20 Apr 22. US Army Announces 2 New Rifles for Close-Combat Soldiers. The Army recently awarded a contract to manufacturer Sig Saur for two new Soldier weapons: the XM5 rifle and the XM250 automatic rifle. For Soldiers involved in close-quarters combat, the XM5 will eventually replace the M4/M4A1 carbine rifle, while the XM250 will replace the M249 Squad Automatic Weapon.
Additionally, both new rifles will use the new 6.8mm common cartridge family of ammunition as well as a new fire control system.
“We should note that this is the first time … in 65 years the Army will field a new weapon system of this nature: a rifle, an automatic rifle, a fire control system, and a new caliber family of ammunition,” Army Brig. Gen. Larry Q. Burris, the Soldier Lethality Cross-Functional Team director, said.
The new system also arrived much quicker than anticipated, Burris said.
“This is revolutionary, and we arrived at this point in record time because we leveraged middle-tier of acquisition rapid fielding authorities to enable speed and flexibility in defining requirements,” he said.
Burris said the Army was able to do in 27 months what might otherwise have taken anywhere from eight to ten years.
It’s expected that the first unit of soldiers involved in close-quarters combat will be equipped with the new system in the fourth quarter of 2023, Burris said. Soldiers involved in close-quarters combat include 11B infantrymen, 19D cavalry scouts,12B combat engineers, 68W medics, and 13F forward observers.
“The fielding of the weapon is based upon ammunition production,” Burris said. “As the vendor is able to produce ammunition, and then Lake City ultimately comes on, what we don’t want to do is field a capability to a unit where we don’t have training ammunition or contingency ammunition, if required. That’s what drives the fielding of the weapons.”
Brig. Gen. William M. Boruff, the program executive officer, Joint Program Executive Office, Armaments and Ammunition, said the new 6.8mm ammunition will initially be produced by Sig Saur, but that the Army will eventually take over production of ammunition at Lake City Army Ammunition Plant in Missouri. After that, Sig Saur will become a second-source provider of the new ammunition.
“We already have started preparing the site for the new building,” Boruff said. “The new building will be stood up in Lake City Army Ammunition Plant and it will start producing around 25/26. We’ll work with Sig Saur. We’re clearing some space now at the Lake City facility to start production.”
When the time comes, Boruff said, the Army will have enough of the new ammunition to begin fielding the new rifles.
“The capability increase that these weapons provide over the M4 and the M249 is what’s really exciting,” Col. Scott Madore, the project manager for Soldier Lethality, said. “It’s a significant change: the way it fires, the way, when you apply the fire control — which was previously awarded back in January — when you apply that to these weapons systems, it improves or increases the probability of a for the individual soldier. It reduces aim error, and it’s a game changer. That’s really what excites me about these two systems as we saw them go through testing.”
Burris also said that in addition to improved accuracy, the new system also provides greater energy on the target.
The XM5 weighs about two pounds more than the M4 it will replace, Madore said, while the XM250 weighs about four pounds less than the M249.
The initial ten-year contract with Sig Saur allows for up to 250,000 weapons to be purchased, but that allows for other services, such as the Marines, to also be fielded the weapons if they express interest.
For the Army’s close-combat and special operations forces, about 120,000 weapons will be needed.
The new rifles will be paired with the XM157 Fire Control system, which will increase accuracy and lethality for the close-combat force. The XM157 integrates, among other things, a variable magnification optic, backup etched reticle, laser rangefinder, ballistic calculator, atmospheric sensor suite, compass, visible and infrared aiming lasers, and a digital display overlay. (Source: US DoD)
19 Apr 22. Sig Sauer Wins Contract to Make Next-Gen Squad Weapon. After years of development and a vigorous competition between major gun makers, the Army announced April 19 that Sig Sauer Inc. will manufacture the service’s next-generation squad weapons. The Army awarded a 10-year firm-fixed-price follow-on production contract for the manufacture and delivery of two squad weapon variations — the XM5 Rifle and the XM250 Automatic Rifle — and the 6.8 Common Cartridge Family of Ammunition.
