04 Nov 22. CASC to showcase new CH-806 loitering munition at Airshow China 2022. China Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation (CASC) will be using the 2022 edition of Airshow China, scheduled to be held from 8-13 November in Zhuhai to showcase a new loitering munition variant of its Cai Hong (Rainbow) CH-806 Small Long-Endurance Reconnaissance UAV.
Developed by CASC subsidiary China Academy of Aerospace Aerodynamics (CAAA, also known as the 11th Academy) in Beijing, the CH-806 adopts a flying wing airframe that measures around 2 m in length and 5.6 m in wingspan and has a maximum take-off weight (MTOW) of 80kg inclusive of an 18 kg payload capacity.
According to CAAA, the CH-806 is powered by a rear-mounted piston engine that drives a pusher propellor to achieve cruising speeds of between 90-130 km/h and a top speed of up to 180 km/h. The company quotes a range of up to 1,000 km with a 12-hour flight endurance whilst carrying a 15 kg high-explosive or blast fragmentation payload, with a typical cruising altitude of 500-2,000 m although it can still reach an operating ceiling of 5,000m.
Take-off is effected via catapult and line-of-sight command is around 200km, although recovery is not typically anticipated with the CH-806 either successfully attacking its target or self-destructed. However, command range can be extended with an optional satellite/INS integrated guidance system.
CAAA also noted that the CH-806 can be equipped with a three-in-one situational awareness suite that combines daylight and thermal opto-electric cameras with a micro-synthetic aperture radar (SAR), which enables operator-controlled terminal guidance, although the loitering munition is capable of discriminating a 4×6 m target at a distance of 4 km during the day and 3 km at night or in the presence of obscurants, with a claimed strike accuracy of up to 5 m CEP (circular error probable).
A self-contained truck provides storage, transportation, launch, as well as command and control, with a complete system comprising the vehicle, up to four CH-806 loitering munitions and associated ground control datalinks, as well as security measures.
The CH-806 can be flown automatically using pre-determined waypoints up to the edge of its 200 km command range, before entering autonomous flight mode to target any potential threats along its programmed flight routes. If there is no human intervention, the air vehicle will perform an autonomous strike engagement. (Source: AMR)
04 Nov 22. Small Military Bombing Drone to Debut on AIRSHOW CHINA 2022
The opening of the 14th China Airshow is coming soon. LoongUAV will bring a variety of cost-effective, efficient, lightweight military drones to debut, including LOONG 4 surveillance drone, LOONG 5 bombing drone, LOONG 1 targeting drone, LOONG 2 reconnaissance drone.
In recent years of local wars and armed conflicts, as an emerging air combat force, drones have highlighted their combat effectiveness. Equipping drones has become an effective means to enhance national defense strength at a lower cost.
There are various types of military drones, which can be divided into reconnaissance drones, combat attack drones, electronic countermeasure drones, decoy drones, target drones, and reconnaissance and striking drones. It can also be divided into large drones, medium drones, light drones, small drones, and micro drones by their size. Large UAVs like combat attack drones from China and USA are very expensive and have low combat efficiency. Certain Iranian UAVs have only a single function and are not recyclable. The cost for single use is more than hundreds of thousands of dollars. Although some Chinese consumer drones are low-priced, the battery life is short and the application scenarios are limited.
This drone has low cost and high cost-effectiveness. It can carry six 60mm or four 82mm mortars, through a simple module installed on shells at a cost of less than $10, the accuracy of the bombs is within 3 meters, the maximum endurance time exceeds 240 minutes, and the maximum flight speed is 80km/h. The VTOL(Vertical Take-Off and Landing) technology is used to improve deployment maneuverability and optimize flight performance. With suicide attack capability, it can lock and track dynamic targets for precise strikes. It has strong stealth, is a low-slow and small target, has no heat source, and has a very small radar reflection surface, which can effectively avoid radar monitoring and is not easy to be shot down. And it has the strong anti-interference ability and super battlefield survivability, and the current anti-UAV technology cannot defend against it. (Source: PR Newswire)
03 Nov 22. Are torpedo-killing torpedoes ready for prime time? Manufacturers are pitching new products for neutralizing torpedoes, the most dogged enemy of surface ships, as those weapons are becoming smart enough to tip the balance of power in naval battles.
