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14 Apr 21. Your squad’s newest weapons: armed drones, shoulder-fired missiles and air-bursting munitions. Most of the attention for Army weapons changes has been focused in recent years on the Next Generation Squad Weapon, with versions that will replace both the M4 and the M249 Squad Automatic Weapon.
But with increased firepower on all sides and more threats to handle than ever, the Army is working on improving hand grenades and shoulder-fired rockets, and finally finding a fix for the pesky problem of hitting enemy troops under cover.
Some of the ongoing efforts, and new details, were revealed April 7 during the Maneuver Capabilities Development and Integration Directorate’s industry days at the Maneuver Center of Excellence at Fort Benning, Georgia.
First off, a problem that’s been lingering for more than a decade but was put at the top of the priority list late last year — counter-defilade.
Right now, the best a soldier or Marine can do when enemy fire is coming from out of hand grenade range and behind a barrier is to hope for an airstrike to arrive quickly.
Col. Rhett Thompson, director of the Soldier Requirements Division at MCDID, told attendees that the biggest problem remains getting a counter-defilade weapon into the hands of soldiers at the squad level.
The new approach, which has replaced the cancelled XM25 program, is dubbed the Precision Grenadier System.
This is a “flat velocity, high-velocity multi-shot weapons system,” presenters said, which has “firefight-ending lethality and precision” when compared with the current M203 and M320 grenade launcher systems.
They want it to arm and strike at distances of 35 meters all the way out to 500 meters. To do that, it will need to be programmable, so soldiers can sight in the threat and tell the munition when to fire, much like tanks and other combat vehicles can do with certain munitions now, only in a much smaller package.
“The real sweet spot is the 300m range band,” Kennedy said. “And we’re looking to do that in less than 15 seconds.”
Out farther than the 500m maximum range, or even around urban corners, the Army wants an armed drone that is more sophisticated than what they have now for squad level, beyond-line-of-sight counter defilade.
Lt. Col. Christopher Kennedy, lethality branch chief for SRD, said Army leadership wants more than the existing Lethal Miniature Aerial Missile System, or LMAMs.
The system has to be returnable, reusable, Kennedy said he was told.
“That sounds like armed Unmanned Aircraft Systems at the squad level,” Kennedy said.
While there are some good fixed-wing options for simply striking a target, especially the “suicide drone” options such as LMAMs. They don’t fit into every scenario.
“Think about urban, heaven forbid a megacity,” he said. “Fixed-wing moves too fast to engage targets we need to engage.”
Rotary wing systems can fly over, do persistent sitting and staring, and get to the backside of buildings and terrain features.
He added that it would be helpful to have embedded software that would allow the drone to lock onto a human target without someone having to fly it.
Basically, the operator establishes the target, then the drone goes and finds it and follows it, he said.
But grenade launchers and squad-level armed drones are not the only non-rifle solution for soldiers at the tactical level.
Kennedy’s team is also looking to vastly improve shoulder-launched missiles, putting much more capability into a single package.
Currently, soldiers have almost too many options.
The M141 Bunker Defeat Munition, a disposable, single-shot, 83mm rocket, can take out field fortifications such as bunkers and urban structures, that range from 8-inch reinforced concrete to 12-inch triple brick walls.
Then there’s the M72 Light Anti-Armor Weapon, or LAW, a disposable 66mm rocket in use since the early 1960s, the AT-4, and upgraded variants of the 84mm, single shot, disposable, unguided anti-tank weapon.
Over the next seven years, the Army expects to have a single shoulder-fired rocket that can defeat all of the threats the old trio of rocket options handled.
Soldiers will be able to fire that rocket, the Individual Assault Munition, from a confined space, strike at multiple targets, have a better hit probability and lethality, reach the farthest ranges of the current rockets, about 500m, and do it all while weighing less than 15 pounds.
By about 2030, the Army expects to go a few steps further, with the Next Generation Squad Multi-Target Munition that can do all of what the IAM can do but also hit targets in defilade and reach ranges of up to 1,000m.
(Source: Defense News Early Bird/Military Times)
15 Apr 21. USAF claims longest air-to-air kill with AMRAAM. The US Air Force (USAF) is claiming to have scored the world’s longest air-to-air kill, with a Raytheon AIM-120 Advanced Medium-Range Air-to-Air-Missile (AMRAAM) fired from a Boeing F-15 Eagle.
