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07 Oct 21. Israel-Singapore missile JV secures Estonia as launch customer for Blue Spear. Proteus Advanced Systems, a joint venture (JV) between Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) and Singapore’s ST Engineering Land Systems, has secured a contract with the Estonian Centre for Defence Investment (ECDI) to supply the Estonian Defence Forces with Blue Spear (5G SSM) missile systems. Following a tender process, ECDI announced on 6 October that it has selected Proteus Advanced Systems to enhance Estonian coastal defence capabilities with land-based Blue Spear missile systems. According to ECDI, the project will be the most complex Estonian defence procurement effort to date and will be carried out under tight timescales. Proteus Advanced Systems General Manager, Ron Tryfus, said in a joint statement that the Blue Spear missile leverages on IAI’s years of experience in missile development with successful designs such as the Gabriel missile family. The Blue Spear, Tryfus noted, is a next-generation system that is an “advanced member of the Gabriel missile heritage”.
“The chosen weapon system will form the cornerstone of Estonian naval defence for decades to come,” said Commodore Jüri Saska, commander of the Estonian Navy. “[The] Estonian Navy will be able to contribute significantly both to national, regional and collective defence effort.”
The Gabriel missile family has entered service with the Israeli Navy and several other navies around the world. The sea skimming missile has evolved over the years since the first model – Gabriel I – was introduced in the 1960s. The latest version, understood to be designated the Gabriel V/Advanced Naval Attack Missile (ANAM), resembles the US-made RGM-84 Harpoon ASM and has been selected by the Finnish Navy in July 2018 as a replacement for its ageing MTO 85M (Saab RBS15) missiles. According to the JV, the Blue Spear missile system is an advanced all-weather precision weapon which can operate in day and night conditions and is designed for engaging beyond line-of mobile and stationary targets at ranges of up to 290 km at sea. The high-subsonic missile can be launched from different land-based platforms and uses an active radar-homing seeker coupled with INS-based navigation capabilities, as well as other technologies that render it “immune to GPS disruptions”.
ST Engineering announced on 15 July 2020 that its land systems division has signed an agreement with IAI to set up a joint venture in Singapore to market and sell naval missile systems, including a next-generation anti-ship missile system. Both companies each hold a 50 percent stake.The new joint venture will not be the first of such companies to be set up in Singapore. ST Engineering had earlier announced in July 1999 that it will partner with Israel’s Rafael Advanced Defense Systems to set up Smart Systems, which is presently the prime contractor for the local manufacture, supply, and maintenance of the Spike anti-armour missile for the Singapore Armed Forces. (Source: AMR)
08 Oct 21. Poland Kicks Off Homegrown SHORAD System: Narew. The new system, which could cost between $12 and $17bn, will be almost entirely homegrown – a major impact on Polish industry.
During the 29th International Defense Industry Exhibition (MSPO) the Polska Grupa Zbrojeniowa (PGZ) consortium signed what may be the most important contract in the history of the Polish defense industry — a framework agreement for the acquisition of a short-range air defense missile system under the code-name “Narew.”
Underlining the significance of the signing was the presence of Polish president Andrzej Duda and Minister of National Defense Mariusz Błaszczak, who blessed the new agreement.
Duda declared the contracts a sign of “further progress in the modernization of the Polish Armed Forces,” calling it the “largest and most complex contract in the history of Polish Armed Forces — dozens of billions of zlotys and a total of almost 400 launchers.” He also noted the potential economic impact on a variety of Polish firms who could take part in the Narew project in the coming years.
Among the members of the consortium are Huta Stalowa Wola, Jelcz, Mesko, Ośrodek Badawczo-Rozwojowy Centrum Techniki Morskiej, PCO, PIT-Radwar, Wojskowe Zakłady Łączności Nr 1, Wojskowe Zakłady Uzbrojenia, Wojskowe Zakłady Elektroniczne and Zakłady Mechaniczne Tarnów – a broad coalition that shows how important Narew will be to the Polish deomstic defense industry.
To be clear, there is a long way to go before anything comes of Narew. This signing was just the starting point to define the terms and conditions for granting and completing implementation procurements.
