Biological Radiological and Nuclear Defense integration. IVAS is also mentioned in relation to Ground Soldier Systems Integration and Sensored Soldier.
But a final report on the IVAS’s latest test is still pending—as is a final decision on its future.
Douglas Bush, the Army’s chief buyer, declined to give details on whether the system would be fielded in the coming months, but told reporters last month that there are “still some technology issues with regard to the exact technology in the platform that need further improvement.”
“I think we have a good system, it needs further improvement. There’s also, because this is a wearable technology, there are kind of human factors engineering aspects of how it is on a soldier that we again learned what—good and bad—in terms of what they liked and what they didn’t like and what was, rather than just using the term liked or didn’t like, what was most helpful to them in accomplishing their missions,” Bush said, adding that the service secretary has the final say on whether the system will move forward.
The Army plans to submit the system’s final test reports to Congress by early fall and have a decision on IVAS’s future before then, he said. Submissions for the proposal are due by Aug. 22. (Source: Defense News Early Bird/Defense One)
10 Aug 22. US Army’s New Next Generation Squad Weapon Program to Launch ARC’s Weapons Intelligence Platform. ARC’s embedded IoT sensors to provide unprecedented mission-critical data to ground leadership.
Armaments Research Company, Inc. (ARC), a technology and data company serving national security and public safety customers, announced today their Internet-of-Things (IoT) full-stack technology will be introduced in the Next Generation Squad Weapon (NGSW) program of record, in partnership with Sig Sauer. For the first time in 65 years, the U.S. Army’s initiative will replace its individual rifles, squad machine guns, fire control system, and ammunition, helping to modernize and better equip the warfighters of tomorrow.
ARC’s technology platform will provide data on individual weapons at scale. The resulting insights will enable units to regularly assess weapons’ health, reduce failure rates, extend the lifetime of a weapon and optimize maintenance plans, enhancing performance and reducing costs. The data can also improve a unit’s understanding of its readiness, which measures the unit’s fundamental ability to deploy quickly.
“Our team is thrilled to partner with Sig Sauer to deliver this groundbreaking platform and refresh the Army’s weapons for the first time in several decades,” said ARC CEO Michael Canty. “The Army NGSW program office is pushing the boundaries in seeking a modern, data-driven approach to weapons readiness and we are honored to contribute. With tens of thousands of new weapons as data sources in the field, we can optimize equipment safety and reliability, ultimately harnessing this data to save lives.”
The first production delivery of NGSW weapons will include ARC’s round count and inventory management system, gathering weapons usage data on the units over the next several years. The NGSW program’s intention to revolutionize the Army’s tactical weapons comes in response to findings that current weapons systems threaten conflict overmatch. More than 1,000 soldiers provided hands-on feedback during weapon testing and selection.
ARC’s weapons intelligence platform works with tactical tools and frontline AI to ensure mission readiness and improve small-unit performance. The platform enables the U.S. Army to capture mission-critical data from individual- and tactical-level weapons at scale, helping leaders at all levels make informed decisions during and after training to improve readiness, performance and operational efficiency.
ARC technical solutions and case studies are available for individual demonstration. Interested parties are invited to visit armaments.us and contact for more information. (Source: BUSINESS WIRE)
10 Aug 22. Defense Department Invests to Re-Establish Domestic Production of Critical Propellant. The Department of Defense’s Industrial Base Support (IBS) office, through the Defense Production Act (DPA) Title III authority, is supporting a Louisiana facility that produces black powder, a widely used propellant in artillery, firearms, rocketry, pyrotechnics and numerous weapons systems.
The $3.5m investment by the Department of Defense (DoD) will allow the facility, owned by Estes Energetics, through its Goex subsidiary, to reopen after an accident shut down production. The total cost of the project is $5.3m over two years, and it will allow production to resume at the Minden, Louisiana facility in two years or less.
This investment will bring a critical defense industrial base asset back to production status and help Goex modernize the facility with the intent of reducing operational risk and improving safety. Goex is currently the only American source of black powder, which also has commercial applications in model rockets, muzzleloading firearms, fireworks, and other industrial processes.
“The Department of Defense’s DPA Title III Program Office continues to deliver on its mission of reshoring and re-establishing domestic production of materials critical to our nation’s national security needs and strategic interests,” said Halimah Najieb-Locke, Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Industrial Base Resilience. “We are pleased to have the opportunity to support this U.S. company as it works to restart the American-based supply chain of this important propellant.”
The investment will also allow Goex to hire up to an additional 30 workers in Louisiana.
