23 Sep 22. DX Korea 2022: LIG Nex1 unveils ‘Drone Launched Missile.’ LIG Nex1 has unveiled a tactical precision-strike concept at the DX Korea 2022 exhibition being held in Goyang from 21 to 25 September.
The ‘Drone Launched Missile’ concept, designed for small unit teams in the Republic of Korea Army (RoKA), features a small vertical take-off and landing (VTOL) quadrotor unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV), equipped with a reduced form factor targeting pod and armed with four miniature missiles.
A LIG Nex1 spokesperson told Janes that the concept is in its early design stages. The targeting pod features an imaging infrared (IIR) camera and laser target designator, although it was also confirmed that the pod symbolised a conceptual design at present.
The UAV is also equipped with a rack of four miniature missiles, also designed by LIG Nex1, each of which features a dual seeker with Semi-Active Laser (SAL) and Complementary Metal-Oxide Semi Conductor (CMOS) Near-Infrared (NIR) sensors.
The dual seeker enables each missile to guide itself onto its designated target in both day and low-light conditions, the spokesperson added. (Source: Janes)
22 Sep 22. Israel to sell air defence system to United Arab Emirates, sources say. Israel has agreed to sell an advanced air defence system to the United Arab Emirates, two sources familiar with the matter said, in the first such known deal between them since they forged ties in 2020.
The deal reinforces how, for some Arab states, resolving the decades-long Israel-Palestinian conflict has now been overshadowed by national priorities, such as security and the economy.
Israel and the U.S.-allied UAE share an ultimate fear, that Iran obtains a nuclear weapon, an ambition Tehran denies.
Israel approved a UAE request in the middle of the summer and would supply the Gulf state with Rafael-made SPYDER mobile interceptors, two sources said, declining to provide further details due to the sensitive nature of the deal.
A third source said the UAE had acquired Israeli technology capable of combating drone attacks like those that struck Abu Dhabi earlier this year.
Israel’s defence ministry and SPYDER manufacturer Rafael declined to comment. The UAE’s foreign ministry did not comment.
It was not immediately clear how many interceptors, which are fitted to vehicles and can defend against short to long-range threats, would be supplied, or if any had so far been shipped.
Asked if Israel was providing the UAE with air defence systems, parliament Foreign Affairs and Defence Committee Chairman Ram Ben-Barak told Israeli radio on Sept. 20 there was broad cooperation with the UAE, but declined further comment.
The need to bolster the UAE’s air defence capabilities increased after a series of missile and drone strikes on the Gulf state in January and February. Most of the attacks were intercepted, but a strike killed three civilians in Abu Dhabi.
That strike rattled the leaders of the UAE, which has long boasted of its security and stability in a tumultuous region, foreign diplomats said. An under-construction terminal at Abu Dhabi airport was also hit, injuring civilian workers, sources briefed on the attacks said.
At least some missiles and drones flew at low-altitude to escape detection by the UAE’s U.S.-built Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) and Patriot interceptors, the sources said.
Rafael says SPYDER can defend large areas from threats such as drones, cruise missiles, attack aircraft, helicopters, and bombers, including from low altitude.
President Isaac Herzog, visiting the UAE in January when an intercepted strike took place, said Israel supported the UAE’s security needs. And last week Prime Minister Yair Lapid said he was horrified by the attacks and Israel stood by and with the UAE.
Most of the strikes were claimed by the Iran-aligned Houthi movement, who the UAE has been fighting in the war in Yemen as part of the Saudi Arabian-led military coalition seeking to restore the ousted government.
The sources said the interceptors deal was reached in mid-summer, which was around when the United States and Israel were pushing Arab states to link their air defence systems to better defend against Iranian drone and missile attacks.
That proposal was met by resistance from some Arab states that Israel does not have ties with, Reuters reported in July, although an Israeli official said partner countries were synchronising systems through remote electronic communication.
Anwar Gargash, diplomatic adviser to the UAE president, told reporters in July that the UAE would consider anything that protects the country from drones and missiles as long as it was defensive and not targeting a third country.
Gulf state Bahrain also established ties with Israel in 2020 and later the two signed a security agreement. Israel and the UAE this year signed a free trade deal; Israel’s first with an Arab state. Negotiations with Bahrain started this week. (Source: Reuters)
21 Sep 22. AMC formalises participation in $1bn sovereign GWEO. The consortium has penned a contract with Defence to support the development of Australia’s sovereign guided weapons manufacturing capability.
The Australian Missile Corporation (AMC) has officially joined efforts to establish Australia’s $1 bn Guided Weapons and Explosive Ordnance (GWEO) Enterprise after signing a contract with Defence.
The agreement was formalised in Canberra at a signing ceremony attended by AMC CEO Lee Goddard and Major General Andrew Bottrell, head of Land Systems.
In April, the government appointed Raytheon Australia and Lockheed Martin Australia as strategic partners for the GWEO, supported by a number of Australia-based industry cooperatives, including AMC, and the Sovereign Missile Alliance (SMA) — a joint venture between Nova Systems and Electro Optic Systems (EOS).
