07 Feb 23. Norway hosts the 2nd K9 User Club meeting to share experience and know-how of K9 artillery operation, maintenance and training. Representatives from six countries operating the 155mm/52-calibre K9 Self-Propelled Howitzer (SPH) gathered in Narvik, Norway, on February 6 to attend the 2nd K9 User Club meeting. The meeting will be held until February 9.
The K9 User Club was launched in April 2022 in Changwon, the K9 manufacturing hub in South Korea, to share experience, knowledge, and know-how on the operation, maintenance and training of the K9 SPH in service with seven countries – South Korea, Norway, Estonia, Finland, Poland, India and Türkiye. Australia and Egypt have also signed contracts to operate K9s in the coming years.
For this year’s meeting, the first of its kind in Europe and among NATO countries, military representatives from South Korea, Norway, Finland, Estonia, Poland and Australia are sharing the status and plans for operating their K9 artillery, while Canada has joined the meeting as an observer. Global defence companies, including Kongsberg from Norway, and CBG from Australia, also joined the user community to present technologies enhancing industry partnership and collaboration over the development of K9 artillery systems.
Pasi Pasivirta, Director of European Business Development, Hanwha Aerospace, said: “The K9 users can learn from each other and share experience and know-how of operating the K9 Self-Propelled Howitzer to get the best out of the equipment. In this regard, the K9 User Club serves as the venue to find the most optimised operation and sustainment doctrine of the K9 system.”
On the second day of the user club meeting, the participants are joining working group sessions to discuss how to get the best out of the K9 systems with regards to maintenance, tactics and training. On the third day, the user group is scheduled to visit the Center of Excellence at Norway’s Bjerkvik Technical Workshop, and the Setermoen training area to observe the live-fire and manoeuvres of the Norwegian K9 Versatile Indirect Artillery (VIDAR) systems. Norway operates 24 K9s and 10 K10 ammunition resupply vehicles, with an additional contract signed in 2022 to procure four more K9s and 10 more K10s.
Colonel Kjartan Søyland, Head of Norwegian School of Artillery and Army Air Defence said: “Compared to old guns we had, now we increase or double the range of our artillery systems. The K9 is easy to use and easy to educate and train, which is the key strength of the K9 Self-Propelled Howitzer. It also works well in the winter snowy conditions.” The K9 Thunder is the world’s most popular self-propelled howitzer with over 2,000 units are already in service around the globe. The tracked howitzer can deliver consistent, accurate, rapid effects at +40km range with high rates and volumes of fire. The K9 is particularly optimised for ‘Shoot-and-Scoot’ capability to fire multiple rounds and immediately move to a different location to avoid potential counter-fire. (Source: www.joint-forces.com)
09 Feb 23. Northrop Grumman Corporation’s (NYSE: NOC) Common Infrared Countermeasures (CIRCM) system has achieved Initial Operational Capability (IOC). With IOC, the U.S. Army demonstrated the ability to field, employ and maintain CIRCM in significant quantities on its rotary wing platforms. This milestone advances the accelerated fielding of CIRCM systems on more than 1,500 Army aircraft. CIRCM has met the IOC requirements for UH-60M, HH-60M, CH-47F and AH-64Es.
09 Feb 23. AWEIL proposes MGS, towed gun for Indian Army. India’s state-run Advanced Weapons and Equipment India Limited (AWEIL) has proposed Dhanush 155mm/52 calibre towed gun systems and mounted gun systems (MGSs) armed with Dhanush for the Indian Army, Rajeev Sharma, AWEIL’s general manager, told Janes. AWEIL showcased Dhanush 155mm/52 calibre gun at Defence Expo 2022. It has a firing range of 42 km, as opposed to the 38km range of Dhanush 155mm/45 calibre towed howitzers.
“The Indian Army is looking to procure light weapons to be deployed in all terrains. Considering this, the upgraded Dhanush is less than 14 tonne, which is the lightest in the 155mm category weapon systems,” Sharma earlier told Janes. Dhanush is an all-terrain weapon system with improved manoeuvrability, according to AWEIL. The gun is equipped with a retractable barrel for better turning manoeuvrability and a twin baffle muzzle brake with enhanced efficiency. (Source: Janes)
09 Feb 23. SH Defence, DA-Group and FORCIT Defence signed a multiparty Meromandum of Understanding to develop the use of the CUBE for launching, laying and storing sea mines.