Judging by the offerings at the Euronaval trade show in Paris last month, there is a trend among developers to offer kinetic, or hard-kill, interceptors capable of overcoming the seeker trickery that large, modern torpedoes now boast to sniff out targets.
The concept of blowing up torpedoes as they approach follows a trend of decoys becoming increasingly ineffective against torpedoes capable of turning around and reengaging a ship after missing it on the first pass — potentially for hours, said Johannes Peters, a naval analyst at Kiel University in Germany.
The global proliferation of torpedo-carrying submarines makes the challenge all the more grave, he said. “Submarines are the weapon of choice to challenge a superior surface navy,” he explained.
Germany’s Atlas Elektronik, which is part of ThyssenKrupp Marine Systems, exhibited the state of play of its SeaSpider anti-torpedo torpedo at Euronaval. The firm aims to begin production of the surface vessel version in 2025, with a submarine-borne variant following a few years later, a company official said.
In practice, the SeaSpider would launch within seconds of detecting an incoming torpedo, and then destroy the weapon at short range, said the official. The surface variant could fit aboard large surface vessels like frigates, as well as smaller vessels like corvettes and offshore patrol vessels, and be installed in dedicated fixed launchers.
Also at Euronaval, Israel’s DSIT Solutions presented a new counter-torpedo suite for submarines. It combines the company’s hull-mounted sonar sensor and parent company Rafael Advanced Defense Systems’ anti-torpedo defense system. The setup involves a decoy named Torbuster, launched at a safe distance from the ship, designed to “seduce” the incoming torpedo with acoustic signals, only to blow up when its near, Rafael explains on its website.
According to Hanan Marom, a Rafael vice president of marketing and business development, the company has an “internal project” to make Torbuster work from aboard surface ships. The variant must be smaller, lighter and deployable by way of existing rocket launchers on vessels, Marom said.
But the technology may not work against more advanced seekers programmed to find and follow a ship’s wake. Simply put, those wake-homing torpedoes are feared because they are impossible to seduce through song. The weapons engage their targets by aligning themselves with the bubbles of a ship’s propulsion system — it may take several passes to identify the right ship — and approach from behind.
“Torpedoes are no longer the simple impact-fuze weapons we know from classic movies like ‘Das Boot,’ ” Peters said. Modern torpedoes are typically connected by long wires to submarine operators, enabling eccentric maneuvers, he explained. Some can also travel stealthily on electric propulsion.
Rather than directly hitting targets, they are programmed to explode below a ship, launching the vessel upward and causing it to break apart up on the fall, according to Peters.
In naval warfare, once a torpedo is fired, “you normally don’t have much a of a chance,” he added.
Still, companies like Atlas, DSIT and Rafael claim they can change the odds with their packages of sensors and interceptors.
According to a ThyssenKrupp official at Euronaval, more than a half dozen navies are interested in the new technology when it comes to market, including the United States and the U.K.
The German Navy was interested, but an acquisition fell through for “political” reasons, according to Peters. It remains to be seen if the service’s new ships, like the F126 frigate, will feature the SeaSpider, particularly as Germans have a new threat perception of Russia following Moscow’s assault on Ukraine, he added.
Atlas previously advertised the SeaSpider’s utility in shallow waters, like those of the Baltic Sea — Germany’s maritime connection with Russia.
For now, SeaSpider may have more luck on the other side of the Atlantic. Atlas and ThyssenKrupp in 2019 struck an industry partnership with rocket engine-maker Magellan Aerospace, based in Canada, to further develop the technology.
A ThyssenKrupp spokesman told Defense News the company is keeping an eye on the Canadian Surface Combatant program — estimated to cost $62 bn to design and buy 15 of the envisioned multirole ships — as a prospective user. But no sale had been made to that end.