No distance was provided for the feat, which, the USAF said, saw an F-15C shoot down a BQM-167 target drone during the Combat Archer series of exercises in March.
“The 28th Test and Evaluation Squadron partnered with the 83d Fighter Weapons Squadron to execute the longest known air-to-air missile shot to date during March. An F-15C Eagle fired an AIM-120 AMRAAM at a BQM-167 subscale drone, resulting in a ‘kill’ of the aerial target from the furthest distance ever recorded. The test took place out of Tyndall Air Force Base (AFB), Florida, in conjunction with Weapons System Evaluation Program (WSEP)-East,” the service said.
According to the USAF, the test was conducted in support of requests from the service’s chief, General Charles Brown, for “long-range kill chain” capabilities. “Key partnerships within the 53rd Wing enabled the expansion of capabilities on a currently fielded weapons system, resulting in warfighters gaining enhanced weapons employment envelopes,” Major Aaron Osborne of the 28th Test and Evaluation Squadron was quoted as saying. (Source: Jane’s)
14 Apr 21. IAI, Thales team up to offer Sea Serpent anti-ship missile for UK I-SSGW requirement. Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) has teamed up with UK-based Thales to offer the Sea Serpent guided anti-ship/anti-surface weapon system as a potential low-risk military off-the-shelf solution for UK Ministry of Defence’s (MoD’s) ship-launched Interim Surface-to-Surface Guided Weapon (I-SSGW) requirement.
I-SSGW is intended to equip several UK Royal Navy (RN) Type 23 frigates to bridge the capability gap following the retirement of the service’s current GWS 60 Harpoon Block 1C system from the end of 2023.
In March 2019 the UK MoD’s Weapons, Torpedoes, Tomahawk, and Harpoon (TTH) Project Team released a Prior Information Notice (PIN) detailing its intention to acquire a ship-launched over-the-horizon precision anti-ship capability; a subsequent provision specified an additional terrain-following precision maritime land attack capability. The notice stated that the I-SSGW capability would be fitted to five Type 23 (towed array) frigates that are capable of concurrent anti-submarine warfare and anti-surface warfare (ASuW) operations for a 10-year period as part of the UK’s Maritime Task Group. Other potential I-SSGW bidders could include Kongsberg/Raytheon, Saab, and MBDA.
Sea Serpent is understood to be based on the latest variant Gabriel V weapon system, which is planned for integration on the Israel Navy’s three existing Saar 5 corvettes and four new Saar 6 Class corvettes. Announcing the teaming agreement with Thales, IAI said in a 13 April statement, “Sea Serpent has been developed in parallel with similar systems in service with the Israel Navy and was selected to provide powerful strike capabilities for Finland’s SSM2020 programme.” (Source: Jane’s)
13 Apr 21. Global Ordnance Successfully Test Fires Upgraded 155mm Mobile Howitzer For U.S. Army Shoot-Off. Global Ordnance, LLC (GO) and manufacturer Yugoimport SDPR J.P. of Serbia, conducted a successful accuracy test firing of an upgraded NORA B-52 M21 155 mm Mobile Howitzer System prior to shipping it the United States for evaluation by the U.S. Army. The NORA system will participate in the United States Army “shoot off” evaluation of mobile 155mm howitzers to determine which systems best fit the Army’s needs through variety of prioritized tasks. The best performers may be asked to provide proposals for the production, delivery, fielding, training, and support for use by the United States Army.
The accuracy test firing was one of the last phases prior to shipping the equipment to the United States and the resounding success of the test firing has Global Ordnance excited about showing the U.S. Army what this equipment can do. Global Ordnance Director of Programs, John Summers, a retired Army Lieutenant Colonel, observed the test firing in person and said the following after the test:
“It was an impressive system to see with the upgraded chassis and auto loader upgrade. The system performed flawlessly through the accuracy firing test. I am very excited to deliver the NORA B52 M21 to Yuma Proving Grounds for the Shoot Off. I am confident it will perform extremely well.” John Summers, Director of Programs.
