05 Jan 23. Australia commits to boosting guided weapons capability.
Minister for Defence and Deputy Prime Minister Richard Marles has confirmed that the Commonwealth has committed to acquiring the Naval Strike Missile and HIMARS to boost Australia’s guided weapons capability.
The new guided weapons program is expected to top $1bn.
The Naval Strike Missile is expected to replace the Harpoon anti-ship missiles from 2024 for use onboard the Hobart Class destroyer and Anzac Class frigate, following a contract between Defence and Kongsberg.
In addition to the advanced maritime strike capability, the Commonwealth also confirmed the acquisition of the High Mobility Artillery Rocket System (HIMARS), with the package expected to include launchers, missiles and training rockets.
According to the current schedule, the system will enter service by 2026 and 2027.
The HIMARS, which is billed as having range of up to 300 kilometres, will enhance the warfighting capability of the Australian Army and will be supported by radar location capabilities delivered by Australian company CEA.
“In the current strategic environment, it’s important the Australian Defence Force is equipped with high-end, targeted military capabilities,” Deputy PM and Minister for Defence Richard Marles said.
“The Albanese government is taking a proactive approach to keeping Australia safe — and the Naval Strike Missile and HIMARS launchers will give our Defence Force the ability to deter conflict and protect our interests.” (Source: Defence Connect)
05 Jan 23. Hobson Industries Limited, the Donington-on-Bain, Lincolnshire, UK, military vehicle and armour specialist, is pleased to announce a Joint Venture with Rospardo MCT Ltd, the Daventry, Northants, UK, armour specialist, to bring Advanced Lightweight Armour system development in house.
Working closely with Hobsons in-house Ballistics Test Facility, this partnership will develop into a Rapid Prototyping and Manufacturing Joint Venture for Protected Systems that work on the THEMIS Lightweight Armour System© and subsequent iterations of this unique and unsurpassed system.
The first vehicles fitted with a version of the THEMIS Lightweight Armour System© based on the Land Rover Defender platform is in service with a high security UK Government department. The THEMIS Lightweight Armour System© meets the Military Standard Stanag 4569 and the PAS300 and PAS301 specifications.
Rospardo MCT works on Advanced Lightweight Composite Armour for the Aerospace and Marine Industries and has a long history of supply of these systems to primes such as Boeing, Sikorsky and BAE Systems.
Rospardo MCT has over 70 years of collective design, manufacture and test experience on composite armour systems and has teamed with Hobsons to develop the THEMIS Lightweight Armour System© and its subsequent iterations to include Land with the Marine and Aerospace sectors revolutionising ballistic event management from “the Iron Age to the Space Age.”
04 Jan 23. North Korea says it is developing a monster 600mm multiple-launch rocket system that it claims can strike targets in South Korea with tactical nuclear weapons, according to the reclusive communist country’s state-run media.
Video of the KN-25 rocket launchers aired by CNN appears to show that each launcher has a maximum payload of up to six rockets.
To put that into perspective, the U.S. military’s High Mobility Artillery Rocket Systems, or HIMARS, can fire a total of six 227mm Guided Multiple Launch Rocket System munitions up to 43 miles or one 610mm Army Tactical Missile System rocket, with a range of up to 186 miles.
While inspecting 30 of the “super-large multiple launch rocket systems” on New Year’s Eve, North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un claimed that all of South Korea is within range of the launchers, which are capable of firing tactical nuclear warheads, according to a report from the state-run Korean Central News Agency.
“It will discharge in future the combat mission of overpowering the enemy as a core, offensive weapon of our armed forces,” Kim said in a speech.
North Korea’s state-run media also claims that the rocket launchers were successfully tested on Dec. 31 and Jan. 1, striking targets in the Sea of Japan.
During a recent meeting of North Korea’s ruling Workers’ Party of Korea, Kim also called for an “exponential increase of the country’s nuclear arsenal” that would involve mass producing tactical nuclear weapons, the Korean Central News Agency reported on Jan. 1.
When asked about Kim’s comments about increasing North Korea’s nuclear arsenal, National Security Council spokesman John Kirby told reporters on Wednesday that the United States has increased its ability to collect intelligence both on and off the Korean peninsula.
“We have been watching closely — and will continue to watch closely — the Kim regime’s pursuit of additional advanced military capabilities — and certainly their nuclear ambitions in that regard — and continue to make sure that we are properly postured to defend both our chief alliances in that part of the world with Japan and South Korea, but also our international security interest in the region and beyond,” Kirby told reporters.
While the KN-25 can carry conventional munitions, it remains to be seen whether North Korea can miniaturize nuclear weapons to the point that they can be fitted onto the weapons system’s 600mm missiles, said Bruce Bennett, a North Korea expert with the RAND Corporation.
The U.S. Army’s “Atomic Annie” cannon had a 280mm diameter and the United States later built nuclear artillery shells with a 155mm diameter, but it is not known if North Korea has been able to master that same technology yet, Bennett told Task & Purpose on Wednesday.