According to American contractor Lockheed Martin, the program nears a key design review milestone at the end of the year. The Royal Canadian Navy wants those vessels to start replacing older ships ships in the early 2030s. (Source: Defense News Early Bird/Defense News)
03 Nov 22. Turkey unveils MIR naval surface drone for fighting submarines. The Turkish government’s defense industrial-policy office, the Defense Industries Presidency SSB, has unveiled the MIR, an unmanned naval vehicle designed to fight submarines from the surface.
Ismail Demir, head of SSB, told the press that the MIR will come in three features. It can be used autonomously, in a remote control operations or manned with a crew.
The MIR will have electronic-warfare capabilities, sonar and a range of missiles developed by Turkey’s state-controlled missile maker Roketsan.
“The MIR will offer a wide spectrum of options to the user … including multi-functional warfare instruments,” Demir said.
The vessel can perform search and rescue operations as well. It will have interoperability features to be used with other manned or unmanned assets.
“The MIR will enter the military’s inventory as soon as its advanced sonar has been integrated into the system,” Demir said.
The naval drone was developed by a partnership of military electronics specialist Aselsan, Turkey’s biggest defense firm, and Sefine, a privately owned shipyard. (Source: Defense News Early Bird/Defense News)
03 Nov 22. DRDO flight tests phase-II ballistic missile defence interceptor. A long-range interceptor missile, AD-1 features an indigenously developed control system. The maiden flight test was carried out from APJ Abdul Kalam Island off the Odisha coast. Credit: Press Information Bureau/Indian Ministry of Defence/Government of India.
The Indian Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) has successfully conducted the maiden flight test of the phase-II ballistic missile defence (BMD) interceptor AD-1.
With a large kill altitude bracket, the missile interceptor took off from APJ Abdul Kalam Island off the coast of Odisha state.
All BMD weapon system elements placed at various locations were involved in the flight test.
The flight data tracked by radar range sensors, telemetry, and electro optical tracking stations validated the test.
As per the data, all sub-systems involved in the flight test performed as per expectations.
In a statement, the Ministry of Defence said: “The AD-1 is a long-range interceptor missile designed for both low exo-atmospheric and endo-atmospheric interception of long-range ballistic missiles, as well as aircraft.”
Powered by a two-stage solid motor, the interceptor features an indigenously developed control system.
Navigation and guidance algorithms precisely lead the vehicle to the target concerned.
Lauding the efforts of the DRDO and associated teams, Indian Defence Minister Rajnath Singh said the ‘unique’ interceptor with modern technologies will further enhance the nation’s BMD capability.
Department of Defence R&D secretary and DRDO chairman Samir Kamat said the missile defence interceptor has the capability to engage multiple targets and will provide its users with operational flexibility.
In September this year, the DRDO carried out two test flights of very short-range air defence system missiles.
Powered by a dual thrust solid motor, the indigenously developed portable air defence system neutralised low altitude aerial threats at short ranges. (Source: army-technology.com)
02 Nov 22. US Navy touts hypersonic missile progress ahead of 2025 fielding. The head of the U.S. Navy’s Strategic Systems Programs office is confident the service can field hypersonic weapons on a Zumwalt-class destroyer in 2025 and on a Virginia-class submarine in 2029 despite the significant workload that remains.
Vice Adm. Johnny Wolfe said “time is not our friend” as the Navy races to finish hypersonic missile development alongside the Army by 2023. Next up is designing and testing the integration between the missile and USS Zumwalt’s hull and combat system ahead of a 2025 shipyard period where the weapon will be backfit onto the large destroyer. In parallel, engineers must work through the physics of launching the weapon from under the sea ahead of a 2029 fielding on Virginia-class submarines.
The Navy had previously said the Virginia-class submarines would field the hypersonic weapon, which the Navy calls Conventional Prompt Strike, in 2028. The new date is due to a delay in the planned delivery of the first submarine that will house the large missile — the future Arizona, the first submarine with the Virginia Payload Module — not a delay in the missile development itself.
On the hypersonic weapon, Wolfe said the Navy and Army are in a good place leading up to the Army’s debut next year. He said he was optimistic about how much the services had learned so quickly, despite two live flight tests over the past year that fell short of their full testing goals.
Wolfe claimed success or failure was in the eye of the beholder: the two services have added stretch goals to each of their missile flight tests, so even when a flight doesn’t meet its full objectives, engineers are still learning much faster than they would under a traditional acquisition and test program.