The NORA B-52 M21 is being prepared for the trials is the latest version of the NORA system and has undergone several significant upgrades to its Chassis, and to the fully automatic loader for compatibility with the U.S. Army propellant charges. The upgrades make an already formidable system even more capable. Global Ordnance has worked with Yugoimport to bring a highly effective product to Yuma for the competition and expects both its performance and overall value to be tough to beat. With enhanced mobility, automation, and speed, GO is excited to present the NORA to the U.S. Army as an effective and lethal system to add to the U.S. arsenal.
Marc Morales, President of Global Ordnance, LLC, expressed both his excitement and gratitude to the U.S. Army and Yugoimport,
“GO is very thankful to Yugoimport for their dedication and commitment to performing the chassis and system upgrades in support of the U.S. Army testing. Both Global Ordnance and Yugoimport have been excited about this program since we received an invitation to the shoot-off and evaluation. We want to deliver the best product in the competitive field while also offering the best value. I’m confident we can do that and this test firing was confirmation that our collective efforts are paying off.” Marc Morales, President. (Source: PR Newswire)
13 Apr 21. Taiwan launches new amphibious vessel with anti-ship missiles. Taiwan has launched the first of a new class of multimission amphibious ships that can carry troops and equipment to its offshore and South China Sea islands. The vessels can also conduct surface warfare missions with anti-ship missiles.
The landing platform dock, named Yu Shan after Taiwan’s tallest mountain, was launched at the shipyard of the state-owned shipbuilder CSBC Corporation in the southern Taiwanese port city of Kaohsiung on Tuesday. The launch ceremony was attended by Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen and Defense Minister Chiu Kuo-cheng, among other senior civilian and military officials.
Speaking at the ceremony, Tsai called the launch of the Yu Shan a “milestone” for the self-governing East Asian island’s plans to bolster its shipbuilding capabilities, adding that the ship “will strengthen the Navy’s ability to fulfil its mission and further solidify our defenses.”
Previously released specifications for the LPD indicate that the ship displaces 10,600 tons when fully loaded and measures 152 meters, or about 500 feet, with a hull draught of 20 feet. Top speed of the LPD is said to be 21 knots with a range of 7,000 miles.
Taiwan’s Ministry of National Defense said the Yu Shan can accommodate up to 673 troops and its vehicle deck can carry AAV7 tracked amphibious vehicles, among other land platforms. The ship also has a twin hangar sized for Sikorsky Seahawk and Black Hawk helicopters as well as a single flight deck spot to conduct helicopter operations. A well dock is incorporated in the design to stow, launch and recover landing craft.
Unusually for an LPD, the Yu Shan is fitted with a pair of missile launchers believed to be capable of holding eight indigenous Hsiung Feng II anti-ship or 16 Hai Chien naval surface-to-air missiles, giving the ship a combat capability.
The ship is also equipped with a single 76mm multipurpose gun and a pair of Phalanx close-in weapon systems; the latter is for defense against missile threats.
The Yu Shan is scheduled to enter service with Taiwan’s Navy in 2022 following final construction and sea trials with the builder. Taiwan has a requirement for four LPDs to replace the Navy’s current amphibious fleet, which is made up of two Newport-class landing ship tanks and a single Anchorage-class landing ship dock, all of which are former U.S. Navy hulls. (Source: Defense News)
13 Apr 21. Italian military chief envisions the Tempest fighter zapping missiles. Sixth-generation Tempest fighters firing laser beams will be able to take out hypersonic missiles in the future, Italy’s military chief of staff has claimed.
Gen. Enzo Vecciarelli made the prediction at a Rome seminar on missile defense, stating that directed-energy weapons were “probably the future” when it came to stopping the hypersonic missiles now being developed around the world.
Hypersonic technology was a “game changer” which would inflict “devastating” damage on foes, he said, adding: “On Tempest there will be a large amount of energy available and I don’t rule out the use of directed energy” against “missiles of the latest generation, including hypersonic missiles.”
Italy’s Leonardo, BAE Systems and MBDA are currently working together to assess the feasibility of building an airborne laser for Tempest, the UK-led future fighter program.
Last month a Leonardo official told Defense News the weapon could develop out of work already being undertaken by MBDA, QinetiQ and Leonardo on a UK ship-borne laser program, Dragonfire.