The scope of the executory agreements involves the development and delivery of components and subsystems for 23 systems, including technology and technical expertise acquisition, industrial capacity development, project management, and system integration. The adopted formula — with a framework agreement that serves as an umbrella for a number of smaller deals — aims to minimize the risk and allow optimization of program management, both for the military and industry.
The estimated value of the contract is 50-70 billion zlotys, roughly a $12.5 to $17.6 billion range. According to Poland’s MND, signing contracts with suppliers of individual elements of the system should end in 2023. The goal is to integrate Narew capabilities with existing Polish radar systems as well as the Patriot systems already procured from the US.
Overall, Narew will consist of newly-procured vehicles; engagement control stations; engagement operation centers; EO systems; mobile communication nodes; a multimode fire control radar called “Sajna,” which serves as an early warning radar with passive coherent location and passive emitter tracking capabilities; as well as air defense missiles and launchers, which will be acquired from a foreign partner under the technology transfer.
While that foreign partner has not been selected, it is expected that MBDA will push to provide the missiles and launchers for the system. America’s Raytheon Technologies, Norway’s Kongsberg Defence and Aerospace, and Israel’s Rafael and Israel Aerospace Industries are also expected to be in the mix.
According to the schedule, the first live firing of the Narew system elements is to take place in 2026. As designed, Narew will replace three aging capabilities with one new system: the Army’s obsolete 2K12 Kub (SA-6 Gainful) mobile surface-to-air missile system and 9K33 Osa (SA-8 Gecko) mobile, low-altitude, short-range tactical surface-to-air missile system, along with the Air Force’s Newa SC (SA-3 Goa) surface-to-air missile system.
The basic task of the Narew system will be protection of the Polish Armed Forces units and facilities and air bases, complementing the Wisła (Patriot) medium range air defense and anti-ballistic missile system, to create a national, allied and coalition air defense system in all-weather, day and night conditions. The Narew system will be used primarily to engage multi-role aircraft, cruise missiles and UAVs operating on low altitudes.
“Building an air and missile defense system, identified as a priority in the National Security Strategy, is a nationwide task. We are proud that the implementation of another strategic project has been entrusted to the Polish defense industry. Today our companies also obtained other contracts, which confirm the significant role of PGZ in the system of modernization and maintenance of weaponry and military equipment of the Polish Armed Forces,” said Sebastian Chwałek, president of the Management Board of PGZ. (Source: Breaking Defense.com)
08 Oct 21. Cockerill 1030 medium calibre turret completes company trials. John Cockerill Defense’s private venture Cockerill 1030 medium calibre turret (MCT) carried out company trials installed on a Pandur 8×8 armoured personnel carrier at a firing range in the UK, the company said.
Simon Haye, chief marketing officer at the Belgian company, told Janes the testing was “successful with very good accuracy results in all four firing modes – static/static, mobile/static, static/mobile, and mobile/mobile”. The Cockerill 1030 MCT is a “modular and upgradable MCT” meant to fit varying customer requirements, the company said. The standard turret structure is of all-welded aluminium armour construction that can be fitted with a tailored applique armour package of up to STANAG 4569 Level 4 ballistic protection.
The baseline turret weighs 1,500 kg, meant to enable integration on a range of platforms, including unmanned ground vehicles. Turret traverse is all electric through 360 degrees with elevation also all electric from -10 to 70 degrees. It has a crew of two and is armed with a stabilised Northrop Grumman 30×173 mm MK44(S) dual-feed cannon, provided with 150–200 rounds of ready-use ammunition. A 7.62 mm co-axial machine gun is mounted to the right, and banks of electrically operated smoke grenade launchers can be fitted. Other weapon fits are possible if required by the customer, including a pod of anti-tank guided weapons. The turret is fitted with a John Cockerill Defense computerised fire-control system that includes a mast-mounted meteorological sensor, coupled to a French SAFRAN stabilised roof-mounted panoramic sighting system with day/thermal channels and an eye-safe laser rangefinder. The gunner also has a stabilised day/thermal sighting system and eye-safe laser rangefinder. (Source: Jane’s)
07 Oct 21. Australian Army personnel complete Boxer turret conversion courses. Armoured cavalry crew have secured new qualifications on Army’s next-generation combat vehicles.
Thirty-five armoured cavalry crew are now qualified to operate new digital sensors, thermal sights and mission systems fixed to turrets on Army’s next-generation Boxer combat reconnaissance vehicles (CRV), after completing two conversion courses in Queensland.
