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29 Jul 21. General Atomics Unveils New ‘LongShot’ Aircraft-Launched Air-to-Air Combat Drone Rendering. General Atomics Aeronautical Systems has revealed for the first time an artist’s impression of a missile-carrying air-to-air combat drone that it is developing as part of the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency’s LongShot program. LongShot will launch from larger UAS or human-crewed aircraft and charge into hostile airspace armed with its own air-to-air missiles, able to fire on enemy targets if it were so commanded. LongShot gives commanders options, just as all remotely operated systems always have. It could initiate a fighter sweep ahead of a strike wave without putting a human crew in danger, or it could join an attack alongside the vanguard with human-crewed warplanes. LongShot also could give legacy aircraft such as bombers a potent new anti-air capability. Imagine if a friendly bomber were en route during a combat mission and allied battle networks detected the approach of hostile fighters. LongShot would let the bomber crew go on offense against the threat without the need for its own escorts or the retasking of friendly fighters, preserving its ability to service its targets as planned. Airpower, naval and ground warfighters doubtlessly will find other new ways to incorporate these new systems into their missions, as troops always have with novel weapons that give them more options and flexibility. (Source: UAS VISION/GA-ASI Blog)
28 Jul 21. Russia unveils Kh-59MKM upgrade variant air-to-surface missile. The Raduga Design Bureau, a subsidiary of Russia’s state-owned JSC Tactical Missiles Corporation (KTRV), unveiled an upgraded derivative of the TV-guided Kh-59MK extended-range air-to-surface missile at the MAKS 2021 International Aviation and Space Salon, held in Zhukovsky on 20–25 July.
With an all-up weight of 930 kg, the new Kh-59MKM is 5.7 m in length, 380 mm in diameter (with a slightly larger nose section diameter of 420 mm), and a has wingspan of 1.3 m. While the Kh-59MKM airframe retains the same airframe dimensions as the earlier Kh-59MK, the absence of a seeker section has enabled the inclusion of a heavier warhead, a KTRV spokesperson told Janes.
Designed to penetrate static hardened and buried targets, the missile is equipped with a 360kg lethality package comprising a 40kg array of four shaped pre-charges with a contact delayed-action fuse mounted under the radome, and an organic 320kg penetrating tandem warhead. The KTRV spokesperson said that Kh-59MKM is able to penetrate up to 3m of reinforced concrete. (Source: Jane’s)
28 Jul 21. Elbit Systems’ TORCH-X Based Battle Management Application Deployed in NATO’s Recent Multi-National Exercise. 28 nations participated in NATO’s Coalition Warrior Interoperability Exercise 2021, conducting over 10,000 multi-domain interoperability tests . Elbit Systems UK concluded a successful participation in NATO’s Coalition Warrior Interoperability Exercise 2021 (CWIX 2021), deploying its TORCH-X based Battle Management Application system (BMA) to support UK Higher Headquarters preparedness activities for Five Eyes and NATO operations.
Held during June 2021 at the Joint Force Training Centre in Bydgoszcz, Poland, the purpose of CWIX 2021 was to test and develop interoperability between deployed national and NATO communication and information systems in a coalition environment. Some 28 nations participated, conducting over 10,000 technical interoperability tests across the land, maritime, air and cyber environments. During CWIX 2021 The team from Elbit Systems UK worked alongside the 13 Signals Regiment and staff from the Land Systems Reference Centre to successfully deliver interoperability assessments of the TORCH-X based BMA during the exercise.
Elbit Systems UK was selected by the UK Ministry of Defence in 2018 to provide the British Army’s with the TORCH-X based BMA for the Morpheus programme. The system, delivered from the company’s Bristol facility, is a command and control platform in use by several military customers around the world.
Martin Fausset, CEO of Elbit Systems UK, said: “Deploying the TORCH-X based BMA in CWIX 2021 was a significant milestone for Elbit Systems UK. Having recently delivered, ahead of schedule, the 11th software drop of the BMA under the MORPHEUS programme, the CWIX 2021 exercise provided an opportunity to demonstrate the effectiveness of the TORCH-X Command and Control platform in improving performance and interoperability across domains in a Five Eyes and NATO coalition environment”.
28 Jul 21. US Focus On The Enablers For Long Range Precision Fires.
“The US often seeks solutions for firepower primarily in the arena of new long-range weaponry. Yet, experience shows that emphasis on weapons technology alone is a serious mistake,” says Mike Nagata.
OPINION: Driven by alarming increases in long range missile and strike technologies possessed by potential adversaries, the US military is pursuing an unprecedented array of capabilities for Long Range Precision Fires (LRPF) as a vital readiness requirement for Great Power Competition.
The US often seeks solutions for firepower primarily in the arena of new long-range weaponry. Yet, experience shows that emphasis on weapons technology alone is a serious mistake.
