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16 Sep 21. Naval drone to ‘deliver next-generation coastal security.’ A new uncrewed marine platform is available for use in intelligence gathering and threat detection. Licensed by Ploughshare to L3Harris, this Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (Dstl) technology “combines cutting-edge autonomy with marine hardware to provide next-generation marine capability”.
“The Maritime Autonomy Surface Testbed (MAST) vessel is similar to a water-borne drone that can be partly or fully autonomously controlled to identify threats such as enemy ships or collect intelligence on targets while moving at high speeds. This capability gives users the potential to deploy uncrewed missions that will help minimise the risk to service personnel by taking them out of harm’s way. It is also being trialled by Border Force to support operations to prevent uncontrolled crossings and save lives at sea.
The original MAST autonomy technology and algorithms were developed by L3Harris under contracts with Dstl for the Ministry of Defence (MOD), and was superseded by the MAST-13 design that was launched at DSEI in 2019. NavyX, the Royal Navy’s autonomy accelerator program, subsequently acquired a MAST-13 platform, MADFOX, which is currently being utilised for a range of test and evaluation trials.
At this week’s DSEI exhibition, a further licence brokered with Ploughshare’s assistance has been signed that covers the design of the MAST-13 platform. The agreement enables the autonomy system, associated hardware and vessel to be made available in configurations including an ‘off-the-shelf’ package suitable for use by a range of international organisations and commercial operators. It can be used as a testbed for experimentation and deployed in coastal security, port security, intelligence and threat detection.”
James Cowles, Business Development Manager, L3Harris said:
“Through collaborative development with Dstl and Ploughshare, we have a total package – a boat with intelligent autonomy, available for purchase and experimentation in a way that supports the international community’s scalable needs for coastal security.
We are leading the way in autonomous vessel technology and delivering integrated solutions to the Science and Technology community globally in a number of configurations, including a complete ‘off-the-shelf’ system designed from the bottom up to be a testbed offering an unprecedented opportunity to demonstrate, evaluate and exploit the potential of autonomy in maritime security.”
Hetti Barkworth-Nanton, CEO at Ploughshare, said, “The MAST project is a huge success story in which we are pleased to have played our part. It is a true demonstration of how a novel technology developed in conjunction with a government laboratory is supporting UK jobs, our economy, and the security of society.
A team that was just a handful of people working in a UK start up is now a successful business of more than 130 specialists. By bringing people to together, this cutting-edge technology now has the potential to secure our borders and protect people.”
Ian Campbell, Principal Advisor, Maritime Autonomy at Dstl, said, “In partnership with L3Harris, Dstl is exploring Uncrewed Surface Vessel (USV) technologies. Dstl instigated the MAST project to design and build systems to facilitate the development, test and evaluation of USV technologies and tactics. This informs and educates the potential stakeholder community of the capability and potential of such systems, which should expedite the transition to operational exploitation.” (Source: https://ukdefencejournal.org.uk/)
17 Sep 21. American R&D Small Business Develops Advanced Polymer Armors for Explosives and Ballistic Threats. Research and development company Bleeding Edge EnSys LLC creates advanced impact and wear resistant polymers for the defense and transportation industry.
Bleeding Edge has created a series of customized urethane composite materials capable of resisting the blasts from an IED and M19 landmine, as well as a polymer transparent armor that is ballistic resistant and passes the FEMA F5 tornado impact test.
“We’ve created polymers for high wear and high impact applications such as track pads on the Abrams M1 battle tanks, landmine detonation wheels, Humvee underbody IED armor, and unique transparent bullet resistant windows. Urethanes are usually lighter weight and more versatile to design with than rubber and other plastics or glass used in armoring,” explains George Sturmon, founder of Bleeding Edge. “Our Humvee underbody blast panel was tested against an IED, as well as an M19 landmine, then shot with 3 rounds of NATO 5.56 AP with no penetration. The panel was only 2.3” thick and weighed 23 lbs/sqft (10.43 kg/sqft). Our NIJ Level III-A transparent armor stops 9mm, .357 Mag, and .44 Mag handgun rounds, in a single 1.5” thick sheet, weighing 8.19lbs/sqft (3.71kg/sqft).”
