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24 Sep 20. Boeing assembles team to bid for next-gen missile defense interceptor. Boeing has assembled a team with General Atomics Electromagnetic Systems and Aerojet Rocketdyne to bid to build the Missile Defense Agency’s Next Generation Interceptor (NGI).
The agency decided last year to scrap its plans to redesign the kill vehicle of its current Ground-Based Interceptors (GBI) that is part of the Ground-Based Midcourse Defense (GMD) system designed to defend the homeland against possible intercontinental ballistic missiles from North Korea and Iran.
The MDA is holding a competition instead to design a brand new interceptor for the GMD system.
The company has an extensive history with the GMD system in place at Fort Greely, Alaska, and Vandenberg Air Force Base, California, having held the development and sustainment contract for years. That contract is set to expire in 2023 and MDA is weighing options to break up that contract to foster competition that promotes increased capability.
“The Boeing-led team will deliver critical technology to enhance our homeland missile defense,” Norm Tew, Boeing Missile and Weapon Systems vice president, said in a Sept. 24 statement. “Combined, we bring decades of expertise in proven missile and weapon systems.”
An NGI “requires a new way of thinking supported by a proven ability to deliver pioneering solutions,” Scott Forney, president of GA-EMS, said in a separate company statement issued Sept. 24. “We are excited to partner with Boeing to deliver the disruptive technologies needed to help MDA rapidly deploy an interceptor system that bolsters the nation’s missile defense network and ensures that the U.S., our allies, and partner nations maintain military overmatch against ever evolving threats from adversaries.”
Aerojet Rocketdyne will supply the propulsion system. “As the country’s premier hit-to-kill propulsion provider, we’re able to deliver low-cost, high-performance systems by leveraging our skilled workforce and strategic investments in innovative technology and materials,” Eileen Drake, Aerojet Rocketdyne CEO, said in the Boeing statement.
Boeing reports the team submitted its NGI offering to MDA on Aug. 12.
Also according to the statement, Northrop Grumman will serve as a “component supplier” on the Boeing team.
Northrop is also teaming up separately with Raytheon to compete against the Boeing team and Lockheed Martin. Raytheon was the developer of the now-canceled RKV.
MDA aims to downselect to two companies later this year, who will then compete for the right to build the interceptor.
Proposals were due July 31, but MDA noted in its request for proposals that there may be some give in that schedule due to the ongoing COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic.
The agency requested $664.1m in fiscal year 2021 for the NGI program, as part of a $4.9bn five-year budget plan. (Source: Defense News)
24 Sep 20. USMC set to buy 300 XM914E1 cannons for MADIS Inc 1. The US Marine Corps is fleshing out plans to outfit a Joint Light Tactical Vehicle (JLTV) with a ground-based air-defence system and is now poised to buy 300 XM914E1 30 × 113 mm chain guns from Northrop Grumman.
In a recent public release the service announced the planned fiscal year (FY) 2021 buy for its Marine Air Defense Integrated System Increment 1 (MADIS Inc 1) effort.
“The XM914E1 provides a readily available, non-developmental solution that can be integrated within the size, weight, and power parameters of the remote weapon station (RWS) on the JLTV Heavy Guns Carrier (HGC), to include all electrical and mechanical interfaces,” the USMC wrote. “The XM914E1 is compatible with the MADIS Inc 1 command & control (C2) software baseline and is capable of firing 30 mm × 113 mm caliber rounds, to include the self-destruct and proximity rounds.”
Over the past few months, the USMC has unveiled various MADIS Inc 1 details and plans after determining that a version of Moog’s Reconfigurable Integrated-weapons Platform (RIwP) as too heavy for a JLTV. Following the decision, the service issued a request for information (RFI) seeking vendor feedback for MADIS Inc 1, and Kongsberg Defence & Aerospace, EOS Defense Systems, and Moog submitted their respective plans.
Janes first reported that the USMC ultimately picked Kongsberg’s Protector XM914 RWS.
“Kongsberg was notified on June 26 that they were selected to provide a final proposal,” a USMC spokesperson confirmed on 7 July. “Both EOS and Moog were notified that they were not selected.” (Source: Jane’s)
24 Sep 20. Boeing Partners with General Atomics, Aerojet Rocketdyne in Homeland Missile Defense Bid. Boeing [NYSE: BA] is teaming with General Atomics Electromagnetic Systems (GA-EMS) and Aerojet Rocketdyne in its bid to build the Next Generation Interceptor (NGI) for the U.S. Missile Defense Agency (MDA). The NGI is a key element of the MDA’s missile defense system, which is designed to intercept and destroy incoming intercontinental ballistic missiles.
“The Boeing-led team will deliver critical technology to enhance our homeland missile defense,” said Norm Tew, Boeing Missile and Weapon Systems vice president and general manager, and Huntsville site senior executive. “Combined, we bring decades of expertise in proven missile and weapon systems.”