The courses, which form part of the Commonwealth government’s LAND 400 Phase 2 project, aim to support the 2nd/14th Light Horse Regiment (Queensland Mounted Infantry) Australian Light Armoured Vehicle crew’s transition to the Boxer fleet.
The conversion courses were developed as part of a collaboration between the Australian Army, the Capability Acquisition and Sustainment Group and LAND 400 Phase 2 prime contractor Rheinmetall Defence Australia.
“Together, we have trained the first generation of Boxer commanders and gunners in remarkably short timeframes, despite the challenges of COVID-19. Overall the vehicle performed above expectations,” Commanding Officer of 2nd/14th Light Horse Regiment, Lieutenant Colonel Tom McDermott, said.
“The accuracy of the MK30 cannon and co-axial machine-gun is very impressive.”
The 2nd/14th Light Horse Regiment has also conducted live fire exercises in the Townsville Field Training Area since the Boxer CRV’s introduction.
The exercises have involved target practice with the MAG-58 Machine Gun, digitised 30mm turret training, and the firing of smoke canisters from the Boxer’s Grenade Launching System.
Since commencing the exercises, 2nd/14th Light Horse Regiment is estimated to have fired over 7,800 rounds of 30mm ammunition and a further 35,000 rounds of 7.62mm through the coaxial machine gun.
Officer Commanding A Squadron, Major Dan Solomon, lauded the vehicle’s weapons systems.
“The Boxer combat reconnaissance vehicle is far more capable, mobile, better protected and enabled than the Australian Light Armoured Vehicle it is replacing,” he said.
“With the increased range of the gun and greater optics package in the turret, the lethality is far greater, allowing us to achieve greater stand-off from our targets.
“The Boxer combat reconnaissance vehicle is on its way to being one of the greatest armoured fighting vehicles in the world, and it’s a privilege to be part of the journey of the Boxer’s introduction into use.”
This latest development comes just a week after Rheinmetall Defence Australia subcontracted Thales Australia to manufacture critical weapons components for the fleet.
Specifically, Thales is expected to leverage its Australian supplier base to deliver components for the Boxer’s MK 30-2 cannon, which will then be assembled at RDA’s Military Vehicle Centre of Excellence in Redbank, Queensland. Thales has commenced production of the 30mm cannon components, leveraging the support of 16 current and new Australian SME suppliers, with approximately 50 per cent of the work to be completed by local SME. (Source: Defence Connect)
07 Oct 21. ‘Dark Eagle’ has landed: US Army finishes equipping first unit with hypersonic capability — minus the missiles. The U.S. Army has completed its delivery of the first hypersonic weapon capability to a unit two days ahead of deadline, according to service officials from the Rapid Capabilities and Critical Technologies Office. Those officials were on the ground at Joint Base Lewis-McChord in Washington state as the unit unloaded the last of the trucks containing equipment for the battery.
The I Corps’ 5th Battalion, 3rd Field Artillery Regiment, 17th Field Artillery Brigade received the first equipment for the battery in March 2021 — consisting of two training canisters — and wrapped up Sept. 28, Col. Ian Humphrey, the Army’s hypersonic project office’s project manager for integration, told reporters in an Oct. 7 briefing.
“From a blank piece of paper in March 2019, we — along with our industry partners and joint services — delivered this hardware in just over two years. Now, Soldiers can begin training,” Lt. Gen. L. Neil Thurgood, the RCCTO’s director, said in a statement.
The system is called “Dark Eagle,” said Rob Strider, who is in charge of the Army’s hypersonic project office.
The equipment includes a battery operations center, four transporter-erector-launchers, and modified trucks and trailers that make up the ground equipment of the Army’s Long-Range Hypersonic Weapon, or LRHW.
Fielding to the 5-3 FA will be complete in fiscal 2023, Strider said, but would not specify when the all-up hypersonic rounds would be delivered to the unit due to security concerns.
The Army worked with industry to build the industrial base for the hypersonic weapon glide body because the domestic private sector had never built a hypersonic weapon. The service also separately produced launchers, trucks, trailers and the battle operation center necessary to put together the weapon battery.
