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13 May 21. US Army scraps Stryker mobile gun systems in favor of new lethality upgrades. The U.S. Army is scrapping its Stryker Mobile Gun Systems in favor of new lethality upgrades for its fleet of combat vehicles, the service announced in a May 12 statement.
The Army decided to divest the gun systems by the end of fiscal 2022 after “a comprehensive analysis highlighted obsolescence and systemic issues with the system’s dated cannon and automatic loader,” according to the release.
The MGS version of the Stryker has a 105mm tank gun. The systems date back to the early 2000s and have provided direct supporting fires to assault infantry by destroying hardened enemy bunkers, machine guns and snipers in areas ranging from urban environments to open terrain, according to the service.
The autoloader, for instance, was the first to be installed on an Army system but has become expensive to maintain. The MGS was designed for the Stryker’s flat-bottom chassis and was never upgraded to withstand threats like improvised explosive devices or anti-tank mines, the statement explained.
The move will free up “resources and manpower” for new “critical capability,” the service stated.
“Decisions on when it is best to divest a system currently in the force are not taken lightly,” Lt. Gen. James Pasquarette, the Army deputy chief of staff G-8, said in the statement. “The Army has done its due diligence to ensure lethality upgrades will remain intact to provide our Stryker formations the capabilities they need in the future.”
The Army will now focus on upgraded lethality efforts, according to the statement, such as the Medium Caliber Weapons System, the Common Remotely Operated Weapons Station-Javelin, Anti-Tank Guided Missile updates and the 30mm cannon because they can “provide better distributed capability than the limited number of Stryker MGSs,” the Army stated.
“All of these enhancements have been developed and funded, and are ready to be fielded,” it added. “The divestiture of the Stryker MGS poses no impact to the industrial base as the system has been out of production for some time, and the majority of the sustainment supply chain for the MGS is included in other variants of the current Stryker fleet.” (Source: Defense News)
12 May 21. US Army’s Precision Strike Missile breaks range record. The U.S. Army’s Precision Strike Missile ranged 400 kilometers — roughly 250 miles — in a test shot at White Sands Missile Range, New Mexico, on May 12, Lockheed Martin announced.
The test marks the farthest the PrSM has flown so far, which is roughly the distance between New York City and Rochester, New York.
“We had impressive performance flying more than 400 kilometers in its longest range flown to date at the White Sands Missile Range,” Gaylia Campbell, Lockheed vice president of precision fires and combat maneuver systems, told a group of reporters directly following the test. ”PrSM was fired from a [High Mobility Artillery Rocket System] launcher and it flew with the expected precision to the target area where it once again demonstrated a highly accurate and effective warhead event. Our test objectives included confirming the flight trajectory, range and accuracy from launch to impact as well as warhead lethality, HIMARS integration, and overall missile performance.”
The missile went through three flight tests last year during a technology maturation and risk reduction phase, ranging from 240 kilometers, 180 kilometers and 85 kilometers. Shorter ranges can be more difficult to execute, as the missile must go up and come down quicker, according to experts.
The missile is a priority program for the Army and is intended to replace the Army Tactical Missile System to play an important role in the service’s future deep-strike capability.
The original intent was to reach a maximum of 499 kilometers, but America’s 2019 withdrawal from the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty with Russia has allowed the Army to develop the missile to reach ranges much farther. The INF Treaty prevented the development of missiles that ranged between 499 and 5,000 kilometers.
The May 12 test marks the fourth PrSM missile flight test and the first of three tests in an extended technology maturation and risk reduction phase. There will be two more flight tests this year.
Defense News previously reported PrSM would be tested at Vandenberg Air Base, California, in August, where the missile will travel beyond 499 kilometers; and one during the Army’s Project Convergence campaign of learning at Yuma Proving Ground, Arizona, where PrSM will have a “side-by-side” shot during which one missile is shot from one side of the pod and another from the other side of the pod. Lockheed would not disclose the rate of fire for that test involving more than one interceptor.
