09 June 22. Cost of CTA Rounds. Sources close to BATTLESPACE suggest that BAE Systems and CTAI have been tight lipped with the Defence Select Committee over the price of the CT40 round. Sources suggest that depending on type that the range of pricing is £800-£3000. Current prices are based on hand building the rounds as there’s no production line. Given that Ajax will be the only CT40 equipped vehicle in the British Army the added costs of training and support are likely to be eye watering, unless a Boxer armed CT40 turret sees the light of day. It would be cheaper to cancel CT40 along with Ajax and look at a Bushmaster 30mm canon for any new vehicle and Boxer given the systems is in use with the Royal Navy and the ammunition is a lot cheaper and it is NATO standard allowing continued supply on the battlefield.
09 June 22. USMC eyeing MRIC prototype decision point, weapon could be fielded by 2025. The US Marine Corps (USMC) will conduct two additional live-fire tests with its cruise missile defence prototype centred around important Iron Dome components this year before deciding on whether to press ahead with weapon development and have it in marines’ hands by 2025, according to a programme official. (Source: Janes)
07 June 22. With hypersonic worries, lawmakers request reports on US missile defense. The draft legislation also requires DoD to submit an overarching strategy for defeating hypersonic missile threats using asymmetric capabilities, including directed energy, microwave systems, cyber and “any other capabilities.”
A House Armed Service Committee panel wants the Defense Department to submit a new assessment detailing the Pentagon’s ability to defend against incoming missile threats, according to draft legislation released today.
The markup section of the fiscal 2023 National Defense Authorization Act from the HASC subcommittee on strategic forces also includes several provisions requesting the department submit reports that detail plans to modernize missile defense systems and enhance sensor architecture, and a report identifying current gaps in the missile defense.
“The committee notes advances in various missile technologies by foreign states, to include advances in hypersonic weapons, increasing capability and capacity of long-range precision fires, and continued testing of long-range missiles by rogue states,” the committee wrote in the direct report language. “The committee continues to encourage the Department of Defense to analyze and assess the evolving security environment and threats posed by advancing missile and rocket capabilities of near-peer and rogue states.”
The House panel’s section would require the director of the Missile Defense Agency, along with the undersecretary of defense for policy, chief of naval operations and commander of US Northern Command to deliver a report assessing numerous missile defense capabilities against current and future ballistic missiles threats. The report must include details on how the current homeland ballistic missile defense architecture “would need to be adjusted to defend against two or more nuclear-capable rogue nations,” including cost estimates.
The draft legislation also requires the Department of Defense to submit an overarching strategy for defeating hypersonic missile threats using asymmetric capabilities, including directed energy, microwave systems, cyber and “any other capabilities.”
Notably, the markup carries what appears to be a provision in which it would cut the deputy secretary of defense’s FY23 travel budget by 10% because lawmakers say the department has yet to specify a service or defense agency as the acquisition authority for cruise missile homeland defense. On Wednesday, Rep. Jim Cooper, D-Tenn. and chair of the strategic forces subcommittee, said at the markup hearing that Pentagon notified the panel that it would designate a cruise missile defense lead by the end of July.
Countering The Hypersonic Threat
In its markup, the subcommittee pushes the Defense Department to integrate advanced technology into its hypersonic missile defense programs. Under one provision, the panel would “encourage” the defense secretary to use the Defense Innovation Unit or Small Business Innovation Research funds to acquire commercial or non-developmental radar upgrades to detect and track low-flying, short-, medium-, and long-range hypersonic weapons or cruise missile threats.
Another provision would require the MDA director to provide a report by year’s end on how artificial intelligence could be used to decrease response time in detecting hypersonic missiles across all phases of flight, and how AI can enhance tracking and targeting those missiles. In general, the subcommittee wants more information about what investments are needed in sensor architectures to detect and track hypersonic and cruise missiles.
The committee notes that the US military has “limited capability” to defend against hypersonics through the sea-based component of the Aegis Ballistic Missile Defense System, stationed on the Navy’s Arleigh Burke-class destroyers and Ticonderoga-class cruisers.
“The committee notes that while these missile defense systems are highly capable, technological advancements in hypersonic missiles present challenges to their capability,” the committee notes.
Concerns Over Guam, Lessons From Ukraine
In one geographically specific area, the markup aims to beef up the defense of Guam against missile threats. The draft bill directs the Defense Department to submit a report analyzing the integrated air and missile defense architecture for the defense of the American territory and requires a report on the missile defense architecture of US Indo-Pacific Command.
The committee wants the report to include details on how existing ground-based interceptor sites, including a potential site at Fort Drum, New York, could be used for future advanced missile interceptor capabilities and situational awareness for Northern Command.
The conflict in Ukraine also made its mark in the draft legislation, as the committee directs the Army to assess the “validity” of its current Patriot Air and Missile Defense batteries. The draft bill language says that Russia’s unprovoked invasion of Ukraine has “highlighted the importance” of lower-tier air and missile defense in Europe. Under the legislation, the Army would be required to submit a report assessing and validating its current battery and interceptor objectives.