On Aug. 12, the Boeing-General Atomics-Aerojet Rocketdyne team submitted an NGI offering that will improve performance and enhance the nation’s ability to defend against future threats.
GA-EMS has a long history of delivering missile technology and complex systems for critical national defense programs. “This partnership combines our legacies in innovation, bringing together new ideas to create an affordable and reliable solution to defend against emerging threats,” said Scott Forney, president of GA-EMS.
Aerojet Rocketdyne’s propulsion systems have powered the nation’s missile defense for decades. “As the country’s premier hit-to-kill propulsion provider, we’re able to deliver low-cost, high-performance systems by leveraging our skilled workforce and strategic investments in innovative technology and materials,” said Eileen Drake, Aerojet Rocketdyne CEO and president.
Northrop Grumman will serve as a component supplier on the Boeing-led team. A contract award is expected later this year.
22 Sep 20. Winter is Coming. Proper clothing is critical to assuring the ability of the soldier to operate in cold weather as experienced by these US Marines in the Mountain Warfare Training Center.
Climate change and the geographical struggle to control natural resources in cold environments has made the need to operate in extreme cold more likely.
There is renewed attention being given to conducting military operations in cold and extreme cold. This is partly due to a shift, more accurately a return, to geopolitical dynamics of the Cold War period. The reality is that conducting any type of operation, and especially combat, in cold weather involves specific challenges. It requires special training and equipment, as well as tactical and logistics considerations. Military history demonstrates that forces fighting in cold weather face not just the opposing army but also a ‘harsh winter’ opponent that can be merciless to both sides. The force most prepared for its conditions has a significant advantage. Those that are not will suffer.
Three particular areas in which special consideration must be given are the soldier’s personal equipment and uniforms, shelters, and vehicles.
Living and working in the cold requires personal gear specifically designed to accommodate the severe environment. For the soldier this is compounded by the possibility of being exposed to these conditions for extended periods. They face not only extreme temperatures but also chilling winds and rapidly changing ground conditions. The later can range from snow or ice to mud, each presenting its own burdens on the person, their well-being and ability to perform even routine tasks. Simple physical activity itself can be a threat to the soldier. Exertion results in perspiration, but when activity stops this moisture inside the clothing, socks and boots freezes. The risk of frostbite is a major concern and cold induced injuries can be as big a factor as combat casualties.
As Johan Dovemark, a product representative at Torraka, a leading uniform manufacturer in Sweden explained: “The basics for staying warm apply to anywhere when temperatures drop and the wind blows. Using a ‘layer method’ of dressing is more effective than a single bulky garment. Each layer has its own part to contribute, trapping insulating air as well as providing flexibility as conditions change.”
A typical ensemble starts with a close fitting foundation or base layer next to the skin which provides insulation and wicks away perspiration to maintain comfort. Polartec Power Dry Silkweight and Under Armour, two well known designers, both utilise the latest synthetic/micro-fibre technology materials to lightweight, comfort, and breathability. The next or mid- insulation layer is intended to be versatile with the ability to be easily removed or put on depending on exertion and weather. The shirts and pants, once more often wool, are now more commonly polypropylene and blends with knit fleece increasingly popular.
Use of “Layering” is common in all cold weather clothing. Military uniforms add the need to blend into the surroundings.
Michael Haas at WL Gore shared that “an often overlooked fact is that the most common reason people become cold is in not taking consideration of the effects of the wind. Ensuring an efficient windproof outer layer makes all the difference and can reduce the amount of clothing needed overall. This outer layer provides direct weather protection and must be windproof and may be waterproof. It can be simply a ‘shell’ or have additional insulation built in.” Gore-Tex has been a popular outer material since it is both wind and moisture proof yet still breathes. It does this by incorporating two layers an inner hydrophilic membrane that absorbs perspiration and transfers it by diffusion. Outside of this is a hydrophobic layer of micro porous polymer that resists the larger water droplets like rain but allows the smaller perspiration water vapour to exit. Materials with similar properties are Sympa Tex and eVent. This outer layer is also the ideal garment for introducing a camouflage pattern. This, as Henrik Ekersund sales manager at Sweden’s Taiga shared, “is more than just the visual pattern and colours but includes properties to defeat infrared and even thermal sensors.”
The final and equally essential task is protecting the extremities. The head, hands, fingers, toes, and feet including ankles, wrists and neck can get very cold very quickly. These areas lose heat easily and generate and retain heat poorly. For example the head can lose up to 20 percent of the body’s heat in cold weather. The quickest and simplest thing that can be done to warm up is to put on a hat. Here again wool and micro-fibre accessories are gaining preference. Fleece with fold down ear-flaps, balaclavas, and poly/wool knit hats are good. For both hands and feet a light first layer with wicking for the socks with an insulating layer and for the gloves a weatherproof outer layer are best. The inner glove allows undertaking detailed tasks. Neck covering is often over looked but use of scarves or a neck gaiter keeps snow and wind from entering the ensemble.