SH Defence, Denmark; DA-Group and FORCIT DefenceOY AB, both located in Finland, have signed a multiparty Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to corporate and jointly explore the potential in the development of launching, laying, and storing sea mines designed by and manufactured by DA-Group and FORCIT, such as but not limited to the BLOCKER and TURSO sea mines, into the Containerized Multi-Mission Module system called The Cube™ System.
The cooperation will be based on SH Defence’s modular mission concept, The Cube™ System with associated handling equipment, and will include design and conception; supported with DA-Group patented modular SUMICO naval minelaying concept.
Lars Gullaksen, Area Sales Director, SH Defence, said: “The Cube™ System from SH Defence is rapidly becoming the standard within modularization of maritime mission capabilities for naval, coastguard, and SAR vessels around the world, especially within NATO and around the Baltic Sea. Hence our motto The Cube – changing the game at sea.
Modern naval vessels must be capable of carrying out different missions and roles both in peacetime and wartime. Therefore, the easy and rapid exchange of capabilities is an increasing requirement for new buildings and the retrofit of naval vessels.”
He continued: “The Cube™ System, currently available with more than 300 different payloads from approximately 160 vendors, offers a flexible and cost-efficient solution that enables reconfiguration of a vessel in only a few hours.
This partnership with DA-Group and FORCIT allows us to jointly develop the multi-mission capabilities and expand the portfolio of payloads to include the most modern sea mines for the adaptability of both Scandinavian, NATO, and other foreign navies.”
Kristian Tornivaara, Chief Business Officer at DA-Group Defence and Aerospace, said: “We are excited to start the collaboration with SH Defence. They are now taking real action and provide world navies the future proof modular solution for naval minelaying. We have been working with sea mines and mission modularity for years and we have seen the need for such a system. This is also the reason for SUMICO patent, which now can be utilized in Cube System to enhance navies’ operational capabilities and flexibility.”
Hannu Hytti, Executive Vice President, Forcit Defence, said: “Forcit Defence has been developing and manufacturing modern naval mines since 1988. Recent developments in the security environment have emphasized the importance of sea denial and naval mine capabilities. With this partnership with SH Defence and DA Group we are able to provide world class full spectrum naval capabilities for maritime defence.
07 Feb 23. Improving marksmanship training through data and analysis.
DASA funding and support has accelerated South West based SME Cervus’s innovative training tool.
- DASA funding has helped Cervus develop XCALIBR, a marksmanship analytics and feedback tool to improve individual and collective training
- In just 3 years, DASA funding and support has taken Cervus from idea, to trials, to a finished product
Marksmanship is one of the most important aspects of a soldier’s training, helping improve the ability to shoot firearms safely, accurately and consistently. But while weapons and training practices have changed over the years, the method of collecting and analysing shot data from marksmanship training has remained the same for over 100 years.
Wiltshire based SME, Cervus, recognised an opportunity to use data and analytics to revolutionise the way firearms training is delivered.
Veteran-owned, small business Cervus provides data driven innovation and insight for those working in defence and security.
Cervus was first funded through DASA in 2019 to develop their innovation to capture training and performance data (such as shot accuracy and lethality) to give military leaders a detailed overview of individual and collective performance, quickly and accurately.
Now known as XCALIBR, Cervus’s innovation, is a well-developed app based system to provide real-time data to users, commanders or instructors on how well a soldier fired, held their weapon and when and where they hit the target.
XCALIBR has been designed by soldiers for soldiers; it is very small, non-invasive, waterproof and ruggedised. The innovation is also based on a smartphone app, ensuring it is simple and intuitive to use.
Using the data collected from XCALIBR an individual can make adjustments to improve their performance. At a commander and instructor level, it provides an overview of how individuals perform, enabling instructors to provide support to improve platoon performance and optimise collective training.
Right on target: Trialling Cervus’s innovation
As part of Cervus’s first DASA project, and as a result of DASA support to test the innovation with soldiers, the system was trialled in early 2020 with the Parachute Regiment in Kenya during the annual Askari Storm training mission.
Following a successful trial, and using insights gained from the testing in Kenya, Cervus secured further funding through DASA to refine their innovation, which was then taken to trial with the Royal Marines.
After this, and with DASA support, Cervus secured funding through the Army, Research, Innovation and Experimentation Laboratory (ARIEL) – the Army’s solutions accelerator to further test their innovation. Cervus’s innovation, XCALIBR, has been trialled at the Infantry Training Centre in Catterick, and has the potential to improve a soldier’s marksmanship and the delivery of training.
Aiming for success: What’s next for Cervus?
