07 Jul 22. Egypt to begin K9 howitzer co-production next year. Egypt will begin local manufacture of K9 self-propelled howitzers next year following an order for hundreds of the systems from South Korea’s Hanwha Defence.
Mohamed Ahmed Morsi, Egypt’s minister of state for military production, told Al-Ahram last month that local production will eventually see 67% of components being produced in Egypt. Training workers and equipping the K9 assembly factory is underway.
In February this year Egypt and Hanwha Defence signed a roughly $1.7 bn agreement for the acquisition of K9 Thunder self-propelled howitzers. Around 200 artillery systems will be supplied along with support vehicles including the K10 ammunition resupply vehicle and K11 fire control vehicle, Defense News reported.
Hanwha said the first batch of K9A1 EGY systems will be delivered before 2025, with the remainder to be produced at the state-run Military Factory 200 in Egypt through technology transfer. In addition, Hanwha Defence is committed to providing a variety of support programmes, including user trainings and organizational/field/depot maintenance.
In addition to local manufacture, Egypt hopes to export the K9 to African and Arab countries. “We have already started bilateral negotiations with a number of Arab and African countries that want to get the K9 because the cannon is the latest in the world,” Morsi said.
Egypt will be getting the first ever naval K9 variant, as the Egyptian Navy had long sought to acquire the K9 as an anti-access/area denial weapon system, and the K9 successfully proved its access denial capability by hitting targets precisely at sea during tests and evaluations in 2017.
Egypt has been eyeing the K9 since 2010 when a memorandum of understanding on defence cooperation was signed between Egypt and South Korea. Egypt has for years expressed interest in acquiring new self-propelled howitzers, most likely to replace its M109s (Egypt has more than 170 M109A5s in service). Amongst options it examined were the French Caesar, the K9, the Russian 2S35 Koalitsiya-SV, and Chinese PLZ-45. Around 2017, the Caesar was trialled in Egypt.
Equipped with a rotating turret that can traverse through a full 360 degrees, the 47-ton K9 vehicle is powered by a 1 000 hp diesel engine, giving a top speed of 67 km/h. It is armoured against 155 mm shell splinters and 14.5 mm armour-piercing shells. The system can fire its first round within 30 seconds from a stationary position and within 60 seconds while moving, with a burst rate of fire from six to eight rounds per minute or 2-3 rounds per minute for an hour. Firing range is 18-50 km depending on ammunition used.
The K10 ammunition resupply vehicle carries a total of 104 rounds and possesses the same mobility as the K9. The K11 fire control vehicle is a new vehicle to be developed for the Egyptian military. Using the K9 chassis, the command-post vehicle will be equipped with a range of high-tech sensor and communication equipment in accordance with operational requirements of the Egyptian Army and Navy, Hanwha said.
06 Jul 22. Whacking AWACS. It largely went unnoticed, but reports emerged in June that India’s Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) is developing an anti-Airborne Early Warning (AEW) system missile. The anti-AEW missile forms part of the DRDO’s Supersonic Target (STAR) missile initiative. STAR is focused on two efforts: The first is a surface-to-air missile designed to be launched from warships to defeat anti-ship missiles. The second is developing an anti-AEW Air-to-Air Missile (AAM). Reports continue that the AAM could have a secondary role as an anti-radiation missile. A baseline STAR prototype has been developed and should be ready for testing later this year. The STAR anti-AEW weapon is earmarked for the Indian Air Force’s Hindustan Aeronautics Limited Tejas Mk.1/2 combat aircraft.
Anti-AEW missiles are a somewhat niche capability. Russia commenced development of her KS-172 anti-AEW AAM back in the mid-1980s. Development seemed to stall in the 1990s with seemingly lukewarm interest from the Russian Air Force. Interest revived in the early 2000s, possibly resulting from the gradual decline in relations between Russia and the West.
