11 Oct 22. US Army test will show how many shots its long-range cannon can take. The U.S. Army is counting on a major operational test of its Extended Range Cannon Artillery system to help it answer several questions, such as how well the longer gun tube can handle a heavy amount of firing, according to the program’s leader and the service’s acquisition chief. Many factors are at play with the development of a longer-range cannon that uses a 58-caliber gun tube mounted on the chassis of a Paladin Integrated Management howitzer. Observations in early testing of prototypes are showing excessive wear on the gun tube after firing a relatively low number of rounds.
“New ammunition is as much of the challenge with the program as it is the weapon system,” Doug Bush, the Army’s acquisition chief, told Defense News in an interview ahead of the Association of the U.S. Army’s annual conference.
“So we’ll know a lot more when we actually get through our testing and then get into the operational evaluations in terms of how long [of a] time between maintenance [is] required — reliability, basically,” he added.
Improving the rate of fire before the gun tube requires replacement could be achieved by adjustments in materials used and the design of the gun tube, adjustments to propellants, and the design of artillery rounds fired from the cannon, according to Col. Rory Crooks, the head of the Army’s Long Range Precision Fires Cross-Functional Team
The Army is currently building 20 prototypes of the ERCA system: two for destructive testing and the remaining 18 for a battalion set to receive the weapons by the fourth quarter of fiscal 2023. That unit will then run the cannons through a yearlong operational test.
The Army is on track to deliver those systems, Crooks told Defense News in a recent interview. That means the service will have built 20 prototypes in less than three years.
The Army has been putting together the ERCA systems across several different locations, including New York’s Watervliet Arsenal, which makes the gun tubes. Their final integration will occur at Picatinny Arsenal in New Jersey, after which they’ll head to Yuma Proving Grounds in Arizona for characterization testing.
The Army is continuously working to improve the quality of the gun tube during manufacturing at Watervliet so they can “hold up under conditions we want. That is not something you do on Day One; that is an ongoing process,” Bush said.
Seeing how the gun tube interacts with the new propellants and new rounds, as well as how they perform under operational conditions, will prove informative, he added. “I think, for now, we believe there are technology adjustments and technique adjustments we can make to address [the issues], but it’s too early to say for sure. So it’s definitely a watch item.”
“The physics that are associated with the 58-caliber [gun tube] are different than the physics that are associated with a 39-caliber,” Crooks said, “and so the more iterations we get out of the tests on this 58-caliber tube at the supercharge ranges that we’re employing, the more we address each of the things that come up.
“But we’ve certainly made accommodations with a different breech, and it was regarding tube wear. This is something that, as we get more information, as we apply different approaches thanks to [science and technology] work, we’re going to continue to get after it.”
One possible solution could be using ramjet artillery currently in development. The Army is exploring a 155mm ramjet capability, but in order for the service to invest more time, Crooks noted, the technology must “meet certain criteria, which is the cost. Costs have to be something that should not be on par with what rockets cost,” Crooks said. “And they need to be lethal.” (Source: Defense News)
10 Oct 22. New IAF branch for weapon systems operators. The Indian government has approved the creation of a new branch for weapon systems (WS) personnel in the Indian Air Force (IAF).
In a statement on 8 October, India’s Ministry of Defence (MoD) said that the “creation of the WS branch would entail unification of all weapon system operators under one entity dedicated to the operational employment of all ground-based and specialist airborne weapon systems”.
Earlier that day, IAF’s Chief of the Air Staff, Air Chief Marshal V R Chaudhari, said that the new branch will encompass personnel in four specialised streams: surface-to-surface missile units, surface-to-air missile units, operators of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), and WS operators in twin or multicrewed aircraft. He was speaking during the 90th Air Force Day parade held in Chandigarh. (Source: Janes)
12 Oct 22. Booz Allen Announces Creation of HELworks. HELworks designed to bring Directed Energy and High Energy Laser products to meet the needs of warfighters in the modern battlespace.
Booz Allen Hamilton (NYSE: BAH) announced today the creation of HELworks, an innovative developer of directed energy and high energy laser (HEL) weapon systems designed to meet the needs of warfighters in the modern battlespace.