Lockheed Martin is the weapon system integrator for the Army’s hypersonic capability that will be launched from a mobile truck. Dynetics was chosen to build the hypersonic glide body for the missile. The glide body is being built for use across the armed services, but will be launched from different platforms depending on the branch.
Now that the unit has the necessary equipment, it can begin training for the first joint flight campaign test scheduled with the Navy for the first quarter of FY22. The unit will also prepare for subsequent tests in the fourth quarter of FY22 and the second quarter of FY23.
The 5-3 FA will not participate in the hypersonic flight test scheduled for the first quarter of FY22. That test was supposed to take place in the third quarter for FY23 for nontechnical reasons.
The first test of the Common-Hypersonic Glide Body, or C-HGB, took place in March 2020 when a missile launched from the Pacific Missile Range Facility in Kauai, Hawaii, and hit its target with 6 inches.
Hypersonic weapons are capable of flying faster than Mach 5 — beyond the speed of sound — and can maneuver between varying altitudes and azimuths, making it difficult to detect. The C-HGB is made up of the weapon’s warhead, guidance system, cabling and thermal protection shield.
The U.S. is in a race to field hypersonic weapon capability as well as develop systems to defend against hypersonic missiles. China and Russia are each actively developing and testing hypersonic weapons.
The 5-3 FA, through training and a joint flight campaign, will help the Army develop the doctrine, tactics, techniques and procedures to operate the capability within formations.
But soldiers have been deeply involved in the program since the beginning, with more than 1,000 hours of “soldier-centered design,” Humphrey said, using virtual and augmented reality as the system was built.
“In delivering a prototype, we understand we are not delivering the perfect solution,” Strider said in the media briefing, “and we tailor our acquisition risk acceptance practices accordingly. Our goal is to deliver a prototype that soldiers can use and the mission requires that is deemed safe and that the Army can leverage as a potential baseline for a program of record. Soldier-centered design has been a key part of this effort in reducing risk to ensure an operationally effective weapon system.”
(Source: Defense News)
05 Oct 21. Next Generation Interceptor Program Achieves Critical System Requirements Review. Lockheed Martin (NYSE: LMT) today announced that the U.S. Missile Defense Agency (MDA) approved its Next Generation Interceptor (NGI) program’s System Requirements Review (SRR) – six months after the initial development and demonstration contract award. The MDA’s NGI program is designed to protect the United States from complex, rogue threat, ballistic missile attacks. The interceptor is an end-to-end design to detect, contain and destroy incoming threats. The SRR is a significant early program milestone, demonstrating that the company is ready to proceed with the initial system design.
“Our team has worked incredibly hard in partnership with our NGI customer team and is grateful for the opportunity to support the MDA in its mission to protect and defend the United States from intercontinental ballistic missile attacks,” said Sarah Reeves, vice president of the Next Generation Interceptor program at Lockheed Martin. “We’ve invested significantly to accelerate the program to meet this national priority with increased rigor in the systems engineering expected for a capability that is critical for our collective defense.”
The industry team used advanced digital engineering and model-based engineering tools for a modernized approach to the SRR, including new levels of interconnectivity. The digital tools used for the review are also used within the actual NGI program and align with the MDA’s pioneering digital engineering strategy to provide increased trust communications and transparency. This strategy will help the joint MDA and Lockheed Martin team make decisions faster, enhance security, increase affordability and integration.
The NGI will serve as a first line of a layered missile defense architecture against evolving threats from rogue nations and is critically important for the MDA and U.S. Northern Command. The first interceptor is forecasted to be fielded in 2027. (Source: ASD Network)
05 Oct 21. Minelab and EPE sign teaming agreement for LAND 154 Phase 4, LAND 3025 Phase 2 and CA26 sustainment. Australian companies Minelab and EPE have signed teaming agreements to collaborate across a range of defence projects, the companies confirmed this week.
Leading countermine technology developer Minelab and counter-IED developer EPE have confirmed that both companies have signed an exclusive teaming agreement to collaborate on Defence’s LAND 154 Phase 4, LAND 3025 Phase 2 and CA26 fleet sustainment projects.
The LAND 154 Phase 4 tender closed on 30 September and is designed to replace all remote positioning vehicles in the ADF. Meanwhile, LAND 3025 Phase 2 is expected to provide the ADF with deployable CBRNE capabilities.