The enterprise ecosystem aims to support Defence’s inventory of guided weapons and explosive ordnance, while also including:
- education and training;
- test and evaluation;
- maintenance and repair;
- storage and distribution; and
Reflecting on the formalisation of AMC’s partnership, Goddard said the deal marks a significant milestone for the consortium.
“Since May last year, the AMC has been preparing for what will be an exciting new era of defence capability,” he said. (Source: Defence Connect)
22 Sep 22. Raytheon $985m hypersonic award puts them far ahead in contracting race. The Pentagon on Thursday said it awarded Raytheon Technologies (RTX.N) a $985m dollar contract to develop prototypes for a hypersonic attack cruise missile, putting the firm well ahead of rivals in the race to become lead developer of the strategic weapons.
Raytheon Missiles & Defense, a Raytheon Technologies (NYSE: RTX) business, in partnership with Northrop Grumman Corporation (NYSE: NOC), has been selected to develop the Hypersonic Attack Cruise Missile for the U.S. Air Force (USAF). HACM is a first-of-its-kind weapon developed in conjunction with the Southern Cross Integrated Flight Research Experiment (SCIFiRE), a U.S. and Australia project arrangement.
Northrop Grumman’s scramjet engine will provide propulsion for the Hypersonic Attack Cruise Missile. (Contractor derived image)
Under this contract, the Raytheon Missiles & Defense and Northrop Grumman team will deliver operationally ready missiles to the USAF.
“Raytheon Missiles & Defense continues to be at the forefront of hypersonic weapon and air-breathing technology development,” said Wes Kremer, president of Raytheon Missiles & Defense. “With advanced threats emerging around the globe, the Hypersonic Attack Cruise Missile will provide our warfighters a much-needed capability.”
The Hypersonic Attack Cruise Missile is an air-breathing, scramjet powered munition. Scramjet engines use high vehicle speed to forcibly compress incoming air before combustion, which enables sustained flight at hypersonic speeds – Mach 5 or greater. By traveling at these speeds, hypersonic weapons, like HACM, are able to reach their targets more quickly than similar traditional missiles, allowing them to potentially evade defensive systems.
“The Hypersonic Attack Cruise Missile creates a new class of strategically important weapons for the U.S. military,” said Mary Petryszyn, corporate vice president and president, Northrop Grumman Defense Systems. “Our scramjet propulsion technology is ushering in a new era for faster, more survivable and highly capable weapons.”
Raytheon Technologies and Northrop Grumman have been working together since 2019 to develop, produce and integrate Northrop Grumman’s scramjet engines onto Raytheon’s air-breathing hypersonic weapons. Their combined efforts enable both companies to produce air-breathing hypersonic weapons, the next generation of tactical missile systems.
Raytheon beat out Boeing (BA.N) and Lockheed Martin (LMT.N) to continue its development of the weapon. The award is a significant advance in the development of hypersonic weapons for the United States, and puts Raytheon in an early lead for a series of related, and high-value, contract awards in the years ahead.
Hypersonic weapons travel in the upper atmosphere at speeds of about 6,200 km per hour (3,853 mph), more than five times the speed of sound.
The hypersonic attack cruise missile (HACM) is an air launched hypersonic weapon being developed in cooperation with the Australian government.
“With advanced threats emerging around the globe, the Hypersonic Attack Cruise Missile will provide our warfighters a much-needed capability,” said Wes Kremer, president of Raytheon Missiles & Defense.
The Air Force expects delivery in fiscal 2027.
The United States and China are engaged in an arms race to develop the most lethal hypersonic weapons, a top Air Force official acknowledged late last year, as Beijing and Washington build and test more and more of the high-speed next-generation arms. (Source: Reuters)
23 Sep 22. DX Korea 2022: KAI launches LUH for SOF. Korean Aerospace Industries (KAI) unveiled a new helicopter variant to support special operations forces (SOF) at DX Korea 2022, which is being held in Seoul from 21 to 25 September. The Light Utility Helicopter (LUH) is a variant of KAI’s Light Armed Helicopter (LAH), which is in the final stages of development ahead of production for the Republic of Korea Army (RoKA) from 2023.
According to KAI’s regional manager for international sales and marketing, Byoung Sam Choi, development of the LUH is being pitched for many mission sets, one of which is the Special operations Attack Helicopter (SAH).
Choi said that the LUH comprises a stripped-out LAH, providing greater space to carry troops both inside the cabin and on outboard benches similar to those used onboard Boeing’s MH-6M Little Bird as used by the US Special Operations Command. (Source: Janes)
23 Sep 22. Philippine Army deploys ATMOS 2000 howitzers for operational tasking. The Philippine Army has deployed its Autonomous Truck Mounted howitzer System (ATMOS) 155 mm/52 calibre self-propelled artillery units to the service’s 10th Field Artillery ‘Rolling Thunder’ Battalion, marking the weapon system’s entry into operational status. The deployment was held on 21 September at Fort Magsaysay Military Reservation area in Nueva Ecija, which lies about 120 km north of Manila.