“If we’re going to go fast, and we’re going to deploy a system that, quite frankly, we just decided in 2018 that we were going to put in warfighters’ hands … we’re going to have to lean forward, and we’re going to have to take risk,” he said in remarks at the Naval Submarine League’s annual conference here.
In a June test called Joint Flight Campaign-1, officials wanted to test the new rocket motor booster stack developed by the Navy. The services decided to also integrate the weapon’s glide body, which had already been proven in previous testing, into the setup. Wolfe said the stack worked well and both stages lit off successfully. However, he added, the test weapon did not reach its target due to an unexpected integration issue.
“Within seven weeks of that flight, we had identified what the issue was, we had developed a corrective action, and it is already in the next round that we’re going to fly,” he said.
Lt. Gen. Robert Rasch, who runs the Army’s Rapid Capabilities and Critical Technologies Office, previously told Defense News that “if we would have just declared that all we were going to do was just to shoot up a missile stack, it would have been 100% a success.” Rather, he said, “given the rarity of these events, we always have stretch learning goals,” and that’s where the flight test fell short.
Wolfe also addressed an October 2021 test, Flight Test-3. He said the Army wanted to get additional data to supplement a separate flight test and decided to connect the hypersonic glide body to an old booster stack that had been sitting around. The booster stack had problems and caused the test to fail, but Wolfe said the Army learned a lot during the test, contributing to this development program moving quickly.
The delivery of the first prototype hypersonic hardware to Soldiers of the 5th Battalion, 3rd Field Artillery Regiment, 17th Field Artillery Brigade is completed on Oct. 7, 2021, with a ceremony at Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Wash. (Spc. Karleshia Gater/US Army)
The Army will field the weapon next year using a hot launch method from ground-based launchers: the rocket motor will light off immediately, creating a hot cloud of gas near the ground.
Because that hot launch is incompatible with Navy ships, a key effort ahead of 2025 is working through a different in-air launch capability for the hypersonic missiles coming off Zumwalt destroyers. Pressurized air pushes the weapon out of the missile tube and up to a great enough height that the missile can light off without hurting the ship.
Wolfe said the Navy has already shown in testing that it can do this.
Launching from undersea is even trickier: the missile has to exit a submarine’s missile tube, shoot to the surface and up into the air, and then light off while airborne.
Wolfe said the Navy is building its underwater launch test facility in Crane, Ind., already, which will help the service understand the hydrodynamics of the missile pushing through the launcher and the water on its way to the air. The vice admiral noted that a similar mechanism is already in place for the Trident nuclear weapon program shot from ballistic missile submarines and for the Tomahawk missile shot from guided-missile submarines, so he said the fundamentals are there to inform this in-water launch capability for Conventional Prompt Strike.
A common hypersonic glide body (C-HGB) launches from Pacific Missile Range Facility, Kauai, Hawaii, at approximately 10:30 p.m. local time, March 19, 2020, during a Department of Defense flight experiment. (Photo courtesy of the U.S. Navy)
The Navy will also have to figure out how to incorporate the hypersonic weapon’s combat system, which the Army will field next year, into the combat systems that already exist on Zumwalt destroyers and Virginia submarines.
“We are well on our way because the Army needs it first next year, and one of our tests that we’ve got coming up here in the next year will be with a combat system that will deploy with the Army,” Wolfe said.
From there, the Navy will figure out if that system can be fully integrated into the ships’ combat systems or if it will have to be kept as a stand-alone weapon.
In summarizing the work ahead, Wolfe said no single engineering effort was especially difficult or worrisome, but rather a lot of work exists and the Navy is on tight timelines.
“It’s all about schedule. We understand what the payload tubes look like. … We’re building those for what we’re going to put on Virginia, what we’re going to put on Zumwalt,” he said. “So it’s just schedule that we’re fighting with right now.” (Source: C4ISR & Networks)
02 Nov 22. SAAF still waiting on A-Darter missiles. The South African Air Force (SAAF) has only received a few practice A-Darter missiles from Denel Dynamics, and will not be getting combat capable missiles any time soon due to the ‘complete stop’ of production at Denel Dynamics.