“It is the sense of Congress that given the evolving cruise- and ballistic-missile threat from rogue nations and near- peer adversaries, particularly in regional scenarios, the Secretary of the Army should reassess the current battery and interceptor acquisition objectives for the Patriot air and missile defense system to determine if 16 batteries and 3,376 Patriot advanced capability-3 missile segment enhancement missiles are still valid,” the language states.
The Army plans to replace Patriot systems with its Lower-Tier Air and Missile Defense Sensor (LTAMDS) and Integrated Air and Missile Defense Battle Command System (IBCS), but those two programs won’t be fielded together for over a decade, even if they remain on schedule. Lawmakers want to ensure that the Army continues to modernize the Patriots until the fielding of IBCS and LTAMDS is complete.
The language would require the Army secretary to brief Congress on obsolescence needs within the Patriot program, including a summary of all funded and unfunded obsolescence requirements in the future years, as well as an analysis of which unfunded requirements are needed to mitigate risk if air defense operations tempo increase 10 percent and 25 percent.
“It is critical that the Army prioritize the need to address pressing obsolescence challenges in order to ensure Patriot’s ability to continue serving as a critical enabler to the Army’s integrated air and missile defense strategy throughout the fielding of IBCS and LTAMDS,” the direct report language states. (Source: Breaking Defense.com)
08 June 22. Countering IEDs with novel electronic technologies.
DASA is searching for Counter-IED technologies that use novel Radio Frequency (RF) techniques.
- DASA has launched a new Innovation Focus Area (IFA) called Countering IEDs by Novel Technology and Techniques.
- Seeking novel electronic technologies that can counter Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs)
- Between £150k – £400k per proposal
It is vital that UK military and security users can continue to deploy new countermeasures and technologies to outpace IED threat evolution, to protect service personnel, emergency services and the public against the threat of improvised explosive devices (IEDs).
To address the UK’s need for IED threat detection, the Defence and Security Accelerator (DASA) is pleased to launch a new IFA, Countering IEDs by Novel Technology and Techniques. This IFA aims to find and develop innovations that use either the Radio Frequency (RF) spectrum or provide an understanding of the RF spectrum in order to detect and disrupt the functionality of IEDs.
Between £150k – £400k is available per proposal for this IFA. Proposals are expected to last between 6 – 18 months, and should deliver solutions at a minimum of Technology Readiness Levels (TRLs) 5/6.
The IFA is open for proposals now until further notice.
Have an innovation? Read the full competition document and submit a proposal.
Effective IED countermeasures: Key challenges
An important part of countering an IED threat is the detection of devices along with understanding the electromagnetic environment. This will help inform situational awareness and determine threat from non-threat, and inform the configuration of other countermeasures.
What is an IED?
An IED is an explosive device fabricated in an improvised manner, but with varying degrees of professionalism. An IED typically comprises of the following component types:
- a power source
- electronic circuitry
- an explosive initiator
- an explosives charge
- shrapnel products to increase fragmentation
- trigger mechanism
- various enclosures
The trigger mechanisms used to initiate IEDs are often adapted from commercial products. Examples could include modified Radio Controlled (RC) toys or the use of communication networks.
There are three challenge areas of interest for the IFA, and proposals are expected to meet at least one of the below challenges.
To capture and analyse RF signals using novel spectrum survey techniques, which may include, but is not limited to:
- signal analysis techniques and classification algorithms, which identify and distinguish between multiple technology standards and protocols, while being able to operate across a wide spectrum in real time
- generating methods or data analysis techniques to provide an understanding of the RF environment, which can be used to inform tactical decisions; for instance, the ability to identify abnormal changes in the environment
Approaches to permanently or temporarily disable commercial communications links and/or the electronics within a Remote Controlled Explosive Device. Examples include techniques that:
- disable communications links to prevent a trigger signal being received. Examples of communication links of interest include those used by push-to-talk radios, wireless doorbells, cellular devices, Wi-Fi and any other readily available communication devices. This may include approaches against the RF signal or the wireless transceivers themselves
- disable multiple communication types simultaneously across a wide spectrum, preventing devices from switching to alternative RF bearers that they may have access to
- disable the electronics within a Remote Controlled Explosive Device, preventing its detonation. Examples include RF techniques to affect the operation of microcontrollers or cause permanent damage
New or novel hardware and ancillaries (system components), which may include but is not limited to:
- novel antenna concepts to improve performance and lower the RF and visual signature of the service person or vehicle with respect to the ECM system and its ancillaries
- advancements in hardware design, such as tuneable filters, efficient ultra-wide band amplifier designs
- optimisations in size, weight, or power, or efficiency optimisations in wideband RF signal generation technologies (in the order of several GHz)
- novel signal and data processing hardware technologies and techniques, that offer advancements in efficiency, parallelism or dynamic configurability
Read the full competition document to learn more about the challenge areas.
A list of Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) is now available.
FAQ: Countering IEDs by Novel Technology and Techniques (PDF, 391 KB, 4 pages)
Submit a proposal
If you have a solution or technology that may help us discover better ways of countering IEDs and protect service personal and the public, DASA would like to hear from you. Read the full competition document to submit a proposal.