“This award was made following a rigorous 27-month prototyping and evaluation effort that included numerous technical tests and soldier touch points of three competing prototype systems,” the Army said in a statement.
Starting in 2017, companies such as Textron Systems, FN America, General Dynamics Ordnance and Tactical Systems all had competed for the lucrative contract, but the competition ultimately came down to Sig Sauer and a team of LoneStar Future Weapons and BerrettaUSA.
LoneStar had partnered with ammo maker TrueVelocity, which was offering composite rounds. The value of the initial delivery order on the contract is $20.4m for weapons and ammunition that will undergo testing. The contract includes accessories, spares and contractor support. It also provides the other Defense Department services and, potentially, foreign military sales, the statement said.
The Army’s 2023 fiscal year budget request calls for the service to acquire 17,164 fire control modules, 1,704 automatic rifles and 16,348 rifles.
The XM5 Rifle will replace the M4/M4A1 carbine within the close combat force, and the XM250 Automatic Rifle is the planned replacement for the M249 Squad Automatic Weapon, the statement said.
Both weapons will provide significant capability improvements in accuracy, range and overall lethality, the Army said. “They are lightweight, fire more lethal ammunition, mitigate recoil, provide improved barrel performance, and include integrated muzzle sound and flash reduction,” the statement said.
Both weapons fire common 6.8 millimeter ammunition utilizing government provided projectiles and vendor-designed cartridges. The new ammunition includes multiple types of tactical and training rounds that increase accuracy and are more lethal against emerging threats than both the 5.56mm and 7.62mm ammunition, the statement said.
The Army in January announced that Winchester would manufacture the new 6.8 common cartridge.
The XM5 and XM250 will be paired with the XM157 Fire Control, a ruggedized advanced fire control system that increases accuracy and lethality for the close combat force, made by Vortex Optics, the statement said.
It integrates a number of advanced technologies, including a variable magnification optic (1X8), backup etched reticle, laser rangefinder, ballistic calculator, atmospheric sensor suite, compass, Intra-Soldier Wireless, visible and infrared aiming lasers and a digital display overlay. (Source: glstrade.com/Breaking Defense.com)
20 Apr 22. DoD Awards University of Notre Dame for Applied Hypersonics Research. The Department of Defense (DoD) announced today that the University of Notre Dame (ND) was selected for a one-year, $500,000 applied research award to use additive manufacturing techniques to construct a control array module for use on hypersonic vehicle designs.
The control system design will incorporate machine learning for feedback control allowing adaptation to varying flight conditions, leading to potential increased performance of the hypersonic vehicle. The proposed research, sponsored by the Joint Hypersonic Transition Office (JHTO) through the University Consortium for Applied Hypersonics (UCAH), will be jointly undertaken by ND, University of Arizona (UoAZ), Texas A&M University (TAMU), and General Electric (GE Global Research).
The design, fabrication, and bench testing of the array module will be conducted at ND, cross-flow stability analysis will be performed at TAMU, and the Direct Numerical Simulations (DNS) will be conducted at the UoAZ. The development of a machine learning surrogate model will be concurrently conducted at GE Global Research and ND. The development of the Fiber Bragg Grating temperature sensing array will be performed at the optoXense headquarters, San Ramon, CA and the flow field experiments will be conducted in the Mach 6 Ludwieg Tube Facility at the U.S. Air Force Academy.
One of the main objectives of the UCAH and JHTO is workforce development. In addition to supporting graduate students at the three different universities, this work will support a Ph.D. student as a research intern working on the project at the GE Global Research Center.
20 Apr 22. DoD Awards Texas A&M University for Applied Hypersonics Research. The Department of Defense (DoD) announced today Texas A&M University (TAMU) was selected for a one-year, $500,000 applied research award to develop both analytical and empirical procedures to quantify high-altitude and near-space atmospheric weather encounters for current and future hypersonic flight system designs.