While the PrSM development program started out as a competitive effort between Lockheed and Raytheon Technologies, the latter ducked out of the competition in early 2020.
While the Army is shooting to initially field the capability in 2023, it will spiral in more capability including an enhanced seeker, increased lethality and extended range. The priority for PrSM in the nearer term is to pursue a maritime, ship-killing capability as well as enhanced lethality. Then the service plans to pursue an extended-range capability, but Army Futures Command is yet to determine the extended-range timeline.
Lockheed expects the service to make a decision on whether to go into the engineering and manufacturing development phase this summer, possibly mid- to late June, and hopes to be awarded a contract for that phase as well as an early operational capability set of missiles in the third or fourth quarters of fiscal 2021, according to Campbell. (Source: Defense News Early Bird/Defense News)
13 May 21. Royal Navy’s HMS Audacious test fires upgraded Spearfish torpedo. The Royal Navy’s upgraded version of Spearfish torpedo has been declared ready for front-line operations with the service. Crew on-board HMS Audacious during firing trial. Credit: Royal Navy. The British Royal Navy’s Astute-class nuclear-powered submarine, HMS Audacious, has conducted trials of the upgraded version of Spearfish torpedo in the Bahamas.
The torpedo was put through extensive deep-water trials and was declared ready for front-line operations.
HMS Audacious successfully fired five of the advanced heavy torpedoes during a three-day of trial at the Atlantic Undersea Test and Evaluation Centre (AUTEC) on Andros Island.
AUTEC is the ‘principal proving ground of sub-surface warfare on the world’s oceans’.
According to the UK Navy, the firings examined the weapon’s performance at its maximum operating depth.
The recent firings challenged the ‘torpedo’s homing abilities through the introduction of countermeasures’.
Carried by the Royal Navy’s Astute, Vanguard and Trafalgar Class submarines, Spearfish torpedoes use sonar to home in on targets.
These torpedoes can target both underwater and surface threats.
Also known as the Mod-1, the upgraded Spearfish features a new warhead, safer fuel system, a smarter electronic ‘brain’ and a ‘fibre-optic guidance link with its parent submarine to improve its accuracy and lethality’.
UK Navy Submarines programme and deputy director commodore Bob Anstey said: “I am delighted to be able to formally declare that the Spearfish programme’s Mod-1 Spearfish torpedo has reached initial operating capability (IOC); the culmination of a great effort from across the whole Spearfish Team, including our partners across industry.
“Whilst we remain focused on the ultimate aim of providing the full Spearfish Mod-1 operational capability, the team should be congratulated on achieving this important milestone; a critical step in the process of maintaining the effectiveness of the Royal Navy’s submarine-launched heavyweight torpedo for years to come.”
Work on transforming the existing Spearfish into the improved Mod-1 version can start now for entry into operational service with all Royal Navy submarines by 2025.
Despite the declaration of IOC, crucial data is still to be gathered on the torpedo’s performance in a range of environments.
In February, the Royal Navy’s Trafalgar-class attack submarine, HMS Talent, conducted trials of the upgraded version of Spearfish torpedo off the west coast of Scotland. (Source: naval-technology.com)
11 May 21. USAF B-52 bomber conducts simulated hypersonic kill chain employment. The US Air Force’s (USAF) B-52 Stratofortress bomber has demonstrated a simulated hypersonic kill chain employment. Carried out during the ongoing Northern Edge 21 exercise, the missile strike involved the use of targeting data from sensors positioned more than 1,000nm away.
During the nearly 13-hour sortie from Barksdale Air Force Base (AFB) to Alaska, US, and back, the B-52 was able to receive target data from sensors through the All-Domain Operations Capability experiment (ADOC-E).
Upon receiving the data from the ADOC-E, B-52 Stratofortress was then able to take a simulated shot of the target from 600nm using an AGM-183 Air Launched Rapid Response Weapon (ARRW).
