24 Nov 22. India conducts successful test launch of Agni-III missile.
The test was performed by the Strategic Forces Command, as part of a routinely user training effort. The Indian Ministry of Defence (MoD) has announced the successful test launch of the Agni-III intermediate-range ballistic missile (IRBM).
The test was carried out from Dr APJ Abdul Kalam Island, off the coast of Odisha in Balasore, India, on 23 November.
It was performed as part of a routine user training effort and supported by India’s Strategic Forces Command (SFC).
The Indian MoD’s statement said that the recent test was conducted for a pre-determined range.
It helped in assessing and validating all the operational parameters, as well as the reliability of the Agni-III missile system.
Developed by Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO), the 17m-long Agni-III is a nuclear-capable missile system featuring a two-stage solid propellant.
It is third in the Agni family of missile systems and its maiden test firing was conducted in July 2006 from Wheeler Island off the coast of Odisha.
According to a report by New Indian Express, the latest Agni-III test launch was conducted at around 7:30pm and was the second test held at night, after the first trial failed in 2019.
The SFC carried out the first Agni-III night trial from a mobile launcher at the Integrated Test Range (ITR) in Odisha in December 2019.
The media report also claimed that the current user test was conducted to validate the ‘technical parameters’ of the missile system to reconfirm its readiness to succeed in the missions during night-time.
Earlier this month, the DRDO conducted a successful flight test of the Phase-II ballistic missile defence interceptor AD-1 missile from Odisha’s coast. (Source: airforce-technology.com)
23 Nov 22. Shoulder Fired Mayhem. The Carl Gustav M4 is the fourth generation of a weapon that now has a range of ammunition that makes it so much more than just an anti-armour weapon.
Armada International was invited by Saab Bofors Dynamics to witness live firing of the company’s Carl Gustav, AT4 and NLAW man portable products in Sweden.
The future of armour in military formations is being brought into question by the increasing number of ways that tanks can be defeated and destroyed. The war in Ukraine has demonstrated from the first few days just how effective modern anti-tank weapons have become, with a seemingly unending flow of graphic images and videos showing Russian armour of all types being ambushed and blown up.
The tactics that have been used by the Russian Army in the first few months of the war have been revealed to be uncoordinated in many circumstances. There has been scant evidence of joint planning in attacks with infantry, armour and artillery – backed by fixed wing and rotary air power – prosecuting a combined arms drive forward. This gave Ukraine’s ground troops the opportunity to use hunter-killer tactics to ambush unsupported armour.
The United States Marine Corps (USMC) Force Design 2030 briefing paper created a shock among many in the service as well as the wider defence world when it was revealed that it would completely divest the Corps of tanks: “We have sufficient evidence to conclude that this capability, despite its long and honourable history in the wars of the past, is operationally unsuitable for our highest-priority challenges in the future. Heavy ground armour capability will continue to be provided by the US Army.” The decision, states the report, would mean: “Zero tank companies (divestment of entire capacity of seven companies and prepositioned capacity).”
In early May, Saab Dynamics invited around 300 international government and military delegates from 30 countries to witness a ground combat demonstration of its shoulder fired weapons, which it jointly hosted with the Swedish Armed Forces.
Held over two days, the first day on 3 May saw a variety of tactical scenarios being demonstrated by Swedish Airborne Rangers at the Swedish Army’s Land Warfare Centre at Kvarn. This involved several live training and firing scenarios ranging from the increasingly reputed NLAW single shot missile system, to the widely used AT4 man-portable and disposable single shot weapon family, through to the well known and widely used Carl-Gustaf M4 reloadable recoilless rifle.
The second day saw the action move to the Saab Dynamics Test Centre where the same range of weapons were used to demonstrate a variety of ammunition types including anti-armour, anti-structure/anti-personnel and as well as new ammunition for the AT4CS.