The Rome seminar, organized by think tank IAI, coincided with the publication of an IAI study calling on Italy to throw its weight behind existing pooled European efforts to tackle the threat of hypersonic missiles.
Before lasers become a possibility, Vecciarelli said he was backing Twister, a space-based, early-warning sensor network coupled with an interceptor moving at a velocity of more than Mach 5 which is included in the EU’s Permanent Structure Cooperation, or PESCO, scheme.
Led by France, the program includes Finland, the Netherlands, Italy and Spain as partners, while Germany joined last October ahead of a possible fielding of the system in 2030.
A second speaker at the seminar, MBDA Italy CEO Lorenzo Mariani, said it was crucial to try and get the UK on board as well.
The IAI paper urged Italy to keep up funding for Twister and encouraged more liaison between government and industry on the program. While backing the need to channel missile-defense work through EU initiatives, the paper insisted that all technology should be ultimately integrated in NATO missile defense infrastructure.
One area where Italy and the EU could focus was space-based elements of missile defense, it added.
“Constellations of satellites will be more and more needed to detect missiles since their launch, mainly through thermal infrared sensors,” the paper stated.
“Rome should exploit the synergy between space programs and missile defense in a win-win logic. This would also enhance and complement current NATO BMD (Ballistic Missile Defense) by adding a further layer and more resilience to an architecture which over-relies on the Turkey-based radar to counter Iranian missile threat,” it added.
Alessandro Marrone, one of the authors of the study, told Defense News, “A technical failure in, or a cyber attack on the Turkish radar, would be damaging since there is a no redundancy, so adding more space based elements would add options.”
The paper also argues that Italy could host NATO missile defense radars as well.
“Italy should exploit the advantages of its geographic position in order to mitigate its very disadvantages,” it stated.
“Geography puts Italy at the front line of missile attacks from North Africa and the Middle East, including from Iran and Libya. Rome should address this risk by proposing to host further, long-range radar systems to be integrated in NATO’s Integrated Air and Missile Defense – which would also mitigate the aforementioned vulnerability represented by the over reliance on the Turkey-based radar,” it stated. (Source: Defense News)
13 Apr 21. UK official: American warhead decision won’t impact British nuclear plans. The United Kingdom’s plan to increase its nuclear warhead stockpile will not be impacted should the U.S. scrap a new submarine-launched nuclear warhead, a British Ministry of Defence official said Tuesday.
“The number of warheads we need for the future is not determined by anything which the U.S. is doing on W93,” Angus Lapsley, the MoD’s director general for strategy and international issues, said during an event hosted by the Center for Strategic and International Studies.
“The U.S. has a warhead program, and we have a warhead program,” Lapsley added. “Because we share the same missile, and therefore use the same aeroshell that wraps around the warhead, there is a certain amount of, sort of, mutual support we can provide each other in taking those programs forward. But you [still] end up with a U.K. warhead and an American warhead.”
The W93 is a new nuclear warhead design for use aboard submarine-launched ballistic missiles. The program was unveiled as part of the Trump administration’s fiscal 2021 budget request and is in the earliest stages of design work at both the Pentagon and the National Nuclear Security Administration, which manages warhead production.
The creation of a new warhead design — the first in decades after a series of life-extension and modernization efforts on existing warheads — quickly drew political fire from nonproliferation advocates. It is also seen as particularly vulnerable on the political stage as the debate around the FY22 budget begins. While it is unknown if U.S. President Joe Biden’s budget request includes funding for the W93, it is expected some Democrats will push to cancel the program and invest funding elsewhere.
At the same time the plans for the W93 were announced, the United Kingdom revealed that it is working on a new warhead design for its Trident missile-armed nuclear submarine fleet. The U.S. and U.K. plan to collaborate around the W93 to find commonalities in the designs.
The issue took on extra focus after the reveal last month that the U.K. plans to expand its stockpile of nuclear warheads. London plans to have “no more” than 260 warheads, which reverses a decision made a decade ago to cut the maximum number from 225 to 180 by the mid-2020s; the decision could result in increasing the stockpile by more than 40 percent overall.
Lapsley shot down the idea that the increase in warheads was related to the agreement between the U.S. and U.K. to jointly develop new submarine-launched warheads.
The concept that the U.K. somehow received a buy-one-get-one-free deal from the U.S. on the W93, and that explains why warhead numbers are going up, is not true, he said.
