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19 Feb 21. Rheinmetall BAE Systems Land (RBSL) and Rheinmetall Landsysteme have jointly awarded a contract, worth £180m, to Thales UK to supply the state-of-the-art KONGSBERG PROTECTOR RS4 Remote Weapon Station (RWS) and the latest in automated threat warning – the Acusonic® Shot Detection System – for the British Army’s new Boxer vehicles.
Thales UK, as a strategic partner to Kongsberg Defence and Aerospace, will fully assemble and integrate 500 RWS and deliver 500 Acusonic systems onto Boxer vehicles over the next 10 years, as part of the UK MOD’s Mechanised Infantry Vehicle (MIV) programme.
The work for Boxer will be completed at Thales’s facility in Glasgow, which employs 700 skilled engineers and technicians. As a major contributor to the Scottish economy, this contract will support further growth and protect key manufacturing skills in the UK, including 30 apprentices currently receiving training in Glasgow.
The MIV programme aims to support and enhance the UK supply chain. As such, RBSL and Rheinmetall Landsysteme are part of a MIV Joint Procurement Team, which has engaged suppliers in England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland and has begun awarding a series of supplier contracts for the MIV programme.
Following this contract with Thales UK, the Boxer vehicles will be equipped with the latest PROTECTOR RS4, which incorporates a range of new sensor technologies. The system offers a 360˚ observation and engagement capability, as well as armoured protection for the crew whilst firing the weapon.
The Acusonic Shot Detection System is designed to accurately sense and report the direction of incoming enemy fire. The system will give the Boxer vehicle’s crew the critical situational awareness to react to threats.
Minister for Scotland, Iain Stewart, said, “We look forward to working with Thales UK on the delivery of these Remote Weapons Stations, knowing this contract will not only contribute to the safety of British military personnel on the front line, but also support industry growth here in Scotland. Protecting hundreds of jobs and supporting 30 apprenticeships, this £180m UK Government investment further demonstrates our commitment to supporting the defence sector in Scotland and underscores the many opportunities available within the United Kingdom economy.”
Minister of State for Defence, Baroness Goldie, said, “This £180m contract with Thales UK will deliver pioneering surveillance and protection for our front line soldiers and our new Boxer fleet. We depend on skills and technology from across the United Kingdom and this order will secure 700 Scottish jobs. Our troops face a myriad of new and emerging threats so it is imperative we invest in critical detect and destroy technology such as this.”
Steven Lockley, Managing Director of Thales in the UK’s vehicle integration business in Glasgow, said, “Thales’ sub-contract is a great step forward after months of hard work. Working with our strategic partners, Thales is bringing new skills and technologies into the programme, our facilities in Scotland and the UK supply chain.”
The overall £2.3bn Mechanised Infantry Vehicle (MIV) contract was announced in November 2019 between the UK MOD and ARTEC – a joint venture between Rheinmetall Landsysteme, Rheinmetall Defence Nederland B.V, and Krauss-Maffei Wegmann. The contract will deliver over 500 Boxer vehicles to the British Army.
Vehicle production is subcontracted equally between RBSL and WFEL. The companies will undertake the fabrication of the armoured vehicle structures together with the assembly, integration and test of the complete vehicles at their respective facilities in Telford and Stockport, with support from the UK supply chain.
18 Feb 21. Russia’s Kalashnikov eyes production in India, woos gadget lovers with hi-tech shotgun. Russian arms manufacturer Kalashnikov plans to start making its AK-203 assault rifle in India this year and wants to attract a wider audience with a hi-tech shotgun, chief executive Dmitry Tarasov said.
Named after the designer of the AK-47 assault rifle that has been used for decades in wars around the world, Kalashnikov has been seeking new business and markets after being hit by U.S. and EU sanctions over Russia’s annexation of Crimea in 2014.
It is targeting a 60% increase in annual revenues to more than 50bn roubles ($675.33m) by 2025, Tarasov told Reuters in an interview.
Featuring a built-in computer, the Ultima shotgun envisages WiFi and Bluetooth connectivity and can synchronize with smart phones. It is intended to woo younger clients such as gadget enthusiasts.
Also central to Kalashnikov’s growth plans is India, where it aims to produce 670,000 AK-203 rifles in the next decade together with the Indian defence ministry.
“We are hoping to launch production of AK-203 rifles at our joint venture in India this year. I feel it is a long-term trend so other examples will follow soon,” he said.
Kalashnikov launched licenced production of the AK-130 assault rifle in Armenia last year and Tarasov, 37, said it wants to deepen cooperation with Latin America, where it has a well established relationship with Venezuela.
“We know that there is an active demand in that market,” he said, but declined to provide further details.
Kalashnikov sells weapons to 27 countries and produces 95% of Russia’s small arms, but the U.S. sanctions imposed in 2014 banned U.S. entities from doing business with Kalashnikov.
The AK-203 is an advanced version of the AK-47 invented by Soviet soldier Mikhail Kalashnikov after he was wounded during World War Two.
The Ultima is an entirely new venture for the company in which state conglomerate Rostec has a 25% stake plus one share. Alan Lushnikov, a former deputy transport minister, owns a 75% stake minus one share via a firm called TKH-Invest.
“With Ultima we want to attract new customers who are not typically our target audience,” said Tarasov. “We are targeting customers who want to get some drive or adrenaline. Entering a semi-game niche could be an option.”
Unmanned aerial vehicles, some of which take off like a helicopter and fly like a glider carrying video cameras, are also “a very important business,” he said.
Kalashnikov also sees the market in torches, knives and other branded products as promising. ($1 = 74.0380 roubles)(Source: glstrade.com/Reuters)
18 Feb 21. Israel says developing new Arrow-4 ballistic missile shield with U.S.. Israel said on Thursday it is developing a new ballistic missile shield, the Arrow-4, with the United States, another layer in a defensive system built with an eye towards Iran.
Israel’s Arrow-2 and Arrow-3 interceptors are already operational as part of a multi-layered system to destroy incoming missiles in the atmosphere and in space.
“The development of Arrow-4 together with our American partners will result in a technological and operational leap forward, preparing us for the future battlefield and evolving threats in the Middle East and beyond,” Defence Minister Benny Gantz said in a statement.
Israeli leaders have described Iran’s ballistic missile programme as a threat to Israel and the world. Iran says its missile development is defensive and aimed at deterring attack.
The Defence Ministry said Israel Aerospace Industries would serve as the prime contractor for the Arrow-4. Boeing and Israel’s Elbit Systems are also part of the Arrow defence project. (Source: Google/Reuters)
18 Feb 21. Breaking A2D2 with Long Range Fires. The US Army Precision Strike Missile (PrSM) has been in competitive development since 2016 as a next generation longer range missile that can be fired from currently field MLRS and HIMARS. Enhancing the delivery of long range precision fires (LRPF) is being driven largely as a potential response to the increasing presence of A2/AD (anti-access area denial) defences on the battlefield.