If the KN-25 is eventually able to carry nuclear weapons, each missile would be able to fly up to 250 miles, and that means these weapons systems could potentially do much more damage than the battlefield nuclear weapons fielded by the U.S. military in the past, Bennett said.
The “Davy Crockett” nuclear recoilless rifle fielded by the Army during the Cold War fired a warhead with a yield of between 0.01 and 0.02 kilotons, roughly 10 to 20 tons of TNT. But Kim has talked about using the KN-25 against airfields, ports, and other targets, Bennett said.
“You need something more like 200 to 300 kilotons to neutralize an airfield,” Bennett said. That would be between 200,000 and 300,000 tons of TNT.
Kim is likely describing the nuclear munitions that could be fired by the KN-25 as “tactical” to exploit differences in how South Korea and the United States view the threats posed by short-range missiles, Bennett said. Under President Donald Trump, the U.S. government repeatedly discounted the threat posed by such missiles because they cannot reach American territory.
“He’s trying to say: Look U.S., this is not a problem for you; this is a problem for South Korea — so don’t bug me about it; this isn’t something that affects the United States,” Bennett said. “Unfortunately, the U.S. has fallen into the trap of saying: Well, if missiles can’t reach the U.S., then it’s not a problem for us — when in fact it’s a problem for our allies; and therefore it is a problem for us.” (Source: Defense News Early Bird/https://taskandpurpose.com/)
05 Jan 23. USAF’s two F-15EX demonstrate expanded missile carriage capability. The missiles were launched from the F-15EX aircraft’s new weapon stations, called Station 1 and 9. The US Air Force’s (USAF) two F-15EX Eagle II fighter jets have test-launched missiles to demonstrate their expanded missile carriage and employment capabilities. The test was executed by the Eglin Air Force Base (AFB), Florida-based units – 96th Test Wing (TW) and 40th Flight Test Squadron (FLTS) on 29 November.
The missiles were launched over the Gulf of Mexico region, from the F-15EX aircraft’s new weapon stations, called Station 1 and 9.
The 96th TW pilots fired an AIM-120D advanced medium-range air-to-air missile (AMRAAM) from Station 1 while the 40th FLTS’ pilot fired an AIM-9X Sidewinder air-to-air missile from Station 9 over Eglin Test and Training Complex’s water range.
The USAF informed that both aircraft were able to achieve various operational test objectives by successfully releasing missiles on separate passes against a target drone.
The successful launch is a key achievement in the F-15EX’s developmental test programme, which saw the first launch being undertaken in February 2022.
This Operational Flight Program Combined Test Force mission also marks the first Air Force test flight to validate the effective and safe firing of weapons from these stations.
The test is also a significant milestone in showcasing the F-15EX Eagle II aircraft’s missile capability of carrying all 12 air-to-air missiles.
OFP CTF and 96th TW pilot major Brett Hughes said: “Having been a part of the Eglin F-15EX team from day one, it’s exciting to see progress made and new milestones achieved as we work to field most combat-capable F-15EX.”
Before the F-15EX Eagle II, F-15 aircraft models could only carry eight missiles. The new F-15EX has four additional missile stations, in comparison to F-15sx. (Source: airforce-technology.com)
03 Jan 23. Longer ranges like for US Army’s looming precision missile.
The Army’s Precision Strike Missile broke its distance record in a flight test at Vandenberg Space Force Base, Calif., on Oct. 13, 2021, the weapon’s developer announced the following day. Lockheed Martin did not disclose the distance, but the goal of the test was to see how far the missile can travel beyond its previous set requirement of 499 kilometers. America’s withdrawal in 2019 from the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty with Russia has allowed the Army to develop the missile to fly farther.
The Army is deciding how much farther to extend the range requirement for its Precision Strike Missile as the service plans to field the system in 2023.
The current range requirement on the missile is 310 miles, but in Oct. 2021, the Army conducted a test of PrSM that is believed to have exceeded the present requirement, originally reported by Army Times sister publication Defense News
America’s withdrawal from the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty with Russia has given the United States leeway to develop PrSM to fly farther than originally required.
Since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine – and increased tensions in the Indo-Pacific – more attention has been placed on the potential to grow the missile’s range. While the European theater would be able to work with such distances, a longer range is required to be a decisive factor in the Pacific, said Col. Rory Crooks, project lead for PrSM.
Key U.S. allies have also agreed to purchase PrSMs.