Booz Allen has made significant investment in independent research and development projects focused on developing directed energy solutions over the past 5 years, based in the firm’s understanding of Department of Defense (DOD) needs and mission requirements. HELworks leverages Booz Allen’s 25-plus year heritage of directed energy expertise to optimize size, weight, and power (SWaP); deliver enhanced military utility; and provide rapid deployment of first-of-its-kind HEL solutions.
“HELworks is another successful example of Booz Allen’s innovation strategy, technical expertise, and deep mission understanding converging to deliver critical solutions to today’s warfighters,” said Susan Penfield, Booz Allen’s chief technology officer. “HELworks demonstrates our ongoing commitment to meet modern warfighter needs, understand and support their toughest missions, and uncover and validate cutting-edge technologies. We have matured a portfolio of highly relevant directed energy solutions and delivered systems to the warfighter for operational test and evaluation—and the time is right to organizationally align this capability into a structure that will enable continued innovation and system development in a highly focused way.”
Despite growing threats from asymmetric warfare, rocket-assisted munitions, drones, and more, directed energy weapon systems have consistently remained too heavy, too large, and too under-powered for widespread deployment. HELworks will leverage Booz Allen’s strong R&D investment to date with experience gained from initial HEL prototype deliveries to solve these ongoing challenges.
There are initially three products in the HELworks family: HEL MEP, MCHEL, and LightEngine. Each offers favorable SWaP profiles, optimizing target lethality and operational mission relevance.
HEL MEP: The High Energy Laser Mission Equipment Package (HEL MEP) is a conjoined kinetic and non-kinetic weapon system designed for use in Stryker armored vehicles. HEL MEP brings together LightEngine by HELworks; a beam director and weapon fire control/tracking/targeting system by Blue Halo; and the Reconfigurable Integrated-weapons Platform (RIwP®), a kinetic weapons turret by Moog.
MCHEL: The Modular Compact High Energy Laser, or MCHEL (pronounced “Michelle”), is designed for static-on-static ground engagements. MCHEL is a complete HEL system tailored to the precision-strike mission set, equipped for firing times up to 1 minute at up to 12 kw of power. Unique features of this system include a modular configuration that can be moved and assembled by a two-operator team; a transportable solution with rugged cases that fit into relevant vehicles for expeditious movement; and, most fundamentally, the smallest, lightest, and most portable HEL weapon for its use case.
LightEngine: Booz Allen’s breakthrough, low-SWaP LightEngine is a fully integrated and risk-reduced meta-subsystem consisting of power, cooling, lasers, control, and integrated packaging. It supports deep-magazine capability with minimal impact to and demand from the platform itself and can be easily integrated with third-party beam combinations, beam directors, and other components.
Operational MCHEL prototypes have already been designed, developed, field-tested, and delivered, and HELworks is planning to conduct initial field testing of HEL MEP (including its LightEngine subsystem) in the coming months. HELworks is headquartered in Fredericksburg, Virginia, home to a design and development facility that specializes in rapid prototyping and integration of HEL systems. There is a second HELworks facility in Knoxville, Tennessee, a 15,000 square foot, world-class laser weapons integration facility, which features additional spaces dedicated to prototype design, development, test, production, and integration efforts. HELworks personnel represent the best from across industry and bring together the experience of 60 different directed energy programs over the past 35 years.
“HEL weapons will be key to achieving overmatch and defeating emerging threats on the modern battlefield,” said Joe Shepherd, president and CEO of HELworks. “Booz Allen’s significant investment in HEL technology maturation and operational prototypes ensures that HELworks solutions are operationally relevant and producible at scale—ready for use by warfighters, today. We are proud to be on the forefront of innovation and mission-focused leaders in this area.”
Learn more about HELworks and its mission to bring directed energy innovation to address the most pressing operational needs of the nation’s warfighters. (Source: BUSINESS WIRE)
11 Oct 22. Royal Navy’s new anti-ship missiles ready for front-line operations after key trials.
- Martlet and Sea Venom are the Royal Navy’s new air-to-surface anti-ship missiles
- A specially modified Wildcat helicopter conducted extensive trials, fully and partly ‘tooled up’ with the missiles in the Atlantic and Mediterranean
- Aviators and engineers say the tests exceeded expectation and are key to the missiles’ future operation
Month-long trials in the Atlantic have paved the way for global operations using Navy’s new ship-busting missiles.
Martlet and Sea Venom – the Navy’s two new air-to-surface anti-ship missiles – have completed extensive tests in the hands of expert aviators and scientists and a Wildcat helicopter.