With a range of 216 nautical miles (400 kilometres) the KS-172 was believed to have a dual seeker comprising an Active Radar Homing (ARH) system and Electronic Support Measure (ESM). The ESM detects signals from the targeted radar, locates their source and uses these to guide the missile to its target. The ARH lets the missile be guided to its target via updates received from the fire control radar of the launching aircraft. This may mean the missile can still be guided towards its target should the targeted radar stop emitting. This may provide a useful back-up if the missile’s ESM loses lock or be unable to exploit the radar signals for guidance. Such eventualities could occur if the AEW radar uses Low Probability of Detection/Interception (LPI/D) techniques. The ESM probably covers wavebands of one gigahertz to six gigahertz. This encompasses L-band, S-band and C-band frequencies commonly used by AEW radars. Whether the ESM can overcome LPI/D techniques remains unknown.
In 2004 reports emerged that the Indian government was in negotiations with its Russian counterpart for the bilateral development of an AAM known as the R-172. These negotiations were finalised in 2005. Since then, various incarnations of this have been shown at defence exhibitions. It would not be surprising if these were mock-ups of representative weapons. Confusingly, the same weapon has been shown with several monikers; K-100, K-100-1 and 172S-1 being three aliases. These have been exhibited alongside Sukhoi Su-30 (NATO reporting name Flanker) family combat aircraft. Su-30 variants are flown by the Indian and Russian armed forces.
What is the relationship between the DRDO’s STAR initiative and Russia’s KS-172? Given the agreement concluded between both governments, is the anti-AEW STAR AAM the result of this partnership? It is also unclear if and how Russia contributed to this effort. Did Russian engineers simply handover blueprints and know-how vis-à-vis the KS-172 and wish DRDO engineers luck? Alternatively, was there a heavier Russian involvement? Numerous enquiries to the DRDO by Armada went unanswered. It will be interesting to watch whether Russia chooses to acquire the anti-AEW STAR missile variant for its own combat aircraft? It could be handy for Russia to acquire a missile for which the DRDO has assumed most, or all, of the development risk.
Should testing go ahead as planned by the end of 2022 conservatively an anti-AEW STAR variant could reach an initial operational capability by circa 2027. The weapon could be an important force multiplier for Indian airpower given the use of AEW platforms by her Pakistan and People’s Republic of China rivals. (Source: Armada)
06 Jul 22. Northrop Grumman Corporation (NYSE: NOC) today announced the construction of a new 113,000 square foot facility in West Virginia that will increase the company’s capacity within the defense industrial base to ensure delivery of current and future weapons to meet warfighter needs.
“Our new missile integration facility is a factory of the future, designed to affordably produce high quantities of missiles to meet increasing customer demand,” said Mary Petryszyn, corporate vice president and president, Northrop Grumman Defense Systems. “Northrop Grumman’s investments in manufacturing capacity, digital processes and emerging technologies translates into the rapid deployment of capability into the field.”
Once completed in 2024, the missile integration facility will have the capacity to support production of up to 600 strike missiles per year. The facility’s production operations will commence with the second lot of the Advanced Anti-Radiation Guided Missile Extended Range (AARGM-ER) low rate initial production. Unlike traditional missile integration facilities, Northrop Grumman’s facility is not limited to producing one type of missile but is easily modified to manage the integration of current and new missile programs. The company is investing in adaptable manufacturing techniques to quickly pivot as demands change – a differentiator among traditional missile integration facilities.
Northrop Grumman will incorporate the latest in digital manufacturing including automation and the use of smart manufacturing equipment and modular work cells. These manufacturing approaches will allow the company to optimize quality, reduce costs, and maximize production capacity and production times to deliver missiles to the warfighter quickly.
The facility is expected to include expanded manufacturing workforce skillsets, adding engineering and manufacturing jobs to the area, reinforcing Northrop Grumman’s leadership as one of West Virginia’s largest manufacturing employers.
