21 Jan 22. British Army flying new elite attack helicopters. More than a dozen new AH-64E Apaches – one of the most advanced attack helicopters anywhere in the world – are undergoing test flights with the British Army. The helicopters have improved sensors and lethality, upgraded weapons systems and heightened communications compared to their predecessor. Comparable to high-end super cars, the new Apaches also boast a top speed of 300kmh (186 mph). They are able to detect 256 potential targets at once, prioritising the most urgent threats within seconds, up to a range of 16km (10 miles) away – a distance 57 times the length of HMS Queen Elizabeth or over twice the length of the Grand National course. Wattisham Flying Station has taken delivery of 14 of the new aircraft, with 36 more due to arrive by the summer of 2024. British Army test flights are underway, with a booster to aerial capability anticipated early next year when they enter operational capability.
Defence Procurement Minister, Jeremy Quin said: “There can be no doubt these impressive Apache helicopters will help the Army sustain its battle-winning capabilities in future operations.
“It’s great news that the long-term support for yet more cutting-edge technology will remain here in the UK, putting millions of pounds back into the British defence industry and supporting hundreds of jobs.”
A 20-year agreement has been signed with Boeing Defence UK to maintain and support this new fleet of impressive attack helicopters.
With £288m confirmed for the first pricing period in place until July 2025, the agreement will create more than 200 jobs in the UK, including 165 for the Army Aviation Centre at Middle Wallop in Hampshire and 45 at Wattisham Flying Station in Suffolk.
The British Army has been utilising the world-leading Apache capability since 2005, with the attack helicopters seeing action in Iraq, Afghanistan and Libya.
The Deputy Chief of the General Staff, Lieutenant General Sir Chris Tickell KBE said: “I am delighted at the introduction of the 4th generation AH-64E into British Army service, signifying our commitment to investing in the right equipment for our people to compete and win against the threats facing the UK. Within Future Soldier, we committed to winning the deep battle so that the close battle is as anti-climactic as possible, thereby reducing the risk to our people. The AH-64E is a truly world-beating capability that will, alongside other capabilities we are introducing, ensure we succeed.”
The Long-Term Training and Support Service (LTTSS) will progressively take over from the initial support and conversion training provided by the US-Government under Foreign Military Sale interim arrangements.
The contract will cover aircraft design organisation services, maintenance, logistics support, plus pilot, maintainer and groundcrew training. Boeing already has more than 40 employees working alongside the Army Air Corps providing training for the Mk1 Apache at the Attack Helicopter Training School at Middle Wallop.
DE&S Director Helicopters, Keith Bethell, said: “Ensuring the new Apache AH-64E fleet is airworthy and ready to serve the British Army is essential, which is why we were delighted to negotiate a long-term training and support service with Boeing Defence UK as part of our Rotary Wing Enterprise involving the Front Line Commands, DE&S and Industry. Not only will it keep the Apaches in the best possible condition for deployment, it will provide expert training for pilots and ground crew while creating long-term, sustainable jobs for industry.”
The replacement of the MK1 with the AH-64E – built by Boeing and already in service with the US Army – was announced in 2016 as part of a $2.3bn deal. This new model, which is now being flown in the UK, has improved sensors and avionics as well as greater performance that will enable the army to sustain its battle-winning capabilities in future operations.
This programme reinforces the ambition laid out in the Defence Command Paper and recent Future Soldier announcement to transform the Army into a more agile, integrated, lethal, expeditionary force, showing the Army’s investment in battle-winning technology. (Source: https://www.gov.uk/)
21 Jan 22. India further tests Man-Portable Anti-Tank Missile. The government-owned Indian Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) has performed a test firing of an advanced prototype of the indigenous Man Portable Anti‐Tank Guided Missile (MPATGM) on 11 January, the Ministry of Defence (MoD) in New Delhi announced. The ministry said the test evaluated the MPATGM in its “final deliverable configuration”, which validated performance over its expected minimum range. The missile’s maximum range performance was already proven in earlier tests, which have been under way for several years, it added. The MPATGM features a miniaturised infrared imaging seeker and advanced avionics for onboard control and guidance and is being developed for the Indian Army by the DRDO in partnership with Hyderabad-based aerospace and defence company VEM Technologies. The MoD also described the MPATGM as a low-weight, third-generation fire-and-forget missile that can be launched from a man-portable launcher integrated with a thermal sight and a tripod-mounted command and launch unit. The weapon system comprises a launching unit with a thermal sight and a containerised missile. It is understood that the containerised missile weighs 14.5 kg and is armed with a tandem-high-explosive anti-tank (HEAT) warhead that features folded wings located behind the main warhead and four folding control fins at its rear. An onboard powerpack is situated mid-body between the warhead and rocket motor.