Carl Gustav M4
The Carl Gustav is used by over 40 countries. and is a multi-role 84mm recoilless rifle with a two man crew and its original design can be traced back to 1946. However, now in its fourth generation it has been made lighter and easier to operate by ground forces. It now weights around seven kilograms and has been reduced in length for better handling. It has a combat range of between 20-200 metres.
During the initial briefing on the first day, Michael Höglund, head of business at Ground Combat at Saab stated that there are now 12 different ammunition types for the 84mm weapon that can be used with the Carl Gustav. These include: two versions of the HEAT 551 round; the HEAT 751 tandem warhead round that has been designed to defeat reactive armour; the HEAT 655 CS round that can be fired in confined spaces during urban fighting; the ASM 509 round with two modes, Impact Mode or Delayed Mode, the latter of which allows troops behind walls and other forms of hard cover to be engaged; the MT756 tandem warhead round for hard structure penetration; and assorted other rounds – both impact and delay – that can provide variations on explosion on imact or air burst. Other more specialised rounds can be used for area illumination or to provide smoke to conceal movement. The latest round is the 448 programmable ammunition which works with Saab’s standard sight which is now supplied with the Carl Gustav M4.
The FCD 558 Fire Control Device, when used with Firebolt technology ammunition, will recognise the type of ammunition being loaded, the temperature of the propellant, and then once the distance to the target has been input will calculate the right trajectory and aim point for the best potential firing angle.
Two other sight manufacturers were also demonstrating their sights during the second demonstration day. Working with Saab since 2009, Finnish company Senop has developed a a 1.5kg Advanced Fire Control Device Thermal Imager (AFCD TI) for the M4. This is a smart sight that incorporates a ballistic calculator, laser range finger which work with a day camera and a thermal imager. Once again, the computer can identify the type of ammunition being used. A single push action will place the aiming dot on the target for the right aiming solution. The device also incorporates both image and video capture – up to 100,00 images and several hours of video. The timeline for the introduction into service of this sight included Saab verification in the third quarter of 2022 followed by verification firings. Customer sales will begin in 2023.
Aimpoint is the alternative manufacturer to develop an alternative sight for the Carl Gustav – the FCS13RE FCS for a variety of crew served weapons. The ballistic computer, laser range finder and red dot sight is integrated into the sight unit. It is powered by six AA batteries and is configured through push buttons on the back of the device. It has direct view optics which means both eyes can be kept on the target.
The company currently has under advanced development a successor sight, the FCS14. This sight will have multiple operational modes, direct optic and high definition display and the potential to attach a DSA thermal/day camera, both with 1x, 4x and 8x magnification. Perhaps most impressively, it will have connectivity which will allow it to send and receive target data to other systems in a network.
The AT4 is a well known, easily used, disposable anti-tank weapon with over one m sold since its conception in 1985. Like the Carl Gustav, it is an 84mm calibre weapon with a usable range of between 200-1,000m. It too can tackle a range of targets from anti-armour through to anti-structure and anti-personnel.
The range of ammunition is extensive covering extended range penetration (up to 600m) of armour up to 460mm, with rounds covering anti-structure and confined space firing. The standard battle range for HEAT, high penetration (HP) and reduced sensitivity (RS) versions is 300m.There is also an anti-structure tandem (AST) version which has the heaviest height of all models at 9.3kg but can be used at shorter ranges up to 200m to blast access holes into structures and reinforced concrete walls up to 200mm thick. It is operated with a mode selector and can also be used with an optical night sight which would be retained when the weapon is discarded.
Saab has developed its confined space (CS) capability by using a salt water solution in the rear of the weapon container. This reduces the blast effected from the rear of the weapon when it is fired, allowing it to be used in a confined space.
The Next generation Light Anti-tank Weapon (NLAW) has rapidly gained status as an anti-tank weapon through coverage of several nations including Sweden and the United Kingdom delivering thousands to the Ukraine armed forces.