Minelab currently develops countermine technology including metal detectors for militaries and humanitarian organisations across the world, including enhanced portable hand-held detection capabilities. The company’s offerings were bolstered in 2016 with a $6.7 m contract from the Department of Defence, which was awarded to develop dual sensor detectors capable of identifying both metal and non-metal explosive devices. Veteran owned and operated EPE has developed a range of counter explosive hazard (CEH) and counter-IED capabilities for both the Australian Defence Force and the New Zealand Defence Force, and received a 2019 New Zealand Minister of Defence Award for Excellence to Industry. (Source: Defence Connect)
04 Oct 21. Lockheed Martin Opens Intelligent, Advanced Hypersonic Strike Production Facility. Newest Alabama Facility Includes Advanced Production Tools and Intelligent Factory Solutions. Lockheed Martin (NYSE: LMT) is breaking barriers in hypersonic technology, adding to its world-class portfolio another milestone with the grand opening of an advanced production facility in Courtland, Alabama, focused on hypersonic strike production. Capitalizing on critical digital factory capabilities to deliver this technology, the corporation is working closely with the U.S. Department of Defense (DOD) to deliver new 21st-century warfare capabilities.
“Lockheed Martin has manufactured defense systems in Courtland since 1994, providing increasingly sophisticated capabilities to protect our nation, allies, and security partners,” said Sarah Hiza, vice president and general manager of Strategic and Missile Defense Systems at Lockheed Martin Space. “Our long-time partnerships with Alabama, the Department of Defense, and academic researchers have paved the way to develop the most advanced hypersonic strike capabilities using the best-of-the-best digital technologies from across our enterprise.”
Driving Advanced Production Through Digital Readiness
The facility represents Lockheed Martin’s commitment to establishing northern Alabama as the base of the company’s hypersonic strike programs. The 65,000-square-foot Hypersonic Missile Assembly Building 4 (MAB 4) is built on the digital foundation that Lockheed Martin has prioritized through mission-driven transformation efforts across the enterprise to meet customer needs with speed and agility while bolstering U.S. manufacturing capability.
The second Conventional Prompt Strike (CPS) production facility onsite, this location integrates critical digital transformation advancements such as robotic thermal protection application capabilities, smart torque tools and mixed-reality capabilities for training and virtual inspections. The machines in this facility also will connect to the company’s Intelligent Factory Framework early next year, which digitally links production facilities and assets across the Lockheed Martin enterprise to help enable unprecedented insights into the health, status and optimization of operations.
The Courtland site houses one of four transformational manufacturing facilities Lockheed Martin is opening in the United States within one year.
Delivering Hypersonic Strike Production
Lockheed Martin continues to make significant investments in the development and manufacturing of hypersonic systems to counter rapidly emerging threats from near-peer adversaries. The programs produced at this site support several U.S. military branches and Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, including CPS, Long Range Hypersonic Weapon and the Air-Launched Rapid Response Weapon.
“Hypersonic strike capabilities are critical to combat evolving threats, giving our warfighters the tools they need to complete complex missions,” said Jay Pitman, vice president of Air Dominance and Strike Weapons at Lockheed Martin Missiles and Fire Control. “The talented teams who work at these new advanced strike production facilities are delivering essential missile and hypersonic vehicle technologies in support of the U.S. National Defense Strategy.”
Developing the Northern Alabama Workforce
Lockheed Martin has had a presence in northern Alabama for over five decades. Within the last two years, Lockheed Martin has added a total of 117,000 square feet at the Courtland facility. The opening of MAB4 will bring an estimated 70 jobs to the area, adding to the approximately 2,600 employees already based in the state.
To support continued growth, Lockheed Martin is committed to developing a strong talent pipeline through initiatives like the Lockheed Martin-created AMTAP program, a training program that allows participants to develop manufacturing skills in electronic, mechanical, electromechanical and optical areas. Additionally, the company has actively engaged with the Aerospace States Association Alabama Chapter to host engagement opportunities with students and small businesses.
In 2020, the company donated more than $300,000 to Alabama charities, provided nearly 15,000 PPE items to frontline workers and delivered hundreds of meals to healthcare workers.