George originally founded ATRO Engineered Systems in 1984, growing it into a multim-dollar company. “In the 80’s we looked into urethanes because of their unique properties that could be customized to fit a wide range of applications while far outlasting rubber components,” George says. “We had major success using them in heavy truck suspensions.” ATRO has recently been acquired along with Steer King, George’s other startup that manufactured high wear steering components for commercial trucks.
Today, the team at Bleeding Edge are testing new applications for ruggedized polymers and armor composites, including a ballistic security door to protect schools from high caliber rounds and tornados. Currently Bleeding Edge is creating optically clear polymer transparent armor. The unique polymer materials can be made in nearly any shape or size, enabling new applications for security, storm safety, military, automotive, and architectural engineering. (Source: BUSINESS WIRE)
15 Sep 21. Two Challenger 3 bound Rheinmetall 120mm smoothbore L55A1 weapons for testing and trialling have now entered production, ahead of schedule, at Rheinmetall’s Unterluss facility. The weapon is a key component to the Challenger 3 upgrade programme, which aims to deliver “the most capable tank in NATO”.
Steel has been cut to form the gun barrel, the breechblock encasing the firing mechanism, and the weapon mounts attaching the gun to the turret.
“Following production, the smoothbore guns will be integrated, tested and validated before delivery to Rheinmetall BAE Systems Land (RBSL) in the UK for integration with the new digital turret. As announced in May 2021, RBSL will be transforming 148 Challenger 2 Main Battle Tanks (MBTs) into the new Challenger 3 configuration for the British Army. The latest Rheinmetall 120mm smoothbore is a key capability upgrade. The gun is state-of-the-art, firing world-class Kinetic Energy tank rounds and the latest programmable High Explosive multipurpose ammunition. Performance is also optimised with the latest gun and fire control system technology.
The smoothbore gun fires the most advanced, high-performance penetrators, bringing assured lethality to the UK. This element of the Challenger 3 upgrade also ensures UK interoperability with other NATO users. Challenger 3’s upgraded lethality sits alongside a new armour system that provides the highest standards of protection for the crew, with work underway to incorporate Active Protection Systems. Challenger 3 will also receive improved long-range Commander and Gunner primary sights with automatic detection and tracking, plus integrated day and night thermal modes of operation.”
Colonel Will Waugh, Armour Main Battle Tank Programme Director for the British Army, said: “This is another and early step forward on the path to delivering a genuinely world-class MBT for the British Army. Pairing the tried and tested L55A1 smoothbore gun with the latest kinetic energy ammunition and programmable secondary natures will give CR3 a step change in the lethality over CR2.” (Source: https://ukdefencejournal.org.uk/)
17 Sep 21. British, Italian F-35s to get new missile types. MBDA and BAE Systems have secured additional funding from the British and Italian governments to complete integration of key weapon systems destined to add capability to their F-35 combat jet fleets, the companies announced Sept 17. The cash injection will see MBDA’s SPEAR precision surface attack missile and Meteor air-to-air weapon integrated on the aircraft.
The weapons will join Raytheon UK’s Paveway IV precision-guided bomb and the MBDA ASRAAM short-range, anti-air weapon as British weapons integrated on the F-35.
The Royal Air Force has selected the Spear and Meteor weapons for fitting to their F-35 fleet, while the Italian involvement relates only to the air-to-air weapon. That could change, though, as the Italians have shown interest in the Spear weapon, said industry officials.
The amount of the investment is not known, but it is thought to be in the region of $400m. The British are providing the bulk of the money.
Under the contract arrangements for the F-35, the integration work is subcontracted through the aircraft manufacturer, Lockheed Martin, with help from BAE Systems.
In 2019 initial funding was awarded by F-35 builder Lockheed Martin to start integration of Meteor and the Spear strike missiles on the jet, although early work had been underway prior to that.
The latest slice of funding will complete the work on both weapons.
The date for introduction of the missiles on the F-35 remains under discussion, but the RAF’s ambition is to have the weapons available by the end of 2024.
Paul Mead, group business development director, at MBDA said: “We are delighted that work continues at pace to deliver Meteor and SPEAR capability to the F-35; it is also a positive step for the wider F-35 enterprise, as it adds additional capability choice for all international customers across multiple variants of the aircraft.”
Meteor is already in service on the Typhoon combat jets operated by the British and Italian air forces.