The proposed research, sponsored by the Joint Hypersonic Transition Office (JHTO) through the University Consortium for Applied Hypersonics (UCAH), will be jointly undertaken by TAMU, Wichita State University, National Institute of Aviation Research (NIAR), Prairie View A&M University, University of Texas at El Paso (UTEP) and the Lockheed Martin Corporation (LM).
During hypersonic flight, the physical and chemical environment can vary substantially because of the presence of natural environments, such as clouds and electrical discharges. These conditions are exacerbated by the effects such as temperature, pressure, gas composition, flow velocity, and turbulence. These can result in damaging effects that alter the aerodynamics of the vehicle and cause severe material damage and structural failures. This research aims to understand and predict the system impacts of these complex and coupled hypersonic environments.
One of the main objectives of the UCAH and JHTO is workforce development. This project will provide cutting-edge hypersonics, diagnostics, and materials research to graduate and undergraduate students at several universities, including one of our Historically Black Colleges and Universities members.
20 Apr 22. IAF conducts live-firing of Brahmos missile from Su-30MKI aircraft. The successful live firing validated the long-range strike capabilities of Brahmos. The Indian Air Force (IAF) has successfully conducted a live firing of the Brahmos supersonic cruise missile on the Eastern seaboard.
During the test, the air launched Brahmos was released from the IAF’s Sukhoi Su-30MKI twinjet multi-role fighter aircraft.
The IAF collaborated with the Indian Navy for the launch.
With the joint contribution of the IAF and Navy, the missile achieved a direct hit on the target, comprising a decommissioned Indian Navy ship.
The IAF said in a tweet: “Today on the Eastern seaboard, #IAF undertook live firing of #BrahMos missile from a Su30 MkI aircraft. The missile achieved a direct hit on the target, a decommissioned #IndianNavy ship. The mission was undertaken in close coordination with @indiannavy.”
The successful live firing validated the long-range strike capabilities of Brahmos.
The supersonic cruise missile, Brahmos, is a two-stage missile and has a speed of up to Mach 3 and a flight range of up to 290km.
The missile was developed by Brahmos Aerospace, a joint venture of NPO Mashinostroeyenia, Russia and the Indian Defence Research and Development Organisation.
It can be launched from ships, submarines and aircraft, as well as from the land.
Separately, the Indian Navy conducted BrahMos firing from its guided-missile destroyer INS Delhi (D61).
Indian Navy spokesperson said in a tweet: “Successful maiden #BrahMos firing by #INSDelhi from an upgraded modular launcher once again demonstrated long range strike capability of Brahmos along with validation of integrated Network Centric Operations from frontline platforms.”
Recently, the Indian Ministry of Defence (MoD) also test-fired an enhanced variant of Brahmos from the Integrated Test Range (ITR) in Chandipur, Odisha. (Source: Google/airforce-technology.com)
19 Apr 22. Brazil’s Mac Jee unveils electronic fuze for air-launched weapons. Brazil’s Mac Jee Defesa is finalising development of its BEF-1502 multi-purpose all-electronic fuze system, the company told Janes in April. The BEF-1502 combines arming and detonation functions in a single fuze system for the company’s Dagger air-launched precision guidance kit and 2,000 lb BPB 2000 hard-target penetration bomb, Mac Jee said.
It can be also added to domestic and foreign made 500 lb, 1,000 lb, and 2,000 lb air-launched unguided general-purpose bombs, and to weapon guidance kits on NATO and US-made aircraft.
The high-altitude release-capable fuze system, with an in-line explosive train, was designed to be cheaper and more reliable than legacy FMU-139C/B and FMU-152A/B electro-mechanical fuzes.
The BEF-1502 relies on electronics to arm and disarm the device. With no moving parts, it provides fuzing and void sensing functions, enabling the weapon to penetrate and destroy hardened or deeply buried targets, according to Mac Jee. (Source: Janes)
20 Apr 22. Pentagon budget 2023: USMC sees NMESIS as ‘marquee’ system for new approach. The US Marine Corps (USMC) Navy Marine Corps Expeditionary Ship Interdiction System (NMESIS) marries the USMC desire to achieve sea denial with its plan to establish a stand-in force within the enemy’s weapons engagement zone, according to Major General Benjamin Watson, USMC commanding general, Marine Corps Warfighting Laboratory/Futures Directorate and vice chief, Office of Naval Research.