Instead, DoD and industry should focus primarily on the creation of the elaborate enterprise of high-technologies, networks, sensors, and related Electromagnetic Spectrum (EMS) activities required to ensure US strike capabilities are strategically effective and accurate at unprecedented distances. And to handle the enormous amounts of data this enterprise generates, it must come hand in hand with robust Artificial Intelligence (AI) to achieve everything from speed-of-decision to reliable target identification and precision tracking. All are crucial if we are to understand targets and environments well enough for any long-range strike to be both effective and still meet US legal and ethical standards.
Employment of these EMS capabilities will be more technically and operationally complex than the strike itself. And, because all pre-strike preparations are completely dependent on various forms of electronic/digital data consumption, analysis, and transmission, these activities and their networks must also be defended against increasingly sophisticated adversary penetration, jamming, spoofing, obfuscation, and/or other forms of physical or digital interference.
Therefore, the US must put even greater emphasis on obtaining abilities for new and more powerful data processing, as well as the effective integration of these technologies to ensure future US strikes are operationally and strategically successful.
Elements of existing strategies, such as the 2018 National Defense Strategy and the more recent Electromagnetic Spectrum Superiority Strategy, can be useful guides for this purpose, but time is not on our side since our adversaries are doing likewise.
Here is an offering of some specifics worth much stronger pursuit:
- Greater focus on integrating existing and future sensor networks: As the US seeks to improve maritime, terrestrial, air-breathing, and space-based sensor arrays, an equal amount of resources and effort must be devoted to ensuring effective integration among and between them. While creating exquisite sensors is important, sensor networks need to be effectively integrated to achieve both understanding and insights that are unavailable if these sensor arrays operate in “silos.”
- Faster deployment of Artificial Intelligence: Only AI can alleviate the crushing cognitive overload challenge that enormous volumes of data will create for operators and analysts everywhere, a rapid development of deployable Artificial Intelligence capabilities is needed, in conjunction with equally strong emphasis on ease-of-use software and interfaces (e.g. graphic user interfaces).
- Risk Tolerance: Government and industry must find ways to innovate new technology and capabilities in ways that will challenge existing government practices, and even legal boundaries. This includes the challenge of ensuring the government workforce is effectively trained and educated to expertly handle technologies that will iterate and change with unprecedented speed.
It is instructive to recall a history lesson that began 20 years ago that is directly applicable to today’s Long Range Precision Fires challenge.
After the events of 9/11, one of the US military’s highest strategic priorities was to target and strike terrorist elements in several regions of the world. However, military leaders and commanders, like myself, were quickly forced to realize that our biggest challenge wasn’t that we lacked sufficient strike capabilities – the weapons and delivery platforms.
Instead, our principal weakness was a pervasive inability to identify, find, track, and fix a target in time-and-space sufficiently to justify a kinetic strike. We needed to be precise enough to destroy or neutralize a terrorist target and still avoid collateral damage. Many commanders were reporting that their biggest challenge was not “taking action” against a terrorist target, but instead was their inability to “identify and target” that adversary in ways that made kinetic action a viable and ethical option. These requirements have not fundamentally changed in an era where we must emphasize readiness for Great Power Competition.
Ultimately this need drove what I still consider to be the best example of a “revolution in military affairs” in my own career. This was the adoption of what we today call the “find, fix, finish, exploit, and analyze” formula, or F3EA as it is commonly described. Note that only one of those five words is about kinetic action. Put another way, we came to recognize that the only way to create the “finish” activities we prized was to invest far more in such intelligence, targeting, exploitation, and dissemination capabilities. And in today’s digital age, almost all of these activities are “digital and computerized” in nature, and occur within, or are strongly connected to, the Electromagnetic Spectrum.
Today, as our need for greater readiness against an armed conflict with a “near peer adversary” that has access to unprecedented long range fires of their own, both policymakers and practitioners would be wise to apply these lessons from our counterterrorism experiences.
The most challenging, and therefore the most important, aspect of attaining our own ambitions for unprecedented Long Range Precision Fires will probably not be the creation of the strike platforms and weapons themselves, as advanced as they may be. The challenge is in the support structure — and the sooner leaders recognize this truth, the safer America will be. (Source: Breaking Defense.com)
28 Jul 21. UK mulls 105 mm Light Gun replacement project. The UK’s Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (Dstl) is leading a programme, referred to as the Light Fires Platform (LFP), to study a potential replacement for the towed 105mm L118 Light Gun. The LFP effort is at a pre-concept phase that is now in its second year and is due to be completed in 2022, according to Ricky Hart, principal advisor for Land Weapons and Land Fires at Dstl. Hart said unmanned, autonomous, and self-propelled concepts are being considered for technology development.
According to Dstl, “The study is investigating and evaluating multiple calibres and advanced projectiles in order to increase range, improve end effect, improve accuracy, improve tactical/strategic mobility, and reduce crew members.” High-explosive, illumination, smoke, and terminally guided rounds could potentially be fired. Potential options could include a more mobile 105mm weapon, 120mm mortar, or a 5 inch (127mm) naval weapon. An artist’s impression, released by Dstl as an example, showed a mobile 4×4 platform armed with a 105mm weapon.