The funding agreement appears to bring to a close a potential spat between the British and Americans over the timing of integration of Spear and Meteor.
Earlier this year British Defense Secretary Ben Wallace told a parliamentary Defence Committee that he would be reluctant to buy further F-35s until an issue over pushing European weapons back in the integration queue was resolved.
“It’s important that we continue the planned integration of Meteor on the F-35, I don’t want to be put to the back of the queue for that and it’s in all your interests that if you want me to carry on buying F-35 that we keep a lid on [maintenance] costs and that we are treated fairly integrating a European-made missile [on the jet],” he said. (Source: Defense News)
15 Sep 21. Europe’s first Multidomain Task Force tests high-altitude balloons for targeting in Norway. The 1st Battalion, 6th Field Artillery Regiment, 41st Field Artillery Brigade stages “Lorraine 1918”, a multiple launcher rocket system, during a rehearsal during the Thunder Cloud live-fire exercise in Andoya. U.S. Army Europe and Africa’s first Multidomain Task Force was activated on Sept. 16, but the new unit has already cut its teeth in the theater at a long-range, precision-fires exercise in Norway, where officials experimented with high-altitude balloons for targeting, the new task force’s commander told Defense News.
At the first-ever Thunder Cloud exercise in Adenes, Norway, beginning Sept. 9 and wrapping up Sept. 20, the task force and the 41st Field Artillery Brigade exercised an entire sensor-to-shooter operation showcasing shooter targeting and strike capabilities.
The 2nd Signals Brigade also participated in the exercise, bringing network and communications capabilities to link together the sensors and shooters in the operation.
The MDTF is the second of its kind. The first has spent several years in the Indo-Pacific theater helping to inform the U.S. Army’s Multidomain Operations warfighting concept as it morphs into doctrine. The service plans to set up five MDTFs that will align with the Army’s global operational needs. Another MDTF will stand up in the Pacific and another in the Arctic in the coming years.
The MDTF in structure will look similar to the MDTF in the Pacific, based out of Joint Base Lewis-McChord in Washington state, Col. Jonathan Byrom told Defense News in a Sept. 16 interview, but will be much more focused on land operations due to geographic differences.
The task force in Europe — with roughly 380 people — will include a headquarters element, an intelligence, cyberspace, electronic warfare and space detachment or battalion, and a brigade support company, he said.
While the structure is similar to the MDTF in the Pacific, Byrom said, it is obviously going to address relatively different problem sets. While the first MDTF was focused on working with the U.S. Navy primarily, the European-based task force will focus more heavily on its relationship with the U.S. Air Force, he said.
Byrom is tasked to figure out how the European MDTF will be different from the first, and he said he is not going to constrain the unit to operate in the same way it does now in the Pacific, but he will still draw from lessons learned there.
Thunder Cloud gave the MDTF an immediate opportunity to focus on a capability that will be central to future operations. Long-Range Precision Fires, or LRPF, is the top modernization priority for the Army, when building capability to go up against near-peer adversaries like Russia.
“We were testing the full sensor-to-shooter linkage, all the way to gun,” which, in this case, was the Multiple Launch Rocket System (MLRS), Byrom said. “We actually fired some live rockets.”
While the scenario was not that complex, capabilities like the three high-altitude balloons used as targeting sensors were relatively new, marking the first time they were used for this purpose in Europe during an exercise, Byrom said.
The balloons are very agile, don’t have a large footprint, Byrom said, and can fly at about 60,000 to 70,000 feet, so “you are able to see a wide array from those balloons. That’s very helpful.”
One of the challenges as the Army looks to drastically increase the range of its fires capabilities is being able to get sensors to see the targets far off in the distance and guide munitions to those targets.
The exercise proved the balloons can provide flexibility and redundancy, Byrom added.
The 41st Field Artillery Brigade also had the opportunity to exercise training objectives with digital high-frequency linkage between their systems with some new radios, which helped the units understand targeting using some of the new capabilities coming into the force, Byrom noted.
Thunder Cloud also gave the MDTF its first dose of how to manage logistics of moving weapons and equipment across borders in Europe. (Source: Defense News)
15 Sep 21. UK industry team demos new counter-missile protection for armored vehicles. A U.K.-based industry team led by Italian defense company Leonardo has successfully demonstrated a new system to protect tanks and armored vehicles from incoming missiles, according to a Sept. 15 statement issued by Leonardo at the DSEI defense exhibition in London.
