25 Aug 22. Lockheed Martin tests missile defence capability alongside RAAF, DSTG. The prime has leveraged a virtual network to test the ADF’s integrated air and missile defence capability.
Lockheed Martin Australia’s (LMA) research and development team, STELaRLab, has conducted an integrated air and missile defence (IAMD) decision support experiment using a live, virtual, constructive (LVC) training system.
The test was conducted in collaboration with the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) and the Defence Science Technology Group (DSTG).
The experiments, which took place over several weeks, involved exploring systems leveraging artificial intelligence (AI) to support rapid decision making at tactical levels of command and control across multiple domains.
Five STELaRLab scientists were tasked with testing and evaluating advanced resource allocation decision support systems incorporated into a next generation battle management testbed.
Air battle managers (ABMs) supported the exercise, providing realistic mission needs, including mission planning, execution and a debrief.
“Over the past five years, STELaRLab has developed a suite of decision support AI systems to support RAAF’s air battle management operators make faster data driven decisions to remain ahead of future threats,” STELaRLab director Dr Tony Lindsay said. (Source: Defence Connect)
25 Aug 22. Northrop Grumman and the U.S. Air Force are continuing enhancements to the B-2 Spirit Stealth bomber fleet providing new capability, including its first long-range stealth missile. The B-2 successfully released a Joint Air-to-Surface Standoff Missile – Extended Range (JASSM-ER) during a flight test in December. The JASSM-ER further enhances the B-2’s ability to hit any target, anywhere. The integration of JASSM-ER enables the delivery of a low observable asset capable of traveling greater distances than its predecessor.
JASSM-ER is one of three new advanced capabilities being introduced to the B-2 to further modernize the platform. The B-2 fleet, capable of delivering both conventional and nuclear ordnance, is also integrating crypto modernization and a Radar Aided Targeting System (RATS). The latest system advancements are part of integrated functional capability (IFC) P6.4, which was certified last year by the Air Force. RATS will complete the latest phase of nuclear modernization of the B-2 Spirit.
“The unrivaled capabilities of the B-2 make it the only long range, penetrating stealth bomber currently in the U.S. arsenal,” said Shaugnessy Reynolds, vice president and B-2 program manager, Northrop Grumman. “Committed to continued modernization of the B-2, we’re leveraging our company’s innovation in digital engineering and its decades of leadership in designing and maintaining low observable platforms to keep the B-2 Spirit mission ready.”
The integration of RATS allows the B-2 to fully employ the B-61 mod 12 nuclear bomb. RATS is the key element of the nuclear modernization, as GPS may not be available during a bomber task force mission.
Crypto modernization further improves the communications security of various high frequency transmissions. The B-2 may now securely utilize advanced communication devices in the future threat environment. Earlier this year, Northrop Grumman conducted a successful communications flight test with modern cryptology at its Oklahoma City Weapons System Support Center site.
The capabilities of this IFC continue to position the B-2 fleet as a key component of the Department of Defense’s nuclear triad. It is also part of Northrop Grumman’s ongoing modernization efforts leveraging 21st century technology incorporating digital engineering.
24 Aug 22. US Army performs tests of upgraded Patriot missile system. The Air and Missile Defense Test Directorate involved 65 soldiers and 135 government civilians. The US Army Operational Test Command’s Air and Missile Defense Test Directorate (AMDTD) has started testing the upgraded Patriot missile system.
The year-long test will assess the upgrades, the latest one since 2018.
A highly mobile air defence guided missile system, the Patriot engages and intercepts both aircraft and tactical ballistic missile threats.
This will help the US Army Test and Evaluation Command at Aberdeen Proving Ground, Maryland, to deliver a comprehensive assessment of the new upgrade and ensure it is ready for deployment.
Apart from software and hardware upgrades, the Patriot will also feature a user-friendly interface.
3-6 Patriot Fire Control Enhanced operator maintainer soldier sergeant Angel Quinones said: “I think it’s a lot more beneficial for incoming soldiers that are newer to the branch.”
“It’s a lot easier to pick up. It would be super easy to train with it as well, instead of [like] us training them how to memorise a full database, we just need to know key words now.”