05 Oct 21. Airshow China 2021: Chinese air force displays upgraded JH-7A fighter-bomber. The People’s Liberation Army Air Force (PLAAF) has, for the first time, displayed to the public an upgraded variant of the Xi’an Aircraft Corporation’s JH-7A fighter-bomber.
Known as JH-7A2 (also spelled JH-7AII), the new variant was showcased at the outdoor exhibition area of Airshow China 2021, which was held from 28 September to 3 October in Zhuhai.
The aircraft was seen carrying several pods, including the KL700A (also known as the KG700) electronic countermeasures (ECMs) pod on an outer wing pylon and the bigger and heavier KG800 ECM/jammer pod on the inner wing pylon. These pods had previously been seen on the JH-7A aircraft, however, they had not yet been displayed to the public.
The JH-7A2 was also shown carrying a targeting pod designated K/JDC03A, which is similar in appearance to the standard K/JDC01 laser targeting pod used to designate targets for LS-500J laser-guided bombs.
According to a report by the Global Times newspaper and the information provided at the exhibition, the JH-7A2 also features improved ground attack capabilities as it can carry additional weapons, such as stand-off air-to-surface missiles, and munitions dispensers. However, neither the exact names nor the models of these weapons were revealed.
Reports about the JH-7A2 first emerged in early August 2019 when the state-owned Xinhua News Agency wrote that several aircraft of the type took part in the Aviadarts competition of the International Army Games that same year in Russia. (Source: Jane’s)
29 Sep 21. Indonesia configures 90 m OPVs for anti-submarine, anti-ship operations. The Indonesian Navy is equipping its new class of two 90 m offshore patrol vessels (OPVs) with a Turkish combat management system (CMS) and weapons for anti-submarine and anti-ship operations.
Schematic diagrams and other official documents forwarded to Janes by an industry source confirm that the Indonesian Navy has selected the Advent combat system from Turkish software company Havelsan.
The system will be supplied with five operator consoles on a vessel combat network that has one electro-optical (EO) targeting system turret, a combined radar and EO-based fire-control system, a navigation radar, and a surveillance radar integrated with an identification friend-or-foe system.
The CMS will also be linked to a 76/62 Super Rapid (SR) naval gun – presumably from Italian defence company Leonardo – with provisions for a 35 mm naval gun system, two 20 mm cannons, anti-surface missiles, a variable-depth sonar system, decoy launchers, and an electronic warfare radar.
A computer-generated image of the vessel provided by shipbuilder PT Daya Radar Utama (PT DRU) indicates that the navy intends to equip the OPV with four anti-surface missile launchers mounted amidships. The image also depicts a 35 mm naval gun system in the aft section facing the flight deck, but it is unclear where the 20 mm guns will be located.
However, except for the 76mm naval gun, Janes has been informed that selection processes for the remaining weapons are yet to begin and provisions for these systems in the CMS architecture will be made on a fitted-for-but-not-with basis. (Source: Jane’s)
01 Oct 21. Rheinmetall readies new 155mm self-propelled artillery system. Rheinmetall is using internal funding to develop a new 155 mm wheeled self-propelled (SP) artillery system to meet the potential requirements of the home and export markets.
The first prototype is now being built and is expected to be ready for firing trials at the Rheinmetall proving ground in late 2022 or early 2023, according to a company official.
The company displayed a full-scale mock-up of the artillery system based on the latest Rheinmetall MAN Military Vehicles HX3 10 × 10 cross-country truck at the DSEI 2021 exhibition in London. The HX3 platform is the long-term replacement for the HX2 that is being manufactured in Vienna, Austria.
This has enabled the company to offer potential customers a complete family of 4 × 4, 6 × 6, 8 × 8, and 10 × 10 cross-country trucks, which share common components and reduces through life cycle costs.
“Over 15,000 HX series vehicles are now in service worldwide,” said Rheinmetall in a statement. It is expected that the HX3 will replace the incumbent HX2 in the 2024–25 timeframe.
Maximum gross-vehicle weight (GVW) of the HX3 10 × 10 is being quoted as 50,000kg with the 155mm artillery system having a typical GVW of 45,000kg, with further room for growth.
A fully enclosed and armour-protected crew compartment is located at the front of the chassis with powered steering on the first, second, and last road wheel stations. A central tyre inflation system is fitted allowing the driver to adjust the tyre pressure to suit the ground being crossed.