The AGM-183A ARRW is a long-range hypersonic missile designed by Lockheed Martin for the USAF.
53rd Test Management Group deputy commander lieutenant colonel Joe Little said: “We were really exercising the data links that we needed in order to complete that kill chain loop, and then get the feedback to the players in the airspace that the simulated hypersonic missile was fired and effective.”
According to USAF, the missile strike was a successful showcase of beyond line of sight (BLOS) Kill Chain employment.
49th Test and Evaluation Squadron commander lieutenant colonel Matt Guasco said: “The team did an outstanding job effecting this event both in planning and execution.
“This is a win for the US Air Force and greater DOD as a whole but make no mistake, we are just getting started.”
USAF noted that the ADOC-E is a ‘joint team representing the operational-level “blue” training audience designed to experiment with synchronising joint functions in forward locations’.
Northern Edge 21 is a US Indo-Pacific Command exercise designed to provide ‘high-end, realistic warfighter training’ and is aimed at enhancing joint interoperability.
The exercise, which started on 3 May, is being conducted on and above the Joint Pacific Alaska Range Complex, the Gulf of Alaska, and temporary maritime activities area. (Source: airforce-technology.com)
12 May 21. US Army Discloses Hypersonic LRHW Range Of 1,725 Miles; Watch Out China. The Long-Range Hypersonic Weapon can fly over 2,775 km, an Army official told Breaking Defense. That figure probably applies to the Navy’s CPS version as well.
How far can the Army’s hypersonic boost-glide missile — and, probably, its Naval variant — actually go? Consider this Pacific nightmare: China invades Taiwan, but all of America’s allies refuse to let the US use their territory or airspace. Long-Range Hypersonic Weapons, based on US soil in Guam, could still strike Chinese troops besieging Taipei.
Conversely, in China’s nightmare scenario, where US allies do let American missile units use their soil, LRHW batteries in Taiwan, Japan, or South Korea could strike targets more than one thousand miles inside Chinese territory. What’s more, the Navy version of the LRHW, called Conventional Prompt Strike, could launch from submarines or ships at sea anywhere in the Pacific.
“The Long Range Hypersonic Weapon provides a capability at a distance greater than 2,775 km,” an Army spokesman told me. That’s about 1,725 miles – at a minimum. The “greater than” leaves the door wide open for a significantly longer range than that.
That Army statement came after years of silence on the subject, weeks of pestering by Breaking Defense, and at least one high-level discussion among the interservice “board of directors” coordinating hypersonics programs.
Why would the Navy need to be consulted? While the Army’s statement only applies to the Army version, the land-based LRHW, the Navy’s sea-launched Conventional Prompt Strike weapon uses the identical rocket booster and hypersonic “glide body,” just packaged for launch from ships and subs instead of trucks. So it’s hard to imagine the range could be much different. If the Army version reaches 1,725-plus miles, the Navy version almost certainly does too.
For its part, the Air Force is developing multiple types of hypersonic weapons to launch from planes, which requires a different engineering approach and will result in different ranges.
The technological advancements are at our fingertips – and ready now – to help design the fastest, lightest, most long-range and powerful rotorcraft in history, and weight and drag optimization is a critical success factor.
Now, naval vessels and strategic bombers are obviously much more mobile than truck-borne launchers, and they can fire from international waters and airspace, without worrying about allies. But land-based launchers are cheaper – they’re just trucks, not jets or subs – and can hide from enemy strikes amidst terrain – which is not possible in the empty air or flat ocean. So the Army and its advocates argue its missiles can play an important supporting role and complement Navy and Air Force weapons.
That argument is now up for fierce debate as the Pentagon’s budget tightens.
From the Army perspective, the LRHW is the apex predator of a whole family of new Long Range Precision Fires (LRPF). While LRHW is the longest-ranged, fastest-flying, and most capable, it’s also the most expensive. So hypersonics will be reserved for the highest-priority targets, while shorter-ranged weapons take on the vast majority of threats.