Videos of the deployment were released by the Philippine Army’s official social media channels on the same day. Philippine Army spokesperson Colonel Xerxes Trinidad told Janes on 27 June that the 10th Field Artillery Battalion operates under the service’s artillery regiment. He further described the 12 artillery pieces as equipment that will boost the army’s mobility and range and enhance its indirect fire-support capabilities. The Philippine Army took delivery of the ATMOS units in December 2021 and conducted a three-day live firing exercise from 6 to 8 April 2022. This event marked the first in-country training programme for the weapons. (Source: Janes)
22 Sep 22. MBDA unveils Land Precision Fires Family. MBDA’s ‘Land Precision Fires Family’ comprising Surface-Launched Brimstone and Land Precision Strike (LPS) are weapons that provide precision at layered ranges, operating 24/7 with low collateral effects across a wide range of operational scenarios, from peer conflict to a limited sub threshold operation. They will help commanders to win the deep fight and shape the close fight.
Mike Mew, UK Director Sales and Business Development: “The needs of the Army are clear and MBDA’s Future Portfolio, which contains the Land Precision Fires Family, can contribute to enabling CGS’s OP MOBILISE, accelerate Future Soldier, and meet key Land Industrial Strategy objectives. Working with the new Deep Recce Strike Brigade Combat Team is just one example of where MBDA is partnering with the Army to simplify and deliver precision-at-range complex weapons that are packed with the latest technology.”
Brimstone’s ‘one missile, multi-platform’ versatility is being showcased at DVD2022, including:
Brimstone on Boxer
The Brimstone on Boxer concept being showcased at DVD has been created by both RBSL and MBDA in response to British Army’s need for a Mounted Close Combat Overwatch (MCCO) capability, as part of its future anti-armour needs known as Battle Group Organic Anti-Armour (BGOAA). Engaging quickly to deliver precision anti-armour effects at long ranges, the Brimstone on Boxer mission module provides the capability for Heavy Combat Teams to repel adversary formations and single targets. Rapidly providing an initial capability with current equipment and then spirally developing with broader battlefield integration is at the heart of this concept.
Brimstone on High Mobility Transporter HMT600 series
The Brimstone on HMT600concept has been created by both Supacat and MBDA to provide the Light Forces tactical commander with a similar and complementary organic Overwatch capability to rapidly deliver precision anti-armour effects at long ranges and in volume. Potentially integrating with in-service equipment such as the Forsberg Fused Target Locator (FTL) and MANTIS Battlefield Management System and also spirally developing over time.
Land Precision Strike
Land Precision Strike (LPS) responds to the emerging artillery need to defeat high-value targets in the deep battle; targets which may be relocatable and fleeting in nature. So achieving a disproportional operational effect on the adversary.
MBDA is working closely with MOD stakeholders on LPS weapon system concepts that will offer land commanders a step change in capability against armour at range – achieving highly discriminate, highly precise and low collateral effects for both peer and sub-peer conflicts. The plan is to be able to fire the LPS missile from a range of launchers including M270 MLRS, satisfying MOD’s “one platform, many weapons” objective. (Source: ASD Network0
20 Sep 22. US Army missile teams will add robots and multi-payload rockets. Future Army missile crews may not be crews at all.
Or if they are, those crews will include fewer people, more robots and have their launchers spread out over vast distances with an array of new fires at their fingertips.
The future batteries could carry rockets that pull oxygen from the air mid-flight, track moving targets and deliver big booms or silent electronic attack.
These are some of the Army’s Combat Capabilities Development Command goals that Hunter Blackwell, an official with the command’s aviation and missile center, shared Monday at the National Defense Industrial Association’s annual Future Force Capabilities conference.
Blackwell laid out the priorities and challenges the Army missile community will face in the coming years.
Long-range precision fires have dominated recent modernization conversations, showing the service will lean heavily on its rockets and artillery in complex, cluttered and deadly future battles.
First, Blackwell noted, they’ll need to “break the enemy’s bubble” by eliminating anti-access, area-denial systems at all echelons. At the same time, they must protect friendly forces by getting fires with reach, range and speed beyond what’s currently available.
And to win, they’ll need to fire-on-the-move, to allow agile maneuver, putting the right force in the right spot at the right time. No more setting up guns and firing all day at various targets. It is shoot, move, shoot, all day long.
The most prominent, and so far promising system to get that done is the Army’s Precision Strike Missile program, under development by Lockheed Martin. The PrSM will replace the existing Army Tactical Missile System.
But the Army’s not simply building a bigger rocket with PrSM. As Defense News reported in 2021 during an early capability demonstration at Fort Sill, Oklahoma, developers expect systems such as PrSM to work in manned-unmanned teams.
That demonstration fired seven missiles from two rocket platforms, one manned, one unmanned, both offloaded from cargo planes to fire, and then loaded back on — simulating the quick setup, fire and takedown the Army needs.
“That means things like autonomy, platforms that can operate without the same soldier footprint to execute their mission. That gives us more firepower for the same soldier footprint,” Blackwell said.
Designers tackling the robot driver problem are working in the Autonomous Multi-Domain Launcher, or AML, program, Blackwell said.
Right now, they’re using the High Mobility Artillery Rocket System, or HIMARS, as the testbed for AML. By removing the cab and other items that support the human on the HIMARS, they add more space for, wait for it…more rockets.