Submit a proposal: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/defence-and-security-accelerator-dasa-open-call-for-innovation/open-call-innovation-focus-areas#IFA034 (Source: https://www.gov.uk/)
07 June 22. Lockheed Martin, L3Harris, Northrop Grumman Get Stand-in Attack Weapon Contracts. Three contractors received 90-day, $2m contracts to begin work on the Stand-in Attack Weapon, or SiAW, one of the Air Force’s next generation of air-to-ground munitions. Lockheed Martin, L3Harris, and Northrop Grumman got contracts for the work out of a five-competitor field that also included Boeing and Raytheon Technologies.
It was not immediately apparent whether the three companies will do competitive or complementary work under the contracts, which were awarded May 25. The five contenders were deemed the only ones qualified to do the work according to an Air Force statement from May 2021.
Lockheed Martin said its contract is to perform integration work for SiAW and that it will produce hardware over the next five years, which the Air Force will then test and evaluate for possible production.
The Air Force has budgeted $1.9bn for SiAW development over the future years defense plan starting in fiscal 2023 and continuing until 2027. The fiscal 2023 request is for $283.2m, and development funding is expected to peak in fiscal 2026, with $718.2m planned.
“We’ve been asked to present an open, agile, and digital weapon that can be rapidly upgraded through digital engineering,” said Bryan Gates, senior manager of Northwest Florida Operations for MFC’s air dominance and strike weapons unit.
“This is an open system architecture, with a digital design, that allows us to bring in different pieces and parts from subcontractors [and] other companies to develop this weapon,” and the Air Force will decide that mix, Gates said. The Air Force is also pursuing modular approaches involving air-to-air missiles and uncrewed aircraft to derive greater flexibility and adaptability from its future force.
In a press release, Lockheed Martin linked to a YouTube video showing an F-35 launching six SiAWs—four from underwing stations and two from its internal weapons bays. The weapons fly straight ahead and then straight up before the video ends. Gates said this flight profile is typical for weapons that will travel some distance before striking their targets.
“If you’re launching from any type of distance, you’re gonna get some altitude to derive your target solution,” he said.
The video suggests the SiAWs can be volley-launched and guide to their targets simultaneously. Gates declined to say what kind of guidance the weapon uses, referring any operational questions to the Air Force.
While the Air Force plans the weapon for use on the F-35, “I would stay away from” saying it is the threshold platform, Gates said. “It depends on what the Air Force wants to do with it.”
As an open-mission systems round that can be digitally re-tuned and improved, “that would mean that they can use it on whatever they want to use it on.”
The SiAW apparently builds on work done with Northrop’s Advanced Anti-Radiation Guided Missile (AARGM) for the Navy, itself a derivative and expansion of the AGM-88 HARM air-to-surface anti-radiation missile. USAF’s initial acquisition strategy was to pursue the weapon sole-source from Northrop Grumman, but in April 2021, it decided to open the program to other contenders.
Gates said Lockheed Martin’s offering includes “the ability to have pieces or parts rapidly upgradeable within the weapons” that can address a changing threat. The Air Force will “decide on seekers, motors, internal warheads, internal parts to the weapon, and as the threat changes, we’re able to change those parts of the weapons.”
The contract calls for “leave-behind materials after 60 months,” which Gates said will be “weapons for the Air Force to use … and move forward into production.” He described the contract as a “rapid prototyping” type. He could not say how many assets the Air Force will have to work with at the end of the five-year development phase. He could not speak to program milestones.
Gates noted that Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Charles Q. Brown Jr.’s mantra of “accelerate change or lose” and said, “that is what this program is all about: taking mature technologies, making sure we’ve got them … digital … upgradeable … affordable and beneficial to the warfighter.”
He noted that under the “One LM” rubric, other divisions of Lockheed Martin contributed to the offering; notably the Advanced Development, or “Skunk Works,” unit, which used its “Star Drive” digital design technology, which he said was “heavily leveraged” for SiAW.
If the SiAW goes into production, Gates said it hasn’t been decided where it would be built. But the goal of the digital design “was to shorten the developmental timelines … turn it over to our production facilities and … turn out weapons as quickly as we can.” He added that Lockheed Martin is “excited to partner with the Air Force and get this done.” (Source: Defense News Early Bird/https://www.airforcemag.com)
07 June 22. Turkey starts mass production of miniature drone missile.
The Turkish-made Bayraktar TB2 drone is shown Dec. 16, 2019, at a military air base in northern Cyprus. The government has started mass-producing a new mini missile for the aircraft, dubbed Bozok. (Birol Bebek/AFP via Getty Images)
ANKARA, Turkey — A Turkish government research agency has started to mass-produce a new miniature munition to be fitted into the Bayraktar TB2 drone, made by a Turkish company Baykar Makina.
The laser-guided Bozok missile was developed by TÜBİTAK Defense Industries Research and Development Institute. It has undergone multiple successful fire tests.
Turkey has supplied 96 of the TB2 drones to international clients, including Poland, the first European buyer. Defense industry officials said additional prospective buyers of Turkish-made drones include the United Kingdom, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Saudi Arabia, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Serbia, Slovakia, Uruguay and Albania.