According to international security scholars Stephen Biddle and Ivan Oelrich, A2/AD uses “a series of interrelated missile, sensor, guidance, and other technologies designed to deny freedom of movement” to an opponent’s air, naval and ground forces. It is the restrictions that in-depth air defence networks place on friendly attack aircraft contributing to the battle that are a primary concern to militaries like the United States, NATO, and those with a considerable air arm.
An effective A2/AD can prevent aircraft from striking and neutralising enemy forward and supporting forces, an advantage that US and western forces have relied upon for over five decades. LRPF uses ground based indirect fire systems to disrupt and destroy key elements of A2/AD. The objective is to break the interlocking defence network allowing attack air to operate with lower risk. As Brigadier General John Rafferty, who leads the US Army Long Range Precision Fires Cross-Functional Team, has made clear: “The combination of long-range air defence systems, artillery and coastal defences with seamless integration of long-range, over-the-horizon radars will be difficult to counter.”
Extending the Range
Current tube artillery and even ground missiles have limited capability to attack many of the critical elements that constitute the A2/AD system. Tube artilleries have a maximum range of 30-40km (18-25 miles). The BAE Systems towed 155mm M777 howitzer can deliver high explosive rounds to 28-37km (17-23 miles). With its Excalibur GPS guided round this increases to 40km (25 miles) while also providing a five metre circular error probable (CEP) accuracy. Likewise, the Lockheed Martin Multiple Launch Rocket System (MLRS) and its truck mounted cousin HIMARS was originally fielded to counter massed armour and counter-battery targets using M26 rockets with submunitions at up to 32km (20 miles). With air defence missile systems such as the Russian NPO Almaz S-300 (SA-10 Grumble) and S400 (SA-21 Growler) reaching out to 250-400km (155-250 miles) and even mobile systems like the GSKB Almaz-Antey. S350 having a 120km (74 mile) range, these indirect fire systems cannot hope to address them. Gen. Rafferty, who leads the US Army Long Range Precision Fires Cross-Functional Team explained: “With adversaries investing so heavily in countering air power it really has to be surface-to-surface fires that begin to reduce the enemy integrated air defences and long-range artillery that make up that layered standoff of A2/AD.” However, to engage and disrupt these systems requires achieving much greater range while retaining accuracy. This goal is the objective behind several development efforts.
The application of the ramjet concept to artillery projectile offers a doubling or tripling of the range of existing howitzers without need to change their configuration.
Extended Range Artillery
Gaining a substantial increase in the distance that a cannon can fire a projectile is the focus of several projects. The US Army XM1299 long-range precision fires prototype (known as Increment IC) in its ERCA (Extended Range Cannon Artillery) programme was demonstrated in March 2019 in order to achieve the required accuracy at ranges up to 62km (38 miles). This was achieved by using a longer barrel combined with a new super-charged XM654 propellant that creates a much higher velocity together with XM1113 rocket assisted and XM659 projectiles.
In its accelerated programme, in 2019 the US Army awarded a $45m contract to BAE Systems to integrate the new cannon into a M109A7 Paladin chassis. This reflects its intention to field 18 ERCA equipped self-propelled guns in 2023. Automatic loading is to be added later. According to a US Government Accountability Office (GAO) study “the middle-tier acquisition rapid prototyping effort for the XM1299 long-range precision fires prototype known as Increment IC – which includes new armament, electrical systems, and other upgrades – will cost approximately $486m.” This would provide the Army one battalion of 18 howitzer prototypes for operational test.
The US Army developed Extended Range Cannon Artillery (ERCA) has demonstrated its ability to deliver the Excalibur guided projectile to a range of 62km.
Russia’s debut of its 2S35 Koalitsiya-SV 152mm self propelled howitzer occurred in 2015 with reports now indicating it is beginning to enter wider service. With a claimed maximum range of 70km (43 miles) and fully automated loading and firing at a sustained rate of 15 rounds/minute (rpm), its performance is comparable to the German Krauss-Maffei Wegmann (KMW) / Rheinmetall PzH2000 155mm 52 calibre system while exceeding that of most currently fielded artillery. The PzH2000 is also automated and demonstrated a firing range of 67km (41 miles) in November 2019 tests in South Africa. First introduced in 1998 the system is used by eight armies.
Concurrently, a technology referred to as ramjet has been demonstrated that will extend the range of a gun. The ramjet uses the projectile’s forward motion to compress incoming air which, expelled from its base, accelerate its flight. A key advantage of the ramjet is that it can reach extended ranges using 52 calibre guns already in wide use. According to Thomas Danbolt, vice president large calibre ammunition at Norway’s NAMMO, “the company in 2018 demonstrated its 155mm-ER ramjet ammunition capable of 40km (25 mile) range. It is now combining the ramjet with rocket assist to extend this range to 70-85 km (43-50 miles) with a further goal of achieving 100-150km (62-93 miles) in future evolution”. NAMMO is working with Boeing, while General Dynamics Ordnance and Tactical Systems, Northrop Grumman, and Raytheon Missiles and Defense all have similar Phase One contracts to develop the XM115 ramjet round for the US Army with the aim of reaching targets at 100km (62 miles).
The US Army is also working on a new, long-range cannon it proposes to reach out and strike targets at up to 1,850km (1,150 miles). In comparison, US Navy battleships 16-inch Mark 7 guns could only hit targets at a maximum of 32km (20 miles) range. The Strategic Long-Range Cannon (SLRC) based on an Army Research Lab (ARL) briefing shows a concept reminiscent of the Cold War Army’s M65 ‘Atomic’ 280mm cannon and the modified 16-inch naval gun employed in the US-Canadian High Altitude Research Project, or HARP. Presently, the National Academy of Science is conducting a congressionally mandated study to assess the technology approaches, policies, and concepts of operations of the SLRC including the essential technologies, materials, and manufacturing capabilities needed. The committee has met in closed session four times, most recently in early December 2020. As Dr. Loren Thompson at The Lexington Institute points out: “Reflecting that the distance from Warsaw to Moscow is only 1,126km (700 miles), the SLRC projected capabilities raises a number of questions including how they would be employed, how targeting would be performed, and who would control them.” These may be of as much or greater relevance than the technical challenges themselves.
