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19 Aug 21. AFRL concludes Dialable Effects Munition JCTD programme. The US Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL) on 17 August announced that it had finalised its Dialable Effects Munition (DEM) Joint Capability Technology Demonstration (JCTD) programme with a live flight test of the experimental weapon system on 28 July. Established in 2018, the DEM is an Office of the Secretary of Defense-funded JCTD initiative between the AFRL and the US Navy, which “aims to mature, demonstrate and transition technologies that enable a weapon’s effects to be tailored dynamically in flight”, the AFRL said in a press release. The DEM solution is a 2,000 lb air-to-surface munition containing a number of AFRL Munitions Directorate technologies as well as contributions from the US Army Combat Capabilities Development Command and contractor partners including Faxon Machining and L3 Harris. DEM technologies include a pre-formed fragment warhead case, an electronic safe and arm device, distributed embedded firesets, and a precision height-of-burst sensor. Those technologies control the weapon’s lethal footprint, fragment speed, and direction, while a GBU-31 Joint Direct Attack Munition (JDAM) tail kit guides the munition to the target. With DEM, the pilot is able to select munition effects based on three critical mission areas: an Area Attack effect that detonates high above the target for maximum dispersed effects over the area where collateral damage is not an issue; a Precise Lethal Footprint effect that detonates lower over the target to confine effects to a small area for low-collateral damage; and a Surface Target Perforation effect that detonates after the weapon punches through a structure. “While the technology is useful in weapons of many sizes, a large form factor will give the Department of the Air Force a unitary weapon that performs as well or better than current cluster munitions; albeit, without the concerns of unexploded ordnance [UXO],” the AFRL said. (Source: Jane’s)
18 Aug 21. Northrop Grumman Opens Missile Defense Futures Lab in Huntsville. Northrop Grumman Corporation (NYSE: NOC) recently opened its new Missile Defense Futures Lab (MDFL) in Huntsville. The company’s MDFL is pioneering change with speed and precision to develop, test and field an integrated missile defense system.
“Partnering with our customers, Northrop Grumman is leading the way as the defense industry undergoes digital transformation,” said Lisa Brown, vice president, missile defense solutions, Northrop Grumman. “With speed and agility we can securely meet with teams across the country, start designing a product, share it with the customer and receive feedback in real-time, reducing the length of our product roadmap dramatically.”
Northrop Grumman’s MDFL employs comprehensive modeling, simulation and visualization capabilities to foster innovation and collaboration between developers and warfighters. With custom-built servers and the ability to process and relay data from missile detecting satellites and ground stations, the MDFL supports missile defense systems engineers with research, modeling and simulation and the development of tracking software to respond to nuclear and other threats.
With its flagship location in Huntsville, the MDFL is comprised of distributed facilities in Boulder, Colorado; Chandler, Arizona; Colorado Springs, Colorado; McLean, Virginia; Morrisville, North Carolina; and Baltimore, Maryland.
19 Aug 21. Australians/US Share Joint Fires Targeting Data. During Exercise Talisman Sabre 2021 in and offshore Queensland, Australia, mid-June to late-August, Australian and US forces validated the latest version of the Advanced Field Artillery Tactical Data System (AFATDS), allowing them to share joint fires targeting data.
Both US and Australian artillery observers were able to send digital targeting data to the Australian Joint Fires and Effects Coordination Centre, which then routed them on to a regimental command post. From there, digital fire orders were sent to US M777A2 howitzers and rocket artillery, as well as Australian M777The Australian Army received the AFATDS upgrade earlier in the year. AFATDS coordinates and calculates fire mssions for mortars, artillery and naval guns, with further work continuing so that it can also be linked to aircraft.
Participating units in Exercise Talisman Sabre 2021 include a wide variety of units from the Australian Army; the US Marine Rotational Force-Darwin (MRF-D) and supporting elements; the US Army’s 4th Brigade Combat Team (Airborne), 25th Infantry Division; and a selection of other international units. (Source: Armada)
18 Aug 21. Northrop bows out of competition to build laser weapon for Strykers. Northrop Grumman is no longer in the running to build a powerful laser weapon system for the U.S. Army’s Short-Range Air Defense System, sources tell Defense News.