Engineers have extended the Bozok’s range from an original 9 km to 15 km, and they are working on a more effective warhead and further extension of the range. Work is currently at the firing test stage, according Gurcan Okumuş, who manages the research institute.
The Bozok is smaller and has a lighter, compact structure in comparison to the MAM-L, a munition widely used by Turkish-made combat drones. MAM-L is part of the family of domestically developed smart micro munitions.
The Bozok features precision guidance with its semi-active laser seeker, proximity sensors and optimized target effectiveness, according to TÜBİTAK.
The institute has also developed two air-to-air missiles, Bozdogan and Gokdogan, both nearing mass production.
The work on air-to-air missiles began in 2013. The research institute developed Gokdogan with a short range, high maneuverability and an infrared seeker, and Bozdogan as a long-range, active radar seeker missile. (Source: Defense News)
08 June 22. Thales Australia’s Lithgow Arms opens Small Arms Collaboration and Cooperation Centre. The centre is expected to facilitate the continued growth of the company’s SME and industrial partners by proving access to resources and equipment.
Thales Australia has confirmed that their Lithgow Arms business has opened the Small Arms Collaboration and Cooperation Centre (C3) to support Australian SMEs and industry partners.
The new centre is expected to remove cost hurdles for small-to-medium businesses looking to innovate by offering access to resources, equipment, engineering skills and expertise.
It is hoped that the C3 will facilitate greater collaboration between industry partners, with participants connecting with one another to share insights, teach skills, partner on research and design, while acquiring manufacturing support.
It is hoped that the collaborative learning model will support the continued growth in small arms innovation, providing Australian defence businesses greater access to supply chains, Defence and the global economy.
Among those taking part in the C3 are Southern Cross Small Arms, Hosico, A.W. Bell and Wedgetail Industries, who are gaining unique insight into prototyping, test and evaluation, qualification, industrialisation and advanced manufacturing.
The companies are currently working on products for sporting shooters and the agriculture industry, and further enhancing their Australian industry content.
Thales Australia, however, explained that the biggest success story had been the Thales Australia, Rheinmetall Defence Australia and AW Bell collaboration for Rheinmetall’s Mk30-2 cannon as part of the LAND 400 program. AW Bell is now working directly with Rheinmetall.
The announcement comes as the company invested $6.5 m in the first phase of an industrial plan for the Lithgow site.
“Opening the C3 inside the Lithgow Arms factory is critical in achieving the vision of the Lithgow Arms masterplan and redevelopment,” Matt Duquemin, director, integrated weapons and sensors, Thales Australia, said.
“The future of our business here in Lithgow is not just about building an advanced manufacturing precinct – it’s about growing a sustainable and competitive sovereign industry capability in regional New South Wales to ensure the Australian Defence Force is ready now, future ready.” (Source: Defence Connect)
06 June 22. Turkey’s Kamikaze UAV Kargı Debuts in Aegean Drill.
The new Kargı kamikaze unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) developed by the Turkish defense industry was showcased for the first time as part of the EFES-2022 military drill.
One of the largest planned exercises of the Turkish Armed Forces (TSK), the EFES-2022 field exercise is ongoing in the Seferihisar district of western Izmir with the participation of friendly and allied country elements.
Within the scope of the exercise, local defense industry company Lentatek is exhibiting the UAVs it has developed with domestic and national resources.
The Kargı project was initiated by Lentatek with the support of the Scientific and Technological Research Council of Turkey (TÜBITAK).
Kargı can suppress and destroy the radars of the enemy’s integrated air defense and surface-to-air weapon systems. With preparations now complete, Lentatek is counting the days before the UAV enters serial production. The ground systems, navigation and automatic flight control system design and production were all developed domestically, as was the system’s software.
In 2018, Kargı made its maiden flight with Lentatek’s nationally developed aircraft and ground systems as a result of the localization of foreign components, which also applied to the RF seeker and destruction system, the flight engine and launch engine (rocket engine), link system, propeller and fuel tank subsystems, which were all developed within the country as well.
The Kargı project is being carried out under the leadership of Lentatek in cooperation with other leading defense industry companies, namely Aselsan, Turkish Aerospace Industries (TAI) and TÜBITAK’s Defense Industries Research and Development Institute (SAGE). It bears the PG50 engine developed by TAI’s engine producing subsidiary TUSAŞ Engine Industries (TEI).
The aircraft is launched from canisters, which are also used as storage, thanks to the rocket engine. The Kargı forces the air defense radars to remain passive by navigating the enemy airspace for a long time and will be able to find its target and successfully destroy it with the RF seeker and destruction system.
The kamikaze UAV is expected to replace the Israeli-made Harpy already in the TSK’s inventory.
The IAI Harpy is a loitering munition produced by Israel Aerospace Industries and is designed to attack radar systems and optimized for the suppression of enemy air defenses. It carries a high explosive warhead.