MLRS M260 and HIMARS have filled the general support role for many armies. Adapting it to delivery long range precision fires began with the introduction of the M31 GMLRS Unitary rocket. With its GPS guidance and a single 91kg (200lb) high-explosive warhead, the M31 could hit targets accurately while reducing with collateral damage. GMLRS has a minimum range of 15km (nine miles) but maximum of 70km (43 miles) with a velocity of Mach 2.5. Its upgraded multi-mode fuse includes point detonation, delay and a proximity airburst mode that can be set for three or 10 metres (9.8 feet or 32.8ft) Height Of Burst (HOB). These expand its utility against a wider range of deep targets.
For deeper targets out to 300km (186 miles) Lockheed Martin has developed ATacMS. Originally also a submunition carrier the latest MGM-168 Block IVA variant substitutes a 230kg (500lbs) unitary HE warhead with GPS/INS guidance. Fielded in 2002 it is fired from the MLRS or HIMARS – two missiles are available on the former but only one on the latter. However, the Army is seeking to introduce a successor to ATacMS as early as 2023. Named the Precision Strike Missile (PrSM), the programme was initiated as a competition in 2017 but is now solely being developed by Lockheed Martin (LMCO). It was to initially have a range of 60-499km (37-310 miles) (meeting the INF treaty limits). This may no longer be the case as a 2020 LMCO briefing added “it’s open architecture to ensure capability can easily be spiralled to achieve longer ranges.” The PrSM program, as Gen. Rafferty explained during his briefing “seeks to attack a variety of targets…We want the range [of PrSM] but then we also want to explore targets across multiple domains. We believe the multimode seeker will give us the ability to do.” This would see by 2025 an extended range ground launched capability able to not only address stationary land targets but potentially ships underway at sea.
The US Army Precision Strike Missile (PrSM) has been in competitive development since 2016 as a next generation longer range missile that can be fired from currently field MLRS and HIMARS.
The guided missile has been the primary tool for use at the strategic level since the 1950s (largely following the German V1 and V2 rockets of World War II). The US Army fielded the Pershing missile through 1991 with a 1770km (1,099 mile) range with either conventional or nuclear warhead. It also in 1983 fielded the BGM-109 Ground Launched Cruise Missile (GLCM) a mobile land-based version of the Naval Tomahawk with 2500km (1,550 mile) range. Both were eliminated as were Soviet equivalents under the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty (INF Treaty) which banned missiles with ranges between 500-5,488km (310-3,410 miles). The US August 2019 withdrawal from the INF has opened the door to renewal of US (and likely Russian) Army strategic missile efforts. It could be suggested the US Army was already pushing toward resurrecting these capabilities possibility anticipating the withdrawal from the INF and responding to the Russian Federation’s road-mobile Iskander-K tactical missile system which US officials insist exceeds the 500km (310 mile) INF range limit.
Russia’s Inskander Short Range Ballistic Missile (SRBM) and equivalents such as the PRC Dong-Fang DF-11 and Iranian Fateh-110 can deliver conventional warheads with better than 10 metre accuracy against fixed targets such as airfields, rear areas, and command facilities.
In fact, the US Army has moved quickly to full the perceived gap in what it refers to as mid-range capability. In November 2020 it announced it intended to adapt the BGM-109 Block IV Naval Tactical Tomahawk cruise missile and the latest land attack version of the Naval SM-6 Standard missile for ground launch application. The Tomahawk offers 1,667km (1,035 mile) range, mid-course correction and multiple tracking and homing sensors capable of both land and surface ship attack. The earlier GLCM used a heavy semi-trailer four missile launcher so its feasibility it at least established. Application of the SM-6 in a mobile ground launched configuration is, however, a relatively new endeavour. SM-6 has 556km (345 mile) range, dual seeker, and both external and autonomous targeting direction and is a proven anti-air and anti-missile capability, as well as a recently introduced land and ship target engagement capability. In November 2020 Lockheed Martin was awarded a $340m contract to build the US Army’s new mid-range missile prototype launcher. A February 2020 Congressional Budget Office study suggested a four-cell truck trailer launcher like the Army THAAD would be feasible, although appropriate complementary radar and missile reloading would also be required.
Seeking to reach even further the US Army is also pursuing development of its Long-Range Hypersonic Weapon (LRHW) give the Army a 2,250+km (1,400+ mile) range strategic conventional strike capability to “defeat A2/AD capabilities, suppress adversary Long Range Fires, and engage other high payoff/time sensitive targets.” LMCO has a $347m contract to build boosters, guidance and canisters/eight missiles, and modify four trucks to serve as two-missile transporter-erector-launchers (TELs). Live fire testing is planned for 2022. These are at least partly in response to People’s Republic of China’s land-attack DF-17 and anti-ship DF-100 hypersonic missiles which were seen in it its October 2020 parade. However it is likely that the LRHW will be a high-priced weapon that will be reserved for high priority targets and unlikely to be available in quantity. Given this alone, it is less clear when or if these assets would be available for use in counter A2/AD tasks. Therefore, other systems being pursued will be needed.
A2/AD is broad challenge facing NATO and other militaries. With more limited resources and equipment and operational constraints these forces may need to be more selective in their pursuit and adoption of long-range precision fire solutions.
The US approaches may not be appropriate. For example, although the US Marine Corps, which has HIMARS and could adopt PrSM, it was pursuing mounting the Navy NASAMs on the lighter JLTV for its longer-range surface strike.
In addition, even armies which have already field the M109 howitzer may hesitate to adopt the US Army’s ERCA until field results are available. They might be also inclined to watch the progress of ramjet projectile development. (Source: Armada)
17 Feb 21. US Army Tests New Active Protection For Abrams, Bradley, AMPV & Stryker. The Army’s already installed off-the-shelf Israeli anti-missile systems on its M1 Abrams and tried similar tech on Bradley and Stryker. But what it really wants is a standardized yet customizable Modular Active Protection System (MAPS) it can install on a wide range of vehicles.
Between now and 2023, the Army will test new defenses against anti-tank missiles on a wider range of armored vehicles than ever before, from the massive M1 Abrams main battle tank to the lightly armored 8×8 Stryker.
A newly announced contract with Lockheed Martin also includes testing of what’s called the Modular Active Protection System (MAPS) “base kit” on two middle-weight war machines. One is the heavily armed M2 Bradley troop carrier; the other is the Armored Multi-Purpose Vehicle (AMPV), basically a turretless utility variant of the Bradley.
The Army and Lockheed have already used the Bradley extensively for earlier development and testing of MAPS, including live-fire tests with anti-tank rockets and missiles in 2019. But Lockheed has only done preliminary work with MAPS on Stryker, the company’s program manager, David Rohall, said in an interview. So the new contract will be the first integration and formal testing of the MAPS base kit on Stryker, Abrams, and AMPV.