Northrop Grumman is a leader in missile component development. The company continues to expand its advanced weapons capabilities nationwide with the construction of a first-of-its-kind Hypersonics Capability Center in Elkton, Maryland, designed to provide full lifecycle production, from design and development to production and integration for hypersonic weapons to be operational in 2023.
Northrop Grumman is a technology company, focused on global security and human discovery. Our pioneering solutions equip our customers with capabilities they need to connect, advance and protect the U.S. and its allies. Driven by a shared purpose to solve our customers’ toughest problems, our 90,000 employees define possible every day.
04 Jul 22. RAN’s HMAS Supply completes Phalanx CIWS firing trials. Phalanx CIWS provides a rapid-fire, computer controlled, radar-guided gun system to RAN’s vessels. The Royal Australian Navy’s (RAN) lead Supply-class auxiliary oiler replenishment (AOR) vessel, HMAS Supply, has completed Phalanx close-in weapon system (CIWS) firing trials.
The first-of-class testing was conducted during a regional presence deployment, reported lieutenant Nancy Cotton.
Phalanx CIWS is a rapid-fire, computer controlled, radar guided gun system. It is designed to defeat anti-ship missiles and close-in threats at sea and on land. It is developed by Raytheon Missiles and Defence.
RAN electronic technician leading seaman Sam Chiswell said: “In my role I maintain and operate the CIWS and prepare it for firings; this includes all safety checks, pre-firing and loading the live ammunition.
“Our training helps to make sure procedures are fresh in our minds and communication with the warfare team in the operations room is correct, ensuring a smooth firing evolution.” (Source: naval-technology.com)
04 Jul 22. Defence co-funds hypersonics project led by Quickstep, DMTC. A new sovereign project has been established to inform the future development of hypersonic aerostructures.
The Defence Science and Technology Group (DSTG) is co-funding a new project led by Quickstep Holdings Ltd in collaboration with the Defence Materials Technology Centre (DMTC) — aimed at identifying, analysing and testing high temperature materials to support the development of future hypersonic aerostructures.
Dubbed Hype-X, the project seeks to inform production of components of an aircraft’s airframe, designed to withstand extreme conditions experienced during hypersonic flight, including high heat exposure.
Initially, Hype-X would focus on applicability of existing high-temperature materials for the manufacture of hypersonic aerostructures, before exploring novel materials and manufacturing processes to fill capability gaps.
Quickstep is expected to obtain commercialisation rights to any newly developed intellectual property (IP), with DMTC Ltd to retain IP ownership.
Stakeholders from the University of NSW (UNSW), specialising in the field of hypersonics, are also expected to support the project.
“Quickstep is well-known for its advanced composite aircraft structures and has a long history of developing and commercialising advanced composites processes and technologies in new applications,” Quickstep CEO and managing director Mark Burgess said.
“Innovation is at the core of Quickstep, and the Hype-X partnership positions the Company in the development of sovereign hypersonic aerostructures and should further diversify and grow our business over the long term.”
DMTC chief executive Dr Mark Hodge welcomed DSTG’s support for advanced capability development as part of Australia’s sovereign industrial capability endeavour.
“I’m delighted that DMTC’s relationship with DSTG continues to grow and to have this opportunity to collaborate with Quickstep, an Australian company with a deep history of developing aerospace composites, and with UNSW,” Dr Hodge said.
“We are bringing expertise from across the nation’s leading aerospace R&D organisations to the fore in the development of hypersonic materials, which has far-reaching and important defence and national security applications.”
The commencement of Hype-X comes less than two weeks after Automated Solutions Australia announced its partnership with Alabama-based Aerobotix to establish a robotic automation capability, designed to facilitate the development, testing and manufacturing of hypersonic missiles.
Both companies specialise in turn-key robotic integration, including the precise application of paints and performance coatings.