The Harpy has been sold to several countries, including South Korea, Turkey, India and China. (Source: UAS VISION/The Daily Sabah)
06 June 22. USAF Revives Sled Testing for Hypersonics Work. The US Air Force has demonstrated renewed capability to run a vehicle at hypersonic speed on a sled track and recover the test article, adding another means to test hypersonic technologies, according to the service’s Arnold Engineering and Development Center.
In two tests since July 2021, conducted at Holloman Air Force Base, N.M., vehicles were accelerated to more than 5,000 feet per second on a 10-mile-long sled track, then decelerated and the payloads recovered, AEDC said. The tests were conducted by the 864th Test Squadron at Holloman.
The Holloman High-speed Test Track (HHSTT) is a capability unique to the Defense Department, and is “the only sled track capable of recovering sleds with test articles from velocities over Mach 5,” according to Daniel Lopez, project manager for the tests.
Called the Hypersonic Sled Recovery effort, or HSR, the runs were made to “prepare for the increased need for hypersonic test and evaluation in support of the National Defense Strategy,” Lopez said.
A lack of adequate testing facilities for hypersonic projects has been identified for several years. The DOD is working with NASA to expand hypersonic test capabilities at Arnold’s Tullahoma, Tenn., site, as well as at Edwards Air Force Base, Calif., and other locations.
One of the drawbacks of testing hypersonic vehicles in free flight is that there are few ways to decelerate and recover the vehicle for post-flight analysis. The X-51 vehicle, for example, was the first to exceed 200 seconds of air-breathing hypersonic flight, but all the X-51s were lost when they hit the ocean, as planned. An industry source familiar with hypersonic testing said it isn’t worth the cost or time to try to create a means to “catch or land” such missiles after they complete their high-speed flights. Even the inclusion of a parachute affects the shape and weight of the vehicle and would require further engineering time, and “we’re in a bit of a hurry,” he said.
The Air Force’s developmental AGM-183A Air-launched Rapid Response Weapon, or ARRW, has suffered from some simplistic failures, but the tight scheduling of range time and assets has slowed the re-run of some of those tests, as the program had to “get back in line” to try again.
“We have a very robust portfolio of testing going on right now, … including hypersonics, and range time is precious,” according to a test official. An expert in hypersonics research said the sled tests are “impressive. But also, frankly limited in the useful data it can provide.”
Lopez called the program a “multifaceted” effort that covers “development and resurrection of various braking methods, sled designs, and thermal protection systems, as well as gaining proficiency in conducting recovered hypersonic missions.”
Before the recent tests, recovered hypersonic missions hadn’t been made at Holloman for about 18 years.
The track is a nine-inch diameter monorail, and at 10 miles length, it’s the longest of the sled systems at Holloman. There is a 3.8 mile monorail at the base, but that’s too short to get a test vehicle up to Mach 5 or higher, and recover the test article, Lopez said. Even so, that track was used to set a world land speed record of 9,465 feet per second, or about Mach 8.4, or 6,453 miles per hour, he noted.
Holloman also offers test data “to verify lethality effects, impact survivability, aerothermal and weather effects, separation dynamics, guidance system performance, sensor performance and other key performance metrics,” according to Arnold.
Rainfield capability was upgraded at Holloman last fall to test the effects of high speed flight through weather, Arnold said. The upgrade was based on analysis of natural rainfall.
Lopez said the HSR project will continue to expand the capabilities of the sled track, adding additional braking methods in order to test sleds moving at Mach 6 or higher. (Source: UAS VISION/Air Force Magazine)
06 June 22. Poland moves to buy HIMARS, capping major May modernization push. Poland will seek as many as 500 HIMARS launchers, as well as moving forward with its Patriot program, according to the Ministry of Defense.
In a move that caught many by surprise, Poland announced late last month that it has begun the process of acquiring 500 of a US-made long-range weapons system known as the High Mobility Artillery Rocket Systems, or HIMARS, capping off a May military modernization splurge that also announced plans to procure more Patriot missile defense systems.
Poland’s Minister of National Defence Mariusz Błaszczak announced the move in a May 26 tweet, stating he had signed a Letter of Request inquiry into buying “about” 500 M142 HIMARS launchers, which would include a “high level of Polonization” of the equipment and its integration into Warsaw’s combat management system. Lt. Col. Krzysztof Płatek, a spokesman for the Armaments Agency, added that technology transfer would go into a Polish domestic effort known as HOMAR, and, intriguingly, that “we also want to obtain the technology of a selected missile” as part of the deal.
HIMARS has been in the news lately, with Ukraine having finally secured four batteries for its war against Russia. According to multiple American outlets, Washington had been hesitant to approve the sale over concerns Ukraine could use the weapon to attack inside of Russia. Colin Kahl, Undersecretary of Defense for Policy, said last week that it will take about three weeks for Ukrainian forces to be trained on the system, adding that the Ukranians had pledged not to use the weapons to attack Russian territory.
While Poland’s desire for HIMARS was known, Błaszczak’s statement begins the formal statement of interest from Warsaw. The expectation is that Poland’s government will move quickly to try and secure a contract for the weapon, although the timeline will depend heavily on how Washington reacts.