Integrating active protection systems onto vehicle fleets is a challenge shared by countries worldwide, including the United States, which has its own efforts to develop a modular system capable of protecting combat vehicles from rocket-propelled grenades and anti-tank guided weapons.
The team — which includes Abstract Solutions, CGI, Frazer-Nash, Lockheed Martin UK, Rheinmetall BAE Systems Land, Roke and Ultra Electronics — demonstrated the new high-tech protection solution — called the Modular Integrated Protection System, or MIPS — at the Ministry of Defence Shoeburyness range in Essex in July. The test was part of Project Icarus, a U.K. Defence Science and Technology Laboratory technology demonstrator program.
The project was launched due to the rise and “rapidly evolving threat” of modern RPGs and anti-tank guided weapons, the statement noted.
During the demonstration, threat representative weapons were shot at close range at the MIPS, which consists of a combination of commercial off-the-shelf and surrogate sensors and countermeasures.
“This trial provided a comprehensive test of the ability of the MIPS sense, control and reaction sequence to respond appropriately to threats within extremely short timeframes,” the statement read.
MIPS has an open-system architecture that allows for modular integration of affordable and best-of-breed sensors and countermeasures, according to Leonardo. Some of these sensors offer “soft” protection that can detect a threat early and attempt to disrupt, decoy or spoof the threat. Other sensors are designed to physically intercept and defeat the incoming missile.
“The MIPS solution is specifically designed to enable the vehicle’s protection system to be rapidly tailored, evolved and certified to protect crewmembers as new threats emerge on the battlefield,” the statement added.
A road map for the solution’s entire life cycle is under development to help the British Defence Ministry as it plans a way to mature the capability and bring it into the force, according to Leonardo.
Now that the initial demonstration is complete, the program has been extended and the scope widened through contract amendments in order to examine MIPS’ potential to deliver counter-drone and counter-intelligence, surveillance, target acquisition and reconnaissance solutions, the statement said.
The U.S. Army is also working toward a Modular Active Protection System, or MAPS, capability. It most recently awarded Lockheed Martin, earlier this year, a contract to integrate and formally test an open-architecture processor designed to control the system.
Lockheed will develop the MAPS base kit hardware and software; perform platform integration; and run on-vehicle, live-fire demonstrations over a 36-month period.
The U.S. Army is working with other industry partners to bring in sensors and countermeasures that are compliant with the MAPS architecture.
The Army, Lockheed and other industry partners have been working to prepare sensors and countermeasures controlled by the MAPS base kit for laboratory-based and live-fire demonstrations, including soft-kill systems like Northrop Grumman’s MEOS, BAE Systems’ Raven and Ariel Photonics’ CLOUD, as well as hard-kill systems including Artis Corporation’s Iron Curtain and Elbit System’s Iron Fist.
The Army has spent years developing a vehicle protection system, and has had several attempts — one successful, others not — to field interim active protection systems onto current combat vehicles.
The service has only fielded an active protection system — Rafael’s Trophy — on its M1 Abrams tank, which has been under evaluation with a unit in Europe. Leonardo DRS integrated Trophy onto the Abrams tank as part of that program. (Source: Defense News)
17 Sep 21. SIG SAUER Introduces the Next Generation of Suppressor Technology with SLX and SLH Series of Suppressors. Born out of the current military requirements to deliver cutting-edge performance, SIG SAUER is proud to introduce the SLX and SLH series of suppressors. The advancement of the SLX and SLH series of suppressors was realized through the wholesale transition of the SIG SAUER product line to Direct Metal Laser Sintering (DMLS) resulting in the most innovative suppressor technology to date – the next generation of suppressors has arrived.
“The commercial launch of the SLX and SLH suppressors has been highly anticipated due to the fact that these are the suppressors we developed exclusively for our Next Generation Squad Weapons program submission,” said Tom Taylor, Chief Marketing Officer and Executive Vice President, Commercial Sales, SIG SAUER, Inc. “The DMLS manufacturing process of the SLX and SLH suppressors eliminates the drawbacks of welded baffles that historically presents design limitations for sound, flash, and the reduction of toxic fumes. Alternatively, the SLX and SLH suppressors are designed to not only withstand the rigors of the battlefield through its innovative monolithic design, but they are each optimized to dramatically reduce harmful toxic fumes and sound because of patented design features that can only be achieved through the non-traditional manufacturing processes.”