First production 105 mm L118 Light Guns were completed for the Royal Artillery in 1974, with the most recent upgrade being the installation of Leonardo’s Laser Inertial Navigation Artillery Pointing System, which is also referred to as an Artillery Pointing System. The maximum range of the current 105mm L118 Light Gun, firing the L31 high-explosive projectile, is 17.2km. Under the latest British Army reorganisation, two Heavy Brigade Combat Teams (HBCT) will be equipped with an artillery system selected for the upcoming Mobile Fires Platform (MFP), which will be a 155mm/52 calibre system that could be tracked or wheeled. (Source: Jane’s)
28 Jul 21. Elbit Systems progressing new SIGMA 155mm artillery system. Israel’s Elbit Systems is developing a new fully automatic 155mm/52 calibre SP artillery system for the Israel Defense Force (IDF) that will start to replace the IDF’s 155 mm/39 calibre M109 tracked SP artillery systems around 2023, company representatives told Janes. While many countries still deploy tracked self-propelled (SP) 155mm artillery systems, there is a trend towards 155 mm wheeled artillery systems, as they offer strategic mobility due to less reliance upon heavy equipment transporters. The new artillery system, called SIGMA, is being developed via an initial USD125m contract announced in March 2019. It is based on a US-supplied Oshkosh Defense 10×10 platform selected by the IDF, which uses the trucks for a number of missions. The platforms will be fitted with a fully protected control cab, a nuclear biological chemical (NBC) system, and full air conditioning for a crew of two or three. Mounted on the rear of the chassis will be an automatic turret armed with a 155 mm/52 calibre barrel with a 23 litre chamber that meets the NATO Joint Ballistic Memorandum of Understanding (JBMoU), and is fitted with a muzzle brake and fume extractor. The 155 mm/52 calibre turret system will be remote controlled from within. In addition, the system provides a manual reversionary mode, or “degraded mode” of operation, an Elbit Systems spokesperson told Janes. The automatic loading system will set the fuze, load the projectile, and then the Uni-Modular Artillery Charge System (UMACS) with the primers will be automatically loaded via a separate magazine. (Source: Jane’s)
26 Jul 21. Image suggests HJ-12 ATGW is in service with PLA’s Tibet Military Command. A photograph released on 22 July via the WeChat account of the PLA’s Tibet Military Command shows a soldier carrying a launch tube assembly (LTA) that is very similar in appearance to that used by the HJ-12 system. The picture was released as part of a report about a PLAGF brigade conducting exercises on a Tibetan plateau and about how the unit is “improving its level of combat training”.
No further details were provided about the third-generation ATGW, including how long it has been in PLA service and where it is also being operated by other PLAGF units.
The system made headlines in March 2020 when manufacturer China North Industries Corporation (Norinco) announced that it has completed deliveries of its Red Arrow 12E – the export designation of the HJ-12 – to a foreign customer. The company said at the time that the move marked the first export of the ATGW but did not provide any details about the contract value, the identity of the customer, or the number of systems exported. Some media reports have claimed that the first export costumer was Algeria, although this has yet to be confirmed. A full-scale mock-up of the system was first shown at the 2014 Airshow China, with a company spokesperson telling Janes. (Source: Jane’s)
27 Jul 21. New MRL system in service with PLA’s Tibet Military Command. Chinese state-owned media has revealed that a new wheeled multiple rocket launcher (MRL) system has entered service with a combined arms brigade under the People’s Liberation Army’s (PLA’s) Tibet Military Command. In a news report released by China Central Television (CCTV) on 24 July several examples of the new 4×4 MRL were shown being used in a live-fire exercise at an undisclosed location on a Tibetan plateau alongside other assets, including Dongfeng Mengshi CSK181 armoured vehicles and several examples of the new self-propeller howitzer (SPH) commonly referred to as the PCL-161. CCTV described the platform, the designation of which was not disclosed, as a “newly inducted modular MRL”. No further details were provided about the new MRL, which appears to be based on the same truck chassis as the PCL-161. That said, the footage shows that it is fitted with a 20-tube launcher armed with what appear to be 122 mm rockets. The launcher bears some similarities with those seen on the 6×6 SR7 MRL system, a model of which was displayed by the China North Industries Group Corporation (Norinco) at the 2017 IDEX international defence exhibition. The SR7 was described at the time as a modular system capable of carrying either 20 122 mm rockets, or six 220 mm rockets. CCTV’s reference to the MRL system seen in Tibet as also being “modular” may indicate that it is based on the SR7. (Source: Jane’s)
27 Jul 21. Aquaterro secures landmark $35m defence contract. The Melbourne-based firm has been tapped to develop upgraded combat helmets for the ADF. Minister for Defence Industry Melissa Price has confirmed the award of a $35m contract to Aquaterro for the refurbishment and upgrade of the Australian Defence Force’s combat helmets.
The tiered combat helmet is designed to provide personnel with protection against ballistic, fragmentation and blunt force trauma by leveraging a ballistic protection shell, suspension and retention systems, and accessory mounts and rails.
It is anticipated that the upgrades will extend the life of the ADF’s current helmets by approximately five years.