“It is important to us that the W93 program that the U.S. Navy is pursuing moves ahead. But we have our own program and, you know, we will take our own program forward” regardless of what happens, he added. (Source: Defense News)
13 Apr 21. US Army Long-Range Units Head To Germany. The US Army will create two new units to coordinate long-range warfare in Eastern Europe: a Multi-Domain Task Force and a Theater Fires Command.
The Pentagon is reversing Trump’s planned withdrawals from Germany and instead beefing up the Army’s capability to wage long-range, high-tech warfare, the Army announced this morning. The long-awaited announcement comes as 40,000 Russian troops mass along the border with Ukraine.
The Trump Administration had planned to pull 12,000 troops out of Germany to punish Berlin for not meeting the NATO goal of spending 2 percent of its GDP on defense. In February, the Biden Administration promptly put that plan on hold. Now comes today’s announcement from US Army Europe & Africa (the HQs for the two continents were recently merged): Not only will the Army retain three sites in Germany it had been slated to pull out of, but it will add “approximately 500 Soldiers, 35 local national positions and 750 Family members to U.S. Army Garrison Wiesbaden.”
The 500 soldiers will man two new units. Both are new kinds of formations the Army is using to experiment with new tactics, technologies, and organizations for long-range, high-tech operations using missiles, artificial intelligence, and cyber/electronic warfare.
The Multi-Domain Task Force-Europe will be the Army’s second MDTF. The first one was created at Fort Lewis three years ago, built around an existing rocket artillery brigade but augmented extensively with high-tech assets. It has participated in numerous exercises in the Pacific and won accolades from Army leaders for its “game-changing” capabilities.
The Army has long promised to build a second MDTF in Europe and more recently said it would ultimately create five: two in the Pacific, one in Europe, one in the Arctic, and a fifth for “global response.”
“The Multi-Domain Task Force-Europe will be comprised of field artillery; composite air and missile defense; intelligence, cyberspace, electronic warfare and space; aviation and a brigade support element,” the release says. It’s likely that most of these forces are already in Europe, but the new personnel will likely fill out the MDTF headquarters and its highly specialized, highly technical Intelligence, Information, Cyber/Electronic Warfare & Space (I2CEWS) battalion.
While the MDTF is a combat unit, the other formation is a new kind of headquarters: the Army’s first Theater Fires Command. Why is this necessary? To coordinate long-range missile strikes over distances far exceeding traditional HQs’ capability to command-and-control.
Russia and China have already fielded arsenals of precision-guided missiles with ranges in the hundreds or even thousands of miles. Now the Army is racing to do the same, developing the 300-plus-mile PrSM, the 1,000-mile MRC, and the hypersonic LRHW, whose range is classified but is probably intercontinental. (PrSM will fire from existing HIMARS launchers, MRC and LRHW from specialized and larger ones). All these weapons will enter service, in prototype form, in 2023 and become part of the Multi-Domain Task Forces’ arsenal, while the Theater Fires Command will orchestrate the far-reaching strikes.
While some in the Air Force and friendly thinktanks argue that the Army’s long-range strike efforts needlessly duplicate what bombers already do better, senior joint officers have endorsed the Army efforts as a useful option. That Pentagon officials are letting the Army create its new Theater Fires Command is an implicit vote of confidence in the service’s plans for long-range warfare. (Source: Breaking Defense.com)
13 Apr 21. Indonesia receives first batch of Chinese-made AR-2 missiles for its CH-4 UAVs. The Indonesian military has received its first batch of Chinese-made AR-2 air-to-surface, precision-guided missiles.
Information and images provided to Janes indicate that the weapons, which will be deployed on the Indonesian Air Force’s (Tentara Nasional Indonesia – Angkatan Udara: TNI-AU’s) CH-4 medium-altitude, long-endurance (MALE) unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), arrived at the service’s main ammunition depot on the Iswahyudi Air Force Base on 8 April.
These images also indicate that the missiles, which were packed in crates of two projectiles each, were delivered in a shipping container that also included an undisclosed number of pylons and rail launchers.
The AR-2 relies on its inertial guidance system for mid-course updates and on its semi-active laser (SAL) seeker for terminal homing. The weapon can carry a 5 kg armour-piercing warhead and has a maximum range of about 8 km.