The trials in the Atlantic and Mediterranean will help write the manual for using the weapon in various weather and sea conditions – allowing Fleet Air Arm aviators to take out small and large threats to the Fleet.
Both missiles come under the banner of the Future Anti-Surface Guided Weapon:
- Martlet, a light missile weighing just 13kg, intended for smaller/lightly-protected targets
- Sea Venom, with ten times the punch of Martlet for larger, more heavily armoured warships.
Fitting either on special ‘weapon wings’ affects the way the helicopter handles, so to determine the boundaries for safe flying – known as Ship Helicopter Operating Limits – a specially-modified Wildcat, packed with sensors, joined aviation training ship RFA Argus for a month.
A myriad conditions impact on the performance of a helicopter: wind speed, direction and air flow over the deck, humidity, temperature, the sea state, pitch and roll of the deck, as well as the weight and configuration of the aircraft itself.
Argus sailed more than 8,000 miles in the Atlantic, mostly between the Canary Islands and Cape Verde, and then into the Mediterranean, chasing different weather conditions.
Around 30 people – aircrew, scientists, meteorologists, test pilots/engineers and technicians from across the Navy, MOD, science and industry – were involved in the trials, which saw the Wildcat from 815 Naval Air Squadron land and take off more than 900 times in different conditions/with different payloads by day and night.
Once analysed, the data will guide air/ground crew – from those straight out of training to the most experienced Fleet Air Arm aviators – in operating a Martlet/Sea Venom-armed Wildcat on frigates, destroyers, auxiliaries and Queen Elizabeth-class carriers.
From initial results, the team say the trials exceeded expectations as the Wildcat clocked up 87 hours with weapons loads in seven different configurations, with the helicopter on occasions loaded up to more than six tonnes.
Commander Joe Dransfield, Commander of the Wildcat Maritime Force sent “a massive thank-you from the front line” to the trials team, hailing the work done as “a sensational result built on great team working and investment through planning and execution.”
Martlet was fired on deployment for the first time last autumn during HMS Queen Elizabeth’s mission to the Pacific.
It’s intended to take out smaller threats to the Fleet – fast attack craft, motor boats, patrol boats with its 3kg explosive charge as Martlet smashes into its target at twice the speed of sound.
Sea Venom is twice the size, has more than double the range and is fitted with a 30kg charge. Each Wildcat can carry up to four – or a combination of Sea Venom and Martlets. (Source: https://www.gov.uk/)
10 Oct 22. Next Generation Squad Weapon on target for 2023. By next year, the Army expects to field its first true replacement for the squad rifle and automatic rifle in a brand-new caliber.
The Next Generation Squad Weapon rifle and automatic rifle variants, chambered in 6.8 mm, mark the first substantial change to U.S. military small arms since the adoption of the M16 in 1964.
The Army selected Sig Sauer to build the weapon and refine the cartridge earlier this year. The company won the Army’s Modular Handgun System contract in 2017, replacing the Beretta M9 that had been in service since the 1980s.
Shooting farther with more punch: The Army finally found an M4 and SAW replacement
Soldiers, special operators and Marines in the near future will carry a first-of-its kind rifle and light machine gun.
By Todd South
The current program value is slated at $4.7bn for the weapon contract and another $2.7bn for the associated NGSW-Fire Control, which was awarded to Vortex Optics and Sheltered Wings in early 2022.
The weapon will replace the M4 and M249 Squad Automatic Weapon for the close combat forces, which includes special operations, infantry, scouts and combat engineers. (Source: Defense News Early Bird/Army Times)
11 Oct 22. DSIT Solutions Will Present a Comprehensive Torpedo Defence System for Surface Vessels at EURONAVAL 2022. The system includes DSIT’s Hull Mounted Sonar (HMS) system integrated with RAFAEL’s Anti-Torpedo Defence System (ATDS). DSIT Solutions Ltd. (DSIT) ‒ one of the world’s leaders in underwater defence and security solutions, offering advanced, state-of-the-art sonar and acoustics technologies for naval, homeland security, and energy applications ‒ will present, together with parent company RAFAEL Advanced Defense Systems, a comprehensive, integrated Torpedo Defence System (TDS) for surface vessels.