As we’ve reported previously, under the Army’s artillery plan, the higher the headquarters, the longer-ranged the weapons it will control:
* Theater commanders in both Europe and the Pacific will gain control of Multi-Domain Task Forces equipped with both the Long-Range Hypersonic Weapon, with range “greater than 2,775 km” (1,725 miles) and the Mid-Range Capability, with a range of “around 1,800 km” (ca. 1,120 miles). LRHW and MRC will each field a battery of combat-capable prototypes in 2023.
* Corps commanders will get the new Precision Strike Missile (PrSM), with a range of “over 500 km” (310 miles). PrSM completed its fourth test flight today, exceeding 400 km. Future variants of PrSM have the potential to triple its range.
* Division commanders will get the new Extended Range Cannon Artillery (ERCA), an armored howitzer with an extra-long barrel and high-powered propellant that can fire rocket-boosted, precision-guided shells about 70 km (43 miles). Future ramjet ammunition might double that.
* Brigade commanders will retain their existing 155 mm howitzers, but those will be able to fire the same XM1113 Rocket Assisted Projectile (RAP) as ERCA, which from their shorter barrels can reach about 40 km (25 miles).
These weapons will depend on targeting data from long-range sensors – Army, joint, and intelligence agency – shared over a Joint All Domain Command & Control (JADC2) network. And they’ll rely on artificial intelligence to swiftly spot targets, prioritize among them, and propose the best weapon to fire. (Source: Breaking Defense.com)
10 May 21. Sweden to Receive 1st Delivery of World’s Most Advanced Air Defense Missile. Country among 11 in the world to choose PAC-3 Missile Segment Enhancement (MSE). Lockheed Martin successfully delivered Sweden’s first Patriot Advanced Capability-3 (PAC-3) Missile Segment Enhancement (MSE) interceptors in April, providing the country with the world’s most advanced air defense missile that uses Hit-to-Kill technology to defend against incoming threats.
“By choosing PAC-3 MSE for missile defense, our customers around the world know they have the combat-proven technology needed to stay ahead of rapidly-evolving threats,” said Brenda Davidson, vice president, PAC-3 Programs, Lockheed Martin Missiles and Fire Control. “We’re proud to deliver this advanced capability to Sweden so they can best defend their armed forces, citizens and infrastructure.”
U.S. and Swedish officials formalized an agreement for Sweden to purchase PAC-3 MSE interceptors and related support equipment in August 2018.
The PAC-3 MSE’s revolutionary two-pulse solid rocket motor provides increased performance in both altitude and range while employing the same proven Hit-to-Kill technology that the PAC-3 CRI missile uniquely brings to the Patriot system. (Source: ASD Network)
11 May 21. Launcher set up at UK MoD Hebrides for GQM-163A firings. A US launcher asset dating from the late 1960s has been installed on the UK Ministry of Defence (MoD) Hebrides range off northwest Scotland ahead of the 10-nation ‘At Sea Demonstration/Formidable Shield 2021’ (‘ASD/FS21’) integrated air and missile defence exercise.
The modified AML 4K3 twin-arm launcher will be used to launch Northrop Grumman GQM-163A Coyote supersonic sea-skimming missile targets during ‘Formidable Shield’. The launcher installation has been managed by the US Naval Surface Warfare Center Port Hueneme Detachment (NSWC PHD).
A modified AML 43K launcher has been installed at the MoD Hebrides Range for the upcoming ‘ASD/FS21’ exercise. The launcher will be used to launch the Northrop Grumman GQM-163A Coyote supersonic sea-skimming missile target. (US Navy)
‘ASD/FS21’, which runs from 15 May to 3 June at the Hebrides Range on Scotland’s Atlantic coast and at Andøya Space Defence off Norway’s coast, is an interactive exercise in which military forces are challenged with numerous targets and threats at sea and work together to defend against air and missile attacks. Led by the US Navy’s 6th Fleet and conducted by Naval Striking and Support Forces NATO, the exercise is designed to improve allied interoperability in a joint live-fire, integrated air and missile defence environment using NATO command-and-control reporting structures.