The TNI-AU currently operates a fleet of six CH-4 UAVs, the first two of which made their public debut in October 2019. The CH-4 variant supplied to Indonesia has an operating radius of between 1,500 km and 2,000 km and can be operated via satellite link.
The TNI-AU’s CH-4s were also seen armed with the larger AR-1 missiles during a 2019 exercise in East Java, Indonesia. (Source: Jane’s)
13 Apr 21. Barak ER development finalised and in production. Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) has finalised development, and is in production of, the Barak ER (Extended Range) variant surface-to-air interceptor, ahead of planned initial deliveries to an undisclosed customer in the third quarter of this year. Optimised as an enhanced theatre ballistic missile (TBM) interceptor, the 150 km-range Barak ER will complement the 70 km-range Barak LRAD, and 35 km-range Barak MRAD interceptors in service with IAI’s Barak MX land and naval integrated air and missile defence system.
Developed with company internal research and development (IRAD) funding, the Barak ER is a vertical-launch, all-weather, advanced active radar-guided, 50 g manoeuvring interceptor capable of 360° intercepts at altitudes up to 30 km. Powered by a solid fuel dual-pulse rocket motor, with an additional solid-propellant booster, the interceptor is 5.8 m in length (4.8 m interceptor/1.3 m booster), 22.7 cm in diameter (35 cm diameter booster), and has a launch weight of 400 kg. Furnished with a 23 kg blast fragmentation warhead, GPS/INS mid-course guidance and a datalink, the ER variant is effectively identical to the 70 km Barak LRAD interceptor, but with the addition of a booster to achieve the 150 km intercept range.
In early March IAI launched two telemetry-equipped Barak ER interceptors, without a warhead, against IAI purpose-built threat representative manoeuvring short-range ballistic missile targets from a company test range located in the Negev desert, southern Israel. Designed to confirm the end-to-end assimilation and operation of the Barak ER interceptor with the Barak MX system in both land- and naval-based applications, the launches were part of extended series of wider system level tests that concluded in mid-March. Both interceptors were drawn from the new Barak ER production line. (Source: Jane’s)
12 Apr 21. US Navy seeks GPS alternatives for hypersonic weapons. The Department of the Navy is seeking prototype proposals for a non-GPS-based position, navigation, and timing (PNT) system, that will eventually be integrated into the sea service’s future arsenal of hypersonic weapons and platforms.
The solicitation, issued by the navy via a Request for Solutions (RFS) notice by the Strategic & Spectrum Missions Advanced Resilient Trusted Systems (S2MARTS) other transactional authority (OTA), has yet to be formally released to industry for response. But programme officials noted in the presolicitation notice that recent advances in electromagnetic interference technologies prompted navy leaders to seek PNT alternatives outside GPS.
“Current navigation systems are heavily reliant on GPS signal technology for both commercial and military applications,” according to the presolicitation. “While GPS has become a pervasive technology for military uses, it has security and availability challenges,” it added. Most recently, GPS-based navigation systems on space-based and air breathing platforms have been susceptible to advances in electromagnetic jamming, spoofing, or other means of interference.
On space-based assets in particular, navy leaders warned that evolutionary jamming or interference technology used against US armed forces could create a combat scenario where “it is possible that the GPS satellites themselves could be physically compromised,” navy programme officials wrote. That scenario and the potential fallout from compromised platforms equipped with GPS-based satellite communication (satcom) and assured position, navigation, and timing (A-PNT), prompted the sea service to seek industry solutions. (Source: Jane’s)
12 Apr 21. JSM successfully released from F-35A. The Norwegian Defence Materiel Agency (Forsvarsmateriellm – FMA), in association with Kongsberg Defense & Aerospace (KDA), the Norwegian Defence Research Establishment (FFI), and the US Department of Defense F-35 Joint Program Office, conducted two initial in-flight test releases of a Joint Strike Missile (JSM) from the F-35A CTOL (Conventional Take-Off and Landing) Lightning II multirole stealth fighter over Edwards Air Force Base, California, in February.
