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MISSILES, DIRECTED ENERGY, HYPERSONICS, BALLISTICS AND SOLDIER SYSTEMS UPDATE

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09 Sep 20.  Australia buying K9 Thunder. On 3 September the Department of Defence announced it is releasing a request for tender to Hanwha Defense Australia under its Protected Mobile Fires Project for 30 K9 Thunder self-propelled howitzers and 15 K10 armoured ammunition resupply vehicles. Australia’s system is named Huntsmen and will be built in Hanwha’s Geelong Australia facility.

The K9 is a 155 mm/52 caliber with a maximum range of 30 km with conventional and 40 km with RAP rocket assisted projectiles. It uses an automatic loading system with in the vehicle as well as for replenishing from the resupply vehicle. Its state-of-the-art navigation/positioning and Kongsberg digital fire control system allow for firing within 60 seconds from receiving a call for fire when deploying from movement or 30 seconds when already in place. The system is already in service with Finland, Norway, Estonia, India, and Turkey. (Source: AMR)

09 Sep 20. The U.S. Army’s New Bradley-Replacement Cannon Is Massive. Northrop Grumman’s XM913 cannon is double the diameter of the Bradley’s main gun—and can hit targets twice as far away. Here’s all you need to know about the massive 50mm cannon.

Jane’s Information Group, an open source intelligence company, reported that Northrop Grumman delivered several prototype guns to the U.S. Army for their Bradley replacement vehicle—and what they delivered looks like a beast.

Previous photos released by Northrop Grumman show the XM913 50mm cannon outdoors, silhouetted against the sky. The massive 50mm main gun is said to have two types of ammunition, a fin-stabilized armor piercing sabot round, as well as a high explosive tracer round. To offset some of the no doubt massive recoil the massive gun would generate, the XM913’s barrel features a prominent four-baffle muzzle brake—though a quick google search shows that the main gun still has lots of recoil.

While the current Bradley vehicle’s 25mm cannon can hit targets at ranges of up to two kilometers, or about 1.2 miles, Northrop Grumman maintains that their XM913 has double the range of a 25mm gun—and can hit targets up to four kilometers away.

A Northrop Grumman spokesman told Jane’s that the 50mm cannon “combines Bushmaster chain gun reliability with [a] next-generation effective range that will provide the warfighter with increased stand-off against near peer adversaries,” though what platform the massive main gun will be mated to remained slightly ambiguous.

Nick Cannon returning to radio following anti-Semitism controversy

Jane’s reported that the 50mm cannon is being developed to support the Army’s Next-Generation Combat Vehicle (NGCV) program, one of several projects that the Army says are intended to replace the Bradley family of vehicles. But the main gun could also be used to increase other platform’s lethality as well.

Into Modernity

The Army is in the middle of a modernization push and is introducing several new armored platforms into service. One of these, the Armored Multi-Purpose Vehicle manufactured by BAE systems, recently entered serial production.

Though it does offer increased protection when compared to the M113 and Bradley vehicles, it appears to be rather modestly armed with a single .50 caliber heavy machine gun. It remains unclear if the XM913 would be able to be mated to the AMPV platform, though the Army would likely want a firepower upgrade for the platform.

Postscript

Northrop Grumman estimates that by the end of 2021, the Army will have ordered a total of seventeen XM913 cannons for testing and evaluation. Still, the Army has not yet decided what caliber the NGCV program will choose. So for now, all we can do is wait and see what happens. Watch this topic for new details about both the NGCV program—and the XM913—in the future. (Source: News Now/https://nationalinterest.org/)

09 Sep 20. India tests homemade hypersonic vehicle. India on Monday conducted a successful test of a fully indigenous hypersonic technology demonstrator vehicle powered by an air-breathing scramjet engine, the Defence Ministry announced.

With the test, India joins the U.S., Russia and China in the race for hypersonic technology development.

The flight test took place Sept. 7 around 11 a.m. on an island off the coast of Odisha. The demo vehicle was indigenously developed by the government’s Defence Research and Development Organisation, and it has the ability to fly at six times the speed of sound, according to defense scientists here.

The ministry said the hypersonic cruise vehicle was launched using a solid rocket motor, which took it to an altitude of 30 kilometers. Then the cruise vehicle separated from the launch vehicle and the air intake opened as planned, the ministry added.