The announcement was unexpected, in part because only two days earlier, during an opening speech of the Defence24 Day industrial conference, Błaszczak announced the start of the continuation of the Wisła Phase 2 program. Wisla is the Polish name for the Patriot system, produced by American firm Raytheon.
“I have already signed a Letter of Request to acquire 3 squadrons (6 batteries) of Patriot, 360 degree radars (LTAMDS), launchers and missiles, together with the training and logistics package,” Błaszczak stated.
According to official statement from Poland’s Armaments Agency, in 2023 it is expected to conclude negotiations over a Foreign Military Sales agreement for the Patriot equipment, which will be combined with the conclusion of an offset agreement, as well as a number of contracts with the Polish industry.
Under the offset agreement, the US will transfer to Poland technologies associated with the LTAMDS radar and C2 system. Similar to Wisła Phase 1, whose delivery is planned to start this year, Polish defense industry will be responsible for delivery of the P-18PL early detection radars use an active electronically scanned array (azimuthally and in the elevation plane, despite the rotating base of the antenna) as well as Passive Location System, which combines two passive subsystems: PCL (Passive Coherent Location) and PET (Passive Emitter Tracking).
The first Patriot batteryunder Wisła Phase 1 is to be delivered to Poland by October 2022, and the second battery to be delivered to the US Government by the end of Q1 2023.
In Wisła Phase 2, the industrial cooperation will be continued, and Polish industry will be responsible for the production and delivery of the M903 launcher, PAC-3 MSE rocket components and the logistics security components of the Patriot/IBCS system. The first two batteries of the Wisła Phase 2 will be delivered in 2026, and the completion of deliveries is planned in 2028.
“Global interest in LTAMDS has been strong and Poland has made a significant first step toward becoming one of the first international customers,” said Tom Laliberty, president of Land Warfare & Air Defense at Raytheon Missiles & Defense. “Not only will LTAMDS bring an exceptional capability to detect complex and evolving threats to our allied nations, but expansion of our customer base will also offer the benefits of commonality and cost savings as well.”
According to Raytheon, progress on the US Army LTAMDS program continues, with the first radar having arrived the Army’s White Sands Missile Range. Five other radar systems are set to be delivered to US military test sites this year.
New Funding Streams
The surge of spending is occurring against the backdrop of the Ukraine invasion, something Błaszczak openly acknowledged in his comments.
“We also draw conclusions from the war in Ukraine. Its observation confirmed us in the belief that the Polish army must be able to deter [the enemy] based on its own defensive potential and independent defense of our country,” Błaszczak said in his speech.
According to Błaszczak, a new definitive document, known as Model 2035, will be released “soon” that will call for the sustainable development in all domains: land, air, sea, cyber, space and active expansion of territorial defense forces.
But many analysts doubt Poland can afford huge defense spending. In the last few years Warsaw decided to acquire a lot of US weapon — Patriot (for over 80 bln zlotys), HIMARS (for over 60 bln zlotys), M1A2 tanks (for over 21 bln zlotys) and F-35 multirole fighters for about 20 bln zlotys. And there are also others military programs, like Narew SHORAD systems, Miecznik frigates, Kruk attack and Perkoz and multirole helicopters, which also must be concluded and financed.
During his speech Błaszczak addressed the Act on Homeland Defense, which will enable increasing the defense budget to 3% of GDP. “Thanks to increased funds, we will be able to successively equip the Polish army with the best armament produced by both the Polish arms industry and our allies,” he said.
The Act on Homeland Defense is a new legal standard which officially entered into force on April 23. (Initially it was to enter into force on July 1, but due to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, the Sejm moved the timeline up). It replaced several previous legal statutes, including the act of November 21, 1967 on the universal obligation to defend the Republic of Poland.
Several weeks ago Błaszczak and Beata Daszyńska-Muzyczka, President of the Management Bard Bank Gospodarstwa Krajowego (BGK), signed an agreement on the creation of the National Armed Forces Support Fund, one of the new solutions for financing the Polish Army, resulting from the Act on the Defense of the Homeland. The establishment of the fund opens new possibilities of obtaining finances to modernize the Polish Armed Forces, such as issuing bonds. Through this instrument it will be possible to buy modern technologies and military equipment both in Poland and abroad. The fund will also be able to use other sources, such as revenues from tax securities, payments or donations, or funds from the budget transferred by the Minister of National Defense.
Of course, spending more money would not work out if it doesn’t get Warsaw any real capability, and Poland has a long history of programs not coming to fruition. In his speech, Błaszczak addressed this issue, pointing to recent reforms for the Polish Army’s acquisition system.
“Thanks to the Council for Technical Modernization (Rada Modernizacji Technicznej) and the Armaments Agency (Agencja Uzbrojenia) functioning since January this year, we have shortened the decision-making process, [and] without statutory changes, based solely on internal documents, we introduced regulations that significantly accelerated the process of acquiring military equipment”, he said.