NSWC PHD, which has supported the ‘ASD/FS’ series since 2015, is contributing five targets to this year’s exercise, comprising one Pathfinder Zombie ballistic missile target, two T4-B short-range ballistic missile targets, and two GQM-163A Coyote supersonic targets. Although T4-Bs have flown from the MoD Hebrides Range in the past, the GQM-163 Coyote and the Pathfinder Zombie targets are new to the range for ‘ASD/FS21. (Source: Jane’s)
11 May 21. PLAGF’s Xinjiang Military Command operating new 122 mm, 4×4 SPH. China continues to modernise the equipment and enhance the combat capabilities of the People’s Liberation Army Ground Force’s (PLAGF’s) Xinjiang Military Command, with state-owned media revealing on 10 May that the command has recently been equipped with new 122 mm, 4×4 self-propelled howitzers (SPHs).
State broadcaster China Central Television (CCTV) released footage of the new SPH type, which is being referred to in Chinese social media as the PCL-161, taking part in live-fire exercises on a plateau near the Karakoram mountain range at an altitude of more than 4,500 m above sea level.
Nine examples of the SPH, which is known to also be in service with the PLAGF’s Tibet Military Command, were shown firing what appeared to be different types of munition. CCTV reported that aim of the exercise was to test the capabilities of the combined arms brigade while operating at such high altitudes.
As Janes reported, the lightweight SPH is similar in appearance to the SH4 122mm SPH displayed by the China South Division of the China North Industries Group Corporation (Norinco) at the Airshow China 2016 defence exhibition in Zhuhai. The gun system on the PCL-161 is also very similar to that on the in-service PCL-171 SPH, although the latter uses a 6×6 platform based on a modified Dongfeng Mengshi 6×6 CTL181A. (Source: Jane’s)
11 May 21. SIG SAUER, Inc. Files P365 Magazine Patent Infringement Case Against Springfield, Inc.. Today, SIG SAUER, Inc., filed a lawsuit in the United States District Court for the Central District of Illinois, Rock Island Division, alleging that Springfield, Inc. (Springfield Armory) infringes two SIG patents relating to SIG’s P365 magazine.
The P365 has seen tremendous commercial success, due to the innovative design of the high-capacity magazine. In its complaint, SIG alleges that Springfield Armory’s making and selling of certain “Hellcat” branded magazines infringes upon two SIG patents. SIG SAUER is seeking injunctive relief, as well as monetary damages for Springfield Armory’s past and ongoing infringement.
Ron Cohen, President and Chief Executive Officer, made the following statement: “When the SIG SAUER P365 was introduced it took the market by storm as the most innovative high-capacity, micro-compact pistol to be introduced due to its magazine capacity, and quickly became one of the top selling handguns in the market due to this unprecedented innovation. SIG is not a litigious company, but given the extent of infringement by Springfield, SIG has a responsibility to protect both our intellectual property and the significant investment we make to develop our innovative products. As a company we are proud to yield more than 100 patents worldwide, with more than 40 patent applications currently pending, and we will protect the extensive research and design that goes into developing these patents rigorously.”
About SIG SAUER, Inc.
SIG SAUER, Inc. is a leading provider and manufacturer of firearms, electro-optics, ammunition, airguns, suppressors, and training. For over 250 years SIG SAUER, Inc. has evolved, and thrived, by blending American ingenuity, German engineering, and Swiss precision. Today, SIG SAUER is synonymous with industry-leading quality and innovation which has made it the brand of choice amongst the U.S. Military, the global defense community, law enforcement, competitive shooters, hunters, and responsible citizens. Additionally, SIG SAUER is the premier provider of elite firearms instruction and tactical training at the SIG SAUER Academy. Headquartered in Newington, New Hampshire, SIG SAUER has over 2,300 employees across nine locations. For more information about the company and product line visit: sigsauer.com.