Why does this matter? The Army is exploring a plethora of anti-missile defenses for its armored vehicles. Many Abrams tanks already have the Rafael Trophy, a battle-tested Israeli countermeasure which physically shoots down incoming anti-tank rockets and missiles. The Army has also been working to integrate another off-the-shelf Israeli active protection system, Elbit’s Iron Fist, onto the M2 Bradley, albeit with mixed success and delays. Bradley’s a smaller vehicle than Abrams with less room and electrical power to add radar-controlled interceptors. And the service is trying out two slimmed-down systems, one by Rafael and one by Germany’s Rheinmetall, on the Stryker. As the lightest of the vehicles in question, it has proven the hardest to protect.
So the Army has plenty of irons in the fire – but that’s part of the problem. Each of these active protection systems takes a different approach to intercepting enemy anti-tank weapons. Each uses a different mix of radar and other sensors to detect the threat, different “hard-kill” interceptors and “soft-kill” jammers & decoys to defeat it, and different computer hardware and software to control it all. Each of them requires different training and tools to install, operate and maintain.
The Army would much prefer to standardize, as much as possible. That’s why it’s developing the Modular Active Protection System. The core component of MAPS is the electronic brain or “base kit” being developed by Lockheed Martin, which will go on every vehicle, including future designs. Then the Army will plug-and-play various sensors and countermeasures into that base kit. Some of these components will go on multiple types of vehicles, others will be custom options for a specific machine. There has to be some flexibility here, because a 70-ton Abrams and a 20-ton Stryker don’t need the exact same kinds of countermeasures and can’t physically carry the same kit anyway.
The Army also wants to be able to upgrade the system easily in the future, adding improved components as they become available, without having to redesign and re-test the whole system every time something new is added. And it wants to buy upgrades from whatever vendor offers the best value, rather than be locked into whatever vendor originally built the system. That’s the reason for the “Modular” in “Modular Active Protection System.” It’s a design philosophy also known as open architecture, which aims to accommodate any component from any company as long as they comply with common technical standards.
Lockheed’s MAPS base kit has successfully controlled a host of different systems in tests so far – sometimes in the lab, sometimes in live-fire field demonstrations. Rohall told me MAPS works with Elbit’s Iron Fist and Artis’s Iron Curtain, both “hard kill” systems that physically destroy incoming anti-tank rounds. It works with jamming/decoy “soft kill” systems like Northrop Grumman’s MEOS, BAE’s RAVEN, and Ariel Photonics’ CLOUD. And it works with a variety of sensors, including Northrop’s Passive Infrared Cueing System (PICS). This year, Rohall said, the program will focus on adding a laser-warning sensor to tell the vehicle crew when they’ve been targeted by enemy precision-guidance systems, before the foe actually fires.
Lockheed has been working on the MAPS base kit since 2014. It passed key safety reviews in 2018 – something most programs do much later in development, Rohall told me, but the Army wanted to get safety settled down earlier. In 2019 Lockheed formally delivered the first version of the MAPS software to the Army and supported live-fire testing on Bradley. It’s already built enough base kits to begin testing on Abrams, Bradley, AMPV, and Stryker, he said, but the new contract provides for it to deliver at least five more, and as many as 20, by 2023. (Source: glstrade.com/Breaking Defense.com)
17 Feb 21. UK and Australia collaborate to accelerate advanced materials integration. Funding for innovative proposals covering integration of composites, adhesives for structural joining, joining high temperature structures and improving armour systems. Defence research and development ties between the UK and Australia are already strong, but have been strengthened further under a bilateral international program to accelerate the integration of advanced materials into military platforms.
Nine teams of partners across both nations have received Phase 2 funding worth a total of £1.48m (A$2.82m) from the UK and Australian governments to develop innovative proposals covering integration of composites, adhesives for structural joining, joining high temperature structures and improving armour systems.
In the UK successful consortia are:
- Foresight Innovations Limited, Hephaestus Consulting, Nottingham Trent University and Matrix Composites
- TWI Limited
- University of Surrey and QinetiQ
- Zentraxa Limited and QinetiQ Australia
Successful Australian teams are:
- Western Sydney University, Imperial College London, Metrologi Pty Ltd, UNSW and AirBus Australia Pacific
- Qinetiq Australia Pty Ltd and RMIT
- University of New South Wales, Imperial College London, Advanced Composite Structures Australia Pty Ltd
- University of Adelaide, Research Institute of Saint-Louis (ISL – France) and Materials Science Institute
- RMIT University and BAE Systems Pty Ltd
This program is jointly funded by the Australian Next Generation Technologies Fund run by DST Group; and the Ministry of Defence Materials for Strategic Advantage programme in the UK. Both nations used a common assessment framework managed by the UK’s Defence and Security Accelerator (DASA). Assessment and Moderation of the competition was carried out collaboratively by Dstl (Defence Science and Technology Laboratory) in the UK and DST Group in Australia.
The UK’s Minister for Defence Procurement, Jeremy Quin MP, said, “The UK and Australia have an enduring defence relationship. As we take on a range of new challenges, I am delighted we will be working together to ensure our personnel are armed with the most advanced technologies. These joint challenge projects represent both countries’ innovative visions for the future, whilst supporting our academic and industry partners.”
Australian Minister for Defence Industry, Melissa Price, said the joint research proposals demonstrated the close practical cooperation between defence industry and universities across Australia and the UK.
“These joint challenge projects have not only strengthened our bilateral defence relationship but provide support to each country’s respective defence industries to overcome capability challenges we face.
“Academic and industry partners are vitally important to both defence forces. Through the Next Generation Technologies Fund the Australian Government is committed to providing the best capability possible to the men and women who serve our nation.”
The Joint Effort gives both nations access to international research using a total pooled fund of around £2.52m (cA$4.79m) from the two phases of the competition so far. Across the themes, individual proposals were also chosen to support mutual reliance with one nation taking the lead. The new projects start in the financial year 2020/21 and run for up to two years. (Source: https://www.gov.uk/)
16 Feb 21. Lockheed set to integrate base kit for US Army’s combat vehicle protection system. Under a recent contract award with a $30m ceiling, Lockheed Martin will begin integrating and formally testing its open-architecture processor designed to control the U.S. Army’s future combat vehicle protection system, the company announced Feb. 16.
The Army is determining the specific plans and schedules for integration and testing of Lockheed’s base kit for its Modular Active Protection System, or MAPS, that ties vehicle sensors and countermeasures into a common framework to detect, track and destroy rocket-propelled grenades and anti-tank guided missiles aimed at combat vehicles.
Lockheed is supporting those activities starting later this year through 2023, David Rohall, program manager for advanced ground vehicle systems at Lockheed Martin Missiles and Fire Control, told Defense News.