The SIG SAUER SLX Series of suppressors are designed to drastically reduce toxic fume inhalation by the end-user and sound reduction and are available for 5.56 or 7.62 NATO calibers. The SLX suppressors feature a monolithic core construction in Inconel, an internal multi-flow path to exhaust gases at a higher rate resulting in lower toxic fume inhalation, a sound reducing baffle design, a flash reducing end cap, and are available with either the new Clutch-Lock QD mounting system for easy install and removal that offers an intuitive tactile locking ring with infinite radial locking positions, or direct thread.
The SIG SAUER SLH Series of suppressors are designed to provide the highest degree of sound reduction in both supersonic and subsonic ammunitions and available for 7.62 NATO and 300BLK calibers. The SLH suppressors feature a monolithic core construction in either Inconel or Titanium, an internal multi-flow path to exhaust gases at a higher rate resulting in lower toxic fume inhalation, a sound reducing baffle design, a flash reducing end cap, and are available with either the new Clutch-Lock QD mounting system for easy install and removal that offers an intuitive tactile locking ring with infinite radial locking positions, or direct thread.
SLX Suppressor Specs:
Caliber(s): 5.56 or 7.62 NATO
Finish: High Temp Cerakote
Core Material: Inconel
Overall Length: 5.24in./7.49in.
Weight: 8.8oz -19.4oz.
Attachment Type: Clutch-Lock QD™ or Direct Thread
SLH Suppressor Specs:
Caliber(s): 7.62 NATO or 300BLK
Finish: High Temp Cerakote
Core Material: Inconel or Titanium
Overall Length: 5.24in./7.49in.
Weight: 12.6oz – 19.4oz.
Attachment Type: Clutch-Lock QD™ or Direct Thread
The SIG SAUER SLX and SLH Series Suppressors are now shipping and available for purchase at retail stores. For more information about the SIG SAUER SLX, and SLH Series Suppressors, or the full product line of SIG SAUER Suppressors including the MODX Series visit sigsauer.com.
16 Sep 21. Russia begins rollout of new S-500 air defence system – report. Russia has completed tests of its new S-500 surface-to-air missile system and has started supplying it to the armed forces, the RIA news agency quoted deputy prime minister Yuri Borisov as saying on Thursday. The S-500, a weapon Moscow hopes will beef up its own defences and become an export best seller, has been described as a space defence system and can intercept intercontinental ballistic missiles, hypersonic cruise missiles and aircraft.
Russia started testing the system last year and the military have said that the first batch would be deployed around the city of Moscow.
Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan said in 2019 that Ankara would also jointly produce S-500 defence systems with Moscow. (Source: Defense News Early Bird/Reuters)
13 Sep 21. Congress wants answers on how DoD is solving a hypersonic weapons detection gap. Concerned with a gap in the military’s ability to detect low-flying hypersonic weapons, lawmakers want the Pentagon to deliver a progress report on efforts to fill it, particularly through commercial solutions, according to the House Armed Services’ markup of the fiscal 2022 defense policy bill.
If the defense policy bill passes, the Defense Department would be required to deliver a report in a few short months — by the end of November — on the status of its efforts to develop the ability to detect low-flying hypersonic weapons using radar.
“The committee is concerned about the inability of current radar systems to detect, track, engage and defeat emerging threats from hypersonic weapons,” an amendment added to the HASC markup states. “As identified by the National Defense Strategy, the Department of Defense has an immediate need to reinforce efforts to counter these weapons.”
Lawmakers want the Air Force and the Missile Defense Agency to examine current missile defense efforts and decide if the agencies are “taking into account innovative and cost-effective solutions available commercially.”
The Missile Defense Agency is focused on developing a Glide Phase Interceptor and is working toward a system requirements review later this year.
The report needs to include an evaluation of the Air Force’s current ability to detect hypersonic weapons, plans to guarantee a “comprehensive” assessment of commercially available technology to improve radars and a description of investments for upgrades to existing radar systems to detect hypersonic weapons, the pending legislation states.