But getting missiles to move around on automated trucks is one thing. The Army wants more from the actual munition. It needs to break past the current 500 kilometers range, and up to potentially 1,000 kilometers, Blackwell said.
Researchers are working the distance problem with solid rocket and alternate propulsion systems. Right now, nearly 80% of the fuel onboard the rocket is oxygen, Blackwell said. If they can successfully get the oxygen from the air en route to the target, that opens more space for more wicked effects inside the munition.
The warhead should strike and destroy a target on the move. That’s why future rocketeers and artillery soldiers must think in terms of where the target will be, not where it is.
The Army also wants “multi-mode seeker technology,” according to Blackwell. That tech will give the PrSM the ability to hit mobile, high-priority land and maritime targets.
Missile defenses that protect the rest of the soldiers on the battlefield would have to be available at all levels. Air defense systems run by missile teams would address low level threats to squads, platoons and higher-order, long range missiles. They’re not just watching the command post and leaving dispersed squads on their own.
It’s the economics of the fight: make the adversary use more expensive ammunition to counter less expensive munitions, Blackwell said.
That is a lesson learned on the U.S. side when fighting counterterrorism and counterinsurgency warfare in which cheap drones or shoulder-fired rockets plagued defenders with expensive missile defense systems, he added. (Source: Army Times)
20 Sep 22. F-35B aircraft conducts two StormBreaker weapon release tests.
The company said that after the release, both the weapons performed required flight behaviours. Raytheon Missiles & Defense together with the US Navy have successfully completed StormBreaker weapon release tests from a F-35B Lightning II aircraft.
The tests involved the release of two StormBreaker smart weapon guided test vehicles at a speed of 0.9 Mach. It is the fastest release performed by an F-35 aircraft.
The second smart weapon was deployed within 30 minutes of the first weapon’s release.
Raytheon claimed that the two weapons performed the required flight behaviours after being released from the aircraft.
This resulted in the completion of a seven shot rate capture series, which is necessary to propel the F-35B test programme into the next weapon capability evaluation phase.
Raytheon Missiles & Defense Air Power president Paul Ferraro said: “No other fielded air-to-surface weapon can accomplish what StormBreaker can against complex targets in contested environments.
“Tests like these continue progress on integrating StormBreaker into fifth-generation platforms in an effort to get this much needed capability to the US and allied war fighters as soon as possible.”
According to Raytheon, StormBreaker provides an increased loadout that allows it to engage more targets per sortie.
The weapon features multi-mode seeker, multi-effect warhead and effective target engagement.
It is an all-weather solution, capable of engaging both stationary and moving targets, from over 45 miles, even in poor visibility conditions.
In November 2021, the US Navy and Raytheon completed StormBreaker’s first drop test from F-35B aircraft.
The roadmap for StormBreaker’s integration now involves expansion to other crewed and uncrewed platforms, including the US Navy’s F/A-18 Super Hornet.
Earlier this year, the US Air Force has already declared initial operational capability for StormBreaker weapon on F-15E Strike Eagle aircraft. (Source: naval-technology.com)
20 Sep 22. Polish Bayraktar TB2 Drone Pilots Complete Training. A number of pilots of the Polish Army’s Bayraktar TB2 drone have completed training to operate this armed UAV made by the Turkish company Baykar Technologies.
Baykar announced that all pilots who underwent training had all passed. They will then operate the UCAV and serve as instructors for the next TB2 pilots. As is known, Poland purchased four sets of Bayraktar TB2 drones consisting of 24 units.
Polish Defense Minister Mariusz Blaszczak said the purchase of this drone was accompanied by anti-armored vehicle ammunition.
“The Polish army had to evolve with modern equipment. The security of our country must be guaranteed by a stronger and more equipped army. We strengthened the Polish army with Bayraktar. It was a proven weapon, an effective weapon to deter attackers. The Bayraktar contract includes a logistics and training package, and there is an offset for service by military companies,” Blaszczak explained in his statement to the press.
As for the Bayraktar TB2, this drone has soared its name thanks to the victories it has won in a number. Turkey has successfully exported Bayraktar TB2 drones to 23 countries including Ukraine, Qatar, Azerbaijan and Poland.
With Ukraine, Turkey has signed an agreement to manufacture a number of its drones in the country. In addition to the Bayraktar TB2, other drones to be built in Ukraine include the Bayraktar Akinci.
After exporting $664 m worth of S/UAV systems in 2021, Baykar is the top exporting company in defense and aerospace, according to data released by the Turkish Exporters Assembly. Baykar currently generates more than 90% of its revenue from exports. Negotiations are continuing with many countries interested in Bayraktar TB2. (Source: UAS VISION/YouTube)
19 Sep 22. The Evolution of the SIG SAUER MCX: Introducing the MCX-SPEAR-LT. SIG SAUER is pleased to announce the evolution of the most advanced and tested rifle platform in the world with the introduction of the MCX-SPEAR-LT. Built off the foundation of the MCX Virtus the third generation of the MCX combines all the extensive testing, continued product development, and customer/special operations feedback to become the MCX-SPEAR-LT.