With this new deal, Aquaterro will become the first company outside the United States to refurbish the Team Wendy-built helmets.
Work on the helmets has already commenced at the company’s Pakenham facility, with the five-year contract expected to generate 10 highly skilled, technical jobs in addition to the 40 jobs currently supported by the firm.
“Companies like Aquaterro are building robust domestic supply chains that we can rely on,” Minister Price said.
“Aquaterro’s work in establishing this program will help ensure the ADF has the best available capability to defend Australia and its national interests.”
Member for La Trobe Jason Wood also welcomed the new contract, and reflected on Aquaterro’s growth in recent years.
“Aquaterro started off in a warehouse in Dandenong and has now expanded to a new site in Pakenham,” Wood said.
“This major contract should give Aquaterro the confidence to invest in its business in the future, while importantly supporting local jobs throughout La Trobe.”
Aquaterro officially announced the completion of ‘Building 2’ on its Aquaterro Defence Precinct in Pakenham earlier this month.
This Integrated Soldier Systems Centre, built on over 3000m2 of industrial land, is adjacent to the company’s 6500m2 headquarters property, which will accommodate the Armour Technical Inspection and Refurbishment Workshop.
“As a leading provider of soldier and officer worn and carried equipment, Aquaterro is steadfast in its continual strategic investment in product design, development, testing and production capabilities,” the firm said in a statement.
“Aquaterro’s commitment to investment in these critical capabilities continues to be evident through its significant expansion across multiple fronts, including recruitment of technical specialists and investment in dedicated infrastructure for the future, long-term commitment of Self-Protection Personal Equipment research and development.”
Prime Minister Scott Morrison previewed Aquaterro’s refurbishment and SPPE capabilities during his visit to the facility in May. (Source: Defence Connect)
26 Jul 21. US Navy and MDA conduct Flight Test Aegis Weapon System 33. Firing was performed by the Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Ralph Johnson (DDG 114). The US Missile Defense Agency (MDA) and the US Navy have conducted a missile defence flight test over the ocean northwest of Hawaii. Conducted on 24 July, the test is known as ‘Flight Test Aegis Weapon System 33’ (FTM-33). During the test, the Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Ralph Johnson (DDG 114) launched four Standard Missile-6 (SM-6) Dual II missiles to intercept two short-range ballistic missile targets. According to the service, one target was successfully intercepted based on initial observations.
The navy said it ‘cannot confirm’ if the second target was hit.
It said: “Programme officials will continue to evaluate system performance based upon data obtained during the test.”
FTM-33 is considered to be the ‘most complex’ MDA-executed mission. It is the third flight test of an Aegis ballistic missile defense (BMD)-equipped vessel using the SM-6 Dual II missile.
It was originally scheduled for December last year. However, the test was delayed due to a halt in workforce and equipment movement to contain the spread of the ongoing pandemic.
The SM-6 missile is a weapon system that comprises three missiles in one. It can perform anti-air warfare (AAW), ballistic missile defence, and anti-surface warfare (ASW) missions.
It is designed for use in the terminal phase of a short-to-medium-range ballistic missile trajectory.
In April, the US Navy’s Arleigh Burke-class guided missile destroyer USS John Finn (DDG-113) successfully launched an Extended Range Active Missile (SM-6) missile. (Source: naval-technology.com)
27 Jul 21. Rafael Advanced Defense Systems Ltd. and Oshkosh Defense have completed a successful demonstration and live firing of Rafael’s SPIKE NLOS (Non-Line-Of-Sight) missile from an Oshkosh JLTV (Joint Light Tactical Vehicle). SPIKE NLOS is a fifth generation, 32 km-range missile, with high effectiveness achieved by a navigation system and lethal warheads capable of destroying a wide range of targets. It is part of the SPIKE family of multi-mission, precise, electro-optical missiles with legacy of 37 customers worldwide. The demonstration, hosted by Estonian Navy, took place in Saaremaa Island, Estonia, in front of representatives from 14 countries, including Spike-user NATO countries, and senior members of Estonia’s defense ministry and members of the Estonian Armed Forces.
The demo included a live firing of two SPIKE NLOS missiles from a launcher mounted on the Oshkosh JLTV. The missiles was fired towards a beyond-line-of-sight two different naval targets with different size and characteristics located at sea, both targets were destroyed. The demo displayed the SPIKE NLOS missile’s unique capabilities, addressing modern coastal protection challenges and a large variety of targets, either at sea or on land and dense marine traffic.
The SPIKE NLOS enables positive visual target identification and precision strike at extended ranges and beyond-line-of-sight against marine targets (landing craft, corvettes, commando RIBs etc.), and on land – tanks and armored vehicles either at amphibious state or on shore, infantry, forward command posts and more. It has a bi-directional datalink, enabling full control of the missile from launch up to target hit with pinpoint precision that is not affected by range. Unlike laser-guided or active radar munitions, the SPIKE NLOS electro-optical guidance is completely passive and is capable of operation in a GPS-denied environments.