The Army has not yet finalized dates for the formal testing.
Lockheed received an initial award of $1.5m through an other transaction authority agreement following a competitive process in December 2020, but has since received $3m of additional incremental funding, according to Rohall.
As part of the contract, Lockheed will develop the MAPS base kit hardware and software; perform platform integration; and run on-vehicle, live-fire demonstrations over a 36-month period. Funding will be incrementally issued throughout the period of performance, Rohall said.
The base kit consists of the MAPS open-architecture controller, application software, user interface, power management distribution system and a network switch, Rohall explained. The software identifies incoming threats and deploys the most suitable countermeasure to defeat them, he added.
“In an Army lab test, one MAPS-enabled active protection system actually responded faster to threats than its standalone version, thanks to the higher network speeds and greater processor power the MAPS controller offers,” Rohall said.
The Army is working with other industry partners to bring in sensors and countermeasures that are compliant with the MAPS architecture.
Lockheed has been working with the Army on solutions for a future vehicle protection system since 2014. The service initally awarded the MAPS software project to Raytheon and the hardware effort to Lockheed. But in 2017, the service transferred the software development to Lockheed.
The Army, Lockheed and other industry partners have been working to prepare sensors and countermeasures controlled by the MAPS base kit for lab and live-fire demonstrations, including soft-kill systems like Northrop Grumman’s MEOS, BAE Systems’ Raven and Ariel Photonics’ CLOUD, as well as hard-kill systems including Artis Corporation’s Iron Curtain and Elbit System’s Iron Fist.
Sensors include Northrop’s PICS IR sensor and Iron Curtain’s L3 Mustang, as well as several laser warning systems.
Lockheed will work with the Army for integration and testing on the Bradley Infantry Fighting Vehicle, the M1 Abrams tank, the Armored Multipurpose Vehicle and the Stryker combat vehicle ahead of a transition to the Vehicle Protection System program, Rohall said.
“We continue to support development activities. We expect to be back in the field this year to support testing on multiple combat vehicles equipped with laser warning receivers that are new to the MAPS architecture,” Rohall said.
The upcoming integration and testing is the last step for the base kit ahead of fielding the future Vehicle Protection System for ground combat vehicles. The effort will validate the Vehicle Protection System base kit capability for an initial production decision.
The contract also covers developing capabilities beyond active protection, Lockheed said, to include underbelly blast protection.
The Army has spent years developing a future Vehicle Protection System, and has had several attempts — one successful, others not — to field interim active protection systems onto current combat vehicles.
The service has already fielded Rafael’s Trophy active protection system on some Abrams tanks in Europe.
The Army had also chosen IMI’s Iron Fist for the Bradley but has struggled with technical issues and funding, and the program’s future is delayed and uncertain.
The service also had difficulty finding an interim candidate for its Stryker vehicle and hit a dead end with the effort in 2019. Iron Curtain was seen as the front-runner for Stryker, but due to system maturity, the service decided not proceed with its qualification efforts. (Source: Defense News)
16 Feb 21. Turkey’s ULAQ armed USV prototype enters sea trials. Turkish companies Ares Shipyard and Meteksan Defence launched the first prototype of their ULAQ weaponised unmanned surface vehicle (USV) in early February, according to a joint statement released by both firms.
The prototype USV was launched in Antalya, where Ares Shipyard is located, and an intensive period of sea trials has been initiated. While the companies did not disclose further details at the launch event it is understood that initial testing will focus on sea keeping, manoeuvrability, and other navigational matters.
The 11m-long ULAQ armed USV prototype seen on sea trials. (Ares Shipyard/Meteksan Defence)
The sea vehicle was initially expected to be launched in December 2020 with the first live firings scheduled for early2021. The companies acknowledged the launch delay in their statement but asserted that the planned live firings will proceed according to schedule.
The ULAQ programme was first announced to the public in October 2020, with development work being funded by both companies since 2018. The principal design studies and concept definition was completed in 2018 and 2019, respectively, with prototype construction commencing in June 2020.
In its current configuration the ULAQ USV measures 11 m long and can carry a payload of up to 2,000 kg. It will also be capable of attaining a stated maximum speed of 35 kt and an operating range of 215 n miles.
The prototype USV is armed with a four-cell Cirit launcher and a pair of L-UMTAS missiles. The Cirit is an infrared (IR)-guided 70 mm missile with a maximum range of 8 km, which is designed to engage soft-skinned stationary and mobile targets. In contrast, the L-UMTAS is a long-range, laser-guided missile intended to defeat armoured threats out to a comparable range. Both weapons are supplied by Roketsan. (Source: Jane’s)
16 Feb 21. Meprolight launches its unique MEPRO O2. Red Dot Sight, featuring multi-pattern reticle for optimal tactical advantage for armed forces & law enforcement agencies. The first-ever MIL-SPEC red dot sight with multi-pattern reticle enables the user to switch between aiming patterns quickly and easily for all tactical scenarios and in all-weather/light conditions.
Meprolight – a member of the SK Group and a leading manufacturer of electro-optical systems, thermal and night vision equipment, and self-illuminated sights for military, law enforcement and civilian applications – is launching the MEPRO O2 sight (MIL-SPEC), offering a breakthrough and significant tactical advantage using , a 5 segment reticle which allows to pre-set numerous aiming patterns, to all tactical scenarios and different ammunition (for example, quick transition between reticles when moving from 300 blackout subsonic to supersonic ammunition).
Users in the defense, law enforcement and HLS sectors benefit from advanced features such as small dimensions, light weight (approx. 280g), and a built-in light sensor and automatic brightness control system that enables clear visibility of the red dot in any lighting conditions – a significant advantage for accurate firing.
The MEPRO O2 sight also includes non-reflective optics without light signature toward the target, for enhanced force protection; a combination of an integral motion sensor and configurable sleep time of 4-8 hours, saving power for extended operation; a new, improved, rugged MIL-SPEC mounting design and a protected three-button control keypad.
“The MEPRO O2 sight is an innovative addition to Meprolight’s ever-growing range of small-arms aiming solutions,” says Benny Kokia, VP Sales & Marketing – at Meprolight. “For the first time, the user can now choose an optimal reticle from four pre-set aiming patterns. Our goal in developing this new sight was to provide armed forces with a significant tactical advantage, through capabilities that deliver mission flexibility and target precision, along with extended operation time”
“Our advanced technologies serve customers across the defense, law enforcement and HLS markets,” says Ronen Hamudot, Corporate VP Marketing & Sales at the SK Group. “We are proud of our ability to apply our solutions to their evolving needs, consistent with our vision of always staying ahead, and providing customers with the exact solution they need to meet new challenges that arise.”