“It’s our marquee system going forward,” Maj Gen Watson told Janes , adding that the system underscores how marines “adapt … and reconcile the operating concept of being small, light, and nimble with the ability to engage at range”.
NMESIS integrates established, proven subsystems, such as the Joint Light Tactical Vehicle chassis, the Naval Strike Missile (NSM), and the fire-control system used by the navy for NSM.
The USMC has included USD345m in the proposed USMC fiscal year (FY) 2023 budget for NMESIS, according to budget documents released on 28 March, about 65% more than the USD208m enacted in the FY 2022 budget. (Source: Janes)
19 Apr 22. Glide Breaker Program Enters New Phase.
- Seeks to quantify jet interaction effects to enable future hypersonic glide-phase interceptors
DARPA is seeking innovative proposals to conduct wind tunnel and flight testing of jet interaction effects for Phase 2 of the Glide Breaker program. The overall goal of Glide Breaker is to advance the United States’ ability to counter emerging hypersonic threats. Phase 1 of the program focused on developing and demonstrating a divert and attitude control system (DACS) that enables a kill vehicle to intercept hypersonic weapon threats during their glide phase.
Phase 2 will focus on quantifying aerodynamic jet interaction effects that result from DACS plumes and hypersonic air flows around an interceptor kill vehicle. The Glide Breaker Phase 2 Broad Agency Announcement (BAA) can be found at this link.
“Glide Breaker Phase 1 developed the propulsion technology necessary to achieve hit-to-kill against highly-maneuverable hypersonic threats. Phase 2 of the Glide Breaker program will develop the technical understanding of jet interactions necessary to enable design of propulsion control systems for a future operational glide-phase interceptor kill vehicle. Phases 1 and 2 together fill the technology gaps necessary for the U.S. to develop a robust defense against hypersonic threats,” said Major Nathan Greiner, program manager in DARPA’s Tactical Technology Office. (Source: ASD Network)
19 Apr 22. True Velocity Seizes Momentum in Global Adoption of Lightweight 6.8mm Round. Texas-based True Velocity said Tuesday it is actively pursuing multiple domestic and international opportunities for advanced arms and ammunition development to benefit military and civilian end-users alike. The global focus on the modernization of small arms and ammunition has been galvanized in recent years by the U.S. Army’s Next Generation Squad Weapon program, in which True Velocity and wholly owned subsidiary LoneStar Future Weapons were final contenders.
True Velocity Seizes Momentum in Global Adoption of Lightweight 6.8mm Round
Chief among those opportunities is the ability to convert currently fielded weapon systems like the M240 belt-fed machine gun, the M134 rotary machine gun, and other weapons initially designed for standard 7.62x51mm ammunition to accommodate True Velocity’s advanced, lightweight 6.8TVCM cartridge, a derivative of the NGSW program. This “switch-barrel” capability enables existing weapon systems to extend their effective range by as much as 50 percent and reduce ammunition weight by more than 30 percent with only a barrel change.
On March 15, the U.S. Army posted a “sources sought” solicitation seeking industry feedback on 6.8mm conversion kits for it’s widely fielded M240B and M240L machine guns, which are traditionally chambered to fire 7.62x51mm ammunition.
“True Velocity stands by the unparalleled quality and accuracy of our world-class products, manufacturing processes, and IP, which through the last 24 months of evaluation in the NGSW program have generated significant interest from American and global defense markets,” said Kevin Boscamp, chairman of True Velocity. “The NGSW program has served as an excellent proving ground for our advanced technology, and we look forward to equipping U.S. and allied forces alike with unprecedented capabilities.”