“The first generation of the MCX platform was designed to be an AR-15 style platform with added modularity. The second generation of the MCX, the MCX Virtus, was purpose-built for rugged durability and brought unprecedented modularity. Now comes the MCX-SPEAR-LT, which incorporates the best of both generations and is the culmination of the latest research, development, and innovation in the MCX platform,” said Tom Taylor, Chief Marketing Officer and Executive Vice President, Commercial Sales, SIG SAUER, Inc. “The lightened handguard has the expected rigidity and durability of the MCX, the lower is a familiar SDI, M400-style lower and ambi-bolt catch and release that is designed to fit the legacy VIRTUS uppers for more versatility. The MCX-SPEAR-LT will accept AR-15 style triggers, in addition to the legacy triggers for even more flexibility in the MCX platform. With the MCX-SPEAR_LT also comes the long-awaited addition of the 7.62×39 caliber to the MCX family bringing even more modularity to a platform that simply can’t be matched. The evolution continues and the MCX-SPEAR-LT has raised the bar for modular weapons technology.”
The MCX-SPEAR-LT rifle is an aluminum frame rifle with a gas piston operating system featuring a lightweight ergonomic handguard, push-button folding stock with cheek-rest, and a cold hammer forged carbon steel barrel available in 9-inch (300BLK), 11.5-inch (7.62×39 & 5.56), and 16-inch (7.62×39 & 5.56) lengths. The rifle offers fully ambidextrous controls including bolt catch and release, a SIG QD suppressor-ready flash hider optimized for SIG SAUER QD suppressors, a SIG flatblade match trigger, comes optics ready and can be easily paired with a SIG SAUER Electro-Optics ROMEO8 or TANGO6T, and is finished in a Coyote Anodized finish. The MCX-SPEAR-LT is available is 300BLK, 556 NATO, 762×39 calibers.
Barrel Length: 9 inch
Caliber: 556 NATO
Barrel Length: 11.5 inch
Barrel Length: 11.5 inch
Caliber: 556 NATO
Barrel Length: 16 inch
Barrel Length: 16 inch
*For additional specs including weight, overall length, width, and height by model visit the product page at sigsauer.com.
The MCX-SPEAR-LT is now shipping and available at retailers. To learn more about the MCX-SPEAR-LT or watch the product video visit sigsauer.com.
21 Sep 22. Raytheon completes SRR-P for Glide Phase Interceptor.
With the completion of SRR-P, the company has now progressed to the preliminary design stage. Raytheon Missiles & Defense has successfully concluded the System Requirements Review—Prototype (SRR-P) for the Glide Phase Interceptor (GPI). The GPI prototype development is a part of the US Missile Defense Agency’s (MDA) effort to develop hypersonic weapon system. GPI is being designed to provide a new generation defence system to the US and its allied and partner nations to counter emerging hypersonic missile threats. The new system will be capable of intercepting hypersonic weapons in the glide phase of flight.
The latest milestone comes around three months after the US MDA awarded contract modifications to Raytheon and Northrop Grumman to continue the prototype development. The modifications award required both the companies to develop and hone the GPI prototype’s concepts. According to Raytheon, the latest SRR-P milestone builds on the company’s experience in developing ship-launched missile systems as well as its ability to mature hypersonic technologies.
Following the culmination of SRR-P, Raytheon has now moved to the next stage of preliminary design for GPI prototype.
Raytheon Missiles & Defense Strategic Missile Defence president Tay Fitzgerald said: “The Raytheon Missiles & Defense GPI concept employs a low-risk solution that uses proven Standard Missile (SM) technology already deployed on Aegis ships, while advancing critical technologies needed in the hypersonic environment.
“We have a firm understanding of the requirements, and we’re ready to continue GPI development. (Source: naval-technology.com)
15 Sep 22. US AFTC tests GBU-38 on B-52H with new load configurations.
This is the first time GBU-38 was tested on a B-52H aircraft with a mixed load configuration. Organisations from the US Air Force Test Center (AFTC) have evaluated B-52H Stratofortress’ capability to release a GBU-38 bomb with new load configurations.
The test was executed by Air Force Seek Eagle Office (AFSEO), under 96th Test Wing, Eglin Air Force Base (AFB) and Store Separation Section, Arnold Engineering Development Complex, Arnold AFB.
Aligned under AFTC, both the organisations used their expertise to test B-52H capability to release GBU-38 with multiple load configurations on heavy stores adapter beam (HSAB) in a 16ft transonic wind tunnel at Arnold AFB.
GBU-38 is a 500lb BLU-111/MK82 unguided free-fall bomb with joint direct attack munition (JDAM) guidance tail kit.
Conducting a ground test in wind tunnel allowed test personnel to control various conditions, including temperature, speed and altitude, crucial for gathering required data for a portion of flight envelope.
Besides, the store separation testing allowed measuring the forces and moments of test article, using strain gauges on a balance, while positioning the store in three ways, including pseudo-freestream, grid and trajectory.
Aerodynamics Test Branch test manager Austin Stewart said: “The test used pseudo-freestream positioning where store was placed far away from parent aircraft and then data at a large range of pitch and yaw angles was taken to determine forces and moments acting on store when it was exposed to tunnel air without interference from parent aircraft.