It was jointly developed by Saab Bofors Dynamics and Thales Air Defence for a British light anti-tank requirement. At around 12.5kg it is heavier than the AT4, but has a range out to 800m. Again it is a lightweight, disposable weapon and has gained particular notoriety as an effective top-attack weapon, although it can be used in line-of-sight direct attacks. Using a shaped charge, the missile is tracked briefly by the operator then acts like a ‘fire and forget’ weapon. Once it arrives over the top of its target (usually where the armour is weak) by using its predicted line of sight (PLOS) system, a proximity fuse then fires a penetrator down into the target’s vulnerable upper armour.
Recent orders for Saab’s anti-tank weapons include one from the US Army’s MAAWS Program office; in the US the Carl Gustav in known as the Multi-purpose Anti-Armour Antipersonnel Weapon System (MAAWS) as well as the M3A1. The 12 May order value was $16m with the weapons destined for both the US Army and the US Marine Corps.
In May it was announced that Denmark had become the 15th CarL Gustav M4 customer with an order from the Danish Ministry of Defence Acquisition and Logistics Organisation (DALO), although the country has been a Carl Gustav operator for some time.
Saab has received orders for components for the Carl-Gustaf recoilless rifle. The total order value is $82m and deliveries will take place during 2022 and 2023. (Source: Armada)
23 Nov 22. Royal Navy ships to be fitted with advanced new Kongsbergmissile system.
The missiles will be fitted to eleven frigates and destroyers after a deal with the Norwegian government.
Royal Navy frigates and destroyers will get a significant boost to their long-range precision strike capabilities following a new partnership between the UK and key NATO and Joint Expeditionary Force (JEF) ally, Norway.
Strengthening defence ties between the UK and Norway, the Royal Navy will receive the Naval Strike Missile (NSM), outfitted on a total of eleven Type 23 frigates and Type 45 destroyers, in a collaboration with the Norwegian government.
Measuring nearly 4 metres long, the NSMs are a fifth-generation missile using integrated sensors and autonomous target recognition to precisely strike enemy ships and targets on land at distances of more than 100 nautical miles (115 miles) at high subsonic speeds. It can elude enemy radar and defence systems by flying at sea-skimming altitude and using evasive manoeuvres.
Announcing the maritime capability upgrade, the Defence Secretary also met with Northern Group Defence Ministers on board the Royal Navy’s flagship, HMS Queen Elizabeth, alongside in Oslo.
Defence Secretary Ben Wallace said: “We have a long history of defence cooperation with Norway. This new agreement cements our partnership with one of our closest allies, whilst strengthening our Royal Navy with a new surface to surface strike capability.”
Replacing the Harpoon surface-to-surface weapon, due to go out of service in 2023, the world-class anti-ship missile will be fitted to three vessels at pace and will be ready for operations onboard the first Royal Navy vessel in a little over 12 months. The collaboration will result in more ships equipped with the highly sophisticated naval strike missiles which in turn will contributes in enhancing the security in our common areas of interest.
The missile system will be integrated in UK Dockyards through Babcock and BAE with Norwegian support, the missile system is manufactured by Kongsberg Defence Aerospace.
NSM will enhance collaboration and interoperability with several of our key strategic partners. In the North Atlantic and Baltic Sea Region users, and soon to be users, include Norway, the US, Poland, Germany, and Canada. Both the US and Australia will operate NSM in the Pacific region.
Norwegian Minister of Defence Bjørn Arild Gram, said: “This is a significant task with an ambitious timeline. Both nations have established a designated team with a strong mandate to ensure the success of this common effort. The Norwegian company Kongsberg Defence & Aerospace is supporting the joint team with their expertise and the planned integration on the UK vessels.”
The meeting of Northern Group Defence Ministers on HMS Queen Elizabeth, will see discussions on the implications of Russia’s illegal invasion of Ukraine, security developments in Northern Europe, and Sweden and Finland’s NATO membership applications.