The SAAF has only received eight inert practice missiles from Denel Dynamics, and manufacture of the full complement of trainer and operational missiles is still outstanding. This is according to Defence and Military Veterans Minister Thandi Modise, who answered a written question posed by Democratic Alliance shadow defence minister Kobus Marais. He asked her what the status of the A-Darter missile is and if Denel Dynamics can deliver missiles to the SA Air Force.
She replied that Denel was in March 2015 contracted to industrialise and manufacture the A-Darter fifth-generation air-to-air missile for the SAAF. All missiles were supposed to be delivered by October 2017, but development and qualification was only completed by November 2019.
“Primarily due to reasons of liquidity and subsequent resignation of key personnel, execution of the programme came to a complete stop for the past three years,” Modise explained.
She went on to state that “A new manufacturing baseline audit by Armscor indicates that sufficient production personnel are still employed by Denel to manufacture the required missiles. Denel has however lost most critical design expertise which are required to sign off on the missile subsections as designated Design Authorities. Denel also doesn’t possess the technical expertise to render obsolescence engineering during production.
“As a fallback plan, Armscor has developed a collaborative model by means of which missile sub-sections can be manufactured and signed off by other entities in the domestic defence industry who are currently employing the requisite experts previously responsible for development of the A-Darter missile. In terms of the proposed model, relevant missile subsections can be manufactured and signed off by appropriate entities in industry, and Denel will assume responsibility for final integration of the subsections into the all-up missile. The proposed new approach and all associated implications, however, still needs to be considered and sanctioned by the SAAF,” Modise concluded.
The A-Darter was developed jointly with Brazil under Project Assegai, with Denel Dynamics to deliver eight practice missiles, 21 trainer missiles, and 41 operational missiles to the SAAF. Continued delays mean the A-Darter, which should have been completed in 2015, is already seeing some obsolescence in certain areas. Limited re-engineering will be required before production can commence.
In the meantime, the South African Air Force continues to use the interim IRIS-T missile, which was acquired from Germany in 2009.
The A-Darter, under development since 2006, features a two-colour seeker and advanced decoy rejection software. Using the pilot’s helmet sight, the A-Darter can engage targets off to the side of the launch aircraft, and it can also be used in an “over the shoulder” mode, pulling extremely high Gs – more than 80 – to engage an aircraft that is behind the launching fighter. The missile has a range of around 20 km.
The weapon is intended to arm the SAAF’s Gripen C/Ds, ultimately replacing the interim IRIS-T short range infrared guided missile. Brazil intended to acquire A-Darters for its own Gripen E/F fighters.
Since the retirement of the R-Darter, the SAAF does not have a beyond visual range air-to-air missile. This would have been addressed by the Denel Dynamics Marlin, which the company began testing in 2016. This new active radar-guided air-to-air missile will have a range of 100 km and will also be developed into an all-weather surface-to-air missile. However, with Denel’s liquidity and capacity problems and the SANDF’s declining budget, it is not clear how far this project will proceed.
01 Nov 22. ‘Made In India’ Manik Engine Fails Crucial Test. The DRDO’s Indigenous Technology Cruise Missile (ITCM) project reportedly suffered another setback after its indigenously developed Manik turbofan engine failed to light up after launch during a test at the Integrated Test Range (ITR) on Friday, October 28, 2022.
New Indian Express reported, quoting officials, that the engine developed “technical glitches” after the post-launch boost phase, causing the missile to plummet into the sea within 30 seconds of its launch.
“The engine was supposed to start after the initial take-off from the specially designed mobile launcher. But it did not start, possibly owing to a snag. The system then fell down,” a defense scientist was quoted as saying.
Gas Turbine Research Establishment (GTRE), Bengaluru, is developing the Manik engine, a 400-kilogram thrust class Small Turbofan Engine (STFE) for the propulsion needs of subsonic unmanned air vehicles (UAVs).
The twin-spool generic engine is designed and developed for a short operating life. It’s an expendable engine that is expected to last the flight time of the UAV or cruise missile that it powers.
To begin with, the engine will power the ITCM.