In July, the US State Department approved a $1.219bn sale of Patriot MIM-104E Guidance Enhanced Missile-Tactical ballistic missiles to the Netherlands. (Source: army-technology.com)
24 Aug 22. Previously designated Block 30 Global Hawks will support SkyRange program. Northrop Grumman Corporation’s (NYSE: NOC) RQ-4 RangeHawk is poised to support the SkyRange program’s U.S. hypersonic missile flight tests from its Grand Sky facility near Grand Forks, North Dakota. SkyRange is the Department of Defense Test Resource Management Center’s (TRMC) unmanned high-altitude, long-endurance, responsive mobile flight test system,
In support of the SkyRange initiative, Block 20 and 30 RQ-4B Global Hawk aircraft are being transferred to TRMC to be reconfigured into RangeHawks. The conversion will integrate advanced payloads to equip the aircraft with the capability to support the testing of hypersonic vehicles and other long-range weapons. RangeHawks provide over-the-horizon altitude, endurance and flexibility, which are critical for collecting telemetry and other data to monitor the vehicle during flight tests. Increasing the capacity of hypersonic vehicle testing furthers research and development necessary to remain competitive in the global landscape.
“Our RQ-4 RangeHawks will support the emerging class of hypersonic weapons and provide a combination of range, endurance and payload capacity,” said Jane Bishop, vice president and general manager, global surveillance, Northrop Grumman. “These aircraft will continue their role in vital national security missions while enabling us to bring premier aircraft design, modification, operations and sustainment work to the Grand Forks community.”
While previous testing relied on ship-based sensors, RangeHawks can perform such missions with fewer assets, reducing cost and complexity. RangeHawks are equipped with sensors to demonstrate an alternative data-collection support system to test hypersonic systems, and have participated in several hypersonic test events in the Pacific and elsewhere.
“SkyRange will enable the Department of Defense to accelerate our pace of testing hypersonic systems,” said George Rumford, acting director and principal deputy, TRMC. “Northrop Grumman’s RangeHawk is ideally suited to collect data by providing persistent time-on-station positioned closer to flight path and agility to adapt to the dynamics of a testing environment – a force multiplier as we evolve critical national security capabilities.”
24 Aug 22. US Army to receive four Mid-Range Capability battery prototypes, fielding set for 2023. Lockheed Martin is poised to deliver four initial Mid-Range Capability (MRC) weapon system batteries to the US Army by the end of 2022. If all goes as planned the service could field the new weapon prototype, paired with Standard Missile-6 (SM-6) and Tomahawk missiles, to soldiers by late September 2023, according to the company and service.
The army’s Rapid Capabilities and Critical Technologies Office (RCCTO) tasked Lockheed Martin with building this mid-range prototype in late 2020, at present called the ‘Typhon’, which includes launchers, missiles, and a battery operations centre.
The idea was to create a capability to strike targets somewhere between the 500 and 1,800 km range, or greater than the future Precision Strike Missile (PrSM) but shorter than a Long-Range Hypersonic Weapon (LRHW) system. To do this, army programme officials joined forces with the navy to leverage existing capabilities such as the Mark 41 Vertical Launching System (Mk 41 VLS), and the Tomahawk and SM-6 missiles. (Source: Janes)
23 Aug 22. Live firing exercise tests latest soldier systems. Experts from Dstl have been working with soldiers on a live fire exercise to ensure they are equipped with the most effective kit possible. Using a specially designed obstacle course, the Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (Dstl) team conducted a pilot study to assess the effects of the SA-80 L85A2 versus the L85A3 rifle with 6 soldiers from 5th Battalion, The Rifles.
The Soldier Weapon and Equipment Assessment Tool (SWEAT) tests the impact of soldier equipment on firing accuracy, consistency, speed and mobility.
These tests were executed as part of NATO Science and Technology Organization (STO) Research Task Group SAS-145. This research is overseen by STO’s System Analysis and Studies (SAS) Panel, NATO’s Expert Panel for Analytical Advice, which promotes the exchange of trial data and enhance interoperability within the Alliance.