Disclosed on 20 March, the test, which was conducted using an instrumented JSM weapon integrated with the US Air Force (USAF) 412th Test Wing F-35A AF-01 instrumented test platform, was part of an ongoing programme to verify the integration and safe release of the weapon system from the Lightning II, beginning in 2020 with ground release testing at Edwards AFB.
For the airborne release test, the AF-01 aircraft was furnished with three cameras inside the weapons bay, and a separate camera pod housing three additional cameras, mounted on the aircraft’s wing. “In order to be able to analyse exactly what is happening, both the aircraft and the JSM missile are marked with special photo marks that are accurately positioned on both aircraft and missiles. And from that, we can see through the videos exactly how the JSM missile behaves on its way out of the bomb chamber on the F-35A,” said Royal Norwegian Air Force (RNoAF) Brigadier Jarle Nergård, head of the F-35 department at FMA. The test also included a two-seat F-16 chase aircraft with a cameraman in the back seat recording the release and flight performance of the missile. (Source: Jane’s)
08 Apr 21. US Army Wants to Replace the Cold War-Era TOW Missile with a New Longer-Range Tank Killer. U.S. Army maneuver officials at Fort Benning, Georgia, want to replace the venerable tube-launched, optically-tracked, wire-guided, or TOW, missile with an advanced projectile that can kill enemy tanks at more than twice the range.
The Army fielded the first TOW missile system in 1970. It was initially wire-guided, so soldiers had to remain stationary and vulnerable to the enemy as the missile tracked to the target. The current TOW, which has a range of about 3,750 meters, has a fire-and-forget operation.
The service wants the future Close Combat Missile System-Heavy, or CCMS-H, to retain many of the TOW’s advantages but have the capability to kill the most advanced enemy battle tanks out to 10,000 meters, Mark Andrews, chief of the Combat Capabilities Branch at the Maneuver Requirements Division, told an audience Wednesday during the Maneuver Capabilities Development and Integration Directorate’s Industry Day.
“This close-combat missile is intended to be fired from a combat vehicle such as a Bradley … and potentially even a next-generation combat system,” Andrews said. “We want to increase range to the maximum set possible given the capability. So, if we can get out to 10K or plus-10K, we want to be able to achieve that.”
Army maneuver officials used the industry day to give defense firms an idea of the advanced capabilities the service hopes to see over the next decade. The Army wants to field the CCMS-H sometime between 2028 and 2032.
“We want to be able to shoot on the move and … we want the missile to get there quicker than it currently takes our TOW missiles to [travel] max distances,” said Andrews, who did not provide the TOW’s maximum flight time.
The Army also wants troops to be able to lock the new missile on target before and, if necessary, after launching, he said. It should also be maneuverable so it can go after enemy vehicles hiding behind cover.
The new missile, however, should retain some characteristics of the TOW, Andrews said.
“We want to retain our current TOW form factor. … We have thousands of launchers out there that we just don’t want to have to replace,” he explained, adding that the new missile should have the TOW’s current 40-meter minimum arming distance. “We want to be able to arm early; we want to retain the current arming distance that the TOW missile has.”
If possible, the CCMS-H should be able to share targeting information with other combat vehicles in an infantry company or cavalry troop, he added.
“So, an adjacent vehicle could take your targeting data and you could pass it to them, and they could fire the missile because they are best postured to fire that missile,” Andrews said. (Source: Defense News Early Bird/Military.com)
Arnold Defense has manufactured more than 1.25 million 2.75-inch rocket launchers since 1961 for the U.S. Army, U.S. Navy, U.S. Air Force and many NATO customers. They are the world’s largest supplier of rocket launchers for military aircraft, vessels and vehicles. Core products include the 7-round M260 and 19-round M261 commonly used by helicopters; the thermal coated 7-round LAU-68 variants and LAU-61 Digital Rocket Launcher used by the U.S. Navy and Marines; and the 7-round LAU-131 and SUU-25 flare dispenser used by the U.S. Air Force and worldwide.
Today’s rocket launchers now include the ultra-light LWL-12 that weighs just over 60 pounds (27 kg.) empty and the new Fletcher (4) round launcher. Arnold Defense designs and manufactures various rocket launchers that can be customized for any capacity or form factor for platforms in the air, on the ground or even at sea.
Arnold Defense maintains the highest standards of production quality by using extensive testing, calibration and inspection processes.