The lawmakers also want to know what investments have been made in standalone gap-filler radars that can detect hypersonic weapons, a cost comparison of those investments versus what is available commercially, and an estimate of what the Pentagon will need in future budgets beginning in FY23 to fill the gap, according to the markup.
Picking up low-flying hypersonic missiles — ones that can hug the earth at roughly just 500 feet in the air — is a particularly hard problem to solve, not just because they can maneuver in a flight path but because of the speed these missiles can achieve, an industry expert who wished to remain anonymous due to business relationships, told Defense News.
The missiles can fly so fast they create friction with the air to the point it becomes ionized where molecules separate, creating a charged cloud of particles, forming a plasma sheath around the missile. This sheath absorbs the radar energy rather than reflecting it and bouncing it back.
Space sensors can’t solve the low-flying hypersonic radar problem, the expert said, because radars or infrared cameras in space are only able to see hypersonic missiles flying at high or medium altitudes. Low-flying hypersonic weapons would appear just as very dim dots and it would be difficult to tell it from other ground clutter.
Since space-based sensors don’t cut it, the only way to detect hypersonic weapons at low altitudes is by using high-power radars on the ground. Space platforms can’t accommodate the level of power needed to see the missiles.
Radars in operation now are not powerful enough and also don’t have the high resolution needed to make out the missile, according to the expert.
While the 40-year-old North Warning System in the Arctic is still quite powerful, it lacks the requisite resolution. A fix would entail new hardware and electronics that can handle high processing speeds and bandwidth, the expert explained. Additionally, with some artificial intelligence and autonomy capability thrown in, threat detection and tracking could be improved.
Current cost projections to upgrade the North Warning System is roughly $10bn, but according to the expert there are less expensive ways to bring about a hypersonic-detection capability.
Congressional appropriators in FY21 provided $100m for the U.S. North Warning System and required the Pentagon to provide a report on the status of the system, to include its operational integrity and what technology is used by the system compared to technology necessary to detect current and anticipated threats, particularly cruise missiles. The system is a joint U.S. and Canadian early-warning radar system for North American air defense.
13 Sep 21. Northrop Grumman Supports Successful Flight Test for the Missile Defense Agency. Northrop Grumman Corporation (NYSE: NOC), under contract to Boeing, successfully completed a critical non-intercept flight test (BTV-03) of the Ground-Based Interceptor (GBI) for the U.S. Missile Defense Agency (MDA). The flight test successfully demonstrated company-developed software that enables upgraded booster capability and enhances America’s homeland defense. Northrop Grumman supported the Missile Defense Agency’s successful test of a long-range ground-based interceptor launched from Vandenberg Air Force Base, California, on September 12. This was the first flight test of a three-stage booster operating in two-stage mode. In this mode, the third stage was not ignited, allowing earlier release of the kill vehicle providing increased battlespace for the warfighter. Photo courtesy of the Missile Defense Agency
“This flight test demonstrated a Northrop Grumman-designed upgrade that enables a new capability for the Ground-based Midcourse Defense (GMD) system,” said Scott Lehr, vice president and general manager, launch and missile systems defense, Northrop Grumman. “GMD is our nation’s only standing defense against rogue state long-range ballistic missiles, which is why we are committed to ensuring our country is always one step ahead of our adversaries.”
The GMD program is an element of the MDA’s Ballistic Missile Defense System. Its mission is to protect the United States by destroying intermediate- and long-range incoming ballistic missile threats in space. Northrop Grumman serves as a strategic partner to Boeing for the GMD program, providing the interceptor boost vehicle as well as the development, integration, operations and sustainment of the ground systems.
Northrop Grumman has provided critical elements of the GMD program for more than two decades. The company is also the leading provider of target vehicles to MDA, allowing U.S. missile defense systems to be operationally tested – validating their effectiveness in protecting our country, warfighters and allies.
13 Sep 21. Indian Air Force inducts MRSAM air defence missile system. MRSAM is an advanced network centric combat air defence missile system developed jointly by DRDO and IAI. Indian Defence Minister Rajnath Singh has inducted the medium range surface to air missile (MRSAM) system into service during a ceremony held at Jaisalmer Air Force Station in Rajasthan.
The Defence Research & Development Organisation (DRDO) handed over the first deliverable Firing Unit (FU) of the system to the Indian Air Force (IAF).