The missile’s minimum and maximum ranges are 200 m and 2,500 m, respectively.
The DRDO earlier flight-tested the MPATGM on 21 July 2021. On the same day it also test-fired the indigenously developed Akash-NG (New Generation) surface-to-air missile (SAM) which is being developed for the Indian Air Force.
The MPATGM is designed to be operated by a two-person crew in a tripod-mounted configuration, but can also be potentially mounted on light vehicles.
Development of the MPATGM began in 2015 to replace the Indian Army’s legacy Konkurs and the French Milan systems that are locally produced by Bharat Dynamics Limited (BDL). (Source: AMR)
21 Jan 22. India test-fires enhanced BrahMos supersonic cruise missile. The MoD said the test marked a ‘major milestone’ in the BrahMos programme. The test was conducted at the Integrated Test Range (ITR) in Chandipur. Credit: Indian Ministry of Defence / Press Information Bureau.
The Indian Ministry of Defence (MoD) has announced the successful test-firing of an enhanced version of the Brahmos supersonic cruise missile. The test was conducted at the Integrated Test Range (ITR) in Chandipur, Odisha. According to the MoD, the missile followed its predicted trajectory, cruised at supersonic speed for its maximum range and met all mission objectives during the latest textbook flight test. Brahmos Aerospace and Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) carried out the launch, with DRDO and Russian rocket design bureau NPO Mashinostroyeniya (NPOM) taking part in the test.
BrahMos Aerospace, a joint venture between DRDO and NPOM, has upgraded the missile ‘continuously’ to increase its effectiveness.
The missile weapon system has already been inducted into the Indian Armed Forces.
Department of Defence Research and Development (R&D) Secretary and chairman DRDO Dr Satheesh Reddy commended the team for its use of indigenous content and increasing the weapon systems’ efficiency.
The BrahMos supersonic cruise missile is the fastest operational system of its class in the world.
It is a medium-range ramjet supersonic cruise missile that can be launched from vessels, submarines, aircraft or land platforms.
The missile can hit its targets with high precision and operate in adverse conditions both during daylight and after dark, with a strike range of further than 400km. (Source: Google/ airforce-technology.com)
20 Jan 22. Japan’s ATLA progresses railgun project. Japan is developing electromagnetic (EM) railguns to counter emerging threats including hypersonic weapons. A spokesperson from Japan’s Acquisition, Technology & Logistics Agency (ATLA) told Janes on 19 January that a study to develop the capability is expected to accelerate in 2022.
“Since financial year 2016 we have studied the underlying technologies of railguns. In the studies we have worked on increasing launch velocity and establishing material technologies for the rails, which have high current endurance characteristics,” the spokesperson said.
The spokesperson added that ATLA will launch studies of future railguns in 2022. These studies will aim to establish entire technologies necessary for early practical use for missile defence and anti-ship operations. The studies aim to achieve a high rate-of-fire and projectile flight stability for the railguns, said the spokesperson.
Janes has previously reported on a video shared by ATLA in July 2018, which showcased a small-calibre developmental EM railgun along with related support and test equipment. (Source: Janes)
20 Jan 22. New robotic torpedo vessel for ASW being developed for Russian Navy. An undisclosed source told TASS news agency that the robotic system will on its own identify the target.
A 14m-long uncrewed torpedo vessel is reportedly being developed for the Russian Navy to boost its ant-submarine warfare (ASW) capabilities.