While testing the 50-kilowatt laser module on the SHORAD system late last year, a fire broke out, according to sources with knowledge of the incident but not authorized to speak publicly. The fire was related to the power and thermal management system integrated onto the platform to support the laser module, the sources said.
The laser system and other components suffered smoke and fire damage, and Northrop had to race to make repairs ahead of an end-to-end system checkout required before moving to a competitive shoot-off at Fort Sill, Okla.
But in January, at the checkout, the power and thermal management system again malfunctioned, generating smoke as the company ran tests, according to the sources.
Northrop was unable to meet the criteria agreed upon at contract award at the check-out, Dr. Craig Robin, the Rapid Capabilities and Critical Technologies Office’s Directed Energy Project Office director, told Defense News in a statement.
RCCTO is the Army office focused on rapidly advancing technologies, such as hypersonic and directed-energy weapons, needed to help the force address near-peer competitors.
Robin said his office told Northrop it was welcome to compete at the shoot-off, but it had to cover its own costs. Northrop said it would not continue.
“We are disappointed not to be participating in the combat shoot-off,” Northrop Grumman said in a June statement to Defense News. “But we look forward to continuing to develop our directed-energy and laser weapon capabilities to help provide more comprehensive protection of frontline combat units.”
However, neither Northrop nor the RCCTO would confirm the details that drove the company to exit the program.
Northrop’s exit left just one other team – led by Raytheon – seeking to integrate a laser on a Maneuver SHORAD system.
The program has been moving forward since mid-2019 when the Army awarded KBR subsidiary Kord Technologies a contract to integrate a laser system onto the vehicle. Kord, as the program’s prime contractor, subsequently awarded subcontracts to Northrop and Raytheon teams to compete to supply the laser module.
The competition was intended to culminate in a shoot-off between the two teams. Kord and the Army would then agree on a winner and proceed with integration of the chosen laser module onto three more Strykers to make a platoon’s worth of directed energy-capable SHORAD systems.
Supplied to both teams was a General Dynamics Land Systems-built Stryker and a power and thermal management system from Rocky Research, a Nevada-based company focused on thermal management technology. Rocky Research was acquired by Honeywell in October 2020.
In a statement, Lt. Gen. L. Neil Thurgood, the RCCTO director, praised the process, noting that “[p]rototyping requires rapid development of advanced technologies on an accelerated timeline.”
“One advantage is that design challenges are addressed early, prior to execution under a traditional program of record,” he added. “DE M-SHORAD[’s] initial executed development from contract award to the Combat Shoot-Off in only 24 months, is a great example of successful prototyping.”
Kord told Defense News that, as the prime contractor, it “evaluated its subcontractors against an agreed-upon series of key milestones and technical criteria.”
“Kord took into account all circumstances when selecting the system to advance to the combat shoot-off demonstration this summer,” the company added. “Successful execution of the combat shoot-off does not require multiple teams to participate, and Kord is in full compliance with our contractual requirements.”
Kord declined to discuss the details of why Northrop is no longer participating, but confirmed the Raytheon team met the required milestones to participate in the shoot-off.
Raytheon referred questions to the RCCTO, and Honeywell referred questions to Kord.
The problem that led to Northrop’s departure was not the first challenge for the laser module effort. First, the global pandemic challenged second- and third-tier suppliers’ ability to deliver critical pieces for the systems, according to Army officials not authorized to speak publicly.
Then, the Army and Kord encountered redesign work that set the schedule back about a month, the Army officials said.
In his statement, Thurgood confirmed that, “[a]s development progressed, common design challenges were resolved and shared across the teams.”
“We are unable to release specific design details due to security constraints,” he continued. “[H]owever, we can assure you that both teams, in an open and transparent discussion, received the same criteria, the same timeline and the same additional schedule to accommodate learning during the prototyping integration efforts to accomplish contract criteria.”
A source familiar with the program but not authorized to speak publicly said both teams struggled during the design phase and initial build-out with the very high level of generator power needed to feed the laser system.
The source, with experience integrating laser technology onto vehicle platforms, said lasers as powerful as 50 kilowatts present a significant cooling and thermal challenge because roughly two-thirds of the energy put into the system is wasted and turns into heat to get one-third of the energy out in the form of a laser.
The Army has acknowledged the challenges inherent in this capability.