“Grid data was taken at increments along a line stepping away from release point of store on HSAB.
“This allowed interference of B-52H aircraft on store to be characterised. Trajectory data was taken on a closed-loop system.”
This test, according to AFTC, investigated interference flow fields generated by neighbouring stores, including GBU-31 precision-guided munition, CBU-87 dispenser and MK64 ER air-launched mine.
15 Sep 22. LM Delivers Its Highest Powered Laser to Date to U.S. Department of Defense. Lockheed Martin (NYSE: LMT) delivered to the Office of the Under Secretary of Defense for Research & Engineering OUSD (R&E) a new benchmark: a tactically-relevant electric 300 kW-class laser, the most powerful laser that Lockheed Martin has produced to date. This 300 kW-class laser is ready to integrate with the DOD demonstration efforts including the U.S. Army’s Indirect Fires Protection Capability-High Energy Laser (IFPC-HEL) Demonstrator laser weapon system.
The OUSD (R&E) selected Lockheed Martin in 2019 to scale its spectral beam combined high energy laser architecture to the 300 kW-class level as part of the High Energy Laser Scaling Initiative (HELSI), and the team recently achieved that milestone ahead of schedule.
“Lockheed Martin increased the power and efficiency and reduced the weight and volume of continuous-wave high energy lasers which reduces risk for future fielding efforts of high power laser weapon systems,” said Rick Cordaro, vice president, Lockheed Martin Advanced Product Solutions.
The HELSI laser will support demonstration efforts with the Army’s IFPC-HEL, which is scheduled for laboratory and field testing this year.
This recent HELSI delivery milestone also exemplifies Lockheed Martin’s commitment to 21st Century Security, developing advanced technologies that provide speed, agility, and mission solutions that help ensure the U.S. and its allies are always prepared for what’s ahead.
Lockheed Martin’s 300 kW-class high-energy laser design and build was enabled by significant investments in directed energy technology and the contributions of the company’s dedicated team in Washington state and Owego, New York. The team is applying more than 40 years of experience researching, designing, developing, and capturing electromagnetic energy and elevating its power to create innovative 21st century security solutions. (Source: ASD Network)
16 Sep 22. ‘SkyRange’ uncrewed aircraft to speed hypersonic testing by 2024. The Pentagon expects to complete the transfer of 24 decommissioned Global Hawk drones this month, advancing its plan to use the systems to support hypersonic testing as soon as 2024.
The RQ-4s are part of the SkyRange program, which aims to use unmanned aircraft to track hypersonic systems during flight tests. The U.S. Department of Defense has relied on ships to perform the mission, but it wants to increase the frequency and flexibility of testing, so the Test Resource Management Center is looking to autonomous airborne systems to take over that role.
The Pentagon is investing in hypersonic research and development efforts across the military services with the goal of fielding weapons and air vehicles that can travel and maneuver at speeds above Mach 5. In its fiscal 2023 budget request, DoD requested nearly $5 bn for hypersonic system development, up from just over $4 bn in the previous year. However, the Pentagon’s infrastructure isn’t sufficient to meet the high demand for flight test support, limiting it to about a dozen airborne demos a year.
George Rumford, TRMC’s acting director, told C4ISRNET in a recent interview that SkyRange is part of a focused effort within the department to pick up its testing cadence. The goal, based on guidance from Principal Director for Hypersonics Mike White, is to develop infrastructure that can support a “drumbeat” of one flight test per week.
“That is a big challenge to us,” Rumford said. “To be able to support 50-plus tests a year, you just can’t keep doing what you’re doing. You’ve got to do something different. And SkyRange is doing something different.”
The benefit of using autonomous aircraft for test support, Rumford said, is flexibility. Flights aren’t limited to a fixed range location because the infrastructure is airborne.
The drones will have a central hub in North Dakota — a UAV and aviation business park called Grand Sky — but the plan is for them to travel to forward operating stations near where a test is needed. Rather than require programs wait in line for a ship to be available or have an event delayed because of maintenance on the vessel, SkyRange is designed to adjust to individual program schedules and needs.
“That means if they want to test in the Pacific, we can go test in the Pacific. If they want to test in the Atlantic, we can test in the Atlantic,” he said. “We can go to where they need to go, which is very different than where it is today. . . . You can’t just reposition a bunch of ships from the Pacific over to the Atlantic in a timely fashion.”
Rumford added that while it can take a ship 21 days to be positioned and outfitted for a flight test, an autonomous aircraft can be ready to support within hours of the activity. The use of unmanned aircraft also improves testing data because the system can fly closer to the hypersonic flight path.
From Global Hawk to Range Hawk
TRMC has been experimenting with the SkyRange concept — in partnership with the Air Force and NASA — for several years, making investments in the sensor and instrumentation technology that will fly on the aircraft and using older-model Global Hawks to demonstrate feasibility.
The program has three Block 10 RQ-4s, one of which is a pre-production aircraft, retrofitted to what it calls Range Hawks because of their new mission.
Following Congress’ 2021 approval of the Air Force’s plan to retire its Block 20 and 30 Global Hawks, the program arranged to receive those aircraft as well. Last October, TRMC accepted four Block 20 Global Hawks from the Air Force and expects to complete the transfer of 20 Block 30 systems by the end of this month.