An undisclosed source in the Russian defence industry told TASS news agency that the robotic torpedo-carrying ship will be designed to conduct detection and elimination of enemy submarines autonomously.
It can operate autonomously in distant waters and Arctic latitudes and be controlled by a small crew or remotely from a costal centre or a drone carrier ship, noted the source.
The source was quoted by TASS as saying: “Work is currently underway at the design firm’s own initiative to develop an unmanned craft designated to hunt down and eliminate adversary submarines in autonomous mode.
“After spotting an enemy submarine, the robotic system will on its own identify the target and make a decision on launching a torpedo.”
The vessel is said to have a top speed of more than 35k, can remain operational without refuelling for up to three days and have an ammunition load of two 533mm electric torpedoes.
The source added: “The Arctic version of the robotic torpedo craft with a reinforced hull for navigating through broken ice is also envisaged.
“Several robotic torpedo-carrying vessels will make it possible to promptly deploy a temporary anti-submarine frontier in the area of combat patrols by a naval task force without engaging basic anti-submarine forces or to reinforce defence at the fleet’s naval bases.” (Source: naval-technology.com)
19 Jan 22. Joint Hypersonic Transition Office Hosts First Hypersonic Workforce Event. The Joint Hypersonic Transition Office (JHTO) University Consortium for Applied Hypersonics (UCAH) hosted a student meet and greet at the American Institute for Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA) SciTech Forum in San Diego, California, on January 5, 2020.
AIAA SciTech Forum is the world’s largest aerospace research, development, and technology event. The meet and greet was a chance for interested students to talk to professionals in the community, gain insight, and understand career and scholastic opportunities. Seventy experts from across the spectrum of the hypersonic community joined more than 50 students at the event.
“This meet and greet was an opportunity to inspire students and to understand the future of hypersonics;” stated Dr. Gillian Bussey, Director, JHTO. “The JHTO is planning to move out across a spectrum of workforce strategies that include surveys, research, curricula, internships, scholarships, and today’s event provided momentum for these student activities in 2022.”
In October 2021, the JHTO selected 18 U.S. university-led research teams from UCAH as awardees for prototyping contracts totaling $25.5 m. The government anticipates awarding numerous prototyping/research projects each fiscal year. The project topics will span various areas within applied and advanced research.
About the University Consortium of Applied Hypersonics (UCAH)
UCAH is a collective network of universities partnering with government, industry, national laboratories, federally funded research and development centers, and university-affiliated research centers to serve the U.S. Department of Defense requirements in hypersonics-related science and technology workforce development, and technology transition. UCAH is a five-year, $100-m consortium funded by the Joint Hypersonics Transition Office and led by Dr. Rodney Bowersox, executive director, UCAH, and associate dean for research, Texas A&M Engineering Experiment Station. For more information about UCAH, contact Rebecca Marianno, UCAH program director, TEES, .
About the Joint Hypersonics Transition Office (JHTO)
The JHTO, operating within the Office of the Under Secretary of Defense for Research and Engineering, is responsible for accelerating hypersonics technology development, developing the nation’s future hypersonics workforce, and facilitating the transition of ready technologies into operational capabilities. For more information about the JHTO Office, contact Taisha Cobb, Frontier Technology, Inc., contractor, Office of the Under Secretary of Defense (R&E)/JHTO, (Source: US DoD)
17 Jan 22. Can Pakistan counter India’s new S-400 air defense system? Overconfidence in its newly acquired S-400 air defense system may give India a false sense of invulnerability and increase the likelihood of a military miscalculation involving archrival Pakistan, analysts warn.
“Indian rhetoric appears to suggest a belief that the S-400 effectively makes its airspace impenetrable and its forces invulnerable,” Mansoor Ahmed, a senior fellow at the Pakistan-based think tank Center for International Strategic Studies who studies the country’s nuclear program and delivery systems, told Defense News.
Consequently, there are concerns “India may be emboldened to resort to military adventurism, believing its ‘Cold Start’ doctrine for punishing strikes and destabilizing incursions into Pakistan” is an assured success, he said.