The soldiers’ boots are also important. Mukluks or Bunny Boots with soft insulated uppers, thick plastic soles and thick insoles to prevent heat loss to the snow and ice are popular. Though great at keeping one warm, they make walking laborious especially over rugged terrain. Alternatives suitable for less severe conditions include the Belleville 775 with water proof leather and nylon, Gore-Tex interior booties, and removable polyurethane insole. Danner’s 600 Gram boot is similar but includes a Thinsulate barrier and Vibram 1331 outer sole with wide lug for traction. The Gore-Tex intermediate cold/wet weather boot is designed for up to minus -12C (10 F). It is lighter and has Energy-Return soles providing more comfortable walking.
In cold weather operations having access to protection from dropping temperatures and wind can be as important as that against enemy bullets. The challenge is in designing a shelter that is not a burden to carry, easy to erect yet is durable enough too stand-up to the harshest conditions. Fortunately, the recreational camping and backpacking industry have a number of designs which are well suited to military use as well.
One example is the Extreme Cold Weather tent which was designed by North Face but now offered by Eureka! a division of Johnson Outdoor Gear. The company explains that “by using a tension pole support it is able to provide a clear 5.95m² (64ft²) with a bathtub floor sufficient for four soldiers. Set-up time for two soldiers is only five minutes.” The tent comes with both a woodland camouflage and Arctic white rain fly that also provide blackout. The fly adds another 2.8 cubic metres (30 cubic feet) for gear stowage. It can withstand 80km (50mph) winds and gusts to 104.6kmph (65mph) along with driven rain and snow accumulations. Still the tent is only 9.75kg (21lb) with a small carry volume.
Shelter from extreme cold temperatures and winds are essential when operating for prolonged periods in arctic like environments. The 10-man Arctic tent includes provisions for a stove, space for packs and wind/weather cove that also blends with the woodland or snow.
The US Marines have taken another path fielding a somewhat larger shelter that can accommodate fifteen the equivalent of a reinforced rifle squad. Designed by HDT Global the ArctiX offers 28.8m² (310ft²), can be set up in 20 minutes and withstand temperatures to -40C (-40F). The weather and wind resistant lightweight fabric liner breathes reducing internal moisture build-up. It has provisions for an internal space heater or ECU ducts. Both a woodland camouflage and Arctic white external rain/weather fly can be attached to the external aluminium frame.
The British Royal Marines, who have a large role on NATO’s northern flank utilise a four man Arctic tent. It includes a ‘porch’ that provides a sheltered space to remove wet boots and outer gear. It has two separated layers that reduce condensation and zipper and Velcro closures to keep wind out. With 46.45cum (500cuft) it weighs 10kg (22lb) and goes up in minutes allowing it to be used in even short overnight stays.
As anyone who has been travelling in a snow storm can attest it presents major difficulties and can halt all movement. Militaries must stay mobile despite snow, ice and extreme cold. For those where winters are extreme having special over snow vehicles is mandatory. The Canadian Defence Department for example has a total fleet of 963 snowmobiles and 310 small all-terrain vehicles.
It is not uncommon for armies to simply acquire and use commercially available vehicles. This is often the case with smaller vehicles like snow mobiles with Polaris, Yamaha, Bombardier and others all being used. However, there are desirable performance characteristics that would enhance their military utility. One of these is having a multi-fuel engine rather than gasoline which allows using the same fuel as all other military vehicles. DEW Engineering has developed its D900 militarised diesel snowmobile. The Canadian Forces have purchased an initial twenty with an option for twenty more. Another Canadian Forces project is to develop a ‘stealth” snowmobile. In fact, the objective is to provide a snowmobile that is quieter to allow it to be used more discreetly and not give away its position to an enemy. A prototype of this hybrid-electric snowmobile (codename Loki) has been conducting trial runs to test its speed, noise level, battery endurance and acceleration.
The Russian military has also shown its snowmobiles designed for military use by the firm Russkaya Mekhanika. It is understood that these machines weighing 430kg (705lb) and designated the Berkut-2 or TTM190-40 could be carried by helicopter. They use a 65hp engine, have an enclosed two man cab, self-sealing fuel tanks, and can mount either a machine gun or automatic grenade launcher. The later would be manned by soldier on the rear deck. It has a 300kg payload, can pull a special 300kg ski-trailer, and has a 0.06kg/sq cm ground pressure. It was seen being used in Arctic exercises in January 2019.
Russian arctic units have introduced the Berkut-2 a specially designed snowmobile with a two person enclosed heated cabin and roof mounted machine gun manned by a soldier on an open rear platform. They also can pull sleds or ski troopers.