Aerobotix has previously test robotic processes used to scan, sand, measure and paint hypersonics, while ASA has supported the installation of over 100 FANUC painting robots in Australia. (Source: Defence Connect)
01 Jul 22. USN, USAF running ‘capstone test’ of new high-power microwave missile. The U.S. Navy and Air Force research laboratories are wrapping up a five-year joint effort to advance high-power microwave technology this summer with two months of testing in California.
The High-Powered Joint Electromagnetic Non-Kinetic Strike Weapon, known as HiJENKS, uses microwave technology to disable an adversary’s electronic systems. The Air Force Research Laboratory and the Office of Naval Research are conducting the capstone tests at Naval Air Station China Lake.
HiJENKS is the successor to the AFRL’s Counter-electronics High-Power Microwave Advanced Missile Project, which completed testing a decade ago. Jeffry Heggemeier, chief of AFRL’s high-power electromagnetics division, told reporters during a June 24 visit to the lab’s Directed Energy Directorate at Kirtland Air Force Base in New Mexico the program builds on CHAMP, taking advantage of new technology that allows for a smaller system equipped for a more rugged environment.
Heggemeier said the program hasn’t yet designated a platform for the weapon, but noted HiJENKS’ smaller footprint means it could be integrated on a wider range of carrier systems.
“We’ll start looking at more service-specific applications once we’ve done this test that demonstrates the technology,” he said.
AFRL is also making progress on a more advanced version of its Tactical High Power Operational Responder (THOR), which uses HPM technology to disable drone swarms that pose a threat to military bases. The next-generation platform is named Mjölnir as an homage to the mythical god Thor’s hammer. AFRL awarded Leidos a $26 m contract in February to develop the Mjölnir prototype and deliver it in early 2024.
Adrian Lucero, THOR and Mjölnir program manager, told reporters during the same June 24 briefing that counter-drone systems are becoming increasingly relevant as unmanned aerial vehicle technology advances.
“There are other effectors out there that are intended to go against drone systems like guns, nets and laser systems,” he said. “But what Thor brings to the table is it has a larger range to affect and it has a decreased engagement time.”
The THOR prototype returned last month from a year of operational testing overseas. While the system was in use, the program team was hard at work developing the Mjolnir upgrades to extend THOR’s range, increase its power by about 50% and improve its usability — recommendations from the Air Force Security Forces who were using it during the deployment.
“We learned a lot of lessons from it being overseas, just working in that operational environment, having Air Force Security Forces airmen pulling the trigger and breaking it,” Heggemeier said.
Lucero and Heggemeier wouldn’t disclose where THOR was deployed, but Lucero said the system proved 94% reliable during its operational assessment, demonstrating its ability “in the real world.”
Once the prototype arrived back in New Mexico, the team disassembled and inspected it and then reassembled it for baseline testing to ensure it’s working as designed. Lucero said the program is now testing the Mjölnir upgrades. (Source: C4ISR & Networks)
27 June 22. ESCRIBANO and RAFAEL – PAP Tecnos successfully launch the first integrated SPIKE missile from the GUARDIAN 30 RWS on 8×8 Dragón. ESCRIBANO MECHANICAL AND ENGINEERING, a Spanish company leader in innovation and cutting-edge technologies for Defence and Security and RAFAEL, a world leader in defence systems, together with its Spanish subsidiary PAP Tecnos, have successfully completed the integration of the Spike missile in the GUARDIAN 30 remote weapon station, selected by the Spanish Army in the D4 demonstrator of the 8×8 Dragón Armoured Wheeled Vehicle.
The first launch from the GUARDIAN 30 reached the target and demonstrated in the first shot the fulfilment of the specific requirements established by the Spanish Army in the 8×8. Besides, this is the first SPIKE LR2 missile launched in Spain from a remote station, which demonstrates the versatility of the Spike missile family and the protection and attack capacity that the GUARDIAN 30 acquires with this integration.