True Velocity’s proprietary composite-cased 6.8 TVCM ammunition delivers enhanced lethality, increased effective range, and an unmatched reduction in weight. The LoneStar Future Weapons RM277 rifle and automatic rifle offer maximum lethality in a compact, lightweight package capable of stable and accurate automatic fire, long-range effectiveness, and reduced recoil.
Production of a civilian version of the 6.8TVCM cartridge is also underway, and earlier this year True Velocity became the first ammunition manufacturer to receive certification from the Sporting Arms and Ammunition Manufacturers’ Institute (SAAMI) for a composite-cased cartridge. The 6.8 TVC commercial variant delivers a maximum average pressure of 65,000 psi with a 135-grain bullet at a velocity of 3,000 feet per second and offers significant weight reduction and accuracy advances compared to traditional brass cartridges. LoneStar Future weapons, in partnership with Beretta USA, plans to launch a semi-automatic version of the RM277 rifle – named the “Amicus” – for civilian shooters, and True Velocity is working with more than 50 other commercial manufacturers to develop and market rifles chambered for the 6.8TVC cartridge.
“The Next Generation Squad Weapon program allowed True Velocity and LoneStar Future Weapons to showcase the transformative nature of our technology,” said Craig Etchegoyen, chairman of LoneStar Future Weapons and president of True Velocity. “We see extraordinary opportunity and enthusiasm for our products not only in the domestic and international defense markets, but in the civilian shooting space as well. We are just getting started.”
Lightweight, composite-cased ammunition from True Velocity is currently offered online and at major retail locations across the U.S. including multiple configurations of .308 Winchester, 6.8 TVC, and a soon-to-be introduced .223 Remington cartridge.
To learn more about True Velocity, LoneStar Future Weapons and the NGSW program, visit TVAmmo.com.
About True Velocity
True Velocity is an advanced technology and composite manufacturing company based in Garland, Texas. Founded in 2010, True Velocity has more than 300 patents pending or issued on its products, technology, and manufacturing processes. Initially, the company is focused on revolutionizing the ammunition industry. True Velocity’s proprietary composite cartridge provides significant logistical advantages over traditional brass-cased ammunition and gives end users unmatched accuracy, repeatability, and reliability, all in a light-weight cartridge. True Velocity products are manufactured in the U.S. in a state-of-the-art facility and are currently available to public agencies, at select retail locations and direct-to-consumer at tvammo.com. (Source: PR Newswire)
18 Apr 22. Heckler & Koch rifle delivery to USAF units enters final phase. The SDMRs will replace traditional M24 Sniper Weapon Systems.
The delivery of Heckler & Koch-designed Squad Designated Marksmanship Rifle (SDMR) to the US Air Force (USAF) units has entered the final phase.
USAF Life Cycle Management Centre’s (AFLCMC) Small Arms programme office is responsible for distributing the rifles depending on approved allowances.
The rifles have already been fielded to various USAF units this year.
Around 1,464 SDMRs have been procured by the service to replace traditional M24 Sniper Weapon Systems. The new rifle will also replace the USAF’s M110 Semi-Automatic Sniper Systems rifle.
The M24 sniper weapon system is used by Security Forces Defenders for performing base defence operations in-garrison and in Contingency support.
AFLCMC Small Arms programme office lead Matthew Hamer said: “We’re excited to field this incredible weapon system.
“Being able to field one solution that can effectively achieve multiple missions epitomises Air Force acquisition strategies and shows Airmen ability to adapt to any situation.”
SDMR is a semi-automatic, 7.62x51mm calibre, multi-role asset and is comparatively lighter in weight than the other 7.62 platforms.
The lightweight SDMRs will allow the para-rescue men and Guardian Angels to avoid carrying 5lb gear with them while conducting various operations.
The rifle can accurately engage targets up to 600m and is used for a range of operations that need combat over-watch with precision-fire capability.
Furthermore, the precision-fire capability of SDMR will also be employed by the technicians of the USAF Explosive Ordnance Disposal.
The technicians will use the rifles to eliminate small munitions in their standoff munition disruption activities.