Meprolight, a member of the SK Group and a leading international electro-optics company, has been developing, manufacturing and marketing systems for armed forces, law enforcement agencies and civilian markets since 1990. The company provides comprehensive solutions in a wide array of combat-proven products: self-illuminated, illuminated, electro-optical and optical sights and devices, night vision sights and observation systems, and thermal sights. Meprolight is among the largest OEM manufacturers of day/night illuminated sights for pistols and rifles worldwide. The company’s solutions are currently operational in safety and security applications for law enforcement, military and civilian communities worldwide.
About SK Group
SK Group is a privately-held technology and innovation holding company, owned by Samy Katsav, specializing in global frontline defense, law enforcement, marine infrastructure and property development solutions. SK Group provides small arms systems, electro-optic and laser solutions, imaging systems, naval solutions and more. Drawing on Israel’s innovation and field-proven solutions, SK’s companies offer a powerful track record of technology, experience and excellence.
12 Feb 21. Nurol Makina qualifies Ejder Yalçin mortar carrier. Turkey’s Nurol Makina announced that it has developed and qualified a new self-propelled mortar system based on its fourth-generation Ejder Yalçin 4×4 protected mobility vehicle.
The Ejder Yalçin’s rear troop compartment has been extensively modified to have a wider body that tapers in towards the chassis. The compartment is fitted with two rectangular power-operated roof hatches that open to the sides, allowing the mortar to be raised and fired through the roof, the company said in a 9 February statement.
Nurol Makina said the mortar is the Alkar system from Aselsan, which carries a 120 mm mortar, although others can be integrated. Alkar is designed to be installed onto lighter armoured vehicles and its recoil assembly eliminates the need for stabilisers. The recoil mechanism reduces the recoil force to 235 kN and its mount allows the mortar to be traversed continuously and elevated in a range between 45° and 85°, according to Aselsan.
The mortar requires a crew of three: two located in the vehicle cab and the third in the mortar compartment. Alkar uses a computer-based fire-control system (FCS), also from Aselsan, that uses sharable NATO Armaments Ballistic Kernel fire-control software. In addition, a muzzle velocity radar and meteorological information, as well as information from a forward observer, can be linked into the FCS. The system can be integrated into a battle management system if required by the end user. (Source: Jane’s)
16 Feb 21. Northrop Grumman Successfully Conducted Major Milestone for Ground Based Strategic Deterrent Program. Northrop Grumman Corporation (NYSE: NOC) successfully conducted its first major design review event for the Ground Based Strategic Deterrent (GBSD) engineering and manufacturing development (EMD) baseline in November 2020. The next key milestone is the integrated baseline review (IBR).
The EMD baseline review (EBR) is an assessment of the current technical baseline, which includes user requirements, program data and configuration elements, and is the first step in transitioning ownership of the allocated baseline to the government. The three-day event was held virtually with more than 100 people in attendance throughout Northrop Grumman and the U.S. Air Force. The team is currently on schedule to meet IBR, which sets the program’s performance measurement baseline.
“Achieving this milestone demonstrates our team’s commitment to deliver a safe, secure and reliable system to the U.S. Air Force on-schedule and on-budget,” said Steve Lunny, vice president, GBSD program, Northrop Grumman. “Our team is applying a digital engineering approach that will produce a modern strategic deterrent capability for our nation and its allies.”
Northrop Grumman was awarded the GBSD EMD contract in September 2020, to modernize the nation’s aging intercontinental ballistic missile system. The EMD phase includes full system design, qualification, test and evaluation, and nuclear certification. Upon successful completion of EMD, the Northrop Grumman team will begin producing and delivering a modern and fully integrated ICBM system to meet the Air Force’s schedule of initial operational capability by 2029.
12 Feb 21. US Army Bolstering Weapons Portfolio. The US Army is continuing to overhaul its small arms weapons portfolio in hopes of better preparing its troops for future warfare.
The service has been making strides in its M4 carbine and M249 squad automatic weapon replacement efforts while also looking to adopt new products to boost soldier lethality.
In the next-generation squad weapons program, leaders are pushing through the COVID-19 pandemic and moving onto the second prototype phase, according to the service’s product manager for the effort.
Lt. Col. Jason Bohannon said the service has already completed the first iteration of prototype testing, which was the diagnostic test. The next round of testing is slated to kick off in February and run through June.
“That was primarily to ensure that the vendors had a common understanding of all the tests they were going to undergo,” he said in an interview. “Then we go into what we call prototype test No. 2, which is the for-record test. That will go through the summer.”
Three bidders are competing in the program. In August 2019, the service awarded other transaction authority agreements to Sig Sauer, General Dynamics Ordnance and Tactical Systems and Textron Systems, which are all providing prototypes for soldier evaluation. As part of the competition, the companies are bidding their solutions for a new 6.8 mm round that will replace the current 5.56 mm NATO ammunition.
The Army is holding both technical tests and soldier “touchpoints” to put the weapons through their paces, Bohannon noted. Soldiers at Fort Bragg, North Carolina, and Fort Drum, New York, have been trying out the prototypes to provide hands-on feedback. Bohannon said the service hopes to have 300 to 500 personnel participate in the soldier touchpoints.
“At the end of the day, they’re really determining or giving feedback on if they believe the weapon system is operationally effective or not,” he said. “Will it increase or decrease their performance?”
Despite the COVID-19 pandemic, the service has not had to curtail its soldier touchpoints, he noted.
“Everybody takes all the proper precautions and spacing,” he said. “We have not reduced the number of our soldiers. If anything, we’ve increased the number of soldiers” involved.
Wayne Prender, senior vice president of Textron’s applied technologies and advanced programs, said the company will be making improvements to its offering based on information gained from the soldier touchpoints, but declined to provide specific details on how it plans to enhance its prototype in the next round.
Textron has been paying close attention to how soldiers interact with the weapon to make adjustments, he noted.
“Soldier touchpoints have been very valuable especially in the area of ergonomics, hand placement, [and] trigger pull,” Prender told reporters during a virtual Association of the United States Army media roundtable in October. “What they say, what they don’t say, what we observe, are all elements that are then rolled into our weapon system.”
Textron is offering cased telescoped ammunition in hopes that it will result in weight savings for the service.
Sig Sauer said it is making changes to its accessories package as it moves along in the competition. It is also conducting manufacturing rehearsals to ensure that it would be able to quickly transition to production and fielding, the company said in a statement. Sig Sauer’s bid is based on its MCX firearms line and has a folding stock capability.