Jon from Dstl said: “The idea behind the SWEAT course is that anyone can measure the effects of future soldier capability, such as a new weapons system, new boots, a new helmet or new body armour, and assess the effect that will provide upon the individual’s lethality. This course for the UK, in the future, will be used to measure the effects of new capabilities for soldiers. The final objective of the trial is for it to be used and developed by NATO nations to develop their own courses that are similar enough to allow interoperability between nations.”
The 2-day exercise took place on Salisbury Plain using a UK SA-80 L85 A2 and updated A3 variants of the individual weapon.
Participants ran the course twice to compare results.
The course consisted of 14 firing points and 36 actions, requiring soldiers to engage targets ranging from 25m to 400m from a variety of firing positions.
Elizabeth, of the US Army, observing on behalf of NATO, said: “It’s doing something novel and innovative. Taking different components that have been separated, so lethality, survivability and mobility – bringing them into a course that comprehensively tests soldier systems. It’s a much better evaluation than has existed before.”
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23 Aug 22. ECA’s mine countermeasures solution completes FAT for Latvian Navy. The company was selected for this modernisation effort through an international tender in 2020.
ECA successfully completed factory acceptance trials for its systems, that will be equipped onto the Latvian Navy’s Tripartite-class MCM vessels. Credit: © ECA Group.
ECA Group has completed the factory acceptance tests (FAT) for its command-and-control (C2) system and mine identification and disposal system (MIDS).
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The successful completion of FATs marks a significant milestone in the Latvian Navy’s programme to modernise its Tripartite-class (IMANTA-class) minehunter vessels.
ECA was selected for this programme through an international tender in 2020.
The latest trials involved assessing the functionalities and interfaces of sensors, along with testing the vessel’s C2 system with warship electronic chart display and information system (W-ECDIS) and autopilot.
Under this test, the Navy also performed a mine identification simulation with the SEASCAN remotely operated vehicle (ROV) and a firing simulation with the K-STER for mine disposal vehicle.
Latvian Navy M-08 commander Arturs Knoks said: “So far, I am satisfied with the performances of K-STER and SEASCAN.”
The modernisation programme will see the Latvian Navy replace its legacy mine warfare system with a new C2 system along with a complete set of drones. (Source: naval-technology.com)
22 Aug 22. HMAS Sydney conducts evolved sea sparrow missile launch.
The RAN’s destroyer participated in PD22 as part of its routine regional presence deployment. The Royal Australian Navy’s (RAN) Hobart-class guided missile destroyer HMAS Sydney has demonstrated its naval combat capabilities during the Pacific Dragon 2022 (PD22) exercise. During the exercise, the Hobart-class vessel tracked very high-speed targets using its Aegis Combat System and phased array AN/SPY 1D(V) radar.
The HMAS Sydney then launched a medium-range, surface-to-air Evolved Sea Sparrow Missile (ESSM) against an airborne target drone.
The demonstrations were carried out off the coast of Hawaii, reported leading seaman David Cox.
According to the RAN, the participation of HMAS Sydney in the exercise was part of the routine regional presence deployment.
Over the past few months, as many as five RAN ships from two task groups have been participating in the regional presence deployments throughout the Indo-Pacific region.
Such deployments involve the participating vessels and units carrying out joint exercises and other engagements in collaboration with Australia’s partner nations. It demonstrates Australia’s regional commitment, safeguarding the country’s interests to protect its long-term security and prosperity, maintaining rule-based order, and improving teamwork with allies, capability and interoperability development. (Source: naval-technology.com)
22 Aug 22. US Navy commences new Repair Technology Exercise. The REPTX exercise aims to bolster the ability of the US Navy to maintain its vessels in good shape. Around 60 technology suppliers are set to participate in the US Navy’s Repair Technology Exercise (REPTX) to test multiple ship maintenance technologies and services.
It is being conducted at Naval Base Ventura County, California from 22 August to 2 September.
This event is part of the advanced naval technology exercise Coastal Trident-2022, which is being held from June to September.
The 12-day-long exercise will see technology suppliers, including academia government and private industry, evaluating a range of products and services, which can eventually allow the US Navy sailors to perform repairs during operations.
As part of REPTX, the Naval Sea Systems Command’s (NAVSEA) Naval Systems Engineering and Logistics Directorate Technology Office (NAVSEA 05T) has shortlisted 65 technologies.