The system includes DSIT’s Hull Mounted Sonar (HMS) system and RAFAEL’s Anti-Torpedo Defence System (ATDS) – comprised of the SCUTTER Mk3 3rd generation torpedo soft-kill decoy and the TORBUSTER SP hard-kill solution. The comprehensive system can be installed on variety of surface vessels and serve as part of a complete protection suite that includes automatic torpedo detection, classification, and alerts, as well as soft and hard-kill capabilities.
DSIT’s HMS systems deliver outstanding performance due to their multiple cutting-edge capabilities, enabling early torpedo detection and warning that allows the vessel to perform evasive maneuvers and anti-torpedo defence actions. Operating in Active, Passive, and Intercept modes with a high probability of detection of any approaching torpedo, DSIT’s HMS systems provide exceptionally rapid torpedo classification in all its operating modes. Optionally operating 24/7 under all weather and sea conditions, and while the ship is underway, the system simultaneously tracks and processes multiple targets, delivering highly accurate 360° detection with a negligible number of false alarms. Due to its automatic torpedo alert capabilities, an operator is needed only when the system sends an alert regarding an approaching torpedo. DSIT’s HMS systems are offered in a variety of configurations that are suitable for almost any size, new or existing ship.
Mr. Hanan Marom, VP BD & Marketing for DSIT Solutions, said, “We are proud to launch, together with RAFAEL, our parent company, the next-generation, compact, advanced Torpedo Defence System. DSIT HMS systems provide ships with advanced threat detection capabilities, improving survivability and mission effectiveness in contested environments. The updated HMS systems were designed to detect all types of torpedoes, including the most modern ones. In addition, thanks to advanced signal processing and algorithms, the system enables highly accurate detection and automatic alert capabilities, which interface with any ship’s Combat Management System (CMS) and any torpedo countermeasure systems.”
Mr. Yoram Israeli, Marketing and BD Director at RAFAEL’s Naval Directorate, said: “RAFAEL and DSIT are leading players in the complex naval security arena. DSIT’s work has led to breakthroughs in developing precise defence solutions for the most significant defence threats against all kinds of torpedoes. The innovations from the labs of the two companies have brought about new systems that have proven their effectiveness in the underwater naval sphere for both submarines as well as surface vessels. We are excited to be presenting the companies’ comprehensive Anti-Torpedo Defence system (ATDS) which is capable of bolstering the Torpedo defence of the world’s navies.”
10 Oct 22. Spike missile heads toward long-range precision munition shoot-off. Lockheed Martin and Rafael Advanced Defense Systems recently completed test flights in Israel to prepare for a shoot-off this fall meant to help the U.S. Army choose a long-range precision weapon for its AH-64E Apache helicopters and its future attack reconnaissance aircraft.
Long-range munitions for the service’s future aircraft will be critical to engage an enemy’s defensive positions from a comfortable standoff — or a range beyond the enemy’s detection.
The American-Israeli tie-up is the only team to go public with its participation and its offering. However, the Army has revealed it chose three systems to participate in the shoot-off at Dugway Proving Ground, Utah, later this month.
The results will inform a final requirements document for a long-range precision munition and validate the maturity of potential solutions.
The Lockheed-Rafael offering is the latter’s latest version of its Spike Non-Line-of-Sight missile. Lockheed made the weapon compatible to fire from the Army’s Modular Effects Launcher, which is currently in development, according to Tom Bargnesi, a senior program manager with the company.
The Spike weapon received integration improvements to meet U.S. standards, he said, adding: “That is not in the international version.”
Lockheed is also working on data links it hopes will be compatible with U.S. systems, he noted.
Rafael unveiled its sixth-generation version of the Spike NLOS munition ahead of the Eurosatory defense show in Paris, France, in June. The new variant has an increased range, pushing beyond 40 kilometers (25 miles) to a range of 50 kilometers (31 miles).
The next-generation version “is more compatible with the Army’s requirements for its LRPM program” than the interim system the Army chose several years ago — an earlier version of the Spike NLOS.
The Army chose Rafael and Lockheed to provide Spike NLOS as the interim capability for its Apache helicopters in early 2020. The team signed a contract with the service in November 2021.
The first Apache equipped with the interim Spike NLOS for testing will begin flying in November. Then the helo will fire its first missile in January 2023, Bargnesi said earlier this year.