In addition to trialling XCALIBR with the British Army, Cervus is in discussion with international partners, including the US Marine Corps, to find out how XCALIBR could support and improve their marksmanship training.
Alan Roan, Managing Director of Cervus said: “We would not be where we are today without DASA funding and the other opportunities DASA has opened up for us. To go from an idea to a product that is nearly ready to enter military service in just over three years is amazing and it all started with DASA.”
DASA funding and support has acted like a kite-mark, giving validation that our idea had merit and opening doors for us within the Front Line Commands in the UK and internationally.
Currently, Cervus is undertaking another project with DASA that could speed up the simulation process, resulting in faster decision making and lowering the cost of experimentation. Using experience drawn from their previous DASA project, Cervus is already exploring how the product could be commercialised and taken into service. (Source: https://www.gov.uk/)
07 Feb 23. Indian Army issues RFI for life extension of Smerch rockets. The Indian Army has released a tender to support its programme for the life extension of 300 mm rockets used with the BM-30 Smerch Multiple Launch Rocket System (MLRS). According to a request for information (RFI) by the Indian Army, the service seeks to identify private Indian vendors for participating in the proposal for life extension of all variants of Smerch ammunition, and facilitate the preparation of request for proposals (RFP).
The Indian Army proposed the life extension of four variants of 300 mm Smerch rockets, the RFI added. The four variants are 300 mm 9M55S fuel-air explosive (FAE) warhead, 300 mm 9M55F high explosive (HE) fragmentation significant wave height (SWH)-70 km, 300 mm 9M528 HE fragmentation SWH-90 km, and 300 mm 9M55K cluster warhead.
The Indian Army said that the life-extension methodology of any ammunition depends on its design configuration, composition and quantity of explosives. (Source: Janes)
07 Feb 23. Ukraine’s battle against Russia is consuming ammunition at unprecedented rates, with the country firing more than 5,000 artillery rounds every day — equal to a smaller European country’s orders in an entire year in peacetime. The dramatic shift to a war footing is creating a supply chain crisis in Europe as defence manufacturers struggle to ramp up production to replenish national stockpiles as well as maintain supplies to Ukraine. Nearly a year since Russia’s invasion, the pace of demand for ammunition and explosives is turning into a test of Europe’s industrial production capacity in a race to re-arm. “It is a war about industrial capacity,” said Morten Brandtzæg, chief executive of Norway’s Nammo, which makes ammunition and shoulder-fired weapons. He estimates Ukraine has been firing an estimated 5,000-6,000 artillery rounds a day, which he said is similar to the annual orders of a smaller European state before the war. The pressure on producers has not been helped by lingering supply chain bottlenecks following the coronavirus pandemic, a lack of production capacity and a shortage of critical raw materials for some explosives, which is holding back efforts to increase output.
Some components are in such high demand, Brandtzæg said, that their delivery time has increased from months to years. It has led to a scramble to source materials, from chemicals for explosives to metals and plastics for fuses and artillery shell casings. Most companies have increased production shifts ahead of expected orders from national governments, and are hiring more people, another challenge since the start of the pandemic. Yves Traissac, deputy chief executive at military explosives producer Eurenco, said the company is looking to increase production capacity to meet the higher demand from customers that include Germany’s Rheinmetall and Britain’s BAE Systems. “We are currently managing a ramp-up to meet our customer demand. It is a challenge but we are working on that,” he said. One particular challenge is sourcing nitric acid, which the company uses in small quantities to make explosives but which is also a key ingredient in the manufacture of fertiliser. With parts of Europe’s fertiliser production reduced due to the high cost of energy, the supply of nitric acid “has to be secured with our suppliers”, said Traissac. Eurenco, he added, is working to “have additional sources of critical raw materials”. Rheinmetall, Germany’s largest defence contractor, announced last month it would build a new explosives factory in Hungary in a joint venture with the government to address the shortage. The explosives produced in the new plant will be used for artillery, tank, and mortar ammunition, among other things. The company has also restarted decommissioned ammunition production facilities, it told the Financial Times, and has “bought in large stocks of important materials”. Mick Ord, chief executive of Britain’s Chemring, which supplies a range of explosives and propellants to defence contractors, said some customers have asked if it is possible to “increase output [of certain materials] by 100-200 