About the Department of Defense’s DPA Title III Program:
The DPA Title III Program for the Department of Defense is dedicated to ensuring the timely availability of essential domestic industrial resources to support national defense and homeland security requirements now and in the future. The program works in partnership with the uniformed services, other government agencies, and industry to identify areas where critical industrial capacity is lagging or
non-existent. Once a need is identified, the program engages with U.S. and Canadian companies to mitigate these risks using grants, purchase commitments, loans, or loan guarantees. By executing its mission, the DPA Title III Program reduces the nation’s reliance on foreign supply chains, ensures the integrity of materials supplied to the American Warfighter, and helps create a resilient, robust, and secure defense industrial base.
(Source: US DoD)
08 Aug 22. PGZ develops new air-defence capabilities. Polska Grupa Zbrojeniowa (PGZ) plans to develop new short-range air defence (SHORAD) and very short-range air defence (VSHORAD) capabilities. Sebastian Chwałek, president of PGZ’s management board, and Colonel Michał Marciniak, the Ministry of National Defence’s plenipotentiary for integrated air defence and deputy head of the Armaments Agency, presented the main goals for the development of multilayer air defence in Poland during a press briefing in Warsaw on 28 January.
Col Marciniak said it would be crucial to integrate systems being developed separately: Pilica VSHORAD, armed with Grom and Piorun missiles; Narew SHORAD, based on the Common Anti-Air Modular Missile (CAMM) family; and the Wisła medium-range air defence system with Patriot Advanced Capability (PAC-3) Missile Segment Enhancement (MSE) missiles. He explained that Polish air defences would be organised based oneffective range of effectors, not on the branches of the armed forces that operate the current system. (Source: Janes)
09 Aug 22. Boeing, Nammo successfully test Ramjet air-breathing, longer-distance artillery. The recent test verified the projectile’s flight stability and propulsion system. Next up: guided flight. Boeing and Norwegian defense company Nammo successfully tested their air-breathing artillery projectile during a recent test in the Nordic nation, the companies announced today, the latest development in the US Army’s effort to develop longer range artillery for future conflicts.
The Ramjet 155 projectile is part of the Army’s XM1155 program, an effort under the service’s Extended Range Artillery Munition Suite Technology effort that’s exploring advanced technology to extend the reach and effectiveness of artillery rounds.
“We believe the Boeing Ramjet 155, with continued technology maturation and testing, can help the U.S. Army meet its long-range precision fires modernization priorities,” said Steve Nordlund, Boeing Phantom Works vice president and general manager, said in a statement. “This successful test is evidence that we are making great progress.”
According to Dan Palmeter, business development lead for Boeing Phantom Works, the June 28 test successfully verified that the ramjet projectile could stay stable in flight and that the ramjet engine was able to ignite to sufficiently propel it.
“The biggest challenge we’ve had with it is to get it stable, get it flying, get good thrust [and] get good motor burn,” Palmeter told Breaking Defense in an interview at the Space and Missile Defense Symposium in Huntsville, Ala.
Boeing describes the Ramjet 155 projectile as a “hybrid” between guided artillery and a missile. The successful test of the ramjet projectile is an important step forward, Palmeter said, because now Nammo and Boeing can focus on other capabilities, such as range.
“Once you have the propulsion and the stability figured out, then comes the range, the guidance and the rest of the system,” Palmeter said.
According to a Boeing fact sheet, the ramjet technology aims to extend the Army’s 155m howitzer’s range to more than 70 kilometers, up from 40 kilometers.
According to Mark Altobelli, director of Boeing Phantom Works, that the ramjet projectile survived the cannon launch was a victory in itself, as that has presented a challenge in the past. The companies said they have now completed over 450 tests of the artillery.
“In terms of packaging, think of it almost like a philharmonic orchestra,” Palmeter said. “Everything has to be working in concert.”
With the flight stability and propulsion performance verified in the recent test, the team will now work toward guided flights, which Altobelli called the “next big milestone.” Those flights will occur in 2023 and 2024, he said.
The Army awarded Boeing and Nammo a contract in July 2019 to develop the Ramjet 155 projectile and was subsequently awarded a phase two technology development contract in May 2021, according to Boeing.
“We have great confidence in the ramjet concept,” Nammo Chief Executive Officer Morten Brandtzæg said in a statement. “The test — with all aspects from cannon firing, to the projectile body, fins, and trajectory all functioning perfectly — represents a real technological breakthrough in artillery, and a major success for Boeing, Nammo, and the U.S. Army.” (Source: Defense News Early Bird/Breaking Defense)
09 Aug 22. US Army launching new campaign to more quickly field capabilities. The U.S. Army plans to launch a testing campaign aimed at creating a direct avenue to field new capabilities more rapidly.