Northrop Grumman, which built the Global Hawk, will perform the conversions and TRMC is in the process of negotiating how many aircraft will be delivered in the first batch. The plan is for the initial Range Hawks to be ready to support testing in 2024.
It takes at least several months to retrofit a single aircraft, Rumford said, starting with a full system overhaul to ensure the system is up to date on maintenance. The conversion itself is largely focused on readying the RQ-4 to perform a new mission in which it looks up at the targets it is tracking rather than down, as it was originally designed. This involves repositioning onboard avionics and installing new sensors and instrumentation suites that can track a hypersonic vehicle flying overhead. Rumford noted that TRMC has a separate contract with instrumentation providers to perform those installations.
Beyond the initial Block 20 and 30 Global Hawks, the program is tracking the Air Force’s plans to retire its Block 40 RQ-4s in 2027, which could present an opportunity to grow the Range Hawk fleet by nine aircraft. Rumford said TRMC is also looking to take in some retired MQ-9 Reapers, which can carry instrumented pods to provide telemetry and flight safety support. The team is working with General Atomics, the MQ-9 manufacturer, to explore the optimal ways to outfit the Reaper for SkyRange.
Can satellites be used for hypersonic testing?
The program is also in the early phases of studying how satellites could be used to support hypersonic testing, Rumford said. Over the next few years, TRMC and the office of the principal director for hypersonics will work with the Space Development Agency, the Space Force and the Army to prototype the concept, exploring how to better leverage space assets for the SkyRange mission.
“That will be a game changer,” Rumford said. “We’ll see what the study shows, but the real question is how many systems are we going to have to be able to support testing and what’s the density going to be?”
Another question is whether the program would have its own dedicated satellite constellation or be dependent on an existing fleet. The answer will need to balance availability concerns with the cost of a standalone system, he said.
Rumford said he expects the team to develop a strategy for satellite support by 2025, with several experiments and prototyping efforts planned between now and then.
“Sometimes when people think study, they just think it’s all a paper exercise,” he said. “But I’ve tasked them to demonstrate that actual hardware can be developed and engineered and proven to help inform this decision.” (Source: C4ISR & Networks)
19 Sep 22. Directed energy weapons for the ADF. Opinion: A recent report from the US Congressional Research Service (CRS) on the development and application of directed energy weapons has timely insight for Australia’s Defence Strategic Review on the application of directed energy weapons in the Australian Defence Force, writes defence analyst and former naval officer Christopher Skinner.
The report concludes by noting potential issues and questions for Congress including technological maturity, cost, weapon characteristics, mission utility, defense industrial base, intelligence requirements, coordination within the US Department of Defense and the applicability of arms control, thus far.
The idea of death rays or similar beamed effects has been around for decades in fiction and occasional published tests and trials, but the hard reality is that there has not been much achieved in spite of significant investment. The CRS report provides descriptions and progress reports of the dozen or so directed energy programs run by the three primary armed services, Air Force, Army and Navy, from which it concludes there has been progress but more work to be done.
For Australia there are potential applications in all domains, excepting the undersea domain where laser effects are severely limited and microwave entirely ineffective. Examples that Australia should be thinking about for the next 10 to 20 years include non-kinetic air defence for land and seaborne application, especially with the rapid increase in use of lethal autonomous uncrewed vehicle (AUV) attacks, especially when operated in swarms.
Other applications include dazzling or blinding space and airborne sensors being used in intelligence gathering, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) roles.
Challenges for all these applications include the energy needed to generate the effects, the ability to focus the energy sufficiently, accurately and for long enough to produce the required effects, and the practical means to field the directed energy weapon for practical use in air, land or sea environments.
Then there are all the usual concerns about cost, industrial capacity to deliver the directed energy weapon systems when their design matured and have been accepted, the need for an approved concept for operations and dealing with the training, logistic support and other aspects of sustainment.
One feature that is less traditional is the applicable international arms control regime where there is already a prohibition on blinding lasers that are specifically designed to cause permanent blindness to unenhanced human vision. This prohibition does not extend to collateral injury from use of such weapons where their primary function is defence against ISR or kinetic attack.
An interesting case study is the installation of the Solid State Laser Technology Maturation (SSL-TM) as a 150-kilowatt Laser Weapons System Demonstrator (LWSD) in USS Portland (LPD-27) to test and evaluate defence against unmanned aerial systems (UAS), small boats and ISR sensors. This prototype will not be followed by wider fitment suggesting there are still many issues to address.
The CRS report cites the US Defence Department Roadmap for Directed Energy Weapons as intended to deal with anti-ship cruise and land attack cruise missiles and aircraft close combat over the current decade, with defence against ballistic and hypersonic cruise missiles in the decade beyond.
For Australia, the following issues are worthy of consideration in the Strategic Review:
- Lessons from the Russian invasion of Ukraine especially the very large usage of kinetic weapon stocks.
- Vulnerability of Russian ships to land-based lethal unmanned aerial systems.