It was earlier proposed to develop five engine sets for development testing and three engine sets for Nirbhay integration to be realized by M/s BrahMos Aerospace Thiruvananthapuram Limited (M/s BATL).
Manik features include Engine Mounted FADEC system, an onboard gas generator for engine starting, and an Integrated alternator.
1.0 ± 0.05
Dimensions L x Diameter
950mm x 350mm
Power Off Take
0.95 ± 0.05
During an interview in November 2021, DRDO Chief Sateesh Reddy said, “We have designed, developed, and manufactured a small turbofan engine for unmanned aerial vehicle applications with the support of Indian industries.
The engine has completed design validation tests on the ground and presently undergoing experimental flight trials.
On successful completion of flight trials, derivatives of these engines will be manufactured for various unmanned aerial vehicle applications, making the country ‘Atmanirbhar’ in this complex and critical technology.
The Manik was reportedly flight-tested in October 2021. The test was partially successful. The engine performed as expected, but the missile did not reach the desired range.
A flight test of the Manik in October 2020 was reportedly aborted due to technical snags.
Ground testing of the Manik has been completed. In May 2018, DRDO scientists tested a prototype of the engine at an altitude above 11,600 feet as part of high-altitude cold climate trials that were started in February 2018.
Following the test, a DRDO official said,
“The successful demonstration validated the design, selection of materials, and the control logic used for lighting and acceleration of the engine to a minimum sustained speed. The performance of pyro systems was as per expectations.”
During DefExpo 2020, the DRDO announced the completion and closure of the Nirbhay project and the launch of the Indigenous Technology Cruise Missile (ITCM) project based on technology developed for the Nirbhay project.
The ITCM differs from the Nirbhay. Firstly, it’s powered by the indigenous Manik and not by the Russian Saturn 36MT. Secondly, it features an RF seeker. Maiden tests of the ITCM fitted with the Manik engine and an RF seeker developed by RCI Hyderabad were expected to be conducted in April 2020. Air and submarine-launched variants of the ITCM are also proposed to be developed. (Source: UAS VISION/The Eurasian Times)
01 Nov 22. Black Sky Aerospace’s guided weapon campaign given green light. Queensland rocket company Black Sky Aerospace (BSA) has received approval to test guided weapons from its Southern Queensland launch site in what is believed to be the first ever such approval for a civilian operator.
BSA will start advanced testing of its guided weapons in coming days as it forges ahead building a sovereign Australian defence capability.
Chief Executive Officer Blake Nikolic said that previous launches were conducted under the restrictions of civilian launch, and the new approval will allow the guidance system to be tested, integrated and refined to a much higher standard.
“This is a major milestone as our locally designed and built system moves towards qualification for availability to approved allies and partners,” Mr Nikolic said.
“The continued hostility in Ukraine and declining stability in the Indo Pacific region make this program a vital part of developing Australian Industry Capability,” he added.
The approval comes only two months after BSA successfully tested rockets with an integrated launch pod allowing unprecedented rapid development of an Australian guided weapon platform.
“Under current plans, development of a local guided weapon solution is not planned to start for up to five years. We at BSA don’t believe we have that amount of time, so we started work at the beginning of this year,” Mr Nikolic said.
BSA Chief of Launch Operations, Spiro Stamatopoulos said that operation of this type of system requires special approvals from the Federal Government, including from the Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA).
“Rigorous scrutiny on our processes and simulations had been undertaken over many months to ensure launching guided weapons could be performed safely,” Mr Stamatopoulos said.
“I’d like to pay tribute to the CASA regulators who worked hard on this first of a kind approval which clears a pathway for future developments,” he said.
The BSA team demonstrated the weapon guidance system at Australia’s Land Forces industry exhibition in October, highlighting how a sovereign solution is not only viable, but a reality.
Black Sky Aerospace is Australia’s only sovereign manufacturer of solid rocket fuel, motors, launch vehicles, services and common tactical boosters. It manufactures solid rocket fuel, known as propellant, precursor chemicals and hardware for defence and space applications such as guided weapons, ancillary boosters, sounding rockets and off-earth rocket motors. (Source: Rumour Control)