As a multi-platform solution with cross-force commonality, SPIKE allows missile stocks to managed jointly by users, create joint procurement and facilitate mutual support and maintenance.
Mr. Roman Palaria, director of marketing and business development at Rafael’s Precision Tactical Weapon Systems directorate: “Rafael is privileged to have Estonian Armed forces as Spike user and we sincerely thank the Estonian Navy, for their assistance in demonstrating SPIKE NLOS unique capabilities, especially in these challenging times. We also thank our partner Oshkosh for the opportunity to demonstrate our joint solution onboard the JLTV, with ease of integration through excellent cooperation between the companies.”
Mr. John Lazar, Vice President and General Manager of International Programs: “Oshkosh Defense is proud to participate with partner Rafael Advanced Defense Systems in the successful integration, demonstration and live firing of Rafael’s SPIKE NLOS missile. The JLTV is more than a light tactical vehicle; it offers the ability to integrate a full spectrum of mission packages, including sensing, communications, fires, passive and active protection and more. This live fire demonstration further proves the modularity and multi-mission capability of the JLTV platform.”
26 Jul 21. Non-kinetic Coyote aces US Army test. Raytheon Missiles & Defense, a Raytheon Technologies business, successfully defeated a swarm of drones with its reusable Coyote® Block 3 non-kinetic effector during a U.S. Army test. The demonstration moves the variant closer to deployment.
Derived from the expendable Coyote loitering munition, the Block 3 utilizes a non-kinetic warhead to neutralize enemy drones, reducing potential collateral damage. Unlike its expendable counterpart, the non-kinetic variant can be recovered, refurbished and reused without leaving the battlefield.
“This test demonstrates the effectiveness of Coyote to counter complex, unmanned aircraft systems,” said Tom Laliberty, vice president of Land Warfare & Air Defense at Raytheon Missiles & Defense. “As a non-kinetic variant, we’re offering an effective weapon against the threat and value to the Army in the form of an affordable, reusable asset.”
During the test, the Coyote engaged and defeated a swarm of 10 drones that differed in size, complexity, maneuverability and range. It achieved several significant firsts:
- Air-to-air non-kinetic defeats;
- Survivability, recovery, refurbishment and reuse during the same test event;
- Successful launch from the Coyote Block 2 system;
- Extended range engagements, communication and KuRFS radar track.
(Source: ASD Network)
26 Jul 21. Baykar Makina unveils MIUS UCAV concept. Turkish unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) manufacturer Baykar Makina has unveiled concept drawings of its MIUS (Turkish for National Unmanned Aircraft System) unmanned combat aerial vehicle (UCAV).
The MIUS will be a single-engine unmanned aircraft. The airframe features a tailless, blended wing body design optimised for reduced radar cross-section (RCS). The aircraft has two canards but no horizontal stabilisers and two canted vertical stabilisers. The air intakes are located on each side of the fuselage. While specifications of the aircraft have not been shared, the take-off weight is expected to be in the 3,500–4,500 kg range.
The MIUS will carry 1,500 kg of payload and munitions, including air-to-air, air-to-surface, and air-launched cruise missiles. Munitions will be internally carried within a weapons bay to maintain a low RCS. The air vehicle will have wing-mounted hardpoints for external weapons carriage for missions where low RCS is not essential.
The first prototype is scheduled to fly in 2023. It will be subsonic while the following prototypes are expected to be capable of attaining supersonic speeds.
The MIUS will be used for different combat roles such as close air support, suppression and destruction of enemy air defences, and air-to-air combat.
Baykar Makina CTO Selçuk Bayraktar said in a company video that the design of the MIUS is optimised to perform the aggressive manoeuvring required for air combat. The MIUS will incorporate artificial intelligence (AI) and intelligent fleet autonomy technologies, enabling multiple air vehicles to operate independently or fly alongside and support manned fighter aircraft. Bayraktar also noted MIUS’ ability to operate from the navy’s future TCG Anadolu. (Source: Jane’s)
26 Jul 21. These Japanese Missiles Spell Disaster for an Aircraft Carrier. The new missile’s development comes as China has rapidly ramped up its construction of future aircraft carriers. This is probably not a coincidence. Here’s What You Need To Remember: It’s unclear what special “payload” the Japanese are considering specifically for targeting Chinese aircraft carriers. The kinetic energy of a hypersonic missile alone should be sufficient to disable or destroy most targets.
The Japanese military is considering developing a hypersonic anti-ship missile with a special warhead for penetrating the decks of Chinese aircraft carriers.
Japan’s defense ministry is developing what it calls a “hypervelocity gliding projectile,” or HVGP, for deployment on island bases starting in 2026.
The Japanese weapon’s designation is something of a misnomer. In U.S. parlance, a guided missile traveling faster than five times the speed of sound is a “hypersonic” weapon. The Americans reserve the “hypervelocity” designation for fast, unguided cannon shells.