The service has a wide variety of offensive and defensive missile capabilities, but also a need to tie into space sensors and non-Army organic sensors that can see at much farther ranges to cue these missile systems, Maj. Gen. Robert Rasch, the Army’s program executive officer for missiles and space, said Aug. 9 at the Space and Missile Defense Symposium. His office will conduct what it to become an annual integrated fires test campaign.
Sensors found across the services that can detect targets at long ranges are able to, for example, provide valuable targeting information for weapons like the Army Tactical Missile System, the forthcoming Precision Guided Munition and the Guided Multiple Launch Rocket Systems, Rasch said.
The Army has shown the effectiveness of integrating sensors with shooters on the battlefield to accomplish both offensive and defensive fires missions during its campaign of learning last year, Project Convergence, held at Yuma Proving Ground, Arizona.
The Army took its Integrated Battle Command System, or IBCS, which is meant to serve as the brains of its air and missile defense system, and expanded its defensive mission set to a precision strike capability.
Rasch said IBCS has finished its first phase of its major initial operational test and evaluation event, and is now gearing up for the second phase. Once the second phase concludes, the Army can make a full-rate production decision on the system, which is currently in low-rate initial production.
The system was demonstrated in one of the seven use-case scenarios at Project Convergence. During the joint air and missile defense use-case scenario, IBCS conducted a successful engage-on-remote test. Threat targets were launched from White Sands Missile Range, New Mexico. An engagement operations center using IBCS picked up on the threats at Fort Bliss, Texas, and tracked them. Then the system was able to remotely initiate from Fort Bliss the launch of Patriot missiles at White Sands to neutralize the threat.
Part of the demonstration included using space-based sensors, which Joint Tactical Ground Station operators tap into through satellite communications to track a missile threat. While ground and airborne sensors have been used in demonstrations involving IBCS, the addition of the space sensors shows the system is able to tie into the space capability layer.
IBCS was able to obtain information from an F-35 fighter jet tracking a ground target and feed it to the Army’s fire control system — the Advanced Field Artillery Tactical Data System — for the first time. That system then engaged the target using a High Mobility Artillery Rocket System, Rasch said.
“How do we take it out of the experimental realm and move it into a ‘let’s do it every day’ realm,” Rasch said, describing the next step.
So in fiscal 2023, the service’s Program Executive Office Missiles and Space will conduct its first-ever integrated fires test campaign, Rasch noted. “We’re going to get an opportunity to bring these things out on the range that maybe were not initially designed or thought [were] being designed to work together, but actually have them out on the range and either demonstrate, if it’s early, or operationally test, if it is ready to get to materiel release for new capabilities.”
The Army is using Project Convergence to identify what does and doesn’t work well for the service, Rasch added. The plan is to take good ideas from Project Convergence, go through a hardening process and take it right out to test as part of the integrated fires test campaign, he explained.
The venue will also offer the Army an ability to get more sets and repetitions to build up range legs more on an annual basis, Rasch noted.
But more importantly, the integrated fires test campaign is an opportunity to get those good ideas fielded without having to wait six or seven years for the “big bang that is typically associated with the program of record,” Rasch said. “We have never done that before.”
Rasch told Defense News to stay tuned for more details on what specifically will be evaluated at the first campaign next year as the new incoming program executive officer puts his stamp on the event.
Rasch is tapped to become the next commander of the Army’s Rapid Capabilities and Critical Technologies Office. The new leader at PEO Missiles and Space will be Brig. Gen. Francisco Lozano, who most recently served as the chief of staff in the Office of the Secretary of the Army for Acquisitions, Logistics and Technology. (Source: Defense News)
09 Aug 22. Pentagon eyes broader missile defense amid calls for more advanced countermeasures. America’s focus on countering intercontinental ballistic missiles is broadening to cruise and hypersonic missiles, and modest spending might not cut it. Analysts and experts are hoping the fiscal 2024 budget request will prove the Biden administration is committed to a layered homeland missile defense architecture.
Acknowledging the growing array of missile threats, the Trump administration in 2019 removed “ballistic” from its description of homeland missile defense when it released its Missile Defense Review. The Biden administration has not yet released an unclassified version of its review.
But John Plumb, the first-ever assistant secretary of defense for space policy, testified in May before the Senate Armed Services Committee’s strategic forces panel that while China is the pacing threat in terms of military strategy, Russia’s invasion of Ukraine emphasizes the need for a broader missile defense strategy for the homeland.