“The reason we chose a Stryker is it’s the smallest vehicle that goes with a maneuver element,” Thurgood said at the Space and Missile Defense Symposium earlier this month. “That’s wicked hard, right? It’s easy to put on a Heavy Expanded Mobility Tactical Truck. That’s not interesting. It’s easy to put a 10-kilowatt on a Stryker. That’s not interesting.”
Thurgood said it’s important to put the largest laser on the smallest vehicle in the maneuver element so it can keep up with brigade combat teams.
After Northrop exited, the shoot-off with Raytheon’s equipment was successful, according to the source. The results — which are classified — satisfied the Army to the point it decided to integrate the company’s system onto the rest of a platoon of Strykers.
The source confirmed to Defense News that integration work on those vehicles has already begun.
The four systems will be fielded by the end of calendar year 2022, Col. G. Scott McLeod, the Army’s program manager for DE M-SHORAD, said during an Aug. 18 media briefing.
During the shoot-off, soldiers, not contractors, operated the vehicles and the initial prototype Stryker was able to engage rockets, artillery and mortars as well as a variety of unmanned aircraft systems from those weighing under 20 pounds up to UAS weighing less than 1,200 pounds and “some other targets,” Thurgood said at the symposium. “They were phenomenal.”
The DE M-SHORAD capability will transition from RCCTO to the Army’s Program Executive Office Missiles and Space in 2023, according to Thurgood.
PEO Missiles & Space is expected to hold a competition for full-rate production of the DE M-SHORAD system, according to McLeod.
He also noted the capability is being assessed for possible homeland defense applications. Representatives from the Federal Aviation Administration attended the shoot-off, he added. (Source: Defense News)
18 Aug 21. ONR re-issues solicitation for ‘Screaming Arrow’ development. The Office of Naval Research (ONR) Department for Aviation, Force Projection and Integrated Defense on 7 August re-issued a Special Notice (N0014-21-S-SNI4) soliciting proposals for the development and testing of a carrier-borne F/A-18E/F Super Hornet-compatible air-launched hypersonic, air-breathing controlled test vehicle (CTV), designated ‘Screaming Arrow’.
Referencing a technology area entitled ‘Hypersonic Aerothermodynamics, High-Speed Propulsion and Materials’, the re-issued solicitation comes around five months after the navy published the initial Special Notice (N0014-21-S-SN06) on 2 March, and subsequently cancelled it, without explanation, three days later.
According to the ONR, the Screaming Arrow weapon system is intended to fulfil a naval role and, accordingly, in conjunction with its hypersonic, air-breathing characteristics, it must also be both aircraft carrier (CVN)-compliant and compatible with the US Navy (USN)/US Marine Corps F/A-18E/F Super Hornet multirole combat aircraft.
The solicitation sets the prospective Screaming Arrow development firmly within the orbit of the USN’s ambitions for a near-term air-launched hypersonic or near-hypersonic anti-surface warfare capability. Although omitted from the latest Special Notice, the original solicitation references the baseline target set for the weapon system: “The specific use case of Screaming Arrow is Offensive Anti-Surface Warfare (OASuW). The threshold target set includes, but is not limited to, surface combatants and capital ships.” However, both releases note: “The need for Screaming Arrow technologies arises from a capability gap in propulsion solutions for servicing adversary targets at range within a compressed time of flight, which is not achievable with today’s sub-hypersonic weapon approaches.” (Source: Jane’s)
17 Aug 21. As Taliban takes over, some swap iconic AK-47s for made-in-America rifles. The Russian Kalashnikov AK-47 and its derivatives have long been the assault rifle of choice for militant groups because of their rugged design, but some Taliban fighters are trading them in for captured U.S. guns as Afghanistan’s government collapses.
Video and pictures published by the Taliban on Twitter and elsewhere show fighters carrying M4 carbines and M16 rifles discarded by Afghan army units. Other images show Taliban forces capturing abandoned government vehicles.
The U.S. guns are more accurate and have greater range than the their AK-47s, but on their own may not deliver much added capability on the battlefield.
“Some of the hardware might be useful to have if looking to intimidate rival warlords, but that’s about it,” said Grant Newsham, a retired United States Marine Corps colonel. “They’ve done rather well with what they already had.”