Earlier in 2020, the AFLCMC’s Gunsmith Shop delivered of a new rifle, Aircrew Self Defense Weapon (GAU-5A), to the USAF. (Source: airforce-technology.com)
18 Apr 22. US Army document details plan to update WWII-era ammo plants and depots. Many of the U.S. Army’s ammunition plants, arsenals and depots, mostly constructed in World War II, are time capsules of the era. The service has tried to update these wartime facilities, but there is much left to do to bring them into the 21st century.
McAlester Army Ammunition Plant in Oklahoma is dotted with shrub-cloaked ammunition bunkers built around 1943 and resembling Hobbit-holes. Old covered bridges that extend from external break rooms to manufacturing facilities across roads loom overhead but are now closed because of the presence of asbestos.
Since WWII, trains have carried in supplies and carted out ammunition in cargo containers. The Army has worked to update rail gauges and train cars to keep shipments moving on time, day and night.
Long, dark tunnels connect one facility for painting and prepping bomb shells to another where explosives are loaded into those rounds. A robotic arm spray-paints the outside of a shell in one facility.
But this automated capability isn’t available for the nuances of mixing explosives or filling shells, Brig. Gen. Gavin Gardner, commander of Joint Munitions Command, told Defense News on a tour of the ammunition plant’s production line for the Mark 82, a 500-pound bomb used by the Air Force. Chemists still manually mix explosives — like tritonal, which is 80% TNT and 20% aluminum powder — using a resonant acoustic mixer, then adding it to the weapon mostly by hand.
Defense News accompanied Army Secretary Christine Wormuth on a trip to the plant last month.
Parts of the facility that manufacture these bombs recently received upgrades, prior to the coronavirus pandemic, including the integration of brand-new machinery. The plant was tasked to mass manufacture hand sanitizer on the Mark 82 production line before the equipment was ever used to build weapons because it was clean and could be configured to do the job.
More upgrades are expected in 2023, including an Air Force-funded multipurpose loading facility that is partly unmanned and keeps the bombs underground encased in deep concrete when being loaded for blast protection.
McAlester supplies one-third of munitions for the Defense Department and is considered the premier bomb- and warhead-loading facility, delivering thousands of Mark 84 2,000-pound bombs, M11 artillery rounds and 105mm artillery rounds, to name a few.
But McAlester is just one of several critical ammunition plants and depots that make up the DoD’s organic industrial base — and modernization is needed across the board.
State of the base
The Army’s organic industrial base is made up of 23 depots, arsenals and ammunition plants. And more than 19,000 facilities manufacture, rebuild, maintain or store equipment, supported by more than 32,000 skilled artisans and technicians.
Since 2009, the Army invested more than $5bn to upgrade facilities, infrastructure, and operations equipment, but the service acknowledges a more focused investment plan is needed.
Congress has taken a particular interest in modernizing the organic industrial base over the last several years, having held hearings on the subject since at least 2020 and supplying the Pentagon with funding to bring aging facilities into the 21st century — making them safer and more efficient.
“‘Shocking’ is not overstating the condition of some of our facilities,” Rep. Donald Norcross, D-N.J., chairman of the Tactical Air and Land Forces Subcommittee, said during a hearing last month. “The production progress, the tooling facilities are all operating much like they did during the Second World War.”
In the last two National Defense Authorization Acts, Norcross noted, Congress supported the Army’s baseline budget and its unfunded priorities to cover the cost of modernization plans.
“That was meant to kick-start the process of upgrading, modernization, and safe and efficient production of conventional ammunition,” he said. But he’s concerned the Army did not include adequate funding in its fiscal 2023 budget request to cover the costs of modernizing its industrial base facilities.
The service has a three-phase plan, which will require an estimated $16bn investment, with more than $8bn to upgrade ammunition sites, Gen. Edward Daly, who leads Army Materiel Command, told the subcommittee.
Crane Navy employees work on a munitions production line in 1942, one year after Crane Naval Ammunition Depot was established amid World War II. (Courtesy of the U.S. Army)
Plan of action
“Critical to modernization efforts are minimizing human exposure to hazards through robotics and remote operating processes, seeking to reduce single points of failure and dependence on foreign suppliers, and building capacity and capability to support the Army and the joint force as we move into the future, all while sunsetting and divesting of legacy equipment, facilities and processes,” Daly said.