“The sobering reality of the tragic events in Ukraine, in which Russia has used and continues to use a broad array of missiles to attack and, in my opinion, terrorize civilian populations, highlights the extent to which our adversaries are prepared to use missiles in a conflict,” Plumb said. “Missile defenses are critical for defending the U.S. homeland and for defending our deployed forces and our allies and partners.”
Plumb noted the FY23 budget request called for “significant investments in homeland missile defense,” including $2.8bn to develop the Next Generation Interceptor and for the service-life extension of the Ground-based Midcourse Defense system as well as $4.7bn to transition to a “resilient missile warning and missile track satellite architecture.”
It also sought $4.7bn for the Space Force, $278m for new over-the-horizon radars to enhance the ability to detect cruise missile attacks on the homeland and nearly $1bn for missile defense capabilities for Guam.
The Missile Defense Agency has several efforts underway to address a wider variety of threats. One priority is ensuring the Ground-Based Interceptors in the Ground-based Midcourse Defense system are replaced by the Next Generation Interceptor.
While Ground-Based Interceptors only have one kill vehicle, allowing each to destroy a single intercontinental ballistic missile in flight, the Next Generation Interceptor is undergoing designs to house multiple kill vehicles, making it possible for one interceptor to simultaneously defeat several incoming missiles.
Northrop Grumman and Raytheon Technologies are competing against a team of Lockheed Martin and Aerojet Rocketdyne to design the Next Generation Interceptor. The Missile Defense Agency hopes to place the first future interceptor into a ground-based silo by 2028.
MDA is also using a competitive development strategy to develop a Glide Phase Interceptor capable of defeating a hypersonic weapon. Raytheon Technologies and Northrop Grumman were selected in June to continue developing the interceptors.
How the Pentagon plans to intercept hypersonic missiles.
The agency will first focus on providing a capability to the Navy and, if successful, move to develop a land-based battery.
Meanwhile, the agency and U.S. Northern Command are working together to test a possible cruise missile defense capability for the homeland. They plan to conduct a capability demonstration in FY23 that integrates an elevated sensor into a so-called joint tactical integrated fire architecture with fire control for a naval long-range surface-to-air interceptor.
A major endeavor for MDA in the coming fiscal year is to kick off construction of a missile defense architecture in Guam. The agency set an FY26 fielding deadline for the capability and plans to spend $539m in FY23 to begin the process.
The architecture will be mobile and include Navy SM-3 and SM-6 missiles, the Patriot air defense system, and the Army’s Terminal High Altitude Area Defense System. The U.S. has operated that latter battery in Guam since 2013.
Those elements are to connect through the Army’s Integrated Battle Command System — command-and-control technology that connects sensors and shooters on the battlefield. The agency will also use the Aegis weapon system’s fire control capability.
Pentagon officials have said the architecture on Guam could serve as a proof of concept or a test bed to contribute to a homeland cruise missile defense architecture.
Money for missile defense
The Pentagon has said it budgeted roughly $20 bn to develop a “missile defeat” capability. This figure appears to be a big boost, Robert Soofer, who served as deputy assistant secretary of defense for nuclear and missile defense policy during the Trump administration, told Defense News. But only about half of that funding will go toward traditional missile defense, Soofer noted. Some of the funding, for example, is for offensive hypersonic weapons development — an area set to receive about $3.8bn in the FY23 request.
MDA requested $2.8bn to continue to sustain and upgrade its Ground-based Midcourse Defense system, and $225 m to develop the Glide Phase Interceptor to counter hypersonic threats.
A total of $89m would pay for delivering space vehicles for launch vehicle integration as well as complete development of the ground system for the second quarter of FY23, which will see the launch of two prototypes and on-orbit experimentations of the Hypersonic and Ballistic Tracking Space Sensor.
Congress is also moving to increase missile defense development funding in its FY23 defense authorization bills. The Senate Armed Services Committee released its version of the bill in July, which included $50.9m in additional money for the cruise missile defense for the homeland demonstration.
The committee also doubled the Glide Phase Interceptor weapon account to $518m.
For its part, the House Armed Services Committee in its version of the FY23 National Defense Authorization Act approved $166 m in additional funding — more than double the request — for continued development of the Hypersonic and Ballistic Tracking Space Sensor.
Both chambers’ versions of the FY23 authorization bill indicate Congress wants increased oversight and a better sense of who will manage missile defense programs.
The Senate version of the bill calls for a “rapid and complete modernization of legacy nuclear capabilities of the United States and the timely development of a range of ballistic, cruise, and hypersonic boost glide missiles.”
Senators ask for increased notification and reports, should the Pentagon run into issues that could delay or prevent the fielding of those critical capabilities. The legislation also requires Pentagon officials brief Congress twice a year on missile defense policies, operations and technology development.