Still, the image of U.S.-made weapons in the hands of the Taliban as it sweeps aside the Afghan National Army – funded with bns of dollars from the U.S. government over the past two decades – is a propaganda coup for the militants.
Many of the AK-47s in Afghanistan are copies, but some were left over from the 10-year Soviet occupation that ended in 1989. First manufactured just after the end of World War Two, based on a German design, the assault rifle has since become common around the world in the arsenals of governments and insurgent groups.
The American weapons could be in service with the Taliban for years because of plentiful ammunition supplies. The 5.56mm round it fires is available to civilian gun owners in the United States.
“The Russians crank out ms of rounds of AR 5.56 NATO each year for the U.S. market under the brand names of Tula, Wolf, and Red Army just to name a few,” said another retired U.S. Marines officer, who asked not to be identified because his current employer does not allow him to talk to the media.
“I suspect the Taliban’s allies will have no trouble supplying parts for just about any infantry system,” he added. (Source: Reuters)
16 Aug 21. Babcock Australasia and UniSA sign MoU for LAND 125 Ph.4. Babcock Australasia has also been shortlisted for LAND 125 Ph.4. Photo: Babcock. Babcock Australasia has been down selected for the Australian Army’s Integrated Soldier System (ISS) project, LAND 125 Ph.4, and has signed an MoU with the University of South Australia (UniSA) to develop ‘best of breed’ technology for the project.
The MoU will open up avenues for Babcock and UniSA to collaborate on technology development, post graduate research, and graduate pipelines.
Babcock Australasia’s Head of Business Development, Mick Burgess, said the MoU is part of the company’s ongoing commitment to delivering Australian Industry Capability (AIC).
“Babcock’s partnership with UniSA strengthens our commitment to research and development being conducted in Australia in areas that will generate the best outcome for Defence,” he said.
“As a result of the MoU, Babcock will able to leverage key research being undertaken by UniSA for LAND125 Phase 4 in the areas of human factors, cognitive and systems neuroscience, interactive and virtual environments, and advances in wearable computing and displays.
“These and other research areas will contribute strongly to the spiral development of technologies and their use by the future Australian soldier.”
Headquartered in Adelaide, Babcock has a longstanding commitment to maximising local industry participation, supporting local research and development (R&D), and contributing to South Australian innovation across its Defence, Aviation and Critical Services operations.
UniSA Director of Defence and Space, Matt Opie, said the University’s number one ranking in Australia for industry engagement reflects its end-user focused approach to its research.
“In this case, the research we are undertaking in neuroscience, wearable computers, virtual and interactive technology, and the human factors involved in Defence, will all help develop the ideal systems for Australian soldiers,” Mr Opie said.
LAND125 Phase 4 will provide Australian soldiers with the best products, systems and emerging technology so they can defend the nation armed with the latest, disruptive advances in modern warfare.
The project will deliver an ISS integrating all elements and subsystems that are used, worn or carried by soldiers in any operational context or environment for up to 72hrs without resupply.
“Innovation and sovereign capability are at the forefront of Babcock’s bid to equip Australian soldiers with next generation technology as part of LAND125 Phase 4,” Mr Burgess said. “The result is a robust model that delivers sovereign capability through local facilities, as well as domestic supply chains that are integrated, resilient, reliable, and secure.” (Source: Rumour Control)
16 Aug 21. EOS establishes new live fire testing facility. EOS successfully completed a live fire test procedure of the Titanis counter unmanned aerial system (C-UAS) as part of the company’s expansion into live fire weapon development in Australia.
Australian defence and space company EOS this week announced that it has successfully undertaken a live fire test of its Titanis C-UAS solution at a private testing facility as part of the company’s plan to expand into live fire testing.
To achieve this, the company has engaged with weapon and ammunition suppliers as well as relevant government departments to develop the testing facility. These include constructing approved firing positions, ammunition storage as well as shot detection sensors and meteorological instruments that are being established at the range.
Grant Sanderson, chief executive for EOS Defence Systems, outlined that the facility will cater for a wide range of testing requirements.
“We successfully detected and engaged a number of UAS targets using the Titanis C-UAS solution incorporating the R400 remote weapon station, including moving targets and swarms of multiple drone threats. Being able to conduct weapon system development in Australia represents a significant sovereign capability,” Sanderson said.