Stating that “the effects of reform can be seen immediately” Błaszczak recalled a recently signed contract for the supply of four battery modules of Gladius unmanned reconnaissance and attack system, including of a number of vehicles with command and control and logistic tasks and also include the mobile ground station as well as a set of BSP-U Gladius loitering munition with associated launching equipment. “Another examples are contracts for the supply of first two Narew SHORAD system batteries and 100 mini-UAVs (25 sets) codenamed Viewfinder (Wizjer) for ISTAR and IMINT for Army and Special Forces,” he said. (Source: Breaking Defense.com)
07 June 22. India conducts training launch of nuclear-capable missile Agni-4. The solid-fuelled ballistic missile is capable of hitting targets 4,000km away. The Indian Ministry of Defence (MoD) has announced the successful test-firing of Agni-4, an intermediate range ballistic missile.
The training launch, which was conducted under the support of the Strategic Forces Command, took place on Dr APJ Abdul Kalam Island, off the Odisha coast of Balasore.
The latest test was part of routine user training launches.
In a statement, the MoD said: “The successful test reaffirms India’s policy of having a credible minimum deterrence capability.
“The launch validated all operational parameters and also the reliability of the system.”
The solid-fuelled, two-stage missile, previously named Agni-II Prime, is part of the Agni series of missiles designed by the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO).
It is capable of loading nuclear and conventional payloads. The nuclear-capable missile has a strike range of up to 4,000km.
The light-weight missile has been developed to act as deterrence and cater to the country’s security needs.
Agni-4 was successfully tested in November 2011 from Wheeler Island, where it rose to an altitude of 900km. Agni-II Prime was first flight tested in December 2010, which resulted in a failure.
The Agni series of ballistic missiles are developed under the Integrated Guided Missile Development Programme (IGMDP) of the DRDO.
In June 2021, the MoD announced the test-firing of a new generation, advanced ballistic missile variant, Agni-P (Prime).
The Agni P variant is a ‘canisterised’ surface-to-surface missile with a 1,000km to 2,000km range. (Source: army-technology.com)
03 June 22. German Navy test fires RBS 15 against land target. The test was conducted in the northern Norwegian fjords on 18 May. The German Navy has test fired RBS 15 Mk3 anti-ship missile at a land-based target in Norway, on board K130 Braunschweig-class corvette Oldenburg (F263).
This also marks the first time Oldenburg has fired the RBS 15 missile at a target on land. In the previous test firings, Oldenburg has fired RBS 15 only at sea-based targets.
The test was conducted in the northern Norwegian fjords on 18 May.
Missile Firing Exercise 2022 test director and frigate captain Nikolaus Hey said: “The total flight distance demanded different, extremely demanding routes from the guided missiles, both at sea and over land.
“The route made good use of the RBS15’s range of more than 200 kilometers, the rockets hit several hooks on their route and changed their altitude again and again.
“This basically serves to hide the exact firing point, and thus the position of the corvette, from a possible opponent.”
The RBS15 Mk3 has a large warhead and belongs to the class of heavy anti-ship missiles.
The missile can destroy stationary military infrastructure targets on land as well as can be used against mobile missile launchers, if the precise position of the target is known.
However, this data about the target is not provided by the corvettes’ sensors but is derived from other sources.
Oldenburg first guard officer Kapitänleutnant Till Niemann said: “The missile did exactly what it was supposed to do, what it was designed for.”
The procedure for firing the missile against a land-based target was same as that of a target at sea.
Oldenburg’s crew fired the RBS15 missile from a battle station, though the ship was not in a specific battle scenario. This was to ensure the safety of the ship and crew during the test launch of the missile. (Source: naval-technology.com)
06 June 22. South Korea to buy more Patriot missiles, upgrade launchers.
RoK has approved a plan to buy more Lockheed Martin-made Patriot Advanced Capability-3 missiles to enhance its defense against North Korea’s ballistic missile threat. Under the plan, which was endorsed May 30 by a top decision-making committee of the Defense Acquisition Program Administration, the government will spend 750bn won (U.S. $600m) over the next five years to procure PAC-3 Missile Segment Enhancement weapons. The government did not disclose a quantity for the missile interceptors.
The DAPA committee also approved a plan to upgrade the existing PAC-2 launchers for use with PAC-3 platforms. The PAC-2 launcher enables missiles to intercept hostile targets at an altitude of about 20 kilometers (12 miles), whereas the PAC-3 launcher can destroy incoming missiles at an altitude of 40 kilometers.
The PAC-3 MSE uses a two-pulse, solid-fuel rocket motor that increases altitude and range to defend against evolving threats. “The latest decision to get more PAC-3 interceptor missiles is aimed at improving the existing air defense system over the Seoul metropolitan area and key state facilities,” DAPA said in a statement. “The buy of more PAC-3 missiles will help enhance our missile defense capability to thwart the ballistic missile threat.”
South Korea’s decision to boost its missile intercepting capability came about a week after its northern neighbor fired three ballistic missiles, including a possible intercontinental ballistic missile, toward waters off the Korean Peninsula’s east coast. The missiles were fired shortly after U.S. President Joe Biden wrapped up a trip to the region, where he pledged efforts to strengthen deterrence against the North’s increasing nuclear threat.
South Korea has been developing its own a missile shield, called the Korea Air and Missile Defense, a terminal-phase, lower-tier, overlapping missile defense system. The KAMD consists of an early warning system, a command-and-control system, and an intercept system.