per cent”. According to Ord, a “lot of the post-pandemic supply chain challenges are starting to abate”. The “bigger challenge is that our capacity has been sized to what our customer demand was and the industry has been run very broadly on that basis, where capacity meets demand”. To increase output significantly takes time and investment in new plants, he said. “These are pretty capital intensive projects which take a few years to build, commission and bring online. It’s not the kind of supply chain where you can just flick a switch.” UK-based Denroy, which makes shell casings and other components for a range of defence companies, has benefited from pre-ordering certain materials such as polymers and composites. The challenge, said chief executive Kevin McNamee, is “not so much our capacity but the lead times of some of the materials are very long — it can be a six-month lead time on some specialised materials”. (Source: FT.com)
03 Feb 23. Royal Thai Navy unveils FK-3 air-defence system. The Royal Thai Navy (RTN) has unveiled its Chinese-made FK-3 air-defence system during a visit by Commander-in-Chief Admiral Choengchai Chomchoengphaet to the Air and Coastal Defense Command (ACDC) stationed in Chonburi province. In a social media post shared by the RTN, the service was seen displaying the weapon to Adm Chomchoengphaet. The FK-3 is manufactured by China Aerospace Science and Industry Corporation Limited (CASIC). The FK-3 is the export variant of the CASIC’s HQ-22 medium- to long-range semi-active radar homing/radio command guidance air-defence system. It retains the domestic version’s top speed of Mach 6, although its maximum range of 100 km is significantly shorter than the Chinese HQ-22’s maximum range of 170 km. The FK-3 was inducted into the RTN in 2022 and serves as an offensive combat missile and an air-defence shield. (Source: Janes)
03 Feb 23. Indo-Russian venture completes production of AK-203 first batch. Indo-Russian Rifles Private Limited (IRRPL) – a joint venture between Russia and India to manufacture AK-203 assault rifles for the Indian Armed Forces – has completed the production of the first batch of rifles in Korwa Ordnance Factory in Amethi, Uttar Pradesh. Alexander Mikheev, director general of Russian defence export agency Rosoboronexport, which is one of the stakeholders in IRRPL, said that the joint venture has produced the first batch of 7.62 mm Kalashnikov AK-203 assault rifles and the beginning of deliveries to the Indian Army is expected soon. India’s Chief of the Army Staff General Manoj Pande recently said that the joint venture will produce 5,000 AK-203 rifles by March 2023. (Source: Janes)
04 Feb 23. Mounted Close Combat Overwatch (MCCO). Not to be confused with Land Precision Strike, Mounted Close Combat Overwatch (MCCO) is a British Army requirement defined as for:
A long-range system providing anti-armour coverage to the battle group, with concepts carrying multiple missiles weighing up to 50kg with a range of up to 10km or more
Mounted Close Combat Overwatch (MCCO) is part of the wider Battle Group Organic Anti-Armour (BGOAA) programme that also includes.
- Close in Self Defence (CISD), portable lightweight munitions carried by the Infantry section (a successor to NLAW and ASM)
- Close Combat Anti-Armour Weapon-Dismounted (CCAAW-DM), capable of destroying armoured vehicles even if hidden from view (A successor to Javelin)
- Close Combat Anti-Armour Weapon-Mounted (CCAAW-M), capable of destroying armoured vehicles even if hidden from view (A successor to Javelin)
In the publicity materials that accompanied the May 2021 concept launch, Lieutenant Colonel Mike Baxter, SO1 Light and Medium Forces, commented that Swingfire, Javelin, ASM and NLAW
These systems were designed in the 90s and 00s, with early 2000s conflict in mind, typically as dismounted systems and not optimised for on-the-move operations. During the lifetime of these systems, they have not really faced a significant armour threat
Obviously, this was prior to the Russian invasion of Ukraine in early 2022, he went on to say
If we took Swingfire nowadays, the Swingfire missile system would, noting the detectability of the host platform, would not provide anywhere near sufficient range. This is looking at providing an organic battle group anti-armour capability with a range in excess of 10 km. “The idea is MCCO would be in a position to provide dedicated anti-armour support to any user within the battle group… to allow a dismounted force to be able to call in an MCCO-class effector.”
In the comment above, Swingfire was mentioned, certainly worth looking at its background in order to understand the MCCO requirements.
Before Mounted Close Combat Overwatch (MCCO) – History
Guided missile overwatch as a term goes way back to concepts that eventually informed CVR(T) in the early seventies but the missile used, Swingfire, had an even longer heritage.
Swingfire Anti Tank Guided Missile (ATGW)
Despite the cancellation of the Orange William missile in 1959, Fairey Engineering continued development work, culminating in Swingfire, first mentioned by the government in 1962 as a replacement for the Malkara missile. (Source: Think Defence)