“While we complete our design and development work in Australia, most of our live firing to date has had to be conducted overseas due to the lack of suitable ranges in Australia. However, the Australian government’s drive to greater domestic defence capability has provided us with the confidence to invest in the creation of an Australian solution.
“This is a critical first stage in developing our local live firing capability. We expect to expand this further to allow for more complex activities over the coming months.”
According to a statement by the company, the new range will test and evaluate a series of EOS products such as the T2000 medium calibre turret, the R400 and R800 remote weapons stations as well as the directed energy effectors and Titanis C-UAS solution. (Source: Defence Connect)
16 Aug 21. Japan proposes air-launched Type 12 missile for F-2 fighters. The Japanese Ministry of Defense (MoD) plans to meet its requirement for air-launched long-range anti-ship missile (LRASM) capability through the development of the Mitsubishi Heavy Industries (MHI) Type 12 Surface-to-Ship Missile (SSM) system.
A spokesperson from the MoD told Janes on 12 August that it plans to install a modified version of the Type 12 weapon onto MHI F-2 multirole fighter aircraft operated by the Japan Air Self-Defense Force (JASDF).
This follows an MoD decision – announced early August – to scrap plans to fit Lockheed Martin’s AGM-158C LRASM onto the JASDF’s Mitsubishi-Boeing F-15J/DJ Eagle fighter as part of a proposed broader upgrade for that aircraft.
The AGM-158C plan was cancelled due to costs. Janes has reported that the development and integration project could have cost up to JPY550bn (USD5bn).
“Through negotiations with the United States, it became clear that the installation of the [AGM-158C] LRASM onto the F-15 could cost a huge amount in integration costs, as the US has no experience of installing it onto the F-15,” said the Japanese MoD spokesperson.
“[This] could delay the entire schedule of the F-15 upgrade programme [so] we decided to cancel the installation of the LRASM onto the aircraft.”
The spokesperson added, “Instead, stand-off missiles capability against ships is planned to be secured by operating the upgraded Type 12 SSM … to be installed into various platforms including ships and aircraft.”
Already a Janes subscriber? Read the full article via the Client Login (Source: Jane’s)
16 Aug 21. Rheinmetall shortlisted for LAND 125 Phase 4, calls for local suppliers. Rheinmetall has developed Pamnzergrenadier soldier combat systems for the German Army. Photo: Rheinmetall
Rheinmetall Defence Australia has been shortlisted for project LAND 125 Phase 4, which will see the development of an Australian-made Integrated Soldier System.
The company is now seeking Australian partners to register their interest in supporting the development of an Australian-made Integrated Solider System. Rheinmetall says the project will provide a significant boost for local suppliers and further the establishment of a sovereign base for defence manufacturing.
Rheinmetall will work with local partners to build an Integrated Soldier System that gives the Australian Army a sovereign, next-generation capability with next level communication and collaboration between networks of machines, sensors and people.
Accordingly, Rheinmetall is looking to partner with Australian companies in the following areas:
- Soldier Platform Capabilities – protective systems, load carriage systems, power and data management, signature management, translation system
- Robotics and Autonomous Platform Capabilities – Load carriage, intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance systems, force protection
- Enhancement Capabilities – innovative and disruptive technologies, improvements and enhancements, health and performance monitoring, immersive simulation
Rheinmetall Managing Director Gary Stewart said that ongoing engagement with local industry and innovation will be critical to the success of the Integrated Solider System.
“I am impressed by the high degree of innovative technologies being developed by Australian SMEs,” he said. “It is important for Rheinmetall to facilitate these companies playing their part in delivering what will be the Australian Army’s best possible future soldier system.
“Rheinmetall understands that it is critical to provide a system architecture that is fully interoperable and that can integrate third party equipment. Utilising our world class capabilities at the Military Vehicle Centre of Excellence in Redbank, QLD, Rheinmetall and our industry partners will be able to develop, integrate and sustain the Australian Army’s best possible future soldier system that helps it fight, survive and win on the modern, complex battlefields of today and tomorrow.”