The Northern Group is a UK initiative which aims to promote more coherent, efficient and effective defence and security co-operation in northern Europe. It comprises 12 nations; Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Germany, Iceland, Latvia, Lithuania, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Sweden and the UK. (Source: https://www.gov.uk/)
23 Nov 22. USAF designs new concept to boost HH-60G helicopter’s firepower. The new concept involved installation of four additional M240 machine guns onto the helicopter. The US Air Force’s (USAF) 943d Rescue Group (RQG) has introduced and tested a new concept to increase the firepower of the HH-60G Pave Hawk helicopter. The concept involved the installation of four additional M240 machine guns onto the helicopter.
The existing HH-60 weapons configuration includes two guns in any combination of the M240 machine gun, GAU-2C 7.62mm minigun or GAU 18/A .50 calibre machine gun.
The new concept required the integration of three separate parts on the aircraft’s each door to support the installation of two M240 guns.
The team used a base stand and added an aircraft mount. The base was provided by Air National Guard and Air Force Reserve while the mount was previously in use with the 55th and 71st Special Operations Squadrons.
The RQG then worked together with different companies to mount two M240 guns, with 1,200 rounds of ammunition, onto a gun mount platform used with patrol boats.
The mount was also fabricated by the 355th Maintenance Group for proper operations within the HH-60G aircraft.
920th RQW commander colonel Jes Hamilton said: “The M240 is multi-capable equipment for our personnel recovery task force that will enable us to perform contested-area combat search and rescue, logistics under-attack and agile combat employment.”
The new capability is cost-effective and can be transferred to the new HH-60W Jolly Green II scheduled to replace HH-60G upon retirement.
It can be easily removed within seconds, instantly becoming an additional rescue vehicle platform. In the next steps of this effort, the teams will conduct operational trials of the aircraft before the system can finally be used on an aircraft. It will be held in collaboration with the Air Guard Air Reserve Test Centre. (Source: airforce-technology.com)
23 Nov 22. Elbit launches Lanius search-and-attack quadcopter. Elbit Systems has unveiled a small unmanned quadcopter designed to locate, identify, and attack enemy personnel. Based on a racing quadcopter, the Lanius is highly manoeuvrable and capable of flying inside buildings. The battery-powered unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) has a maximum take-off weight of 1.25 kg, a payload weight of 150 g, an operational speed of up to 72 km/h when flying outdoors, and an endurance of seven minutes, according to information released by Elbit. It can use Wi-Fi or software-defined radio communications. The Lanius has an autonomous mode for take-off, navigation, and scouting. Using the images from its electro-optics and a simultaneous localisation and mapping (SLAM) algorithm, it can gather data to build and update three-dimensional maps of its environment. This capability also enables it to identify doors and windows that it can fly through so it can continue scanning inside buildings. (Source: Janes)
21 Nov 22. Finland exercises contract option to procure more K9 howitzers. The howitzers are being procured to strengthen the Finnish Army’s existing striking capabilities.
Finland’s Ministry of Defence (MoD) has announced approval to exercise the existing contract option for procuring additional K9 Thunder self-propelled 155-mm howitzers.
The new contract option is valued at approximately $137.37m (€134m) and involves the purchase of as many as 38 howitzers. It marks the full redemption of the contract option.
The proposal to exercise this option was approved by Finnish Defence Minister Antti Kaikkonen and supported by the Finnish Government’s finance committee during its meeting on 17 November.
Kaikkonen said: “I am pleased that the opportunity agreed in the procurement agreement to purchase these howitzers will now be redeemed in full.”
As part of an interstate transaction, the Finnish MoD first acquired K9 howitzers in 2017 from the South Korean Government operated trade-investment promotion agency KOTRA.
The initial deal involved the procurement of 48 K9 Thunders for the Army, along with an additional option for 48 more howitzers.