Deliveries of India’s five S-400 regiments began in December 2021, with initial deployments along the Indo-Pakistan border.
On paper, the defensive — and potentially offensive — anti-access, area denial capabilities of the S-400 appear formidable. The system is reportedly effective against aircraft, UAVs, and ballistic and cruise missiles, with the latter capability potentially neutralizing Pakistan’s nuclear deterrent.
Its layered coverage is provided by a combination of the 40-kilometer-range 9M96E, 120-kilometer-range 9M96E2, 250-kilometer-range 48N6, and 400-kilometer-range 40N6E missiles, enabling it to protect large areas, high-value targets and itself from attack.
It is also highly mobile, can be made operational 5 minutes after arriving at a new location and therefore can be regularly relocated to avoid detection.
However, aerospace expert Douglas Barrie at the International Institute for Strategic Studies think tank, told Defense News the S-400 “should not be underestimated, neither should it be over-estimated.”
A notable claimed feature of the S-400 is its potential offensive capability that would restrict an adversary’s use of its own airspace. For Pakistan, due to its geography and the long border it shares with India, the weapon system would cover most of the country.
However, Barrie is unconvinced. “Its much-touted maximum engagement range is dependent on the variant of surface-to-air missile deployed, the acquisition ranges of the associated radars in the operational area, the capacity of the personnel to effectively exploit the system, and also the steps and countermeasures any opponent might take.”
India plans to integrate the S-400 into its existing air defense network, which consists of indigenous and Indo-Israeli systems.
Consequently, Barrie said, India might “use the system more often to defend high-value targets or critical national infrastructure from air attack, rather than forward-deploy to hamper the Pakistani Air Force’s use of its own airspace [thereby] putting the systems at greater risk of attack.”
“In and of itself, I see the S-400 acquisition having little to no impact on the overall credibility of the Pakistani [nuclear] deterrent,” he added.
Similarly, Ahmed believes “its effectiveness against ballistic or cruise missiles is open to question and will depend on a variety of factors,” such as the effective engagement range. This specific factor takes into account the curvature of the Earth, the nature of nearby terrain and the location from which the system was deployed.
If deployed too far forward, an S-400 — or at least elements of the system, such as the launch vehicle — could be in danger of direct targeting. Ahmed specifically pointed to the Fatah-1, Pakistan’s 150-kilometer-range guided round for the Chinese A-100 multiple launch rocket system, as a weapon that could jeopardize the S-400. The Fatah-1 round was successfully tested in August 2021.
Additionally, suppression or even destruction of the S-400 could be aided by effective electronic warfare measures — a capability Pakistan demonstrated when its Air Force successfully launched retaliatory strikes into Indian-held territory during a flare-up in February 2019.
Pakistan’s Strategic Plans Division, or SPD, develops and protects all aspects of the country’s nuclear deterrent, and it’s likely the organization will be charged with determining the threat posed by the S-400 and how to respond.
Defense News tried to contact the SPD via the Army’s Inter Services Public Relations media branch, but received no response.
However, Ahmed pointed to improvements Pakistan is making to its existing arsenal to maintain a credible nuclear deterrent.
“Pakistan’s missile tests over the past several years appear to demonstrate enhanced accuracy and penetration capability in view of India’s growing investment in missile defenses. It has also introduced the [multiple independent reentry vehicle]-capable Ababeel ballistic missile system, designed to defeat any dedicated Indian anti-missile system,” he said. “While the S-400 remains a highly capable air defense system at best, its utility against missiles has yet to be proven in real-time conditions.”
Nevertheless, the S-400 does pose a considerable threat to Pakistan’s conventional deterrent.
“Suppression or destruction of enemy air defense (SEAD/DEAD) will likely have taken greater priority for the Pakistani Air Force in response to the S-400 acquisition,” Barrie said. “Options include acquiring more capable anti-radiation missiles, improved electronic countermeasures and aircraft self-protection.”
Outsmarting the system
Pakistan potentially has something in development that could be used against the S-400.