The company will outfit two test birds, he said, after which the Army will install Spike on the remaining Apaches — the latest V6 helicopter variant — for the first unit equipped by the end of 2023. Fielding will conclude at the end of fiscal 2024.
Lockheed and Rafael said the shoot-off for Spike will take place Oct. 17-28. The event will not take place in the air, Bargnesi noted, but rather from the ground based on the Army’s requirements.
During the tests in Israel, the team “replicated the exact shoot-off scenarios that the Army is asking [for],” he added. (Source: Defense News)
07 Oct 22. Hanwha’s K9 artillery solutions proven compatible with US munitions. On September 14th , South Korea’s leading defense company Hanwha Defense Co.—through its US subsidiary Hanwha Defense USA—and the U.S. Army Combat Capabilities Development Command Armaments Center (DEVCOM AC), successfully proved the compatibility of the K9 Thunder SelfPropelled Howitzer (SPH) and K10 Ammunition Resupply Vehicle (ARV) with a variety of US munitions. Witnessed by over 60 invitees across the U.S. Army and allied nations, the live-fire demonstration took place at Yuma Proving Ground, AZ, where Hanwha’s artillery solutions —K9A1 SPH and K10 ARV—loaded and fired different types of U.S. ammunition, including 155mm M795 projectiles, XM1113 Rocket Assisted Projectiles (RAP), and Modular Artillery Charge System (MACS) charges. The demonstration consisted of three major events—automated resupply of U.S. projectiles by the K10 ARV; firing of M795 projectiles to demonstrate K9A1’s capabilities of Shoot-and-Scoot, Burst Fire, and Rapid Rate of Fire capabilities; and lastly, firing of XM1113 RAP from the K9A1 SPH. The demonstration started with the automated loading of U.S. ammunitions into the K10 ARV, while the attendees witnessed the compatibility of both M795 and XM1113 with K10’s automated ammunition handling system, in addition to the efficient resupply of the self-propelled gun with no manual effort. The K9A1 demonstrated its signature ‘Shoot-and-Scoot’ capability, where it fired multiple M795 projectiles and immediately moved to a different location, showcasing the vehicle’s agility to avoid potential counter-fire.
During the Burst Fire and Rate of Fire segments of the event, the 155mm/52-calibre artillery, operated by Hanwha gun crew, fired three rounds in 16 seconds, and six rounds in 45 seconds, respectively, with minimal physical effort. In the final segment of the event, the K9A1 fired XM1113 RAP that achieved a range in excess of 50 km. This was the first time that the US Army had tested the XM1113 with a foreign artillery solution. This live demonstration was conducted under the Cooperative Research and Development Agreement (CRADA) framework signed in 2021 with the aim of assessing the feasibility, performance, and capabilities of carrying and firing the US munitions by the Hanwha artillery platforms. “The demonstration successfully met all of its CRADA objectives, having shown the full interoperability of K9 and K10 vehicles with US munitions and charges, in addition to the extended range, shoot and scoot and high rate of fire of the K9 system,” said John Kelly, President and CEO of Hanwha Defense USA. “The collaboration with DEVCOM AC and the U.S. Army Test and Evaluation Command (ATEC) at Yuma has been excellent.” The vehicles used in the demonstration will be showcased at 2022 AUSA Annual Exhibition & Conference, in Washington DC alongside further discussions with DEVCOM AC and the Army about future cooperation opportunities. The 155mm/52-calibre K9 Thunder is the world’s most popular tracked self-propelled howitzer with over 1,700 units are in service with nine countries around the globe. The howitzer can deliver consistent, accurate, rapid effects at +40km range with high rates and volumes of fire. Following the modifications to the K9A1 version, the artillery system is being upgraded to the newer K9A2 variant equipped with a fully automatic ammunition handling system. The autoloading K9A2 can fire over nine rounds per minute, with just three crewmembers.
07 Oct 22. ‘Iron Beam’ laser may soon join Israel’s Iron Dome, Rafael says. An Israeli defense company expects its laser weapon will be operational in two to three years and incorporated into the Iron Dome air defense system.
Rafael Advanced Defense Systems sees it high-energy Iron Beam system as the beginning of a new era in the use of lasers to counter missile, drone and mortar threats. The Israeli government’s Directorate of Defense Research and Development allocated funds for the technology earlier this year following Rafael’s announcement of a technological breakthrough in its Iron Beam effort.