“The successful demonstration proved several critical technologies including aerodynamic configuration for hypersonic manoeuvers, the use of scramjet propulsion for ignition and sustained combustion at hypersonic flow, thermo-structural characterisation of high-temperature materials, separation mechanism at hypersonic velocities, etc.,” DRDO said in a statement.

A top DRDO scientist told Defense News that the vehicle will be used to launch both hypersonic and long-range cruise missiles.

“DRDO has spent around $4.5m on its [HTDV] prototype development cost, and three more tests will be carried out in the next five years to make this platform into a full-fledged hypersonic weapon that is capable of carrying both conventional and nuclear warheads, “he said.

DRDO spent about $30m on the design and development phases.

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Congratulating DRDO, Prime Minister Narendra Modi tweeted: “The scramjet engine developed by our scientists helped achieve a speed of 6 times the speed of sound! Very few countries have such capability today.”

Defence Minister Rajnath Singh called the test a “landmark achievement” toward India becoming self-reliant and less dependent on foreign technology.

“It’s now time to progress to the next phase with all critical technologies being established by the successful [HTDV] flight test, using the indigenously developed scramjet propulsion system,” he added. (Source: Defense News)

08 Sep 20. US Army Seeks New Mid-Range Missile Prototype By 2023. Meant to target Chinese warships and Russia’s rear bases, the new intermediate-range missile will fill the gap between the 500+ km PrSM and the Long-Range Hypersonic Weapon.

Army wargames against Russia and China found a major gap in the service’s planned arsenal of long-range precision weapons, a gap it now plans to fill with a new intermediate-range missile that could fly as far as 2,000 miles. To speed development, the weapon will probably be derived from a missile already used by another service, such as the famous Tomahawk.

“[Navy] SM-6s and Tomahawks, that’s a capability I can see us as having in the future,” the Army Chief of Staff, Gen. James McConville, told a DefenseOne webcast this morning. “We are working that, [and] the Marine Corps is doing the same thing. If you don’t have to develop your own system, if you already have something that already works… it’s in all of our interest to go ahead and pursue those.”

Now, McConville didn’t address the intermediate-range missile specifically, whose existence was first reported by our Defense News colleague Jen Judson just last week. But in an exclusive interview about the new weapon, the artillery modernization director at Army Futures Command told me the service is looking at “existing missiles capable of flying at various speeds and altitudes.”

That way, Brig. Gen. John Rafferty told me, prototypes of the new mid-range weapon can be operational in 2023, alongside several other new weapons – revolutionizing the Army’s long-neglected artillery branch to hit targets once reachable only by airstrikes.

“2023’s a big year,” said Rafferty. If all the programs in his portfolio stay on schedule, which of course is never guaranteed, that year will see

  • the first battalion of the Extended Range Cannon Artillery (ERCA) upgrade to the venerable M109 Paladin armored howitzer, doubling its range to over 65 kilometers (40+ miles).
  • the first prototype battery of the Precision Strike Missile (PrSM), which will replace the Cold War-era ATACMS, upping the range of the Army’s MLRS and HIMARS missile launchers from 300 km to over 500, with a future upgrade aiming for 700-800 km.
  • the first prototype battery of the new intermediate-range missile, to be developed by the Rapid Capabilities & Critical Technologies Office (RCCTO) also working on hypersonics and laser weapons. The Army doesn’t want to lock down rigid technical requirements too early, Rafferty told me, but he said the weapon’s range could be up to 1,500 or even 2,000 km. (Of the Navy missiles McConville mentioned, the SM-6 couldn’t reach this range, though it might have other missions; the Tomahawk definitely could).
  • the first full-range test shots for the experimental Strategic Long-Range Cannon (SLRC), which aims to use gunpowder and rocket-boosted shells to reach 1,500 km-plus ranges previously reachable only by missiles;
  • the first prototype battery of the Long-Range Hypersonic Weapon (LRHW), whose range, Rafferty said, will be “thousands of kilometers.”

Why this variety? Adversaries are combining various types of long-range sensors and missiles – anti-ship, anti-aircraft, and surface-to-surface – to create an Anti-Access/Area Denial threat to US forces, Gen. McConville said: “There’s nothing to say we can’t do the same.”