A stealthy combat drone design, the ZF1 was specifically created to attack heavily defended targets. It was promoted at Pakistan’s biennial arms exhibition IDEAS in 2018 by the UAS Global, whose CEO Rafay Shaik told Defense News at the time the aircraft would make its first flight soon.
The concept is not new to South Asia. India has its own stealthy UCAV program, the Ghatak, run by the Defence Research and Development Organisation.
Despite requests for information on the state of the program sent to UAS Global, there has been no news regarding its development since early 2019, and it’s unclear if ZF1 work is even ongoing.
Pakistan might also benefit from military exercises “with friendly countries that operate the S-400, such as China and Turkey, who may at least indirectly help identify its strengths and weaknesses for exploring opportunities to suppress and defeat Indian S-400 systems,” Ahmed said.
A Russian Antonov military cargo plane, carrying the S-400, is unloaded after landing at a Turkish military base on July 12, 2019. (Stringer/AFP via Getty Images)
For its part, China has “multiple options” available for Pakistan, according to Richard Fisher, a senior fellow at the International Assessment and Strategy Center in Alexandria, Virginia.
“It is very likely that, to the degree that China has aided North Korea’s new hypersonic glide vehicle (HGV) missile warhead, it has or will similarly assist a Pakistani HGV, or simply sell the DF-17,” he said, referring to a medium-range missile system equipped with an HGV. “Or Beijing now has the option of allowing North Korea to sell its HGV to Pakistan.”
China could also help Pakistan redress the balance with a similar air defense system, Fisher added, and its ability to do so “can be expected soon.”
“In contrast to China’s flagrant abuse of the intellectual property of [Russia’s] Sukhoi Corporation, S-300 and S-400 maker Almaz-Antey in the 1990s agreed to sell China the means to make their own fourth-generation SAMs [surface-to-air missiles] along with sales of their SAMs,” he explained.
Fisher noted that Pakistan’s recently acquired Chinese-made HQ-9B missile — which reportedly has a 240-kilometer range and is locally referred to as the HQ-9/P — is based on Almaz-Antey technology. He said this transfer of advanced Russian technology enabled China to develop the initial land-based HQ-9 and ship-based HHQ-9 systems, which have a range of 125 kilometers and entered service in the mid-2000s.
These Chinese systems are quite advanced, Fisher added. “Like later variants of the S-300 family acquired by China, the HQ-9 featured a hard-to-jam phased array guidance and tracking radar, and its missile uses an active radar for terminal guidance.”
The longer-range HQ-9B is reported to have a dual semi-active radar homing/passive infrared seeker, while the HQ-9C, which is under development, will reportedly feature active guidance.
Citing the recent conflict between Azerbaijan and Armenia as well as the civil wars in Libya and Syria, Ahmed noted that “increasingly more potent and sophisticated” air defense systems are being “matched by systems and technologies designed to beat them, such as standoff weapons, anti-radiation missiles, electronic countermeasures, UCAVs and drone swarms, and low-flying cruise missiles.”
“The race for offense-defense dominance is therefore increasingly favoring the offense,” he said. (Source: Defense News)
19 Jan 22. NP Aerospace Backs $3.2m Canadian University Armour Development Program. NP Aerospace is confirmed as one of the main industry partners leading the NSERC* Alliance Program to research and develop new Canadian-made ceramic add-on vehicle armour. The 5-year, $3.2m+ program involves three Canadian universities (University of Alberta, University of British Columbia and York University), a federal government science and technology organization (Defence Research and Development Canada), NP Aerospace, a Canadian owned armour manufacturer, and General Dynamics Land Systems – Canada.
The NSERC program introduces new modelling and simulation technologies to the development and testing of medium calibre APFSDS armour which will reduce the time required to develop and field future armoured vehicles. The program will provide empirical data to underpin future developments and will increase sustainability by replacing a proportion of live testing with simulated testing.
NP Aerospace is providing engineering expertise and resources for the program.
James Kempston, CEO, NP Aerospace, comments: “As an armour manufacturer our number one priority is to introduce products that provide the highest level of protection responding to the latest threats in the fastest time possible. Our add-on armour is used globally across numerous platforms. Working closely with Universities and industry partners, we are able to drive research into materials used in extreme environments and introduce new Canadian made technologies.”