Local companies interested in partnering with Rheinmetall can register as a supplier to Rheinmetall and register an Expression of Interest for the LAND 125-4 Program in the RDA Supplier Portal. (Source: Rumour Control)
12 Aug 21. US AFGSC launches unarmed Minuteman III ICBM with test re-entry vehicle. The test launch proved the lethality and effectiveness of the nation’s nuclear deterrent. The test launch proved the safety and effectiveness of the nation’s nuclear deterrent. According to AFGSC, these test launches evaluate the reliability of the ICBM weapon system, providing valuable data to ensure a continued safe and effective nuclear deterrent.
US Air Force 576th Flight Test Squadron commander colonel Omar Colbert said: “The US nuclear enterprise is the cornerstone of the security structure of the free world.
“Today’s test launch is just one example of how our nation’s ICBM fleet demonstrates operational readiness and reliability of the weapon system.
“It also allows us to showcase the amazing level of competence and capability of our airmen.”
The test launch comes after months of preparation involving several government partners.
Last month, the USAF selected Northrop Grumman to continue as ground subsystems support contractor (GSSC) of Minuteman III ICBM.
The Minuteman III long-range, solid-fuel, three-stage ICBM can carry single or multiple nuclear warheads. It is being used by the USAF Combat Command.
The missile weighs 36,030kg, has a range of more than 5,218nm and a speed of 24,000km/h at burnout. It is powered by three solid-fuel rocket engines. To support the test launch, airmen from the three missile bases, namely 90th Missile Wing at FE Warren AFB in Wyoming, 91st Missile Wing at Minot AFB in North Dakota and 341st Missile Wing at Malmstrom AFB in Montana, were selected. In September last year, the USAF awarded Northrop Grumman a $13.3bn nuclear missile contract to modernise the ICBM system. (Source: airforce-technology.com)
13 Aug 21. Pakistan Army test fires Ghaznavi surface-to-surface ballistic missile. The indigenously developed missile can carry nuclear and conventional warheads to a range of 290km. The Pakistan Army has performed a training launch of Ghaznavi nuclear-capable surface-to-surface ballistic missile from an undisclosed location.
In a statement on his official Twitter account, Pakistan Military’s Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) director-general major general Babar Iftikhar confirmed the launch.
ISPR, the media wing of the Pakistan Armed Forces, stated that the launch re-validated the weapon system’s technical parameters.
The test-fire was also aimed at ensuring the operational readiness of Army Strategic Forces Command.
The ballistic missile is designed to deliver nuclear and conventional warheads up to a distance of 290km.
Pakistan Army Strategic Forces Command commander appreciated the standard of training, weapon system handling and the military troops’ ability to execute the launch mission in the field.
The event witnessed the presence of key defence officials from Pakistan.
Pakistan’s National Development Complex has designed and developed the short-range, road-mobile Ghaznavi missile.
Code-named Hatf III, Ghaznavi missile can conduct long-range strikes targeting military bases, airfields and production facilities.
Hatf III entered operational service with the army in 2012.
It is equipped with a terminal guidance system to help attack moving military units.
The missile was successfully test-fired by the ASFC during its annual field training exercise in February this year. (Source: army-technology.com)
12 Aug 21. US Joint Requirements Oversight Council working on IAMD directive. The US Joint Requirements Oversight Council (JROC) is moving ahead with creating a revised joint warfighting concept, dubbed ‘expanded manoeuvre’, and its next strategic directive will provide the services with a unified integrated air and missile defence (IAMD) vision, according to Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Air Force General John Hyten. The four-star general, set to retire in November, spoke on 11 August at the annual Space and Missile Defense Symposium, and said that now that the JROC has approved a strategic directive for four areas – joint fires, contested logistics, joint all-domain command and control (JADC2), and information advantage – it will devise one for IAMD.
“As you look at the portfolio of integrated air and missile defence, and see where the JROC has identified gaps and capabilities … you’ll find out that we have not [done that],” Gen Hyten told the audience. “And because we have not, the services actually do the best they can to identify where the gaps are … but we never give the overarching structure … to plug into.”
To help craft such a structure, the JROC will conduct a capability gap assessment examining everything in the IAMD portfolio across the services, in anticipation of completing this work by mid-December. However, the JROC will be challenged to do so since there is a lack of “good campaign level modelling across all domains, including space and cyber, that show how all these things fit together across the board”, Gen Hyten said. The JROC has signed a requirements document for such cam
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