11 May 21. First firing of MMP from a Jaguar armoured vehicle. On 14 April, MBDA and Nexter participated in the first lock-on firing of an MMP medium-range missile from a Jaguar armoured reconnaissance and combat vehicle (EBRC). The French defence procurement agency (DGA) carried out the firing at their Land Techniques Test Centre as part of the JAGUAR qualification. Launched from the retractable pod on the Jaguar’s turret in two-missile configuration, the MMP successfully hit its target.
The integration of MMP onto JAGUAR is being carried out in stages during qualification. This firing is the first stage, successfully demonstrating hitting a fixed target. The system will offer the capability to destroy fixed or mobile hardened land targets, including up to the latest generation of tanks. Targeting will be direct or beyond-line-of-sight (BLOS). It will also be precise and with minimal collateral damage, qualities that characterise the MMP.
MMP’s capabilities – integrated into the Jaguar’s turret by Nexter, alongside the remote controlled weapon station developed by Arquus, the Scorpion common vetronics solution developed by Thales and the 40mm cannon developed by CTAI – gives the Jaguar a key role in collaborative combat.
During this demonstration, the Optrolead PASEO battlefield surveillance sight interfaced with the missile system, offering real-time optronic acquisition by day and by night. This gives the Jaguar excellent long-range observation and identification capabilities.
Frédéric Michaud, Head of Battlefield Sector for Sales & Business Development at MBDA, said: “This firing marks an important first step of the work conducted with Nexter to develop the Jaguar turret and integrate the MMP into a weapon system built on the latest technological solutions. This two-missile turret configuration considerably expands the vehicle’s firepower.”
David Marquette, Jaguar project manager at Nexter, hailed the exceptional work of the programme team on this critically important system integration project: “This marks a major milestone, demonstrating the technical skills of our teams in designing and developing an operational capability unlike any other in the world.”
11 May 21. DPA Microphones announces the 4466 CORE Omnidirectional and 4488 CORE Directional Headset Microphones. Based on the design of the company’s groundbreaking 6066 Subminiature Headsets, the new solutions feature the brand’s popular 5mm round microphone capsule. These latest offerings provide the security, durability and flexibility necessary for use in theatre, broadcast, worship and corporate conferencing.
With a one-size-fits-all design and adjustable height and boom length, the 4466 and 4488 headsets accommodate small to large head types. A unique, three-point gripping system (above, below and behind the ear) ensures a greater level of security, while the flexible ear hooks provide continued comfort during extended use.
“Our customers have been asking us to deliver our latest small form-factor headsets with the highly regarded 5mm mic capsules,” says DPA Product Manager René Mørch. “With the purposeful design of our boom and locking system, the headset can accommodate all head sizes with just one boom length. This is even true for the directional option, for which the correct placement is so important. With the addition of the 4466 and 4488, users now have access to a wide array of solutions to meet an even greater variety of needs while also maintaining the typical clear and transparent DPA sound, which produces high speech intelligibility.”
06 May 21. FN EVOLYS™: THE NEW ULTRALIGHT MACHINE GUN BY FN HERSTAL
Belgium-based designer and manufacturer of small caliber weapons, associated weapon systems and ammunition FN Herstal has announced earlier today the entry of a brand-new machine gun with unique features, the FN EVOLYS™. With this new addition to FN Herstal’s product portfolio, the Company definitely intends to write a new chapter in the history of machine guns.
Earlier today, FN Herstal has unveiled to the Defense and Security markets a completely new machine gun – the FN EVOLYS™ – during a global digital product launch event. It is with a great satisfaction and pride that the Company succeeded in combining its universally recognized expertise in the field of machine gun design, development and manufacture; its innovative spirit and current unmet market requirements to bring life to a new machine gun. The FN EVOLYS™ features an incredibly innovative and open architecture together with unique characteristics.