Dr. James Hogan, University of Alberta, who is leading the program from an academic perspective, said: “Armour modelling and simulation has numerous advantages. It allows us to correlate live ballistic impact with simulated testing and to make more informed design decisions using extensive trend-based data. We are excited to be at the forefront of this global program.” *Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC).
18 Jan 22. RoK inks largest arms export deal with UAE for missile interceptor. Korea has inked a deal with the United Arab Emirates to export midrange surface-to-air missiles, marking the Asian country’s largest-ever arms export deal in history.
Valued about $3.5 bn, the contract for the Cheongung II KM-SAM weapons was singed Jan. 16 during a meeting between South Korean President Moon Jae-in and Emirati Prime Minister Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum in Dubai as they discussed economic cooperation.
Earlier, South Korean defense firms involved in the missile’s production signed respective deals with the UAE-based Tawazun Economic Council: LIG Nex1 will help with system integration; Hanwha Systems will provide a multifunctional radar; and Hanwha Defense will develop the missile’s vertical launcher as well as its ammunition resupply vehicles.
“The UAE is the first foreign nation to operate the Cheongung II,” South Korea’s Defense Acquisition Program Administration said in a news release. “The deal is the result of the bilateral defense cooperation based on mutual trust and will serve as a watershed moment for future direction of the two nation’s strategic defense partnership.”
Along with the missile acquisition contract, the two governments signed a memorandum of understanding to collaborate on defense technologies, including the co-development of weapons systems, DAPA added.
The KM-SAM was first developed by the South Korean Agency for Defense Development with technical support from Russian firms. It was based on technology from the 9M96 missile used on S-350E and S-400 missile systems, and created to replace the older Hawk surface-to-air missiles that were adopted in 1964.
A complete battery consists of four to six eight-cell transporter erector launchers, a multifunction phased array 3D radar, and a fire command vehicle. Employing so-called hit-to-kill technology, the missile can intercept up to six hostile missiles coming in at altitudes below 40 kilometers, with a detection range of 100 kilometers. The missiles have anti-electronic warfare capabilities to keep functioning, despite jamming. The system passed the South Korean military’s operational requirement verification test in 2015 and began deployment in early 2016, according to the Air Force. (Source: Defense News Early Bird/Defense News)
18 Jan 22. New high-explosive warheads delivered to RAAF. Locally manufactured next-generation warheads have been accepted into service by the RAAF. BLU-111(AUS)B/B warheads have been delivered to No. 3 Squadron of the No. 81 Wing at RAAF Base Williamtown. The 500-pound (227-kilogram) high-explosive warheads were configured by armament technicians as a Paveway II laser guided bomb before being loaded onto the F-35A Lightning II for a training drill. The BLU-111(AUS)B/B warheads, built with improved safety characteristics, replace the Mk82 500lb explosives.
The next-generation warheads are expected to be used as the primary 500lb high-explosive warhead for RAAF operations and training exercises.
“The BLU-111(AUS)B/B is intended for use in both Paveway II laser guided bombs and the Joint Direct Attack Munition (JDAM) family of guided bombs,” AIR 6000 Weapons Project Engineering Manager, Squadron Leader Ryan Kell, said
“The development and production of the BLU-111(AUS)B/B has been an ongoing collaboration between the United States government, Defence and Australian industry, specifically the manufacturer, Australian Munitions.”
Local production of the BLU-111(AUS)B/B commenced following the successful delivery of the BLU-126(AUS)/B, 500lb low-collateral bomb, which demonstrated capacity to produce reduced sensitivity warheads using locally manufactured ingredients for the explosive fill.
SQNLDR Kell noted the benefits of sovereign munitions production.
“The design is based on the US manufactured BLU-111B/B, but has been tailored to meet Australian production methods while providing improved safety characteristics,” SQNLDR Kell said.
“Aircraft bomb warheads have been produced in Australia for a number of decades, but the BLU-111(AUS)B/B warhead represents a generational change in explosives manufacture and safety technologies through use of a polymer-bonded explosive fill and design features, which reduce the likelihood of the warhead detonating in the event of a safety incident.”