“What we want to do is provide arrows in the quiver… options to our combatant commanders that present multiple dilemmas to our competitors,” he said. “That’s how we deter.”

The new PrSM missile, in and of itself, will extend the range of Army artillery far beyond anything they have today – yet in the context of the future force, it’s relatively short-ranged. “It’s ironic,” Rafferty told me.

That said, PrSM will be the mainstay of the Army’s future missile arsenal, Rafferty said. Why? First, it can fire from a large number of existing launchers, both the tracked MLRS and the wheeled HIMARS. Second, it should be cheaper than the longer-ranged and faster-flying hypersonic missiles.

In fact, Rafferty once described the Long-Range Hypersonic Weapon as an “exquisite” high-performance system that will likely be reserved for the most critical and difficult targets, such as hardened command bunkers. A big part of the attraction of the Strategic Long-Range Cannon is that it could fire larger numbers of cheaper projectiles at similar ranges – but its novel technology remains highly experimental.

So as the Army studied future conflict – with extensive input from the other services and the joint Combatant Commanders around the world – it found a whole category of targets too distant to hit with PrSM but too numerous to handle with hypersonics.

“The strategic fires study was done with combatant commands’ input, as well as others from the operational force,” Rafferty told me. “[It] showed that if we could address some of the high payoff targets in the mid-range space that we would really begin to change the calculus in the Pacific and in Europe – in really different ways.”

In the vast expanses of the Pacific, Rafferty said, the primary target for the intermediate-range weapon would be Chinese warships – which means it must be able to track and home in on moving targets. PrSM will eventually have an anti-ship seeker as well, but its 500-plus km range doesn’t get you that far across the Pacific; hence the value of an intermediate-range weapon.

“If you can mix and match short-, mid- and long-range capabilities in a variety of different locations, you can really create a dilemma” for the adversary, Rafferty told me. “He may not know what’s on what island” – which means he must treat any US outpost as a long-range threat until intelligence proves otherwise.

By contrast, Europe is a smaller warzone, mostly on land, where the intermediate-range weapon could strike targets deep in Russian territory. In the 1980s, the ability of Army Pershing missiles to threaten Moscow from bases in Western Europe helped lead to the now-defunct INF Treaty, which banned such weapons and got the Army out of the long-range missile business for a generation.

By recreating an intermediate-range capability in Europe, Raffety said, “you begin to put all of the adversary assets at risk in depth. Now there is not sanctuary for him to hide.” (Source: Breaking Defense.com)

09 Sep 20. South Korea to begin series production of locally developed 120mm self-propelled mortar system. South Korea will begin series production of a locally developed 120mm self-propelled mortar system that has been integrated into an M113-type tracked armoured personnel carrier (APC).

The country’s Defence Acquisition Programme Administration (DAPA) announced in a 9 September statement that the Defense Project Promotion Committee has decided to award in the fourth quarter of 2020 a five-year KRW770bn (USD648.5m) contract for the mass production of the systems, the first units of which are expected to enter service with the Republic of Korea Army (RoKA) from next year.

Developed by several South Korean companies, including Hanwha Defense and S&T Dynamics, for KRW41.3bn, the integrated mortar system, which can rotate 360°, is stated to have a strike range greater than that of the ageing M30 107 mm rifled mortar it is expected to replace.

DAPA had previously revealed that the new weapon, development of which began in March 2014 and was completed in June 2019, is equipped with an automated fire-control and a semi-automatic loading system.

According to S&T Dynamics, the mortar, which weighs less than 1,400 kg, has a maximum rate of fire of 10 rounds per minute for 3 minutes, a sustained rate of fire of 3 rounds per minute, and a firing range of 8 km for high-explosive rounds and of 13 km for rocket-assisted projectiles. The reaction time for the first round is stated to be 30 seconds. The self-propelled system appears to be based on a variant of South Korea’s K200A1 tracked APC. (Source: Jane’s)

07 Sep 20. Japan to begin receiving Joint Strike Missiles from April 2021. Tokyo is expected to start taking delivery of precision-guided Joint Strike Missiles (JSMs) for the Japan Air Self-Defense Force’s (JASDF’s) growing fleet of Lockheed Martin F-35A Lightning II Joint Strike Fighters from April 2021, a Japanese Ministry of Defence (MoD) spokesperson told Janes on 9 September.