It includes inspection and repair tools, uncrewed aerial vehicles and submersibles, ship-to-shore communication systems, additive manufacturing equipment and above- and below-water visualisation devices.
Participants will showcase technologies focused on four key areas, including visualisation, command-and-control (C2) aids, forward manufacturing and expeditionary maintenance.
All participants will assess their products’ capability to handle real-world fleet maintenance challenges along with assessing and repairing the potential battle damage. (Source: naval-technology.com)
19 Aug 22. Lockheed Martin delivers first HELIOS weapon system to US Navy. HELIOS is an integrated and scalable system that will provide directed energy capability to US Navy. Lockheed Martin has handed over a high energy laser with integrated optical-dazzler and surveillance (HELIOS) system to the US Navy. It is the first of two 60+ kW-class tactical laser weapon system to be equipped on the US Navy warships.
Delivery of the two integrated weapon systems is part of the US Navy’s $150m contract awarded to Lockheed Martin in 2018.
In 2020, the HELIOS system completed the US Navy’s critical design review (CDR), which was followed by testing and integration in January last year.
During this test in 2021, the system was initially integrated on to an Arleigh Burke-class Flight IIA destroyer with Aegis combat system.
However, the company said that the HELIOS system can also be adapted for other warships and combat systems, including big-deck amphibious vessels and aircraft carriers, with the Ship Self-Defence System (SSDS).
Lockheed Martin Advanced Product Solutions vice president Rick Cordaro said: “Lockheed Martin and US Navy share a common vision and enthusiasm for developing and providing disruptive laser weapon systems.
“HELIOS enhances the overall combat system effectiveness of the ship to deter future threats and provide additional protection for sailors, and we understand we must provide scalable solutions customised to the Navy’s priorities.
“HELIOS represents a solid foundation for incremental delivery of robust and powerful laser weapon system capabilities.”
Lockheed Martin’s integrated and scalable HELIOS system will provide directed energy capability to the US Navy fleet.
It features deep magazine, low-cost per kill along with a speed of light delivery and accurate response, thereby providing an additional layer of protection to the fleet.
Furthermore, this multi-mission system can deliver tactically relevant laser weapon system warfighting capabilities, which is a crucial component of layered defence architecture. (Source: naval-technology.com)
21 Aug 22. Japan eyes stockpiling 1,000 long-range missiles amid China tensions. Japan estimates that it will need around 1,000 long-range standoff missiles in addition to its stockpile of anti-ballistic missiles as a defense against China’s increasing military capabilities, government sources said Sunday.
With tensions mounting in the region, the Defense Ministry is set to bring forward by a year to fiscal 2024 part of its plan to extend the range of the Ground Self-Defense Force’s Type-12 surface-to-ship guided missiles, with the associated costs to be included in its budget request for fiscal 2023.
The ministry is seeking a record budget of over 5.5 trillion yen ($40 bn) for the next fiscal year, with the amount likely to further balloon after unspecified costs for around 100 items are finalized, the sources said.
In making its estimate, the Japanese government researched the number of missiles, and the required budget, that would be needed to counter Chinese missiles, based on the assumption that Beijing possesses a large number of missiles that can be used to attack Japan.
The missile framework, and some materiel with yet-to-be specified price tags, will be discussed during a review of three security-related documents, including the National Security Strategy, scheduled to be updated by the end of 2022.
“As an island nation, Japan will be attacked from afar. So it is necessary to have a number of missiles to counterattack,” Itsunori Onodera, who heads the Liberal Democratic Party’s Research Commission on National Security, said on a Fuji TV program Sunday.
The Defense Ministry’s budget request for fiscal 2023, set to top its highest-ever 5.49trn yen budget drawn up in fiscal 2021, reflects a desire to enhance the nation’s standoff defense capabilities and unmanned systems such as drones.
Prime Minister Fumio Kishida at a press conference on Aug. 10 called an overhaul of defense capabilities the most important issue for the remaining part of the year, adding that he would “make a concerted effort to have a firm grasp of the budget’s scale and secure financial resources.” (Source: https://asia.nikkei.com/)