The FN EVOLYS™ is a radically different, ultralight weapon that combines the firing capabilities of a belt-fed machine gun with ergonomics and balance similar to an assault rifle. This is exactly what is needed and expected by users for current and future operations.
The FN EVOLYS™ has been developed in two calibers, 5.56x45mm NATO and 7.62x51mm NATO.
A TRUE, ULTRALIGHT MACHINE GUN…
The FN EVOLYS™, with a weight between 5.5 and 6.2 kilos depending on the caliber, is much lighter than current reference machine guns. This reduced weight enables the user to move across difficult terrain quickly and to engage with a high volume of fire when needed with no difficulty.
Its reduced weight and excellent balance also mean that the weapon can be fired from any position. Transitioning from one firing position to another is made easy by the design of the sling attachment interface.
… FEATURING ASSAULT RIFLE CHARACTERISTICS
The FN EVOLYS™ ultralight machine gun fires like a machine gun, and handles like an assault rifle.
The ambidextrous fire selector has a semi-auto position to engage point targets as with a rifle while the full auto position allows suppressive fire as with a machine gun.
The buttstock is adjustable in length and height. Whatever his size, or the equipment he is wearing, the user can always find a comfortable shooting position.
RELIABLE, EXTREMELY COMFORTABLE AND STABLE WHEN FIRING
The latest-generation materials and technologies used on the FN EVOLYS™, combined with FN Herstal’s longstanding expertise and innovative spirit, ensure that the reduction of weight has not compromised the vital factors of reliability, user safety and long life of parts.
The hydraulic buffer gives a steady rate of fire and reduces recoil.
The FN EVOLYS™ was designed from the start to fire intensively with a sound suppressor and therefore showed no reduction in performance when fitted with a suppressor, no excessive fouling, and no debris projected towards the user, even for left-handers.
INNOVATIVE AND UNIQUE ARCHITECTURE
Another big innovation in the FN EVOLYS™ is the patented lateral feed mechanism, which has allowed the design to include several major improvements requested by users:
* The one-piece long top rail enables mounting a combination of various in-line optical sights such as day and night sights together, or magnifiers for instance, without removing the iron sights.
* Easy, instinctive and fast access to all controls by left or right-handed shooters for improved handling in the field
* All actions can be done with just one hand, including engaging the belt.
* Cartridges are automatically repositioned when the feed cover is closed if the belt is not correctly placed on the feed tray. This avoids a failure to feed the first round, which is a great reassurance for the user.
* The last link is automatically ejected, clearing the way for a faster and more reliable reload.
10 May 21. US Navy completes AARGM-ER flight on F/A-18 Super Hornet. The US Navy has completed an advanced anti-radiation guided missile-extended range (AARGM-ER) captive carry flight on an F/A-18 Super Hornet. The flight test was conducted with separation test vehicle (STV) at Patuxent River Air Station in Maryland, US.
It comes as part of the US Navy’s preparations for the first live fire trial later this year.
According to Naval Air Systems Command (NAVAIR), the latest trial marked the first time the AARGM-ER weapon demonstrated it could communicate with the F/A-18 E/F aircraft.
NAVAIR noted that the controlled free flight was made possible as the STV used its hardware and software.
Direct and Time Sensitive Strike program office (PMA-242) programme manager captain Mitch Commerford said: “Data collected from this testing will support expansion of flight testing with AARGM-ER to the full performance envelope of F/A-18 Super Hornet.
“This flight represents a significant step in the AARGM-ER engineering and manufacturing development phase.”
During the test, the F/A-18 Super Hornet conducted a set of aerial manoeuvres to examine AARGM-ER’s compatibility with the F/A-18 Super Hornet.
AARGM-ER is leveraging the AARGM programme, which is in full-rate production currently, along with the new rocket motor and warhead to provide advanced capability to detect and engage long-range adversary air defence systems.