Use of the BLU-111(AUS)B/B is expected to extend beyond operation by the F-35A fleet, likely extending to the Hawk 127 lead-in fighter, F/A-18F Super Hornet and future platforms like the unmanned MQ-9B Sky Guardian.
“Having 500lb bombs produced in Australia increases our self-reliance and resilience of our air-combat platforms and the warfighting capability they provide,” Air Force Director Combat Capability, Group Captain Guy Adams, said.
“As a future line of effort, the ability to act as a second line of supply to allied nations could see Australia providing warheads for use by allies during operations or training, which would greatly enhance international relationships and interoperability.” (Source: Defence Connect)
18 Jan 22. AeroVironment, Inc. (NASDAQ: AVAV), a global leader in intelligent, multi-domain robotic systems, today introduced the Switchblade® 300 Sensor to Shooter Kit, a capability that enables operators to instantly transfer target coordinates from AeroVironment’s small unmanned aircraft systems (SUAS) – Puma™ 3 AE, Puma™ LE, Raven® B or Wasp® AE – to Switchblade 300 loitering missile systems.
“Sensor to Shooter maximizes the operator’s ability to see first, strike first, combining the superior intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance capabilities of AeroVironment’s SUAS with the precision strike capabilities of the Switchblade loitering missile system,” said Charles Dean, AeroVironment vice president for global business development and sales of UAS.
The Switchblade 300 Sensor to Shooter Kit includes everything needed to quickly update FalconView®, a multi-platform mapping and mission planning application, with the Sensor to Shooter (S2S) software on a ruggedized Windows® 10 laptop and connect to the included Pocket Digital Data Link (pDDL™). Using the software’s intuitive tap-to-target user interface, target coordinates are instantly transferred via machine-to-machine communication from the SUAS to the Switchblade 300 to create an automated mission plan and launch sequence with no chance of data entry error.
Upon launch, the Switchblade 300 can autonomously navigate to the designated coordinate position, allowing operators to scene match full-motion video downlink from both assets to ensure positive identification of the target. Once confirmed, operators can then engage the target with lethal effects and immediately capture the resulting battle damage assessment from the SUAS overwatch to reassess targets for follow-on or immediate re-attack strikes.
“The Switchblade 300 Sensor to Shooter Kit builds on AeroVironment’s commitment to deliver innovative, streamlined interoperable solutions that elevate the warfighter’s situational awareness, reduce engagement timelines and cognitive load, and increase mission success and operational safety,” Dean added.
18 Jan 22. Israeli Defense Ministry conducts pre-planned Arrow system test. The test, led by Israel Aerospace Industries in collaboration with the Israel Air Force, took place in central Israel. Amid the tensions with Iran, Israel’s Ministry of Defense, IDF and the US Missile Defense Agency (MDA) successfully conducted a planned trial of the Arrow-3 missile defense system Tuesday morning. The test, led by Israel Aerospace Industries in collaboration with the Israel Air Force, took place in central Israel. During the test, the Arrow system’s radars array detected the target and transferred the data to the battle management control (BMC), which analyzed the data, established a defense plan, and launched two Arrow 3 interceptors towards the exo-atmospheric targets, successfully destroying it.
“The success of this test is an important milestone for Israel’s operational capability to defend itself against existing and evolving threats in the region,” the Defense Ministry said, adding that it was part of the IDF’s multi-year development program.
The system was tested against targets similar in behavior to advanced missiles being developed by Iran and future threats which Israel might face such as a ballistic missile barrage against the country.
Israel and the United States remain concerned that Iran has continued to work on both its nuclear program as well as its ballistic missile program despite international criticism.
Defense Minister Benny Gantz applauded the successful tests and said that “with every step forward, with every development, we equip the State of Israel with the capabilities to defend itself against developing threats. Our systems provide Israel with the freedom to maneuver strategically.”
IDF Chief of Staff Lt.-Gen. Aviv Kohavi said that the test that took place on Tuesday morning “is another element in our ability to respond to developing threats in the region, and is a part of the implementation of the IDF’s multi-year plan.”