“For our second phase submission we have used the various testing opportunities afforded to us by the U.S. Army such as soldier touchpoints and environmental testing to refine our platforms,” said Robby Johnson, Sig Sauer’s vice president for product management for defense and law enforcement. “In this period our accessories package for the weapons has seen the greatest changes, and through this we’ve vastly improved the soldier ergonomics.”
Sig Sauer will continue to evolve these platforms beyond the second-phase submission, he added
As of press time, General Dynamics had not responded to requests for comment about its offering.
Meanwhile, the Army is picking a new fire control system to accompany the next-generation squad weapons. Last year, the service downselected the competition to L3Harris Technologies and Vortex Optics. The companies delivered their products in December, Bohannon said.
The Army plans on fielding the fire control at the same time as the weapon, he said. The prototype test phase for the system was slated to begin in December and go through April 2021, with a production award planned for July 2021.
“There will be a period of time where we conduct a source selection, but it mirrors a lot of the same characteristics of the weapon competition,” he said. “We still conduct soldier touchpoints, we still have separate technical testing, and all that information goes to a selection team.”
That team will include an operational general officer, rather than an acquisition officer, he noted.
“It’s somebody who’s got loads of operational experience,” he said.
The Army is looking into potentially replacing its M240 machine gun for the conventional force as well, said Col. Rhett Thompson, soldier requirements division director. Special Operations Command has been examining a .338 Norma Magnum machine gun from Sig Sauer to replace its own M240s.
The Army is conducting a 36-month Platoon Arms and Ammunition Configuration Study to determine if the service should pursue a next-generation machine gun for its conventional forces, Thompson said in an interview. The report will be similar to the Small Arms Ammunition Configuration Study, which helped officials decide on abandoning the 5.56 NATO round for its M4 and M249 in favor of the 6.8 mm caliber and pave the way forward for future weapons at the squad level.
Leaders are expected to make a decision on whether or not to replace the M240 when the platoon-level report is completed in fiscal year 2024, Thompson said. Similar to the small arms study, this will be “threat driven,” meaning that the service will inform its requirements based on what soldiers may encounter on the battlefield. The Army plans to use information from the intelligence community to help inform its capability gaps, he noted.
“The PAAC study is really what we’re going to use to inform our decision in terms of the mobility, survivability, durability of the weapon and lethality,” he said.
Col. Scott Madore, project manager for soldier lethality, said in December the Army will be tracking the performance of the 6.8 mm ammo in the next-generation squad weapon program as it seeks to make its decision. The M240 uses the 7.2 mm round.
The service will need to examine how a new machine gun may affect the formation as well, he noted.
“Those decisions pivot off of the outcomes of the next-gen squad weapon program,” he said during the National Defense Industrial Association’s virtual Joint Armaments, Robotics and Munitions Digital Experience conference in November. “Once we have a good understanding or see the demonstrated performance of the 6.8 mm in the next-gen squad automatic rifle, that would determine, do we need a next-gen machine gun beyond the 6.8mm capability?”
The Army wants a new grenade launcher as well, according to Lt. Col. Pete Stambersky, the service’s product manager for individual weapons. A request for information for a Precision Grenadier System was released in October.
“This is going to be different than the XM25 in several different ways,” Stambersky said, referring to the Army’s previous attempt to field a new grenade launcher dubbed the XM25 Counter Defilade Target Engagement. “We’re going to learn from our past mistakes, and … we are going to be focused on a soldier-centered design, which will be integral to the PGS development. Grabbing that soldier feedback and what works for them is something we didn’t necessarily do a few years back.”
The future system is expected to have a range of 1,000 meters and variable magnification, which allows users to choose the level of magnification in the scope, he noted.
According to the October RFI, the Army envisions a semi-automatic system that weighs no more than 14.5 pounds and has an ambidextrous configuration.
Stambersky said the service was planning to host an industry day in December or January to discuss the requirements with industry, but did not provide a timeline for a request for proposals.
Additionally, the Army is expanding its interest in remote weapon stations. David Oatley, product director for crew served weapons, said his office is improving the Common Remotely Operated Weapon Station while also looking for potential new systems. The product allows soldiers to shoot targets without leaving their armored vehicles.
“We see an increase in demand for that, and we don’t see it going anywhere anytime soon,” Oatley said. “We’re always interested in finding out more about what’s available in that space.”
Oatley said his office is not limited to just CROWS, but also works on other remote weapon station systems and is able to integrate them onto various platforms.
The office plans to hold a range week at the end of fiscal year 2021.The event will be open to industry looking to demonstrate any systems that may be suitable for the crew served weapons portfolio, he noted. Soldiers will be available to evaluate products for industry and provide feedback.
“That event will provide benefits to both the government and industry,” Oatley said. “It helps inform us about the state of technology and what’s available and helps us inform requirements and inform some additional analysis we may have on where we can take weapons in the future.” (Source: Defense News Early Bird/NDIA.org)
15 Feb 21. Dynetics to build 100 kW laser for US Army. The US Army’s Space and Missile Defense Command has selected a Dynetics-led team to develop an experimental 100 kW laser weapon system for its Family of Medium Tactical Vehicles (FMTV).
On 15 May, the company announced that it had beat out Raytheon to receive a USD130m contract for the service’s High Energy Laser Tactical Vehicle Demonstrator (HEL TVD) programme.
“High energy laser weapons have been a system that the United States has wanted to add into their defense portfolio since the invention of the laser,” Ronnie Chronister, Dynetics’ senior vice-president of contracts, said in a press release. “We are glad to be selected to build this new and safe weapon system that will provide a simple, yet cost-effective approach in theatre.”
In 2018, the army selected Dynetics and its partners – Lockheed Martin, Rolls-Royce, and MZA Associates Corporation – and Raytheon to move into the HEL TVD preliminary design phase.
Under the new contract, the Dynetics team is selected to prepare for the critical design review, which will determine the final laser design, before building the system and integrating it onto a 6×6 FMTV for field testing at White Sands Missile Range in New Mexico. The capability is also a potential technology insertion to address the army’s Indirect Fire Protection Capability Increment 2 – Intercept Block 2 objective requirements.
This effort is part of the service’s latest venture into directed-energy weapons and is designed to help the service counter rocket, artillery, and mortar (RAM) attacks, as well as unmanned aircraft systems (UASs). (Source: Jane’s)
15 Feb 21. Indian MoD announces flag off of final LRSAM missiles production batch. The Indian Ministry of Defence (MoD) has announced the flag off of the final production batch of Indian Navy’s long-range surface-to-air missile (LRSAM).
The Indian Ministry of Defence (MoD) has announced the flag off of the final production batch of Indian Navy’s long-range surface-to-air missile (LRSAM).
The development was held at Defence Research and Development Laboratory (DRDL), A P J Abdul Kalam Missile Complex in Hyderabad, in the Indian state of Telangana.