The programme will see the integration of the AARGM-ER on the F/A-18E/F Super Hornet and EA-18G Growler aircraft.
In addition, the AARGM-ER will be compatible for integration on the F-35 Lightning II joint strike fighter (JSF).
In June last year, Northrop Grumman concluded its critical design review (CDR) for the AARGM-ER programme components.
Northrop received US Army contract for the engineering and manufacturing development (EMD) programme of the AGM-88G AARGM-ER in March 2019. (Source: naval-technology.com)
08 May 21. USMC grunts are getting new night vision, helmets, vehicles, tropical uniforms and boots. The core infantry gear upgrades are nearly complete across the force and new night vision, a high-cut helmet, new tropical uniforms and boots are soon to follow.
That’s according to a recent update provided to media by Brig. Gen. A.J. Pasagian, head of Marine Corps Systems Command, on Thursday.
Officials see the new kit, which does everything from improving shooter accuracy, night vision to body armor protection, vehicle mobility and basic comfort, as more than simply giving grunts better gear.
As the Corps restructures itself for a new kind of warfare, small teams separated on distant beachheads to thwart an adversary’s Navy, it is experimenting and war gaming both in exercises and simulations, the best way to meet those challenges.
Pasagian said that his command will be working closely with each of the three battalions, one per active duty division, as they experiment with new concepts and tactics.
The Corps is also upgrading its ranges at places such at Twentynine Palms, California, to better collect data on how Marines are performing in the field.
Combining that data with new gear can show its effectiveness in making Marines more lethal and survivable.
“I can then present that to the new Marine Corps Wargaming Center for analysis,” he said.
That means that planners can take data from the squad level up, aggregate the results and measure performance of actual Marines in field scenarios, rather than just statistical representations of how Marine might behave in a war game.
The Marines are nearly finished fielding the squad binocular night vision goggle. It is a separate effort from the Army’s enhanced Night Vision Goggle-Binocular.
Both devices are binocular, providing real depth perception not previously available with monocular devices. The SBNVG was pursued by the Marine starting in 2018 to field that capability to the fleet faster. Though Pasagian noted that the Marines are monitoring the Army ENVG-B work, which began fielding in 2019.
The SBNVG has an external thermal clip. The ENVG-B has those features built into the device and also can work on a network to share data and provide a common operational picture.
The new Marine Corps tropical uniform has concluded its testing and begun shipments to units. That will go to units in those climates, primarily the U.S. Indo-Pacific Command.
A new tropical boot for the same Marines is expected to be fully fielded by 2022.
The command continues to work on a high-cut version of the enhanced combat helmet, or ECH, which is already in use by troops with U.S. Special Operations Command. The higher cut allows for the use of networked communications and hearing protection devices.
Officials also expect the ultra light tactical vehicle fleet to be fielded by late 2022, Pasagian said.
“That’s really a tremendous utility vehicle that allows you to conduct all sorts of mission role variations, whether logistics carrying ammo, heavy class four stuff, concertina wire,” he said. “We’re also kitting it out with really advanced data networks and data routers.”
The vehicle would replace the existing Polaris MRZR all-terrain tactical vehicle but have similar characteristics.
Shooters are now seeing new optics arriving at their units. The Corps announced fielding of the squad common optic in February. It will replace the existing rifle combat optic.
The SCO is a magnified day optic that has both an illuminated and nonilluminated aim point that’s built to increase effective target acquisition and probability of hit, according to a Marine statement.
The new scope weighs 31.5 ounces and is 10.5 inches long ? making it nearly double the size of the nearly 6-inch and 10 ounce RCO.
But with that size Marines are able to double their magnification, from the current four times magnification of the RCO to eight times with the SCO.
The Marines have also fielded a Generation III Plate Carrier for body armor. The new design offers fragmentation, projectile and rifle round protection with better fit and function, the one-star said. (Source: Defense News Early Bird/Marine Times)
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.