In any event, Tokyo wants the new HVGP to help it defeat Chinese forces. The 2026 model is for “targeting a potential enemy invading Japan’s remote islands,” The Mainichi newspaper reported. “In the second stage, an upgraded type will be developed for possible installation in fiscal 2028 or later, featuring claw-shaped payloads, enhanced speeds and firing ranges and more complex trajectories.”
Another enhancement after 2026 could add a “payload that is capable of penetrating the deck of aircraft carriers,” Mainichi explained.
The HVGP is a boost-glide system. It launches atop a rocket then separates from the booster and, guided by GPS, glides at hypersonic speed toward its target while making small course corrections.
It’s unclear what special “payload” the Japanese are considering specifically for targeting Chinese aircraft carriers. The kinetic energy of a hypersonic missile alone should be sufficient to disable or destroy most targets.
After decades of development, hypersonic weapons finally are beginning to enter front-line service. The Russian defense ministry in late 2019 claimed it had deployed the Avangard surface-to-surface hypersonic missile, possibly making Russia one of the first countries to field an operational hypersonic weapon.
Chinese media claimed China is testing two hypersonic surface-to-surface missiles. The DF-17 made its first public appearance as part of the October 2019 celebrations commemorating the 70th anniversary of the founding of the People’s Republic of China. The second missile, the Xingkong-2, reportedly differs in detail compared to the DF-17.
The U.S. Air Force successfully conducted a flight test of its own hypersonic Air-Launched Rapid-Response Weapon back in June 2019. The ALRRW could enter service as early as 2023. The B-1 and B-52 bombers both are possible launch platforms for the new weapon.
The U.S. Navy and U.S. Army meanwhile are working together on a booster for a Mach-5-plus missile plus a common glide body for a hypersonic weapon’s second stage. The Navy has identified the new Block V version of its Virginia-class attack submarine as the initial launch platform for the fast missile.
Japan’s hypersonic missile is a direct response to China’s years-long campaign of maritime land-grabs and fortress-construction in the South and East China Seas. “Chinese government vessels have been frequently spotted navigating in contiguous zones near the Senkaku Islands and intruding into Japanese territorial waters,” Mainichi noted.
The Japanese military’s existing land-based weapons lack the range to strike, from Japanese soil, the outermost Chinese outposts. “While the main island of Okinawa and the Senkakus are about 420 kilometers [261 miles] apart, the [Japanese army’s] current missile range is set at just over a hundred kilometers [62 miles],” Mainichi reported.
“The introduction of longer-range gliding missiles to protect the Nansei Islands would make it possible for Japan to respond to China’s activities without deploying the Maritime Self-Defense Force’s vessels and aircraft.”
The Defense Ministry allocated a total of 18.5bn yen [$170m] in the fiscal 2018 and 2019 budgets for research on HVGPs for the defense of remote islands, and plans to add another 25bn yen [$230m] in the fiscal 2020 budget,” the paper continued.
The new missile is years away from front-line service, but already is causing controversy, Mainichi explained. “Some legislators in the Diet have pointed out that acquisition of the new capabilities could ‘make it possible for the [Self-Defense Forces, i.e. the Japanese armed forces] to directly attack other countries’ territories’ and ‘deviate from Japan’s exclusively defense-oriented policy.’” (Source: News Now/https://nationalinterest.org)
26 Jul 21. Turkey delivers first armed drone to Ukrainian Navy, much to Russia’s ire. The Ukrainian Navy has accepted delivery of the first Bayraktar TB2 drone from Turkish defense company Baykar, according to Ukraine’s Defence Ministry. The ministry announced the delivery on July 15 through its official Twitter account. After completing acceptance tests, the drone, along with mobile control terminals and spare parts, will be deployed at the Ukrainian Navy’s 10th Naval Aviation Brigade in Mykolaiv.
Baykar announced in 2019 that it won a $69m contract to sell six TB2 combat UAVs to Ukraine. Turkish officials at the time said the deal included ammunition for the armed drones.
The Ukrainian Navy’s chief of staff, Oleksiy Neizhpapa, previously said the combat UAVs are expected to be delivered by the end of 2021. “This year, the Navy will receive the first set of the Bayraktar unmanned complex, which surface forces and marines will use both in the Black Sea and the Sea of Azov,” Neizhpapa said May 12 during the All-Ukrainian Forum “Ukraine 30.″
In recent years, Turkey and Ukraine have strengthened their military bonds. But Russia, which seized the Crimean Peninsula from Ukraine and annexed it in March 2014, has pushed back at the growing defense relationship.
“We strongly advise our Turkish colleagues to carefully assess the situation and refrain from fueling Kyiv’s militaristic sentiment,” Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov was quoted as saying in Russian newspaper Argumenty i Fakty on May 24.
In October 2020, Turkey and Ukraine signed an agreement under which the former would build corvettes and drones for the latter, while Ukraine would provide gas turbines to Turkey. In a July 4 speech celebrating Ukraine’s Navy Day, President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said Turkey has begun construction of the first Ada-class corvette for the service and plans to deliver it by 2023.
Turkish Aerospace Industries also signed a contract with Ukrainian defense firm Motor Sich to supply engines for Turkey’s T129 Atak helicopters. The helicopter program has been riddled with delays due to export license problems.