It was held in the presence of Department of Defence Research and Development (DDR&D) secretary and DRDO chairman G Satheesh Reddy and DMDE VSM director V Rajasekhar on 14 February.
LRSAM is jointly developed by Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) and Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) to equip latest ships of the Indian Navy.
The long-range missile is manufactured by India’s state-owned aerospace and defence company Bharat Dynamics Limited (BEL).
It offers broad aerial and point defence against a wide range of threats to the marine arena from the air, sea or land.
Indian Ministry of Defence said in a statement: “Secretary, DDR&D highlighted the importance of indigenous production efforts and complemented the industries that have established the manufacturing facilities and successfully executed the production orders in achieving the goal towards ‘Make in India’.
“He also commended the efforts of Missile System Quality Assurance Agency (MSQAA), DG (NAI) in streamlining the production activities at various industries across India, leading to delivery of missiles with aerospace quality standards.”
As part of the Barak 8 Family, LRSAM integrates a large number of new and advanced systems such as digital radar, command and control, launchers, interceptors with modern radio frequency (RF) seekers, data link and system-wide connectivity.
According to India’s defence ministry, the LRSAM weapon system’s end to end performance has been ‘successfully demonstrated through a number of user flight trials’ from Indian Naval warships.
In January 2019, the Indian Navy successfully test-fired the LRSAM from warship INS Chennai off the coast of Odisha. (Source: Google/ naval-technology.com)
12 Feb 21. Georgia developing indigenous surveillance and strike UAS. Tbilisi-based aviation plant TbilAviaMsheni (TAM) is developing Georgia’s first surveillance and strike unmanned aircraft system (UAS), dubbed Project T-31, the company confirmed to Janes on 9 February.
A 25 January report showcased digital engineering sketches of the UAS three weeks after TAM’s Chairman, Vazha Tordia, told Georgia InterPressNews (IPN) that the TAM Management company, founded in 2015, was developing Georgia’s first UAS.
IPN’s interview with Tordia included computer-generated images of T-31, showing the UAS powered by an internal combustion engine that drives a three-blade nose propeller. The system also featured a V-tail and an underbelly electro-optical/infrared (EO/IR) payload, and showed the T-31 in two mission-defined configurations: a surveillance UAS carrying two large fuel tanks under the wings and a strike UAS armed with four guided air-to-ground missiles attached on two pylons under each wing.
The cutaway illustration of the armed T-31 also showed a parabolic antenna installed in the payload bay located in the upper front section of the UAS, immediately ahead of wings and above the EO/IR payload. The company told Janes it is for line-of-sight transmission of images and data.
Tordia said Project T-31 was meant to furnish an affordable UAS that would use advanced materials and technology and reflect the requirements of the Georgian Air Force, which he said was the most likely first customer.
Mikheil Rogava, TAM‘s deputy director, told Janes the company is discussing the project with potential investors and buyers, and the first UASs could be ready for delivery within 18 months of financing. (Source: Jane’s)
15 Feb 21. IDEX 2021: UVision unveils a Comprehensive Simulation Solution for HERO Loitering Munition Operators. UVision Will Present its Range of Combat Proven Loitering Munition Systems for the First Time at IDEX UAE Show.
IDEX, Abu Dhabi UAE, February 21-25, Hall 1, Stand 01-B44
UVision Air Ltd. Presented for the first time two advanced Simulator Configurations. The newly inducted simulators complement the existing classroom simulator training system by enabling the operator to train during deployments. At the show, UVision will also highlight the high precision, combat-proven Hero Series of Loitering Munitions.
UVision’s Hero Training and Simulation System provide an advanced loitering weapon and payload simulation in a virtual realistic environment. With the two new configurations, UVision presents a comprehensive solution for HERO operators allowing a higher level of training flexibility. The Classroom configuration provides a robust simulation solution with a rich and versatile scenario generator for multiple trainees. The Portable & Embedded field simulator configurations allow Hero operators continuous hands-on training (at various levels) during deployments; hence maintaining the highest level of operational proficiency and readiness – anytime, anywhere.
The HERO series of loitering munitions consists of eight loitering munition systems, designed for different missions at various ranges using various types of payloads. The HERO systems are the fastest sensor-to-shooter loitering munitions, allowing forces in the front-line to independently locate time sensitive targets, and track and attack with pin-point precision. Each munition can handle different missions ranging from lightweight static or moving targets (such as light-duty vehicles and human targets) to larger fortified or heavily armored targets such as MBT (Main Battle Tank), enemy air defenses and other strategic objectives. The HERO series unique design enables the munitions to carry out pinpoint strikes in urban areas or remote locations, with minimal collateral damage. In cases where an attack is aborted, the systems can be recalled and another target selected. With extremely low noise and thermal signature, these systems integrate highly advanced, stabilized electro-optic day/night cameras, and are ideal for deployment from air, land and naval platforms.
According to Major General (Ret.) Avi Mizrachi, CEO of UVision, “the HERO Simulators increase the effectiveness of our systems while reducing the operating costs. All of the HERO Loitering Munition Systems meet a wide range of air, naval and ground forces requirements, thus ensuring combat superiority as well as survivability for even the most complex missions. Our latest field deployed simulator further enhances the reach-out of our systems and strengthens the proficiency and combat worthiness of the operators.”
At the show, UVision will display the Hero series of Loitering Munition Systems which provide the combat warrior with unique qualities to the modern battlefield by providing the tactical echelons with unprecedented precise lethal capabilities while minimizing sensor-to-shooter cycles and maintaining operational independence. Such advantages are truly “Battlefield Game Changers” which are recognized by major NATO military forces and leading operational customers worldwide, who use the HERO series in field operations.
Arnold Defense has manufactured more than 1.25 million 2.75-inch rocket launchers since 1961 for the U.S. Army, U.S. Navy, U.S. Air Force and many NATO customers. They are the world’s largest supplier of rocket launchers for military aircraft, vessels and vehicles. Core products include the 7-round M260 and 19-round M261 commonly used by helicopters; the thermal coated 7-round LAU-68 variants and LAU-61 Digital Rocket Launcher used by the U.S. Navy and Marines; and the 7-round LAU-131 and SUU-25 flare dispenser used by the U.S. Air Force and worldwide.
Today’s rocket launchers now include the ultra-light LWL-12 that weighs just over 60 pounds (27 kg.) empty and the new Fletcher (4) round launcher. Arnold Defense designs and manufactures various rocket launchers that can be customized for any capacity or form factor for platforms in the air, on the ground or even at sea.
Arnold Defense maintains the highest standards of production quality by using extensive testing, calibration and inspection processes.