“The IDF and Israel’s defense establishment see great importance in constantly upgrading and improving our air defense capabilities,” he added.
The Arrow-3 development program is one of the joint programs between Israel and the United States, was co-managed by the US Missile Defense Agency and IMDO, a division of the Israeli Ministry of Defense.
The primary contractor for the integration and development of the Arrow Weapon System is IAI’s MALAM division which is responsible for the radar functions, along with Elbit Systems Elisra division which developed the firing management systems, and IAI’s TAMAM division together with IMI and Rafael Advanced Defense Systems who jointly developed the interceptor. America’s Boeing is also a partner in the system.
IAI President and CEO, Boaz Levy said that the system was tested in a “challenging scenario” against “future threats” and throughout the test, it gathered “essential information that will be used by the defense establishment and the company’s engineers for the development of future technology.”
The Arrow System, he added, “proved once again that Israel holds one of the world’s most advanced defense systems against ballistic missiles.”
There have been several tests of the system, the last being in Alaska in 2019 where a series of experiments over the course of 10 days saw three successful interceptions. It was the first time that such a test took place outside of Israeli territory and took place at Pacific Spaceport Complex-Alaska (PSCA) in Kodiak, Alaska.
IMDO Director, Moshe Patel told journalists that since the series of tests carried out in Alaska in 2019, there has been a “significant” expansion of the Arrow’s capabilities in all of its systems including algorithms and radars.
The Arrow 3 is a highly maneuverable system designed to provide ultimate air defense by intercepting ballistic missiles when they are still outside the Earth’s atmosphere and is considered one of the world’s best interceptors due to its breakthrough technological capabilities. The Arrow 3 is the only interceptor that doesn’t carry a warhead but intercepts an incoming missile by crashing into it.
The new latest generation of the Arrow 3 system is believed to have better intercepting capabilities at a much higher altitude and much further away from Israeli soil.
The Arrow 3 forms the uppermost layer of Israel’s multi-layered defense system along with the Arrow 2, David’s Sling, and Iron Dome system.
Together the systems provide Israel with a protective umbrella able to counter threats posed by both short and mid-range missiles used by terror groups in Gaza and Hezbollah as well as the threat posed by more sophisticated long-range Iranian ballistic missiles. (Source: https://www.jpost.com/)
18 Jan 22. Spain flies Eurofighter with Meteor. The Spanish Air Force (Ejército del Aire Espanol: EdAE) has begun flight operations of the Eurofighter Typhoon combat aircraft armed with the MBDA Meteor beyond-visual-range air-to-air missile (BVRAAM), the service announced on 15 January. According to the service’s official Twitter account, a Eurofighter (designated C.16 in national service) flew operationally for the first time with the Meteor missile on 14 January.
“Yesterday, a Eurofighter of the Ala 14 [No. 14 Wing] of the EdAE carried out, for the first time, its mission equipped with a Meteor missile,” the post said, adding that the milestone followed installation of the Phase 2 Enhancements B (P2Eb) software enhancement performed on the aircraft of Ala 14. (Source: Janes)
14 Jan 22. Tanzanian commandos display double-barrel rifles. The Tanzania People’s Defence Force (TPDF) became the first military known to have taken a double-barrel assault rifle into service, when one of its special forces units carried the Gilboa DBR Snake during a parade on 12 January to mark the anniversary of the 1964 Zanzibar Revolution. Television coverage of the parade appeared to show that every member of the approximately 50-strong unit was carrying the unusual weapon. Made by the Israeli company Silver Shadow, the Gilboa DBR Snake effectively combines the operating mechanisms of two 5.56 mm AR-15-type rifles into one weapon that is loaded with two standard magazines coupled together. The brochure says the rifle weighs 5.15 kg without magazines. In the military version, both sides fire when the single trigger is pulled, while civilian models sold in the United States have two triggers. The TPDF makes extensive use of Israeli weapons, including the IWI Galil ACE and Tavor TAR-21 assault rifles. (Source: Janes)