In addition, there are plans to equip Turkey’s I-class frigates with Ukrainian-made gas turbine engines. Turkey wanted to equip the frigates with General Electric LM2500 gas turbines, but the plan was scrapped due to U.S. sanctions. Now Turkey is to equip the warships with gas turbines manufactured by Ukraine’s Zorya-Mashproekt.
Mehmet Cem Demirci, a political analyst based in Turkey, told Defense News that new leadership in the United States is helping to drive Turkey-Ukraine relations. Both the U.S. and Turkey are NATO allies, and Ukraine has expressed interest in joining the coalition.
“Despite Russia, Turkey has engaged with Ukraine under its foreign policy objectives and arms industry priorities, which are also consistent with Biden’s policies,” Demirci said. “The effects of Joe Biden’s victory in the U.S. presidential elections on the international system, as well as the adoption of the 2030 document that guides NATO’s future vision, ushered in a new era in relations between NATO, the United States and Russia because Russia was explicitly mentioned as a threat to NATO in this document.”
The annexation of Crimea as well as separatist conflict in eastern Ukraine have raised security concerns among NATO members, particularly those in the Baltics and Eastern Europe. One effort, the Three Seas Initiative, launched by the United States with the participation of NATO and the European Union, aims to connect the Baltic, Adriatic and Black seas on a north-south axis while also economically isolating regional countries from Russia.
But the U.S. and Turkey have also butted heads over the latter’s acquisition of S-400 air defense systems from Russia as well as its close cooperation with Russia in the Syrian and Libyan civil wars.
“However, given their shared historical background and strategic objectives, it would be fair to say that Russia-Turkey relations are both temporal and tactical. As a result, the rapprochement between Ukraine and Turkey, particularly in the field of arms production, must be assessed in this context,” Demirci said. (Source: Defense News)
23 Jul 21. HMAS Brisbane commands air, missile defence ops at TS21. The RAN destroyer has been deployed in support of a multinational task group at Exercise Talisman Sabre for the first time. The Royal Australian Navy’s Hobart Class destroyer, HMAS Brisbane, has commenced its inaugural deployment as part of Exercise Talisman Sabre (TS21), serving as air and missile defence commander, responsible for defending the multinational task group from enemy aircraft and missiles. The ship has also been tasked with providing air-control services to deconflict aircraft movements within the exercise area.
Commanding Officer Brisbane Commander Aaron Cox noted the significance of the guided missile destroyer’s (DDG) participation in the major interop ability exercise.
“As this is the first time that a Hobart Class DDG has conducted Exercise Talisman Sabre, the ship’s company looks forward to showcasing the Navy’s new class of warship,” he said.
“Having just reached final operational capability, the Hobart Class is among the most advanced warships operated by the Royal Australian Navy.”
The destroyer joined the exercise from Fleet Base East in Sydney alongside Japan’s JS Makinami, South Korea’s ROKS Wang Geon and Anzac Class frigate HMAS Parramatta.
En route to TS21, the ships engaged in maritime manoeuvres and replenishment-at-sea approaches (RASAP) in preparation for replenishments with the US Navy oiler USS Rappahannock.
“Other ships will approach from close astern and settle alongside at 120 to 150 feet from the guide,” CMDR Cox explained.
“The approach ship is responsible for matching the course and speed of the guide to ensure fuel lines can be passed across safely.
“The ability to replenish while at sea means that ships are able to remain on-station for longer, without the need to return to a port to receive fuel, supplies, ammunition or spare parts.”
TS21, predominately an exercise between Australia and the US, involves a field training exercise incorporating force preparation (logistic) activities, amphibious landings, ground force manoeuvre, urban operations, air combat and maritime operations.
Other nations joining the exercise include the UK, Canada and New Zealand, and observer nations France and India.
Most of the international forces will take part exclusively offshore, with 5,000 personnel participating as part of a US Navy Expeditionary Strike Group. Defence bases and a range of training areas across central and north-east Queensland will host the exercises. (Source: Defence Connect)
23 Jul 21. Laser directed energy weapons likely to receive the most investment in future: Poll. The technology used in directed energy weapons (DEWs) such as lasers and high-power microwaves is maturing with armed forces across the world planning to deploy them in the battlefield.
DEWs are expected to be equipped with combat platforms and deployed along with conventional weapons by 2025, according to GlobalData.
In a poll Verdict has conducted to assess the form of DEW that is likely to receive the most investment going forward, a majority 69% of the respondents voted for laser.
High-power microwave was voted to receive the most investment by 19% of the respondents, while 3% voted for dazzlers.
The analysis is based on 220 responses received from the readers of Airforce Technology, Army Technology, and Naval Technology, Verdict’s defence sites, between 29 March and 22 June 2021.