Australia and the U.S. Army announced plans to develop precision missile capabilities, contributing $70m to the $907m PrSM program. Meanwhile, the United Kingdom plans to field PrSM in 2024 as a part of an upgrade to its M270 Multiple Launch Rocket System. In Sept. 2021, the Army approved PrSM to move into the manufacturing and engineering development phase. Lockheed Martin was awarded two contracts to produce early operational PrSMs totaling more than $200m. The service plans to field the weapon in Fiscal Year 2023, while pulling in more capabilities later, including extended range and enhanced seekers. Land-Based Anti-Ship missile seekers are also expected to be integrated into PrSM in 2023. (Source: Army Times)
03 Jan 23. IAF Su-30MKI test-fires extended Brahmos ALM against sea target. The IAF carried out this test in the Bay of Bengal region, in close coordination with the Indian Navy. The Indian Air Force’s (IAF) Sukhoi Su-30MKI aircraft has conducted test-firing of an extended-range version of Brahmos air-launched missile (ALM) against a ship target.
This was announced by the Indian Ministry of Defence (MoD) in a media statement.
The IAF carried out this test in the Bay of Bengal region, in close coordination with the Indian Navy and Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO). The test was also supported by Brahmos Aerospace (BAPL) and Hindustan Aeronautics (HAL).
According to the Indian MoD, the latest test was conducted successfully and the missile was able to achieve the associated mission objectives.
Sharing a video of the missile’s test launch, IAF tweeted: “The IAF successfully fired the Extended Range Version of the Brahmos Air Launched missile. Carrying out a precision strike against a Ship target from a Su-30 MKI aircraft in the Bay of Bengal region, the missile achieved the desired mission objectives.”
The new milestone signifies that the IAF has now acquired a critical capability that will allow the SU-30MKI aircraft to perform precision strikes against different land-based and sea-based targets, located at far-off distances or very long ranges.
Furthermore, the missile’s extended range capability when combined with the IAF SU-30MKI fighter jets’ high performance will provide enhanced strategic reach to the Indian armed forces to counter enemies in contested environments.
The first test launch of the extended Brahmos ALM missile was conducted by the IAF in May 2022.
During the initial test firing, the Sukhoi Su-30MKI aircraft successfully achieved a direct hit on the pre-specified target. In December 2021, the IAF carried out the test firing of a BrahMos supersonic cruise missile’s air-launched version from its Su-30MKI aircraft. (Source: airforce-technology.com)
03 Jan 23. RAFAEL can announce that its world-renowned, combat-proven SPYDER air defense system is now enhanced with a sophisticated Counter-TBM (tactical ballistic missiles) capability. The introduction of this feature is the product of RAFAEL’s Counter-TBM SPYDER program, which involved researching and analyzing the lessons learned from recent and ongoing armed conflicts involving extensive use of tactical ballistic missiles. The program has brought about a practical upgrade to the SPYDER system which is equipped for implementation. In response to urgent operational requests from several existing customers throughout the world, the program will extend the capabilities of the SPYDER’s effectors as well as the implementation of various Counter-TBM derivatives across the system.
Executive Vice President and General Manager Air & Missile Defense Systems Division Brig. Gen. (Res.) Pinhas Yungman: “RAFAEL is a world-leading expert in the field of missile defense, as evidenced by our top-notch products, such as DAVID’S SLING and IRON DOME. We are proud to announce that our international sales leader – SPYDER – has been reinforced with a tactical ballistic missile defense capability. This extremely important Counter-TBM feature will be offered as an option in the SPYDER’s toolbox. Under the SPYDER’s tailor-made solution paradigm this capability will be offered as a cost-effective option to our valuable customers with respective urgent operational needs.”
03 Jan 23. South Korea announces full-scale deployment of 120 mm mortars.
South Korea’s Defense Acquisition Program Administration (DAPA) has announced the full-scale deployment of120 mm self-propelled mortars (SPMs) in the Republic of Korea (RoK) Army by 2025.
DAPA said in a recent press release that it has signed a “follow-up mass production” contract worth KRW584 bn (USD458 m) with Hanwha Aerospace to mass-produce 120 mm SPMs and fire command vehicles. “Compared to the existing 4.2-inch mortar, the 120 mm SPM has a [strike] range 2.3 times greater and firepower 1.9 times longer. The mortar itself can rotate 360° without rotating the vehicle to respond to target changes,” DAPA added.
In addition, the fire command vehicles can automatically calculate the shooting data, which has increased the accuracy and fire support of the vehicle. The new systems also reduced the system-operating troops requirement from 32 to 24, making the vehicles future battlefield-ready, DAPA said. (Source: Janes)
31 Dec 22. Japan to develop 3,000-km long-range missiles, deploy in 2030s, Kyodo reports. Japan’s Ministry of Defence is arranging to develop multiple long-range missiles with a range of up to about 3,000 kilometers (1,860 miles) and aims to deploy them in the 2030s, Kyodo news reported on Saturday, citing a source familiar with the matter. The government is looking to deploy a 2,000-km range missile by the early 2030s and a 3,000-km hypersonic missile that can reach anywhere in North Korea and some parts of China by around 2035, Kyodo said. Japan this month unveiled its biggest military build-up since World War Two with a $320bn plan that will buy missiles capable of striking China and ready it for sustained conflict, as regional tensions and Russia’s Ukraine invasion stoke war fears. (Source: Google/Reuters)