According to the Army’s organic industrial base implementation plan, the service will focus on five lines of effort — facilities; tooling and processes; workforce; network and cyber; and energy and environment — across three, five-year phases stretching from FY24 through FY38.
The 15-year plan, obtained by Defense News, is aimed at posturing to support enduring and modernized systems, ensuring the ability to surge production, reducing single points of failure, identifying and mitigating supply chain vulnerabilities, reducing dependence on foreign suppliers and retiring legacy equipment and excess capacities.
The Army plans to modernize its facilities through the adoption of agile industrial processes, process improvement with sustainable utilities and resilient data infrastructure. The service will develop an “interconnected network of machine and sensors” that can gather data and analyze the information to streamline manufacturing, optimize production and generate surge capacity, the plan stated.
The workforce will need to be trained and developed to become artisans in a modernized infrastructure, the Army acknowledged.
The service also cites a need to use modern industrial standards, such as higher levels of automation and data exchange, which will require updating information technology and operational technology systems to make them more secure from cyberattacks.
The plan is geared toward ensuring facilities are climate resilient and that they efficiently use energy and other resources, such as water.
From FY23 to FY28, the Army’s projects will help build the foundation for 21st century capabilities, according to the plan. “The first phase focuses on building secure industrial control networks, leveraging robotics with computer program logic [and improving] workforce safety,” the document stated.
This includes building an optimized component remanufacturing facility and installing an industrial control network at Anniston Army Depot in Alabama; building a modernized powertrain facility for enduring platforms and to support future vertical lift aircraft when they come online at Corpus Christi Army Depot in Texas; and building a “one-way luminescence ammunition facility” for more efficient tracer production at Lake City Army Ammunition Plant in Missouri.
Other facilities will be built and upgrades made to Holston Army Ammunition Plant in Tennessee; Radford Army Ammunition Plant in Virginia; Red River Army Depot in Texas; Tobyhanna Army Depot in Pennsylvania; and Watervliet Arsenal in New York.
In the second phase, from FY28-FY32, the Army will continue to build capabilities while addressing vulnerabilities. Projects include a consolidated combat vehicle assembly at Anniston; modernized pyrotechnic production at the Crane Army Ammunition plant in Indiana; future precision fires remanufacturing and the construction of a modernized and adaptive joint missile maintenance facility at Letterkenny Army Depot in Pennsylvania; and an upgraded primer mix house complex for Lake City.
At the end of this phase, “the Army will have a workforce postured to capitalize on the increased use of modern technologies such as robotics, artificial intelligence and data analytics,” according to the plan.
In the final phase stretching from FY32 to FY38, the Army will maintain and sustain its investments in a modernized organic industrial base. Corpus Christi will get a new aircraft remanufacturing facility; Letterkenny will get a Future Precision Fires Remanufacturing Complex; and Red River will get command-and-control and emerging-services facilities.
Also in this phase, the Army will provide Tooele Army Depot in Utah with accredited microgrids for energy resilience; Pine Bluff Arsenal in Arkansas will get a multi-spectrum obscurant production upgrade; and the Joint Manufacturing and Technology Center in Illinois will receive upgrades in aluminum and titanium casting and forging.
By the end of this phase, the Army will have “a technologically advanced infrastructure that leverages data, analytics, and process automation as its foundation, with a safer workforce employed in more energy and cyber resilient industrial processes,” according to the plan.
Staying on track
Throughout the process, the Army will use a comprehensive database visualization tool and master plan repository it is calling Vulcan, which will validate and synchronize hundreds of projects.
“Vulcan hosts vast amounts of detailed planning and budgetary data supporting 2500+ modernization projects planned and budgeted,” the document read. “Vulcan provides full-spectrum visualization capabilities for modernization — macro to micro — and it accurately links all projects to their transformation strategy, planned location, funding type and weapon system(s) to be supported.”