Additionally, members of the Senate Armed Services Committee want the defense secretary to designate a senior Defense Department official to oversee the missile defense of Guam within 90 days of the bill’s passage.
The House version of the bill acknowledges the White House’s FY22 and FY23 budgets make “a needed and significant shift” to address missile tracking and warning architecture. The legislation also notes the Pentagon should continue to fund and deliver the capability from low Earth orbit in the mid-2020s.
Lawmakers also require the defense secretary and MDA to submit a comprehensive layered strategy to use “asymmetric capabilities” to defeat hypersonic missile threats.
Members of Congress appear to be backing off from a push to fund a homeland missile defense radar in Hawaii. MDA has not included funding for the radar for several years, but Congress had added funding the last several budget cycles to move forward on the program.
However, in the latest House Armed Services Committee bill, lawmakers noted they will wait to determine what’s needed in Hawaii until learning more about a review currently in the works by the Pentagon on the integrated air and missile defense sensor architecture of U.S. Indo-Pacific Command.
House lawmakers have also been pressuring the Pentagon to designate a department or agency to lead its homeland cruise missile defense efforts. Deputy Defense Secretary Kathleen Hicks in late July gave the Air Force lead acquisition authority over homeland cruise missile defense.
A memo from Hicks gives the Air Force 180 days to deliver a plan and proposed architecture that addresses meeting homeland cruise missile defense capability gaps “projected in Fiscal Year 2026 and 2030.”
‘We don’t really get a choice’
But some analysts and experts say the shift toward thinking about missile threats more broadly is inevitable.
“We don’t really get a choice about whether or not we go after this,” Tom Karako, a missile defense expert at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, told Defense News. “We have to counter all of these different pieces of the air-and-missile threat spectrum in some way, be it passive defense, be it active defense, be it distributed ops or what have you. That’s just the reality.”
The architecture at Guam will give the Pentagon an opportunity to look at what’s possible, Karako added.
He said he’ll be watching the president’s FY24 budget request for proof the White House is committed to a more robust defense of the homeland. “Will it go after homeland cruise missile defense like we mean it?” he wondered.
If the White House and the Defense Department don’t commit more money to solving the homeland cruise missile defense mission in FY24, “it sends a signal that there are [other], higher priorities,” Soofer said.
North American Aerospace Defense Command and U.S. Northern Command, in consultation with the Missile Defense Agency and the Joint Integrated Air and Missile Defense Organization, are closing in on a design framework for the mission, Brig. Gen. Paul Murray, NORAD deputy director of operations, said last month. The next step is to show decision-makers it will work, he explained.
Bradley Bowman, senior director of the Center on Military and Political Power at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, told Defense News that “you can tell if an administration is serious by scrutinizing whether they produce well-formulated missile defense acquisition strategies in a timely manner and request the necessary funding to field capabilities as quickly as possible.”
“Too often, we have seen a dissonance between words and actions,” he added. “I worry we will pay a steeper price for that dissonance in the future.” (Source: Defense News)
05 Aug 22. Indian Army and DRDO successfully test-fire indigenous ATGMs. The laser-guided missiles destroyed targets at two different ranges with precision. The Indian Army and the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) have successfully tested all-indigenous, laser-guided, anti-tank guided missiles (ATGMs). The ATGMs were fired from the Arjun Main Battle Tank (MBT) at KK Ranges with the support of the Armoured Corps Centre & School (ACC&S), Ahmednagar, Maharashtra, India.
In a statement, the Indian Ministry of Defence said the missiles hit the targets at two different ranges with precision and successfully destroyed them. The flight performance of the missiles was satisfactory as per data recorded by the telemetry systems.
The ATGM uses a tandem, high explosive, anti-tank warhead to hit explosive reactive armour (ERA) protected armoured vehicles.
The weapon system is equipped with a multi-platform launch capability. At present, the ATGM is undergoing technical evaluation trials from the 120mm rifled gun of the Arjun MBT.
Indian Defence Minister Rajnath Singh lauded the DRDO and the Indian Army for the successful test-firing of the ATGMs and Department of Defence R&D secretary and DRDO chairman Dr Satheesh Reddy congratulated the teams associated with the mission.
In June this year, the Indian Army and DRDO successfully tested a laser-guided ATGM that hit the target with precision and at minimum ranges.
The test launch established the ATGM’s capability to engage targets from minimum to maximum ranges.
Later in July, the DRDO conducted the maiden flight of the Autonomous Flying Wing Technology Demonstrator. (Source: army-technology.com)