At the time, Defense Minister Benny Gantz said the country was moving toward a dramatic change in warfare and security. Israel’s previous prime minister, Naftali Bennett, also expressed enthusiasm about the system. Elections in Israel next month will likely see the formation of a new government.
In April, the laser system was successfully tested and shown to U.S. President Joe Biden during a visit to Israel. The director general of the Defense Ministry, retired Maj. Gen. Amir Eshel, presented the remains of a UAV and a mortar that the system intercepted by at the time.
defense attache in Israel Brig. Gen. Shawn Harris tour Israel’s Iron Beam laser defense system on July 13, 2022. (Gil Cohen-Magen/AFP via Getty Images)
Michael Lurie, who currently runs the firm’s land maneuver systems directorate and is the incoming CEO of Rafael’s U.S. branch, said work on the laser system stemmed from the “huge cost” of intercepting aerial threats to Israel.
Faced with threats primarily from rockets and missiles, Rafael had developed David’s Sling and Iron Dome, part of a multilayered integrated air defense system. But “there was a huge cost with each interception, and the Ministry of Defense asked us to look at a new system — a complementary system that is part of Iron Dome that uses a laser energy interceptor,” Lurie told Defense News.
Reducing the cost per interception is important, Lurie said. “Do you launch a million-dollar rocket against a drone? You need something else, and we see a lot of countries looking into this.”
The U.S. Navy, for example, tested a laser system on a ship in December, and then executed another laser test in April at White Sands Missile Range, New Mexico.
Like other companies, Rafael has been working on laser technology for several years, but recent breakthroughs are making deployment more realistic. For instance, the power of Rafael’s laser has increased to about 100 kilowatts, as opposed to its previous level of 10-20 kilowatts.
Lurie explained that for a laser to be effective, its system must be able to detect a threat and track it. “It’s like putting a beam on a target the size of a dime at about 10 kilometers. This dime is flying through the air and it is moving sideways, and you have to keep your beam on it; this is a challenge.”
Having proved Iron Beam works, he said, “the Israeli military would like it immediately; a two- to three-year effort [to deploy it operationally] is more reasonable — that’s what it is going to take to get a system up and working.”
He predicts that once the system is operational, Israel will quickly deploy it. “We won’t have to wait a lot. Once it works, then it will see operations in weeks or months, and we can adjust and adapt and change things — and get it even better.”
Lurie noted that one issue with laser technology is that, even if they can be made more powerful and their systems made small enough for practical purposes, distance and weather can still impact their utility, not to mention it takes time to burn a target. Rafael would not, however, specify the distance at which the current system operates. Reports have estimated its range at 7 kilometers (4 miles).
Still, the Iron Beam’s laser can reach a threat faster than a rocket interceptor, meaning the laser could potentially engage targets before they cross Israel’s border, Lurie said. While the system relies on the same multimission radar that Iron Dome uses, “once the target is detected, the target is handed over to the laser system, which tracks it,” he added.
The Defense Ministry has backed Iron Beam’s development with a budget that will get it up to an initial operational capability. Rafael would not say how much money the government provided.
A model of Iron beam will be on display at the Association of the U.S. Army’s annual conference, which runs Oct. 10-12.
“For the U.S. military, this is not new; they know where we are at, they know the effort, [but] they don’t know all the specifics,” Lurie said.
The U.S. Army has acquired two batteries of the Iron Dome system, which do not include the laser weapon. The U.S. Marine Corps tested a system that incorporates Iron Dome’s Tamir interceptor in July. American company Raytheon Technologies is Rafael’s partner for the Iron Dome.
(Source: C4ISR & Networks)
12 Oct 22. Diehl Defence and NIOA Announce Naval Ammunition Partnership. At Land Forces 2022 International Defence Exposition in Brisbane, Diehl Defence and the Australian defence prime NIOA announced a strategic partnership.
In a major step towards the local production and supply of naval munitions in Australia, Diehl Defence will team up with NIOA, Australia’s largest privately owned supplier of weapon systems, integrated soldier systems and ammunition.
Under the agreement, Diehl will transfer technology to NIOA to enable Australian production of the Diehl 127mm naval munition family including high explosives, practice projectiles and propelling charges.