- Ubiquity of air and space-based surveillance platforms with sensors vulnerable to dazzling by directed energy weapons.
- Provision of compact high energy density sources for DE weapon systems.
- Australian industrial base for manufacture of DE weapons under licence.
- Research, development, test and evaluation (RDT&E) capacity within Australia to develop DE weapons.
- The need to anticipate the future formulation of arms control constraints on some uses of DE weapons and how such constraints should be taken into consideration for their effective use.
The latter issue is especially important if, as is feasible, the use of DE weapons becomes a highly effective defence against swarmed drone or cruise missile attacks even extending to hypersonic cruise or ballistic missiles. Australia must be at the front of this innovative approach to defence. (Source: Defence Connect)
13 Sep 22. MORANA, unveiled at EUROSATORY 2022 and displayed at MSPO 2022 last week, is a 155mm SPH (self-propelled howitzer) on an 8×8 TATRA chassis, writes Bob Morrison.
An evolution of the successful Czechoslovak DANA ShKH vz.77 152mm self-propelled howitzer, the Czech 155mm MORANA from EXCALIBUR ARMY is a possible contender for a number of forthcoming NATO artillery requirements ~ including the British Army’s Mobile Fires Platform to replace the L131 AS90 tracked howitzer; note this UK MFP requirement has not yet been formally launched, but many suspect that a mix of tracked and wheeled platforms might be chosen to accompany the revised armoured and mechanised formations respectively.
When displayed indoors at Eurosatory 2022 in Paris in June, inside a hall full of visitors who prevented a clear view of the vehicle, it was a little difficult to appreciate the size of this comparatively large yet not infeasibly tall wheeled 155mm 52 calibre artillery system, but when seen outdoors at MSPO in Kielce with its gun elevated it looked to be a very capable package indeed. Able to be operated by just three (commander, gunner and driver) but with four crew seats in the STANAG 4569 Level 2 armoured Puma cab, the fully automated MORANA can lob standard NATO 155mm rounds over 41km, at a rate of six rounds per minute courtesy of its auto-loader, and carries 45 ready rounds stowed on board;it can also be used in the direct fire role out to 5,000 metres.
Precise dimensions and specifications of this new prototype have not been released but we know the base tubular chassis is a Tatra 8×8, powered by a 600hp engine through an automatic transmission with a top road speed of 60km/h being claimed. To maximise off-road performance, all wheels are steerable and a central tyre inflation system (CTIS) is fitted. In addition to being able to self-deploy over long distances with minimal maintenance, unlike tracked self-propelled howitzers which require a transporter for long road moves and regular track maintenance after moving any great distance, MORANA has also been designed for long range transportation across Europe’s rail network. (Source: www.joint-forces.com)
15 Sep 22. Indonesia pulls plug on strike-capable military UAV programme.
Indonesia will no longer be developing its Elang Hitam (Black Eagle) medium-altitude long-endurance (MALE) unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) programme as a military platform.
Chairman of the country’s National Research and Innovation Agency (BRIN) Laksana Tri Handoko confirmed with Janes on 15 September that resources from the project, which would have armed the country’s air force with indigenously developed strike-capable UAVs, are being diverted towards civil initiatives instead.
His confirmation corroborates information that has been provided to Janes by industry sources since mid-2022, indicating that the Elang Hitam is at risk of being continued as a military project.
This effectively suspends the country’s national ambition of developing a home-grown MALE UAV with military applications, which has been listed as one of the ‘strategic projects’ of President Joko Widodo, as outlined under the third Presidential Decree of 2016. (Source: Janes)
16 Sep 22. Lockheed Martin’s 300kW-class laser ready to support US DoD efforts. The laser was developed as part of the High Energy Laser Scaling Initiative. Lockheed Martin has handed over a new tactical electric 300kW-class laser to support the US Department of Defense’s (DoD) demonstration efforts.
The laser was delivered to the Office of the Under Secretary of Defense for Research & Engineering [OUSD (R&E)] ahead of schedule.
As part of the High Energy Laser Scaling Initiative (HELSI), the OUSD (R&E) in 2019 had contracted Lockheed Martin to upgrade its spectral beam combined high energy laser architecture to the 300kW-class level.
Lockheed Martin Advanced Product Solutions vice-president Rick Cordaro said: “Lockheed Martin increased the power and efficiency and reduced the weight and volume of continuous-wave high energy lasers, which reduces risk for future fielding efforts of high-power laser weapon systems.”
The company noted that the 300kW-class, high-energy laser development was a result of major investments in directed energy technology.
According to Lockheed Martin, the laser integration will also support DoD demonstration efforts with the Indirect Fires Protection Capability-High Energy Laser (IFPC-HEL) Demonstrator laser weapon system.
The US Army’s IFPC-HEL will undergo laboratory and field testing this year. It has been developed to safeguard fixed and semi-fixed sites from threats such as rockets, artillery, and mortars, and fixed, rotary wing, and uncrewed aerial systems.
The company’s team in US locations Owego, New York, and Washington helped build its HEL technology.
In February this year, Lockheed Martin partnered with Microsoft to advance 5G.MIL technologies and support secure connectivity across US DoD systems, covering various domains. (Source: army-technology.com)