According to a statement released by the Indian Ministry of Defence (MoD), induction of the system is a significant boost to the country’s defence capabilities.
The MRSAM is an advanced network-centric combat air defence system developed jointly by DRDO and Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) in partnership with the Indian industry comprising private and public sectors, including micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSMEs).
IAI president and CEO Boaz Levy said: “MRSAM Air & Missile Defense System is a cutting edge, innovative system and significant proof of the unique partnership and collaboration between the countries and IAI’s commitment to India.
“The development and production of the system is fully based on the Make in India policy in partnership and collaboration between Israel and India’s industries, and is a is a model of success of the Make in India policy for the benefit of all parties.”
The MRSAM missile system is designed to provide point and area air defence for ground assets against a wide range of threats.
It can engage multiple targets at ranges of up to 70km in complex environments.
Powered by a locally developed rocket motor and control system, the missile is designed to achieve high manoeuvrability during the terminal phase. Each MRSAM weapon system comprises one command and control system, one tracking radar, missiles, mobile launcher systems, combat management system, mobile power system, radar power system, and field service vehicle. Last year, IAI and India teams worked in close cooperation under strict Covid-19 safety protocols for timely induction of the missile.
12 Sep 21. Boeing, Missile Defense Agency Demonstrate Advanced Missile Defense Capability in Successful Flight Test. Boeing [NYSE:BA] and the U.S. Missile Defense Agency (MDA) successfully demonstrated an advanced interceptor capability for the Ground-based Midcourse Defense (GMD) system, which defends the U.S. from rogue-state long-range intercontinental ballistic missile threats. The test included launching a Ground-Based Interceptor (GBI) into space with a three-stage booster in two-stage mode, allowing the GBI to release the kill vehicle earlier in flight, providing an earlier opportunity to intercept and defeat a missile threat.
The new capability, made possible through digital system modelling software upgrades, gives operators the real-time choice between a two-stage or three-stage interceptor, depending on the threat’s location and speed. The stage mode determines when the kill vehicle is released from the GBI. This achievement will allow GBIs to be modernized and fielded with this critical capability as a part of the MDA’s Service Life Extension Program.
“The GMD system is reliable and ready if called upon to defend the nation,” said Debbie Barnett, Boeing GMD vice president and program director. “For more than 20 years, Boeing has led the development, integration and maintenance of this system. We’re proud to continue these efforts for the fielded GMD system to ensure the continued defense of the United States for years to come.”
An element of the MDA’s Ballistic Missile Defense System, GMD provides the only capability to engage and defeat rogue-state long-range ballistic missile threats – protecting the U.S. 24/7, 365 days a year. Boeing leads the industry team for GMD systems engineering, development, integration, testing, operations and sustainment activities of the fielded system. Boeing has been the prime contractor for the GMD system since 1998.
09 Sep 21. US Army moves forward with Soldier Protection System. Avon Protection Ceradyne and Gentex are bidding to provide the Next Generation Integrated Head Protection Systems. The two manufacturers will compete for each order in an $87m firm-fixed-price contract.
The US Army has pushed on with plans to provide better protection to its troops and announced on 7 September that Avon Protection Ceradyne and Gentex will compete to provide the Next Generation Integrated Head Protection System (IHPS).
Avon and Gentex will battle each other for orders in a contract with an overall value beyond $87 m and an estimated completion date of 8 September 2023.
IHPS comprises the helmet shell, maxillofacial system (visor and mandible) and protective eyewear, providing a 5-7% weight reduction over the current helmet. It also includes an optional, modified retention system to better accommodate female hairstyles.
The procurement of IHPS forms one element of the Soldier Protection System (SPS) programme, which aims to equip frontline soldiers with advanced personal protective equipment.
Other aspects of SPS include the parallel development of other two subsystems: Vital Torso Protection (VTP) and Torso and Extremity Protection (TEP).
In 2020, the US Army confirmed its expectations to award contracts under the SPS programme in 2021. (Source: Shephard)
10 Sep 21. Sweden receives eye protection systems from Revision Military. Military Protective Eyewear Systems were acquired in 2020 under a seven years contract. They were manufactured under rigorous specifications and customization requirements to suit the needs of the Swedish Armed Forces.
The Swedish Defence Materiel Administration (FMV) has received the first units of Military Protective Eyewear Systems (MPESs) that it ordered in 2020 under a seven-year contract with Revision Military.