Besides the conventional ammunition portfolio of Diehl, NIOA and Diehl are also evaluating possible cooperation in the areas of the guided long-range ammunition capabilities and products of Diehl Defence. Diehl is an experienced manufacturer of naval ammunition and has previously supplied 76mm rounds to the Royal Australian Navy.
NIOA hopes to utilize its newly commissioned plant in Maryborough, Queensland for shell case production while the filling and finishing would occur at Benalla in regional Victoria where NIOA has a long-term lease at the Commonwealth Government-owned munitions facility.
Diehl Defence CEO Helmut Rauch said the collaboration with NIOA was a significant step forward for the two companies and comes 15 months after they signed a memorandum of understanding to support sovereign munitions manufacture. “This agreement paves the way for Diehl to bring its world-leading expertise to Australia to support NIOA in the development of sovereign capability,” he said. “Our highly advanced naval ammunition is used by navies worldwide and ensures the highest level of effectiveness and safety for a warship and its crew.”
NIOA Group CEO Robert Nioa said: “NIOA and Diehl share the same strategic ambitions – to build defence capability. Diehl is known worldwide for its ammunition technology. This partnership means we are well positioned to accelerate the Australian manufacture of superior naval munitions, ensuring supply surety for the Australian Defence Forces.” (Source: ASD Network)
12 Oct 22. Long-Range Precision Guidance Kit Passes Critical Test.
- BAE Systems has successfully fired its LR-PGK from the U.S. Army’s ERCA at Yuma Proving Ground.
BAE Systems has successfully fired its Long-Range Precision Guidance Kit (LR-PGK) for 155mm artillery projectiles from the U.S. Army’s Extended Range Cannon Artillery (ERCA) at Yuma Proving Ground, demonstrating airframe structural survivability under extreme firing conditions. The LR-PGK improves the accuracy of unguided artillery projectiles with low-cost navigation and guidance technology.
The guidance kit combines anti-jam GPS sensors with control planes that enable projectile maneuverability throughout flight, and is compatible with existing and future artillery projectiles. The ERCA survivability tests are a critical milestone for LR-PGK. The propellant blast, gun barrel pressure, and muzzle velocity truly tested the system’s resiliency.
“The LR-PGK has demonstrated its ability to help the U.S. Army deliver accurate fires up to 70 kilometers and meet mission objectives with fewer shots,” said James McDonough, LR-PGK program director. “Adding precision guidance to standard munitions enables our customers to engage targets with greater efficiency and reduce collateral damage.”
The evolving LR-PGK is helping the U.S. Army address its need for long range precision fires. BAE Systems continues to advance the system design to improve capabilities, manufacturing readiness, and affordability. Following the tests, the company is focusing on long-range guidance, navigation, and projectile flight control. The kits must demonstrate their ability to operate at high spin rates, in challenging atmospheric conditions, and in the presence of enemy signal-jamming.
BAE Systems is a leader in artillery technology, precision guidance systems, and small form electronics. The company designs and manufactures the M109 family of Self-Propelled Howitzers and the M777 Lightweight Towed Howitzer, is a major supplier of artillery explosives and propellants, and has decades of experience developing and delivering precision guidance systems. (Source: ASD Network)
12 Oct 22. LM Delivers 700th Interceptor. Lockheed Martin (NYSE: LMT) recently delivered the 700th Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) interceptor to the Missile Defense Agency (MDA). This production milestone comes at a time when global demand for integrated air and missile defense systems continues to grow.
“The Missile Defense Agency, industry and the Lockheed Martin team who engineer and produce the THAAD interceptor have continually evolved this interceptor’s software to account for the most emergent of threats,” said Dan Nimblett, vice president of upper tier integrated air and missile defense at Lockheed Martin. “This interceptor delivery reflects the commitment of this team to deliver hardware that can most effectively deter a range of today’s ballistic missile threats.”
In March, MDA awarded Lockheed Martin a $1.42 bn contract to produce additional interceptors for the U.S. government and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. In April, the MDA awarded Lockheed Martin $74 m to produce an eighth THAAD battery for the U.S. government, and most recently, MDA exercised a $304.9 m option for the purchase of additional interceptors.
THAAD boasts a 100% intercept success rate in flight tests, with 16 for 16 successful intercepts in 16 intercept attempts. THAAD interceptors use Lockheed Martin’s unique version of Hit-to-Kill technology, destroying targets with direct impact and protecting critical assets on the ground. Lockheed Martin delivered the 600th THAAD interceptor to the U.S. government in August of 2021.