The country later exercised the partial contract option by purchasing ten more howitzers while the remaining 38 are being procured now.
This brings the overall number of K9 self-propelled armoured howitzers to 96.
The K9 Thunder howitzers are being procured to further boost the Finnish Army’s firepower and existing strike capabilities.
Finnish Army Command artillery inspector colonel Pertti Holma said: “[A] key advantage to this system is that it combines elements of mobility, force protection, and firepower.
“As such, the self-propelled howitzer has turned out to be reliable and provided excellently validated use case experiences, both relating to training persons liable for military service and conducting fires.”
In August this year, Poland confirmed the purchase of 212 Thunder self-propelled howitzers and K2 Black Panther main battle tanks for its Army.
22 Nov 22. USN Declares Initial Operational Capability for Boeing’s HAAWC. Boeing-made capability enables Poseidon to launch torpedoes from higher altitudes, longer distances.
Boeing [NYSE: BA]’s High Altitude Anti-Submarine Warfare Weapon Capability, or HAAWC, has satisfied all requirements for initial operational capability status from the U.S. Navy.
The all-weather HAAWC enables the Boeing P-8A Poseidon to deploy MK 54 torpedoes from near or below its cruising altitude.
“The initial operational capability milestone marks the readiness of HAAWC for fleet introduction for the Navy and its international partners,” said Dewayne Donley, program manager. “We’re excited to deliver greater flexibility and capability by way of higher-altitude launches from longer distances than previously possible.”
The milestone follows the award of a full-rate production contract for the system to Boeing in August, squadron training, and the receipt of low-rate initial production units.
HAAWC consists of a modular Air Launch Accessory, or ALA, kit that attaches to a MK 54 torpedo, transforming it into a precision-guided glide weapon.
“It’s a major achievement for our team in reaching our goal of establishing a new high ground in anti-submarine warfare,” said Bob Ciesla, vice president of Boeing Weapons. “We look forward to continuing to work alongside the Navy toward the full deployment and operational capability of the system.”
Additional fielding of HAAWC units are scheduled through 2024, with the potential for production to continue into 2030 under the current contract.
The long-range anti-submarine warfare, anti-surface warfare, intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance P-8A aircraft has amassed more than 450,000 mishap-free flight-hours to date in support of broad-area, maritime and littoral operations, and performs humanitarian and search and rescue missions around the globe.
21 Nov 22. Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force, Missile Defense Agency demonstrate new layered missile defense capability.
During a demonstration here, Japan’s Maritime Self-Defense Force successfully intercepted short and medium-range ballistic missile targets with SM-3® Block IB and SM-3 Block IIA interceptors. This is the first time a non-U.S. maritime service intercepted targets with both variants of interceptors and it is the first time a Japanese ship fired SM-3 Block IIA. The demonstration was conducted in partnership with the U.S. Missile Defense Agency. Both types of interceptors are made by Raytheon Missiles & Defense, a Raytheon Technologies (NYSE: RTX) business.
“This demonstration reinforces that partners now have greater capability with the Standard Missile family of interceptors,” said Tay Fitzgerald, president of Strategic Missile Defense at Raytheon Missiles & Defense. “Allies who use SM-3 can now cooperate more fully with the United States on ballistic missile defense missions.”
The multi-day Japan Flight Test Aegis Weapon System-07 included engagements of ballistic missile targets with SM-3 and a next generation subsonic aerial target with SM-2 Block IIIB.
In support of the U.S.-Japan SM-3 Block IIA Cooperative Development (SCD) Project, Japanese industry and Raytheon Missiles & Defense cooperatively designed and built the SM- 3 Block IIA variant, the world’s most advanced sea-land ballistic missile defense interceptor.
In contrast to earlier SM-3 versions, Block IIA’s larger rocket motors and increased kill vehicle capabilities allow for significantly greater range and performance against advanced missile threats. (Source: PR Newswire)