Moving soldier, weapons and supplies demands larger vehicles which still must have the ability to travel over deep snow, ice and cross-country. The Bv206 from BAE Hagglunds has filled this role for at least twenty-six militaries since the mid-1970s. It has two sections connected with an articulated coupling that assures ground contact even in rough terrain. Its wide tracks and low ground pressure allow it to travel on top of the snow as well as soft ground and bogs. Its configurations include logistics, personnel, ambulance (including an armoured version), command and even weapons carrier. BAE has replaced this offering with the BvS10 which is larger, has a more powerful Cummins 5.9 litre engine, improved drive train, higher 65km top speed, and 5000kg payload. It is also offered in an armoured (Viking) and unarmoured (Beowulf) versions. It is in service with the United Kingdom, France, Austria, Sweden, and the Netherlands.
The BAE Hagglunds BV-206 has been one of the most widely used over-snow vehicles employed by over 26 militaries plus other government agencies and industry. BAE is now offering its BvS Beowolf using the latest automotive technology to replace it. Low ground pressure allows it to travel on top of even deep snow to transport supplies, troops, evacuate casualties or a platform for special tasks.
Another articulated over-snow vehicle comes from Finland’s Sisu Auto. Its Nasu is powered at all four rubber tracks and has a GM 6.2 l V-8 diesel engine. The vehicle itself has a 1,950kg (4,229lb) payload while it is also able to pull a 2,500kg (5,512lb) trailer behind the rear unit. In addition to personnel, signals, and logistic versions Nasu is provided as a TOW missile and 120mm mortar carrier and in an armoured version which is used in United Nations operations.
For the Russian military, being able to operate in cold weather given the severity of its winters is a normal function. It has also organised Arctic Brigades specifically for operating in these regions. It is therefore not surprising that they have fielded several over-snow vehicles. Their Vityaz family are similar to the BV206 using an articulated configuration. The DT-10PM has a cab for five and cargo areas for up to 10,000kg. It can operate in temperatures to -50C (-58F). A larger DT-30 with 30,000kg payload has also been utilised as the platform for mobile ground air defence systems which were fielded in 2018. Both Vityaz are much larger than Western fielded vehicles and are designed primarily for logistics support across extended distances typical of the Russian northern steppes and tundra.
A New Cold Front
The renewed focus on the northern flank and near Arctic territories and the natural resources there is linked to the increased accessibility of the region given climate change. Russia has moved to exert its claims including standing up special Arctic Brigades and building northern bases. In response the Canadian Forces and both US Army and Marines have stepped up their own attention to preparing for operations in these environments. They are, for example, looking at over-snow vehicles to replace their ageing fleet of BV206s. In addition, winter exercises including those with northern NATO allies have been again regularly scheduled. These moves are timely but may need even further emphasis since, as history illustrates, being prepared for the challenges of warfare in extreme cold weather is critical to not just success but survival. (Source: Armada)
23 Sep 20. India’s DRDO successfully test-fires indigenous laser-guided anti-tank missile. India’s government-run Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) successfully test-fired a locally developed laser-guided anti-tank missile from an Arjun main battle tank (MBT) on 22 September.
The weapon, which was fired from the Arjun’s 120 mm rifled gun at one of the firing ranges belonging to the Armoured Corps Centre and School (ACCS) in Ahmednagar, western India, destroyed its intended target located at a distance of 3 km after locking onto it with its laser designator, the Indian government’s Press Information Bureau (PIB) said in a 23 September statement.
The PIB stated that the newly developed missile, which is currently undergoing technical evaluation trials, is armed with a tandem high-explosive anti-tank (HEAT) warhead that can penetrate armoured vehicles, including those fitted with explosive reactive armour (ERA).
It also noted that the missile has been developed for use with multiple Indian Army (IA) platforms, but provided no further details as to whether these platforms would be other tanks capable of firing the weapon from their main guns, or whether the platforms will be equipped with specifically designed launchers. (Source: Defense News)
22 Sep 20. Philippine Navy arms anti-submarine helicopters with Spike NLOS, Blue Shark weapons. The Philippine Navy has opted to arm its two Leonardo AW159 Lynx Wildcat anti-submarine warfare (ASW) helicopters with Spike NLOS air-to-surface missiles, and Blue Shark lightweight torpedoes.
The weapons fit was confirmed by Philippine Navy chief Vice-Admiral Giovanni Carlo Bacordo in comments made to the country’s official news agency, PNA, on 18 September. The weapons were delivered in fourth quarter 2019, the admiral added.
Powered by a solid propellant motor, the Spike NLOS flies at a height of about 2,000 m to achieve its maximum range of up to 30 km. The missile is fitted with a penetration, blast, and fragmentation (PBF) warhead and it can be set to detonate with either impact or time-delay fuses.
Meanwhile, the Blue Shark is a 324 mm torpedo that was jointly developed by South Korea’s Agency for Defense Development (ADD) and LIG Nex1. Details of the weapon are scarce, but it is believed to be capable of speeds in excess of 45 kt, and a range of more than 9,000 m.