For interception, the South Korean military has acquired Patriot missiles and medium-range surface-to-air missiles. It is also developing a long-range surface-to-air missile system with an extended intercept range using domestic technology as part of efforts to help improve its capability to defeat incoming ballistic missiles. (Source: Defense News)
31 May 22. Poland requests more air-defence and artillery systems from US. Polish Minister of National Defence Mariusz Błaszczak has announced plans to boost Poland’s medium-range air defence (MRAD) and long-range rocket artillery capabilities.
Błaszczak signed a letter of request (LoR) on 24 May for the acquisition of six more Patriot MRAD batteries under the second phase of the Wisła programme. The Polish Ministry of National Defence (MND) expects to sign the relevant Foreign Military Sales (FMS) agreements by 2023, to be followed by the offset agreement and technology transfer to the Polish armaments industry. Polish Armaments Agency (AA) spokesperson Lieutenant Colonel Krzysztof Płatek told Janes. (Source: Janes)
03 June 22. Russian invasion of Ukraine sparks renewed interest in Stryker protection system. Based on what has been observed of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, the U.S. Army in Europe has renewed interest in pursuing active hard-kill protection systems for its Stryker combat vehicle, something the service put on the backburner years ago.
Beginning in 2016, the Army evaluated Active Protection Systems that could provide increased protection for Stryker. It decided in 2019 to place the effort on hold after evaluating several possible solutions.
“There is a renewed interest in a hard-kill APS for the Stryker forces in Europe,” said Col. William Venable, project manager for the Stryker Brigade Combat Team within the Army’s Program Executive Office Ground Combat Systems. He spoke at a conference in Arlington, Virginia, focused on future active protection for armored vehicles on June 2.
The interest from the European theater flowed back to his office, Venable said The Army asked for feedback on requirements for a system that can be rapidly fielded much like the service did to up-gun the Stryker with a 30mm cannon, known as a Dragoon, and also with a Common Remote Weapon System using Javelin anti-tank missiles.
The Army moved quickly on both programs amid urgent operational needs from the 2nd Cavalry Regiment in Europe following Russia’s annexation of Crimea in 2014. Anticipating Russian capability, the Army called for the rapid fielding of greater firepower capability for its maneuver forces.
While the Army planned to field APS on M1 Abrams tanks, Bradley Infantry Fighting Vehicles and Stryker, it only successfully fielded the Rafael-made Trophy APS system on the Abrams.
The Army still has a small congressional plus-up of $16 m in fiscal 2022 to continue evaluations and work on the IMI-made Iron Fist system for Bradley. The service provided no subsequent funding for the program in FY23 and beyond, budget documents show.
For Stryker, the Army evaluated Herndon, Virginia-based Artis Corporation’s Iron Curtain before determining it was not the right system for the vehicle.
The service then evaluated Rheinmetall’s Active Defense System and Rafael’s Trophy VPS for Stryker but did not move forward with either due to limitations and challenges. One of the larger issues is that several solutions defeat threats very close in to the vehicle, leaving dismounted soldiers walking around outside vulnerable.
Venable said there is a gap in the service’s understanding of the performance requirements for hard-kill APS systems on Stryker vehicles.
“How does it interact with the vehicle? What are the residual effects of hard-kill APS systems on a vehicle and how does it affect the mission of the formation of infantry soldiers that are operating around the vehicle,” are the questions with which the service is wrestling, he said.
Lacking the answer to those questions wouldn’t necessarily prohibit the Army from being able to move forward in rapidly fielding an APS system on Stryker, Venable told Defense News at the conference.
“We have some potential solutions,” he said. “If we have to go fast, I don’t know if we need to solve those problems to go fast. If we have to go fast, there are some effective solutions that are out there today and that can be integrated quickly.”
The Army would include safety and operating restrictions as part of an urgent fielding, he noted.
Venable added that while a system could be rapidly fielded due to an urgent need, more would need to be done if the capability was to turn into a program of record, including a higher level of testing and evaluations and would need to meet a greater percentage of operating requirements.
The Army’s original plan in 2016 was to field APS on Abrams, Bradley and Stryker quickly over a couple of years while developing a future integrated vehicle protection suite for current and future fleets. While the service has tried to move quickly for both the interim and the integrated modular APS system both schedules have continued to slip.
Yet still moving out on a future capability, the Army held a rodeo with vendors in 2021 for a laser warning capability for the system. It selected Danbury Mission Technologies’ AN/VVR-4 Laser Detecting Set in February. The company was part of Collins Aerospace but was spun-off during the United Technologies Corporation and Raytheon merger.
The laser warning capability is the first of its type to be integrated with the Army’s common interface and controller, which Lockheed Martin is developing after winning a contract in February 2021.
Base kit integration is to take place through FY24 across Bradley, Abrams, Stryker and the Armored Multipurpose Vehicle. A procurement contract award will take place in the second quarter of FY23, according to budget documents.
The service has fielded Abrams tanks with APS in Europe for two years. The systems participated in exercises and live-fire demonstrations since deploying to the theater. (Source: Army Times)