The tool will reside in the Army’s Vantage system, a data-driven operations and decision-making platform, the document notes.
“By merging the ms of data points contained in Vulcan into the Vantage environment, it can take full advantage of the Artificial Intelligence (AI)/Machine Learning (ML) capable applications available to improve and accelerate decisions on everything from major construction, human capital and personnel readiness as well as Return on Investment (ROI) for each dollar spent on modernization,” the plan read.
The Army believes its plan to spend slightly more than $1bn annually is cost-neutral and sustainable.
“However, this operationalized approach to modernization is contingent upon sufficient, predictable, sustainable and timely funding to ensure a successful outcome,” the document warned. (Source: Defense News)
19 Apr 22. Blue Shark torpedo is about to gain sharper teeth. South Korea is developing an improved variant of its Blue Shark torpedo, plus it will still order CIWS from the US until a new domestic weapon is available later this decade. The Defense Acquisition Program Administration (DAPA) in South Korea has selected LIG Nex1 as the preferred bidder to improve the K745 Blue Shark lightweight torpedo. LIG Nex1 announced this KRW160bn ($128m) award on 4 April. DAPA first publicised this Light Torpedo 2 programme last November. After a development process, the new torpedo should be ready for production by 2029, and other domestic firms will assist LIG Nex1 in developing the improved weapon. (Source: News Now/Shephard)
14 Apr 22. Parsons completes CDR of new directed energy system. The system uses high power microwaves to target, track and disable adversary systems. Parsons’ subsidiary Polaris Alpha Advanced Systems has completed the critical design review (CDR) for the US Navy’s innovative directed energy system. The milestone was achieved in February this year. Following the successful completion of CDR, the company will now focus on putting together the entire prototype. Prior to entering full operations, the system will undergo an operational utility assessment aboard an operational interdiction platform. The advanced sensor cued directed energy system uses high-power microwaves (HPM) to target, acquire, track and disable identified adversary systems.
Parsons mission solutions sector integration and production senior vice-president James Lackey said: “The system is purpose-designed to deliver enhanced directed energy capabilities in harsh above deck environments that are routine for interdiction vessels.
“We look forward to working with our customers to continue developing innovative technology suited to their mission needs and future requirements.”
The new system will help the US Department of Defense (DoD) and Department of Homeland Security to safely disable non-compliant small boats during various maritime operations.
Polaris Alpha Advanced Systems received a five-year contract to design and develop a HPM directed energy system for maritime interdiction.
The $11.6m single-award other transaction authority (OTA) contract was awarded by the Naval Surface Technology & Innovation Consortium (NSTIC).
NSTIC aims to provide innovative technological solutions to deal with security threats in surface and maritime environments.
The US Navy, under the OTA, funds the efforts of consortium members to develop and prototype innovative technologies. The consortium comprises of academic institutions, small and large businesses to improve naval capabilities. (Source: naval-technology.com)
14 Apr 22. Philippine Army conducts live firing of new ATMOS 2000 howitzers. The Philippine Army has concluded a three-day live-firing exercise with its Autonomous Truck Mounted howitzer System (ATMOS) 155 mm/52 calibre self-propelled artillery pieces, marking the end of the first in-country training programme for the newly arrived weapons.
The exercise was held from 6 to 8 April at Fort Magsaysay Military Reservation area in Nueva Ecija, which lies about 100 km north of Manila. The activity was conducted by the Philippine Army’s 1st and 2nd Self Propelled Batteries and the Artillery Training School (ATS), said the service in a statement on 13 April.
Videos of the exercise released by the Philippine Army’s official social media channels accompanying its statement indicate that the training activity was facilitated by instructors from Israeli weapons supplier, Elbit Systems.
The Philippine Department of National Defense (DND) issued a ‘Notice to Proceed’ (NTP) to Elbit Systems for the ATMOS acquisition in April 2020. The contract was valued at about USD47m covering the supply and delivery of 12 howitzer units to the Philippine Army. (Source: Janes)