The Philippine government signed a PHP5.4 billion (USD110 million) contract signed with Leonardo for two AW159s in 2016. The aircraft were commissioned in June 2019 and now operate with the Naval Air Wing’s Squadron MH-40 at the Danilo Atienza Air Base.
The aircraft’s crew are currently still undergoing training. Once fully operational, the helicopters will serve alongside the navy’s two Jose Rizal-class frigates, the first of which, BRP Jose Rizal (150), was commissioned in July 2020. Its sister ship, which will be in service as BRP Antonio Luna. (Source: Defense News)
23 Sep 20. Swedish Navy Trials Next Generation Torpedo. One of the test firings of the new Saab Lightweight Torpedo (Torpedo 47) from a Swedish Royal Navy Visby-class Corvette earlier this year.
Both the Swedish Royal Navy and the Finnish Navy are anticipating the arrival of a new generational torpedo designed for the challenging waters of the Baltic Sea.
The Swedish Defence Procurement agency FMV and the Swedish Royal Navy (RSwN) have just assisted Saab in trailing its new Saab Lightweight Torpedo (SLWT) from a Gotland-class submarine and from a Visby-class corvette. The tests were conducted during February and March 2020 at sea ranges outside Karlskrona, on Sweden’s east coast in the Baltic Sea.
Both the Swedish Royal Navy and the first foreign customer, the Finnish Navy, have contracted Saab to provide them with a modern, digital homing and wire guided torpedo. The RSwN needs a replacement for its Torpedo 45 currently in service, while the Finnish Navy made a decision to bring back torpedoes as weapons for its four upgraded Hamina-class fast attack craft as well as the new Pohjanmaa-class corvettes of the Squadron 2020 Programme. These ships are due to be constructed between 2022-2025 with first sea trials beginning in 2024. The full Squadron is scheduled to be operational by 2028. The RSwN’s two A26 submarines are scheduled for delivery by 2025.
Both the current Swedish Royal Navy Gotland-class submarines and the new Blekinge class submarines (A26) will deploy with the new lightweight torpedo.
Magnus Lind, project manager NLT (TS47), Swedish Defence Materiel Administration (Försvarets materielverk/FMV) said that work had begun on the new Torpedo 47 back in 2014. Although the RSwN is a proficient operator of anti-submarine warfare (ASW), Lind said that research and technology studies were still conducted on how the new Torpedo 47 would be integrated onboard a surface vessel, a submarine as well as being dropped from a helicopter.
Anne-Marie Vösu, vice president and head of Business Unit Underwater Systems, Saab, said that these first test conducted during exercise conditions from a corvette and a submarine were a major milestone in the development of this next generation torpedo. It is a littoral weapon, specifically designed for the shallow Baltic Sea and to be used with an Integrated Total Engagement Control (ITEC) system. The torpedo then uses an active/passive homing system to detect, classify, track and engage its target.
Saab’s Lightweight Torpedo incorporates a digital homing system, which offers both fire-and-forget and wire-guided operation to locate and destroy the target.
Lind revealed that the trails were basically proof of concept tests where the torpedo had been launched successfully both from on top of, and under, the sea. “We got a lot of data from exercise and we are now in the last stages of the development programme. Earlier land based trails have already been conducted to ensure that the customer’s requirements were being met and progress was on schedule. In addition to the actual weapon, other elements of the total system design include the interface with the host vessel, the launch unit and the communications through which the torpedo will be wire-guided to its target.
Lind said that the tests conducted in these final phases of the development would lead into production with the weapons ready for operational deployment on the corvettes by late 2022 and in submarines early the following year. Before then however, there will be more sea trials which will be conducted from naval vessels, operational and maintenance training, and finally acceptance from the customer. Once in service, the RSwN intends to use the Torpedo 47 onboard the modified Gotland class submarines, the new coming Blekinge class submarines (A26) and the Visby-class corvettes.
Lieutenant Commander (LtCdr) Anders Hecker, Commanding Officer of HSwMS Helsingborg (K32, a Visby-class corvette) said that good sensors and torpedo guidance were crucial in the difficult waters of the Baltic Sea. He said that the Torpedo 47 represented a “continuation of a concept , modern but based on what we currently use.” Crucially it will have a wider speed range, better endurance and therefore longer range, he added. The RSwN has conducted over 2,000 shots of Torpedo 45, with operational knowledge gained being fed back into Saab’s Next Generation weapon.
According to Lind, two of the most important challenges in developing the torpedo was the challenging environment in which it will operate, as well as the safety concerns specific to the different surface and sub-surface platforms.