According to a press release from Revision, the MPES units were manufactured under rigorous specifications and customisation requirements to suit the needs of the Swedish Armed Forces.
MPES comprises ballistic eyewear, low-profile goggles, full-coverage goggles, a universal prescription carrier and ballistic laser protective lenses to protect against a variety of laser hazards.
‘Each product was customized to meet FMV requirements,’ the press release stated.
Revision partnered with CRD Protection, a privately held Swedish company specialising in protective products, to pursue and secure a contract award with the FMV and assist with contract execution. (Source: Shephard)
17 Sep 21. Hornet, developer and manufacturer of Remote-Controlled Weapon Systems, presented its soft kill protection solution at DSEI 2021. Hornet offers cutting-edge weapon systems, developed for the French Army in the framework of the Scorpion programme, which aims at fully renewing its land combat capabilities. These new generation RCWS fully enhance the capabilities of the vehicles equipped, taking them to fully new operational levels. They are gyro-stabilised from the optronic unit, which gives them exceptional stability and accuracy, as well as state-of-the -art observation capabilities. However, the Hornet is not only a Weapon System, but also a complete Active Protection System, able to provide with cover against the threats of the battlefield. Hornet’s flagship, the Hornet RCWS is equipped with a fully independent smoke grenade launcher ring. Both the Hornet RCWS and the smoke launcher ring can be oriented and operated simultaneously in two different directions, to keep scouting a direction or engaging a threat while being protected from another directions. Both systems are managed through the in-house Battlenet vetronics suite. Designed to reduce the operator’s workload on the field, Battlenet can support several sensors and effectors, which allows for a full-system approach and the development of mission-ready solutions built around the Hornet. Hornet thus offers comprehensive integration capabilities through Battlenet, depending on mission profile and equipment.
At DSEI 2021, Hornet presents a complete, high-performance off-the-shelf soft-kill solution. It comprises the Hornet RCWS, the in-house Battlenet vetronics solution, an independent ring equipped with the smoke grenades from LACROIX, as well as the PILAR V acoustic detection system from METRAVIB. That solution is represented on the Hornet booth, fully integrated on a Scarabée platform.
At DSEI 2021, Hornet presents two different solutions built on the Hornet RCWS: a Hornet and its Active Protection System, displayed on the Hornet booth, and a Hornet on a THeMIS UGV on Milrem’s booth. Both are available for demonstrations.
Hornet offers high-end remotely operated weapons systems with the most advanced technologies and capabilities, which can be adapted to fit very specific tactical needs. The current offering includes the Hornet, the flagship product of the new range, and the Hornet Lite, a lighter version with the same optronic systems. The remote-controlled weapon stations of the Hornet range are very versatile products, combining an effector and latest generation sensors. This makes them the tool of choice for observation, reconnaissance, and intelligence, but also for information sharing, blue/ red force tracking, designation of enemy targets and indirect fire guidance. Hornet is dedicated to the promotion and marketing of the Hornet range of remotely operated turrets. It was officially launched at IDEX 2021. (Source: www.joint-forcescom)
14 Sep 21. Chinese Air Force May Be Getting a Hypersonic Drone. Chinese researchers say that they have made major strides toward designing a hypersonic drone. In a peer-reviewed paper in the journal Tactical Missile Technology, Beihang University’s Dai Fei and his team posited that they have made significant progress on a classified hypersonic drone model.
Their work, first reported by the South China Morning Post, appears to confirm the existence of a Chinese military program to design an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) capable of traveling at hypersonic speeds. The product tested by the researchers could be an advanced modification of the supersonic Wuzhen 8 drone unveiled during China’s 2019 National Day military parade, or an entirely new prototype unit that’s under development. In either case, it is unknown when or if such a vehicle will be ready to enter serial production.
The Beihang University team’s alleged technical breakthrough is based, in part, on advancements in navigation algorithms that make it possible for UAVs to anticipate optimal landing routines and control their speed with subtle S turns. As explained by Dai’s team, one of this project’s many complications is that a UAV traveling at staggering speeds of Mach 5 must turn off its engines well in advance in order to land safely. (Source: UAS VISION/The National Interest)
Arnold Defense has manufactured more than 1.25 m 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.