THAAD is a highly effective, combat-proven defense with capability against short, medium and intermediate-range ballistic missile threats. THAAD is the only U.S. system designed to intercept targets outside and inside the atmosphere. THAAD continues incremental capability improvements within the weapon system to continually improve effectiveness against current and emerging threats. (Source: ASD Network)
05 Oct 22. US DoD announces Tactical High-speed Offensive Ramjet for Extended Range (THOR-ER) team completes ramjet vehicle test. For immediate release: The THOR-ER programme team, a collaborative effort between the United States and Norway to develop a solid fuel ramjet (SFRJ) vehicle, achieved an important milestone on August 17, at Andøya in northern Norway. The test vehicle successfully fired several times, showing the viability of ramjet propulsion technology and demonstrating significant increases in effective range.
“The United States needs to be working closely with our allies to ensure our joint force has the most cutting edge capabilities on the battlefield,” said Heidi Shyu, Under Secretary of Defense for Research and Engineering. “I commend the THOR-ER team on their outstanding work weathering the pandemic environment, continuing the development of this significant propulsion technology, and promoting continued science and technology collaboration with our partners in Norway,”
The recent tests satisfied the THOR-ER Phase 1 objectives of demonstrating jointly-developed propulsion technologies in flight, including new high energy fuels, advanced air injection, and throttling methodologies which will be essential for mission flexible SFRJ systems of the future.
“The SFRJ flight vehicle was accelerated to above Mach 2 with the help of a solid rocket booster, and transitioned to ramjet mode. The flight phase was a resounding success with stable flight, robust ramjet operation, and a high thrust-to-drag ratio,” said Executive Vice President of Aerospace Propulsion at the Nordic Ammunition Company (Nammo), Stein Erik Nodeland. “The flights performed in accordance with pre-flight calculations, demonstrating a high-speed long-range trajectory. All in all, this is a real milestone. While not the first ramjet vehicle, it is the first modern ramjet, with a potential for a great improvement in range, time to target, and agility.”
The first flight, conducted on August 17, demonstrated an unguided vehicle with robust SFRJ operation across a wide range of altitudes and speeds. The second test, which focused on a high thrust flight profile, took place the following day. Both flights were considered successful, having demonstrating high supersonic speeds prior to ramjet burnout and splashdown. Programme officials will continue to evaluate system performance based upon telemetry and other data obtained during the test.
“Not only do the recent test firings at Andøya Space Flight Center mark a key milestone in terms of proving the THOR-ER propulsion technology, they also demonstrate the power of bilateral cooperation,” said Morten Tiller, Norwegian Armaments Director. “Through concerted efforts, key stakeholders in the United States and Norway have made significant progress that promises to increase both speed and range of air defence and missile systems. I am hopeful that the collaborative approach we have brought to the R&D, prototyping and test phases will continue into the industrialisation stage of the technology.”
“We believe that the SFRJ is going to be a game-changer for the US Navy and our Allied partners, and we are excited to see the successful THOR-ER flight tests,” said Stephen Farmer, Director for Advanced Concepts, Prototyping & Experimentation at Naval Air Warfare Center Weapons Division (NAWCWD). “We are also humbled in having this partnership with the Norwegian Ministry of Defence and Norwegian industry partner Nammo. We know that our combined team will continue to build on this success, and we are excited for what the future will bring.”
The THOR-ER programme builds upon collaborative research efforts involving the Office of the Undersecretary of Defense for Research and Engineering, the Joint Hypersonics Transition Office, NAWCWD, the Norwegian Defence Research Establishment, and Nammo.
“I want to congratulate the THOR-ER team on these wonderful tests. From a Nammo viewpoint, it underscores the importance of investing in competence and technological development. THOR-ER and ramjet technology can help our NATO partners with some of their most key priorities: range and precision.” said Nammo CEO Morten Brandtzæg. “I think this would not have been possible without the bilateral cooperation. In time, this might be the most important project Nammo has been involved in–ever–both industrially and in terms of military importance.
About the THOR-ER project and team: In April 2020, the US Department of Defense and the Norwegian Ministry of Defence jointly announced their partnership to develop advanced technologies applicable to long range high-speed and hypersonic weapons. (Source: www.joint-forces.com)