Demand for directed energy weapons
The demand for DEWs is surging globally with the value of DEWs having reached $4.1bn in 2020. The US is leading in the development of DEWs globally with a market share of 41.6%, followed by China, France, Germany, and the UK. The US doubled its military expenditure on DEWs from $535m in fiscal year 2017 (FY17) to $1.1bn in FY19. The increase in investment in DEWs is expected to continue globally over the next decade.
The existing DEWs are focused on serving defensive functions such as protection of critical facilities and against missiles, unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), rockets and boats. Future developments are expected to focus on further expansion of defensive functions as DEWs, particularly lasers, provide significant advantages over traditional weapons such as precision engagement, low-cost per shot, logistical benefits, and low detectability.
The cost per shot of a laser weapon is estimated to be $1, according to the US Department of Defense (DoD) and the US Navy. While high-energy lasers are effective in cases where long-distance accuracy is required, microwave weapons can be effective against a large number of targets.
The US military is already using 100kW-150kW laser weapons and is developing more powerful 300kW laser weapons to counter supersonic cruise missiles. Lockheed Martin’s High Energy Laser and Integrated Optical-dazzler and Surveillance (HELIOS), which combines high-energy laser with optical dazzler, is currently being tested by the US Navy on the Aegis Combat System aboard the Arleigh Burke Flight IIA destroyer. Further, the US Air Force is testing a high-energy laser weapon system named H2, which was developed by Raytheon Technologies.
Certain technical challenges, however, need to be addressed to develop effective DEWs, which can be affected by atmospheric absorption, scattering, and turbulence. Further, laser beams have straight trajectories, which hampers them from attacking over-the-horizon targets.
22 Jul 21. VTG wins contract to install counter-UAS laser on additional US ships. The company will install and integrate the directed energy weapon aboard five US Navy Arleigh Burke-class destroyers.
Digital transformation solutions provider VTG has secured a prime, single-award contract from the US Naval Surface Warfare Center, Port Hueneme Division (NSWC PHD).
The contract will see VTG equip additional US ships with a new laser designed to counter threats from uncrewed aerial systems (UAS).
The company will install and integrate the directed energy weapon AN/SEQ-4 Optical Dazzler Interdictor, Navy (ODIN) on five US Navy Arleigh Burke-class guided missile destroyers.
VTG president and CEO John Hassoun said: “Our team is honoured to support NSWC-PHD in integrating this innovative defensive technology into the fleet.
“The ODIN laser represents a significant advancement for the navy in addressing asymmetric threats and protecting our sailors. Delivering next-generation capabilities to our warfighters is something we’re passionate about.
“VTG’s depth of expertise with ODIN, together with our skilled fleet modernisation team, cutting-edge manufacturing and prototyping capabilities, and long-term legacy of support to the Navy, makes us uniquely qualified to perform this mission critical work.”
Last year, VTG successfully integrated the ODIN laser on Arleigh Burke-class destroyers USS Stockdale (DDG 106) and USS Spruance (DDG 111) under a separate sole-source contract.
With this integration, VTG completed both projects on schedule and within budget. ODIN is a member of the Navy Laser Family of Systems.
This laser is used to counter adversary drone/UAS-mounted intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) capabilities.
Being developed by the government at NSWC Dahlgren Division, ODIN laser is rapidly fielded to meet an emergency fleet need.
The ODIN laser will be deployed on surface combatants to counter asymmetric threats and to provide a scalable response for escalation of force. In the past ten years, VTG has upgraded a total of 240 different surface ships, submarines and aircraft carriers.
In March, VTG started work on a three-year contract to support US Navy’s Digital Integration Support Cell (DISC) programme. (Source: naval-technology.com)
21 Jul 21. Sea mine disposal could be transformed using an innovative technique that is being researched by Dstl (Defence Science and Technology Laboratory). The concept has received funding worth £440,000 from the Defence Innovation Unit to develop a working prototype and aims to provide a valuable capability for the Royal Navy, enabling minefields to be cleared more efficiently and quickly. Clearing minefields quicker will enhance freedom of operation without increasing risks to the disposal team. Delivered underwater by a Remotely Operated Vehicle (ROV), Dstl’s PULSE DART comprises a metal spike and tube. The spike penetrates the hard outer shell of the ordnance, where an electrical charge is applied to initiate the ordnance with the operative a safe distance away.
Mine disposal is an extremely hazardous operation and often undertaken in extremely poor visibility underwater. The PULSE DART will remove the need for operator filled stores produced on site, reducing handling and proximity to explosives. The PULSE DART can reduce overall costs compared to current explosive disposal technology. As the PULSE DART contains no explosive, moving and storing can be undertaken with minimal risk.
The PULSE DART concept was created by Dstl scientist Peter Rushforth who won Dstl Innovator of the Year. He said: “PULSE DART represents years of collaboration with colleagues across Dstl, the Royal Navy and industry. The additional funding will enable a working prototype to be developed by April 2023. Subject to successful trials, a design could go to industry to tender around the same time.”
Dstl’s scientists and engineers have produced many notable technologies, for the benefit of UK defence and economic prosperity, and PULSE DART’s design will be protected by Dstl’s Intellectual Property team. (Source: www.joint-forcescom)
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.