Historic collaboration in defence of the interests of the Spanish Armed Forces: The successful collaboration between ESCRIBANO M&E and PAP TECNOS began in 2021 and will continue expanding in the coming years with the target of establishing a national strategic industrial plan of capacities aligned with the interests of the Spanish Armed Forces and supported by innovative and consolidated technologies such as the Spike, a family of missiles that has been in the Spanish Army for 17 years.
In this sense, both companies will contribute with the synergy of their capacities to a greater economic, industrial and technological return on the public investment made for the procurement and maintenance of missile systems during their long life cycles at national level. This initiative strengthens the Spanish industrial fabric and contributes to forming a technological and industrial base that provides autonomy in the capacities necessary for defence and security by reducing fragmentation and promoting technological specialisation in a strategic industrial sector.
In the words of Ángel Escribano, CEO of ESCRIBANO Mechanical & Engineering,” the successful cooperation with RAFAEL and PAP Tecnos unites the capacities and technologies of two leading defence companies in Spain and internationally and addresses the needs of our Ground Army and Armed Forces. It has been a successful and solid cooperation for the achievement of this important milestone that provides our Armed Forces with the technological capacities they need to position themselves at the world forefront”.
Moshe Amsalem, CEO of PAP Tecnos, states that ” this collaboration with ESCRIBANO Mechanical & Engineering is the first of many that are on the table. Between the two companies and other Spanish companies that will join the industrial plan we are developing, we are going to provide the Spanish Armed Forces with the best missile technology available, proven and with a great reputation in dozens of armies. The successful launch of the first Spike missile with the GUARDIAN 30 is an example of PAP Tecnos and RAFAEL’s commitment to collaboration with Spanish industry and of the excellent quality and superiority of the weapon systems produced in Spain.
Industrial collaboration to consolidate strategic capacities: The RWS GUARDIAN 30 successfully completed its technical and operational evaluation tests in June 2021 and was selected for the 8×8 contract. Both companies have contributed their expertise, technology and resources for the integration of the SPIKE missile, creating a joint team of professionals who have made it possible for this collaboration to culminate in the successful first launch.
The integration of the GUARDIAN 30 with the SPIKE launch system confers a new and innovative strategic capability in the missile systems sector at national level and contributes to the consolidation process of the strategic capabilities required by the Spanish Armed Forces, integrating the combined capabilities and experience of these two technological leaders. This collaboration shall also allow the addition of complementary and synergistic capacities and continues the process of consolidating national technological and industrial capabilities in the area of missile systems. (Source: www.joint-forces.com)
04 Jul 22. Latvia and Estonia to jointly procure air defence systems.
The joint effort will promote stability and security in the region.
Latvia has signed a letter of intent (LoI) with Estonia for the joint procurement of medium-range air defence systems.
The LoI was signed between Estonian Defence Minister Kalle Laanet and Latvian Defence Minister Artis Pabriks on 30 June.
It was signed during Nato’s meeting of heads of the state and government in Madrid, Spain.
The effort will also promote stability and security in the region.
Pabriks said: “Russian invasion of Ukraine has clearly shown that we need to secure air defence systems.
“Latvia is happy to cooperate with Estonia on this procurement – such joint projects make regional cooperation and collective defence only stronger.”
This procurement project, launched by Latvia and Estonia in later stages, can also be joined by other allied nations.
capabilities of Latvia’s military to take down missiles that are being used for attacking Ukrainian cities.
Laanet said: “The Nato Summit has given a clear signal that those who are ready to contribute to the defence themselves will be helped.”
According to Laanet, it is important that Estonia, in addition to the support offered by its Allies, is ready to contribute to air defence.
On 26 June, Latvia deployed the Spanish-supplied Norwegian advanced surface-to-air missile system (NASAMS) at Lielvārde Air Base.
It will provide air defence capabilities to the Latvian Armed Forces prior to the completion of the latest procurement.