Feasibility studies were conducted during 2015-16 into the use of the Torpedo 45 from a helicopter, but a requirement and integration plan still needs to be formulated. (Source: Armada)
22 Sep 20. UAE’s Caracal proposes to make carbines in India. UAE-based arms manufacturer Caracal has reportedly forwarded a proposal to manufacture carbines in India reiterating its commitment to a pending deal. UAE-based arms manufacturer Caracal has reportedly forwarded a proposal to manufacture carbines in India reiterating its commitment to a pending deal. The company was selected in 2018 to deliver more than 90,000 carbines for the Indian Army. However, defined at that time as a ‘fast track’ contract, the deal stalled after the authorities started planning to develop the weapons locally. According to a PTI report, Caracal has offered a proposal to manufacture CAR 816 assault rifles in India to support the ‘Make in India’ initiative.
In a statement, Caracal was quoted by the news agency as saying: “Caracal has already identified the required land, facility and local partners to be able to commence production immediately.
“Over 20% of the components fitted on the CAR 816 are already made in India, with Caracal now making commitment to fully manufacture the rifles in (the) country, in alignment with the ‘Make in India’ initiative.”
This comes after reports indicated that the Indian Government may have cancelled the contract to launch a new procurement process.
The PTI report said that Caracal can also transfer the necessary technology to support the manufacturing process.
Caracal statement further added: “The company already surpassed global competitors in terms of performance and technicalities to win the bid two years ago, and now confirms its readiness to service the fast track order from India within 12 months.”
However, the Indian side is yet to officially respond to Caracal’s offer.
Recently, India said that its Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) has formed eight advanced technology centres to research on futuristic military applications. (Source: army-technology.com)
21 Sep 20. Image suggests PLAAF is operating GB 100 precision-guided bomb. A photograph has emerged on the WeChat social media account of the Western Theatre Command of China’s People’s Liberation Army Air Force (PLAAF) suggesting that the service has inducted a new 130 kg precision-guided bomb into service. Posted on 17 September as part of an article on a PLAAF exercise the image shows what appear to be two Tiange GB 100 bombs being loaded onto a JH-7A fighter-bomber. No further details were provided about the weapon, which was first displayed to the public at the Airshow China 2014 defence exhibition in Zhuhai as part of the Tiange series of precision-guided bombs. The Tiange series is produced by the China North Industries Group Corporation (Norinco), and includes the GB 500 bomb, which has been in PLAAF-service since 2017 as the JG-500B. (Source: Jane’s)
21 Sep 20. BAE Systems has been awarded a contract worth up to £87m by the US Department of Defense (DoD) to manufacture and deliver Archerfish mine neutralisers for the US Navy. This is the fourth consecutive Archerfish contract awarded to BAE Systems since 2003 and will see the Company deliver to the US Navy over the next seven years.
Archerfish is a remote-controlled underwater mine neutraliser that can be launched and operated from a surface ship, helicopter or an unmanned underwater vehicle (UUV). Its fibre optic data link relays real-time, high resolution, low-light video and high frequency sonar pictures of targets of interest from its on-board sensors. The design reduces the time it takes to identify and neutralise targets, meaning clearance missions can be completed more quickly. Archerfish also protects personnel by eliminating the need to put divers into the water.
Archerfish is used by the US Navy’s MH-60S Helicopter squadrons (AN/ASQ-235) as part of the Airborne Mine Neutralisation capability, deployed from the Littoral Combat Ship.
Under the new contract Archerfish will continue to support the US Navy in live mine clearance operations and also provide capability to conduct training exercises between now and 2027.
The contract also includes the supply of fibre optic spool kits, support equipment, surveys, repairs and programme management and support, which will be provided by the Archerfish project team based in Portsmouth, UK.
Dr Brooke Hoskins, Director of Products and Training Services for BAE Systems’ Maritime Services business, said: “This contract builds on our strong partnership with the US Navy which has seen BAE Systems supporting its minesweeping operations for almost two decades. Archerfish not only helps to keep sailors safer, it also reduces the number and cost of mine clearance missions. Its world-leading capability and outstanding service with the US Navy makes Archerfish a highly attractive proposition to other major naval forces around the world.”
Developed by BAE Systems under its own investment, Archerfish draws on the Company’s extensive expertise in underwater effectors. Archerfish uses a flexible, open architecture command and control system that can be operated on its own or integrated into a higher-level command management structure. Wireless communications mean it can be deployed remotely.
Investments continue to be made to enhance Archerfish to meet future mine countermeasure challenges and reduce the through-life cost of the system. Innovative fusing will allow it to be recovered and reused and an automatic target recognition function is being developed that will allow concurrent multi-shot Archerfish operations, enabling mines to be neutralised in waves.
Archerfish is manufactured in the UK at BAE Systems’ Broad Oak facility in Portsmouth, Hampshire, and Hillend facility in Dunfermline, Fife. The contract with the US Department of Defense secures 30 highly skilled jobs in BAE Systems in Portsmouth and Fife and further jobs in the UK supply chain.