01 Oct 21. US AFRL plans Rapid Dragon palletised munitions experiments with additional weapons. The US Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL) plans to experiment with additional weapons and effects, such as jamming and decoys, in its Rapid Dragon palletised munitions campaign in fiscal year 2022. Dean Evans, Rapid Dragon programme manager, told Janes on 22 September that he intends to award contracts to Raytheon and Boeing to integrate Raytheon’s ADM-160B Miniature Air-Launched Decoy (MALD) and Boeing’s Joint Direct Attack Munition – Extended Range (JDAM-ER) into the programme. The JDAM-ER is in production and in use by the Royal Australian Air Force, according to Janes Weapons: Air Launched .
These contracts are being negotiated. Lockheed Martin and its subcontractors are the only companies under contract for Rapid Dragon.
Rapid Dragon could lead to a roll-on, roll-off system that turns mobility aircraft into lethal platforms, which augment the strike capacity of tactical fighters and strategic bombers. These new capabilities could provide combatant commanders additional flexibility to prosecute targets en masse, or as a whole, in combat.
The Rapid Dragon programme completed two demonstrations during its first system-level flight tests in July on a Lockheed EC-130SJ Commando Solo and a Boeing C-17A Globemaster III cargo aircraft, according to a service statement. The tests assessed the operational utility of delivering long-range strike weapons en masse from military cargo aircraft. They also demonstrated the ability for a beyond line-of-sight command-and-control node to transfer Lockheed Martin AGM-158B Joint Air-to-Surface Standoff Missile – Extended Range (JASSM-ER) cruise missile targeting data to aircraft. (Source: Jane’s)
01 Oct 21. Morocco and Israel to sign kamikaze drone deal. Morocco and Israel are expected to sign a deal that would see the two countries co-produce kamikaze drones, according to a Moroccan military and security affairs expert with knowledge of the plans.
Israel’s defense minister is expected to visit the African country soon and sign defense cooperation agreements that would launch the drone production, among other efforts.
“After [the] new government formation in Morocco, it is expected that the Israeli defense minister will visit Rabat to ink a contract for the joint manufacture of defense equipment in Morocco,” Mohammad Shkeir, the military expert, told Defense News.
“The contract is to include short- and medium-range missile systems the Moroccan Army needs to strengthen its military arsenal, as well as armored vehicles and tanks that can be used in any armed conflict that might break out with Algeria or paralyze any Polisario [Front] movements along the Western Sahara wall,” Shkeir added, referring to the armed political organization that wants to end Moroccan control of the desert region.
This is not the first time Morocco has shown interested in unmanned aerial systems. In April, the country reportedly signed a deal to procure 13 Turkish Bayraktar TB2 combat drones, and the first batch was delivered in September.
“It is natural for Morocco to procure Turkish drones after their proven battle efficacy in several theaters of operations, whether in Iraq or Syria,” Shkeir said.
Asked whether Morocco’s separate orders for drones from Israel and Turkey will pose a problem for Rabat, Shkeir said: “Regardless of the regional rivalry between the two parties, Morocco can procure Turkish drones and can agree with Israel to manufacture drones, given the military alliance between the Hebrew and Moroccan states, as well as the military partnership that brings together the kingdom and the United States, which includes, the manufacture of military equipment in Morocco. In addition, Israel has achieved a technological advance with regard to the manufacture of this type of aircraft.”
Morocco, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Sudan began normalizing relations with Israel last year under the American-engineered Abraham Accords.
It doesn’t appear a Moroccan company has been chosen to produce the Israeli drones, but Shkeir expects there will be a joint venture involving Moroccan parties and foreign parties, most likely American.
Shkeir added that four Israeli-made loitering munitions, the Hermes 900, were sent to Morocco, and they’re likely to be used to counter attacks along the Western Sahara Wall. Loitering munitions are also referred to as kamikaze drones because they can be used as weapons by crashing into a target.
That 2,720-kilometer wall separates the areas occupied by Morocco and those controlled by the Polisario Front in Western Sahara.
“If these drones prove their operational capabilities, then Morocco will start production. Within its military strategy, Morocco usually resorts to diversifying its equipment, similar to the diversification of its partners. Therefore, production will not be limited to one model of these drones, but rather it will include other forms for use in various military fields,” Shkeir said.