Latvia is expected to gradually increase its defence investments to 2.5% of the Gross Domestic Product by 2025. The latest procurement comes under additionally allocated funding. (Source: airforce-technology.com)
04 Jul 22. Quickstep, DSTG, DMTC to explore high temperature materials for hypersonics. Sydney-based Quickstep Holdings Ltd has begun a jointly funded project with the Defence Science and Technology Group (DSTG), in collaboration with DMTC Ltd, to identify, analyse and test high temperature materials as a first step towards the development of future hypersonic aerostructures. The project will also involve technical experts from the University of NSW (UNSW), specialising in the field of hypersonics.
Hypersonic aerostructures are components of an aircraft’s airframe that are capable of withstanding extreme conditions experienced during hypersonic flight (>5 times the speed of sound), including high heat loads. Future hypersonic weapons are a key components of the Sovereign Guided Weapons and Explosives Ordnance Enterprise (GWEO) announced earlier this year by former defence minister Peter Dutton.
The R&D project, named Hype-X, positions Quickstep within in the sovereign development of hypersonic aerostructures. It will initially focus on the applicability of existing high-temperature materials for the manufacture of hypersonic aerostructures, then move on to develop novel materials and manufacturing processes to fill capability gaps.
Under the project, Quickstep will obtain commercialisation rights to any newly developed intellectual property (IP), with the IP ownership retained beneficially for Australia’s sovereign defence capability by DMTC Ltd.
“Quickstep is well known for its advanced composite aircraft structures and has a long history of developing and commercialising advanced composites processes and technologies in new applications,” said CEO & Managing Director Mark Burgess. “Innovation is at the core of Quickstep, and the Hype-X partnership positions the Company in the development of sovereign hypersonic aerostructures and should further diversify and grow our business over the long term.”
The Hype-X partnership is in line with Quickstep’s strategic objective of developing new technology partnerships to drive long term growth, he added.
DMTC Chief Executive Dr Mark Hodge paid tribute to DSTG’s leadership in applying science and technology to safeguard Australia and its national interests. “I’m delighted that DMTC’s relationship with DSTG continues to grow and to have this opportunity to collaborate with Quickstep, an Australian company with a deep history of developing aerospace composites, and with UNSW. We are bringing expertise from across the nation’s leading aerospace R&D organisations to the fore in the development of hypersonic materials, which has far-reaching and important defence and national security applications.” (Source: Rumour Control)
04 Jul 22. Thales Australia, EXPAL Systems SA partner for sovereign munitions capability. Thales Australia and EXPAL Systems SA have signed a collaboration agreement to develop sovereign solutions for large calibre naval munitions and fuses for the ADF and Australia’s allies.
The agreement is designed to enable the transfer of intellectual property and support to Australia, facilitating the establishment of manufacturing processes for 5” Charge Propelling and high explosives projectiles, in addition to advanced fuse solutions.
According to a release from the companies, the Royal Australian Navy currently uses 5” munitions manufactured by EXPAL in Spain and Thales in Australia.
It is hoped that the agreement will support ongoing supply of 5” munitions, including “on demand” supply.
“Over the past 12 months, we have established significant partnerships with some of the worlds’ pre-eminent munitions providers including EXPAL, to nurture technology transfer to Australia ad establish local production capability of critical munitions,” Corry Roberts, vie president land, Thales Australia and NewZealand.
“This is a clear demonstration of the company’s long-term commitment to growing and maintaining an enduring, sustainable and resilient sovereign industrial munitions capability for the Australian Defence Force.”
It is further expected that the agreement will support research and development, including the development of a roadmap for augmentation of the munitions including range, reduced sensitivity and precision strike.
Luis Abad, vice president sales, EXPAL, explained that the partnership will provide greater Australian industrial capability for the Australian Defence Force.
“We are looking forward to intensifying the cooperation with Thales Australia and provide our Naval munitions expertise. Our complementary technologies will enhance Royal Australian Navy capabilities and optimise Australian Industrial Capability (AIC),” Abad said. (Source: Defence Connect)