17 Sep 20. Chosen for its durability and high-performance characteristics, CORDURA® NYCO fabric is being used to produce the next generation of highly advanced uniforms for the Royal Marines Commandos, designed and manufactured by Crye Precision and distributed by Level Peaks in a contract with the NATO Support and Procurement Agency. The UK’s renowned Royal Marines Commandos are one of the toughest and most elite forces in the world, operating from polar regions to the tropics and every place in between. From their daring raids on occupied-Europe during World War II, right up to the present day, they have been the spearhead for military action on a global scale and their exploits have won them an awesome and well-deserved reputation.
So, as you would expect, to get the right to wear the famous ‘green beret’ their new recruits undergo one of the most gruelling selection ordeals you could imagine. And the same exacting standards were applied to the CORDURA® fabric used in the new uniforms they are now being issued with as part of the Future Commando Force initiative. The CORDURA® brand takes quality assessment to punishing extremes – with fabric test procedures that include aggressive abrasion testing to push durability to the limit.
This is the key strength of the new uniform which comprises individual Combat and Field ensembles all made from Crye Precision’s comfort weave MultiCam® VTX Ripstop stretch CORDURA® NYCO fabric using INVISTA’s T420HT high tenacity nylon 6,6 fibre blended with cotton. CORDURA® NYCO fabric offers long-lasting comfort and performance for the wearer. The uniform is printed with Crye Precision’s MultiCam® camo pattern by 1947 LLC through an exclusive international manufacturing license agreement.
Along with delivering the enhanced durability required for the Commandos in action, this fabric is a foundation for a new uniform that is lighter weight, has comfort stretch, has higher tear-strength, is faster-drying and is more breathable than typical 50/50 nylon/cotton uniform kit. Meaning it can be trusted and relied on in the most extreme and hostile environments on earth – from frozen wastes to jungle and deserts.
Crye Precision, the ultimate specialist in combat apparel
The Royal Marines uniform has been designed and engineered by a company with unrivalled in-depth knowledge of the specific demands of combat and tactical operations. Crye Precision are the ultimate specialists in their field and work closely with global military professionals to develop new and technically superior generations of combat apparel and related kit incorporating unique technologies.
Why did they choose CORDURA® fabric? Gregg Thompson, Co-Founder Crye Precision, sums it up this way: “The next generation uniform is always our focus, and the fabric is always the starting point. We need people who understand what we’re trying to do. Who are willing to partner with us to help us get there. For us, CORDURA® is that partner. They set the technical standard and pretty much our entire line has some kind of CORDURA® element in it. It’s so reliable, it just performs in every situation.”
Level Peaks – meeting NATO’s needs
The new uniforms are supplied by Level Peaks under its five-year contract with the NATO Support and Procurement Agency. This British company describes its central objective as the introduction of more effective, integrated uniform systems. Jim Clarke- Programme Director for Level Peaks says:
“We are very excited by this initiative. With Crye Precision’s world leading designs and CORDURA® fabric technology we are able to supply troops with a solution that is lighter, stronger and more comfortable. It will be worn by troops rapidly deployed to war zones, combat missions, commando raids, or providing humanitarian assistance”
1947 LLC – Full-service military solution provider
The Crye MultiCam® VTX printed fabric is exclusively supplied by 1947 LLC who are a full-service textile solution provider specializing in military, tactical, and industrial products. 1947 LLC have worked with Crye Precision since the pattern was originally developed and are extremely pleased and proudly support this opportunity to introduce this new and innovative fabric into the European theatre for the NATO forces. Ben Galpen co-Founder of 1947 LLC says: “Entering into a new market is always exciting for our company but this is especially rewarding as we are honoured to support NATO and its mission.”
CORDURA® NYCO, the fighting fabric
CORDURA® NYCO intimate blend nylon/cotton technology was specifically created for military and tactical applications and has a 40-year heritage of success and proven performance in the field. The current range of innovative fabrics based on NYCO technology includes Crye’s NATO selected VTX Stretch Ripstop. The Crye MultiCam® VTX NYCO stretch mobility fabric is powered by INVISTA’s latest high tenacity fibre technology – Type 420HT – for the ultimate in lightweight strength, comfort and enhanced durability.
Allen Mortimer Military EMEA director for INVISTA CORDURA® concludes:
“Through close consultation with military experts – including experienced veterans – we are constantly evolving CORDURA® fabrics to face new scenarios in different theatres of conflict. We’re proud to know that this fabric now provides NATO troops with a tougher way to handle the toughest missions – and we salute the Royal Marines as the first unit to lead the way forward”.
18 Sep 20. Short-range air defense is making a comeback. Recent events in the Middle East have led some to wonder how countries, including Israel, can protect their own strategic installations. Israel’s adversaries, such as Hezbollah chief Hassan Nasrallah, have threatened to strike sensitive Israeli targets. Saudi Arabia absorbed a painful strike in September 2019 when an Iranian drone swarm combined with cruise missiles struck oil fields, causing heavy damage.