Morocco-based firm Bio Cellular Design Aeronautics has experience in producing drones. The company displayed the first prototype of the reconnaissance drone MA-1 at the 2018 Marrakech Air Show. (Source: Defense News)
01 Oct 21. In a first, Turkmenistan shows off Bayraktar TB2 drone. Turkmenistan unveiled for the first time its Bayraktar TB2 combat drones during a Sept. 27 military parade marking the country’s 30th anniversary of independence from the Soviet Union. In a first for the country, this year’s military parade was held in the southern Ashgabat foothills of the Kopetdag mountain range rather than in the city center near the presidential palace. A range of new military equipment was on exhibit during the parade, including Brazilian A-29 Super Tucano attack aircraft, Italian C-27J Spartan transport planes and Turkmen M-346 fighters.
The TB2 on display was armed with MAM-L and MAM-C munitions, manufactured by Turkish firm Roketsan, and the Argos-II HD/HDT camera system by Germany’s Hensoldt.
Turkmenistan imported defense and aerospace materiel from Turkey in July 2021 for $37 m, but the products were not revealed by officials. The imagery confirms the sale of the TB2 system to Turkmenistan.
During a presentation at Teknofest, an aerospace and technology event that took place Sept. 21-26 in Istanbul, Turkey, Baykar’s chief technology officer, Selçuk Bayraktar, said the company had exported the TB2 to four countries so far, with 10 more to come, and that contracts with these countries are signed or nearly complete.
Qatar received six Bayraktar TB2s in 2019, following a 2018 order. Ukraine also procured six TB2s, after which Azerbaijan added the drone type to its armed forces, which played an important role in the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict. Baykar also recently inked a contract with the Polish government for the supply of TB2s, representing the first time the company is providing the drone to a NATO member country. Turkmenistan is the fifth known state to have increased the number of TB2s in its military inventory.
Furthermore, the separate visits to Baykar Defense facilities by the Latvian defense minister and the Albanian internal affairs minister in June 2021 aroused speculation about these countries’ interest in TB2 technology.
Turkmenistan has expanded its acquisitions of ammunition and military equipment from Turkey over the last decade. It has purchased patrol boats, fast-attack crafts, hydrographic vessels, and search and rescue vessels from Turkey since 2010. In August, Turkmenistan added the 91-meter Deniz Khan corvette, built by Turkey’s Dearsan shipyard, to its fleet, which will assume flagship of the Turkmen Navy. (Source: Defense News)
21 Sep 21. Purdue to Host New Hypersonics Test Facility. A facility to test hypersonic capabilities will be built at Purdue University’s Research Park Aerospace District adjacent to the university’s campus, the school announced in August.
The Hypersonic Ground Test Center, or HGTC, was announced during a two-day Hypersonics Summit hosted by Purdue and the National Defense Industrial Association.
The academic institution was chosen to be a “neutral host” for HGTC, which will be an independent consortium created and defined by industry members, said Mung Chiang, executive vice president of Purdue University and the dean of the College of Engineering.
“Purdue has the highest concentration of hypersonic talent in terms of professors and students in the country, and also a great relationship with DoD, industry and NDIA,” Chiang told National Defense in an interview.
The facility will support multiple test cells and laboratories. At the time of the announcement, the consortium had eight members with more joining since, Chiang said.
“Rolls-Royce is a founding member, for example, that has already decided to invest in some of the facilities that will enable the HGTC to function,” he said.
Purdue also invested in additional facilities that will bolster the center.
“The next step is to get together with all the members of the consortium to scope out the specs of the shared facilities and the modality of operation in this nonprofit consortium setting,” he said. ”After that, we will know exactly the timetable of the construction itself.”
Prior to the announcement, Purdue — which is based in West Lafayette, Indiana — made news for a number of hypersonics-related activities including a $41 m investment to create a facility that will house the nation’s first Mach 8 quiet wind tunnel, a Northrop Grumman-donated hypersonic pulse tunnel and secure manufacturing facilities, Chiang noted.
“We had a summer trifecta of hypersonics at Purdue,” he said. (Source: glstrade.com/National Defense)
Arnold Defense has manufactured more than 1.25 m 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.