The attack on Saudi Arabia is the latest tangible example of the evolving threat: precision-guided, sophisticated enemy air attacks.
Each country designates its own strategic sites for special defense. They range from nuclear power plants to air force bases to Olympic stadiums. And the hardening of defenses around strategic sites was especially prominent until around three decades ago.
At that time, attackers using close-range munitions had to approach a given site in order to attack it. Visual contact was often required, and simple air-to-ground munitions would suffice for an attack. Defense systems of that time were similarly simplistic.
Air force bases might be protected by a 40mm anti-aircraft cannon, for example, in order to prevent a direct attack on a runway. That same concept would be applied to any sites deemed critical by a state. In addition to being limited in range, though, such defenses required many munitions and high numbers of personnel.
The 1980s and 1990s witnessed a revolution in the world of weaponry. Precision, long-range (standoff) munitions entered the battle arenas, and close-range air defenses became largely obsolete. Once attackers no longer needed proximity to their targets, close-range defenses could neither hit the longer-range munitions nor their launchers.
But over the past decade, we have seen the addition of GPS-guidance systems to those munitions. The advent of this technology, combined with the overall revolution of the ’80s and ’90s, has heightened the need for states to return to close-range air defenses — but in a new configuration.
With the Iron Dome and the Drone Dome defense systems, Israel has pioneered that return because it has had to do so. It is able to effectively defend against very short-range threats. Drone Dome, for example, can detect threats at a distance of 3.5 kilometers.
Additional systems are now in the pipeline. Small, affordable interceptor missiles and laser beam defenses are the answers to the new categories of close-range threats seen around the world, including gliding bombs, cruise missiles and drones.
In 2019, the Iranians proved that if they have intelligence on their target and the ability to send munitions to the “blind spot” of radars, attacks can be successful.
That attack should serve as a “wake-up call” for countries around the world. If states want to protect strategic sites, radars that look in every direction, 360 degrees, 24 hours a day, are needed.
Effective new defense systems must now be multidirectional in their detection of incoming threats, a response to the enemy’s ability to turn, steer and evade radar coverage and detection. That coverage must be combined with multiple layers of defense, including defense mechanisms very close to the asset being defended.
Examples of what is now needed for strategic sites’ defenses are already evident in the realm of military vehicles. The Israel Defense Forces installed the Trophy defense system on a growing number of tanks and armored personnel carriers as a result of a series of incidents in Lebanon and Gaza.
Airframes also need such systems, as the downing of an Israeli transport helicopter by Hezbollah in the Second Lebanon War demonstrated, as do ships — and so too do strategic assets.
The age-old military axiom asserts that lines of defense will always be breached. As such, we must develop the maximum number of opportunities for interception possible.
Longer-range air defense systems, such as the Patriot, David’s Sling or the S-400 can intercept threats at tens or hundreds of kilometers away. But today, because state enemies can bypass long-range defenses, countries must always have the ability to directly intercept the actual munitions.
Without close-defense capabilities forming part of a country’s multilayer defense systems, strategic sites are simply not adequately protected. In the context of multilayer defense development and deployment around strategic sites and sensitive targets, Israel has taken on the role of global leader. In 2020, short-range air defenses are making a comeback, and this time they are set to remain as a permanent fixture.
Retired Brig. Gen. Shachar Shohat served as a chief commander of the Israel Air Defense Forces and a publishing expert at The MirYam Institute. (Source: Defense News)
21 Sep 20. Romania receives first shipment of Patriot missiles. Romania has received the first batch of Patriot surface-to-air missiles from the US. Romania has received the first batch of Patriot surface-to-air missiles from the US. According to a Reuters report, the induction of the missile system will help Romania enhance its air defences as it seeks to upgrade its weaponry to Nato standards.
Romania has already decided to increase defence spending to 2% of its gross domestic product (GDP), as suggested by the US to all Nato members to combat external threats.
At the receipt ceremony of Patriot missiles, Romanian Prime Minister Ludovic Orban said: “Romania decided to carry out an army endowment programme for ten years, which was adopted and basically stipulates that we need to strengthen our capabilities, especially in the defence area.
“Romania decided to meet its commitment and earmark 2% of its GDP to defence, to achieve this endowment programme. As part of the endowment programme, the Patriot missile system is extremely important. It’s a surface-to-air missile system of unprecedented complexity and technological level and with exceptional results proved in combat actions.
“Romania is safer with this Patriot missile system on its territory and the Romanian citizens better defended.”
Patriot is a long-range air defence system designed to intercept ballistic missiles, cruise missiles and advanced aircraft.
It is produced by Raytheon and Lockheed Martin Missiles and Fire Control.
In March, Raytheon received a $551m contract to supply the Patriot air and missile defence system to Bahrain. (Source: army-technology.com)
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.