The missiles, which have been designed to fit in the internal weapons bay of the F-35A, have a range of about 500 km and can thus be launched from a stand-off distance.

In November 2019 manufacturer Kongsberg Defence & Aerospace announced that it had signed a NOK450m (USD49.2m) follow-on contract to provide additional JSMs for the JASDF’s F-35As. The move came after Kongsberg announced in March 2019 that it had signed a contract to provide an undisclosed number of “initial” JSMs for Japan’s F-35A fighters.

In fiscal year 2018 (FY 2018) Tokyo allocated JPY2.2bn (USD20.8m) to the JASDF for the acquisition of air-launched stand-off missiles, including JPY2.16bn for the purchase of JSMs. It also budgeted JPY7.9bn in FY 2019, and JPY13.6bn in FY 2020 for JSM procurement.

That said, Tokyo also plans to acquire the Lockheed Martin AGM-158B Joint Air-to-Surface Standoff Missile – Extended Range (JASSM-ER) and the AGM-158C Long Range Anti-Ship Missile (LRASM) to meet a requirement for air-launched stand-off missiles for the JASDF’s multirole fighter aircraft.

A Japanese MoD official had told Janes in January that Tokyo is looking to procure those weapon systems from the United States “as soon as possible” for fitment onto JASDF F-15J Eagle fighters to enhance the platforms’ capabilities to effectively counter attacks at longer ranges. (Source: Jane’s)

07 Sep 20. European Infantry Fighting Vehicle Armament. While most members of NATO have standardised on 120mm smooth bore tank guns and their suites of ammunition for their Main Battle Tanks (MBTs), there has been a complete lack of standardisation of medium calibre weapons for their infantry fighting vehicles (IFV) with currently deployed vehicles in Europe being armed with 20mm, 25mm, 30mm, 35mm and 40mm calibre cannon.

The clear trend in Europe is to mount larger calibre fully stabilised weapons in one or two person turrets, remote controlled turrets (RCT) or remote controlled weapon stations (RCWS), coupled to a computerised fire control system (FCS) with stabilised day/thermal sights incorporating a laser rangefinder for the commander and gunner. This enables the platform to rapidly engage targets, including threat IFV and armoured personnel carriers (APC), under almost all environmental conditions, at longer ranges and with increased target effect.

The French JAGUAR (6×6) reconnaissance vehicle is armed with a 40mm Case Telescoped Armament System (CTAS) and a roof-mounted 7.62mm remote controlled weapon system. (Photo: Christopher F. Foss)

Older types of medium calibre ammunition such as armour piercing (AP) and high-explosive (HE) natures have given way in some countries to armour piercing fin-stabilised discarding sabot (APFSDS) and air-bursting muntion (ABM) rounds. These are more effective than earlier generation rounds but are more expensive and not fired in significant numbers in normal peacetime training. While this article concentrates on European AFV armament, most contractors listen very carefully to their potential export customer’s specific operational requirements, which may well differ for the home customer.

WARRIOR

A good example is the WARRIOR IFV deployed by the British Army that is currently fitted with a two person turret armed with an un-stabilised and slow firing 30mm RARDEN cannon and L94A1 7.62mm co-axial mm machine gun (MG). Kuwait deploys the DESERT WARRIOR IFV which has a Delco (today General Dynamics Land Systems) two person turret armed with a now Northrop Grumman (previously ATK Armament) stabilised 25mm M242 dual feed cannon, 7.62mm co-axial MG and a Raytheon TOW anti-tank guided weapon (ATGW) mounted externally either side of the turret enabling targets to be engaged out to a range of 3,750 m.

The British Army WARRIOR infantry fighting vehicle upgraded by Lockheed Martin UK under the WARRIOR Capability Sustainment Programme includes a new turret armed with a 40mm Case Telescoped Armament System and 7.62mm co-axial machine gun. (Photo: Christopher F. Foss)

Currently, the largest medium calibre programme in Europe is the CTAI 40mm Case Telescoped Armament System (CTAS) which has been mandated by the French and British armies for their future armoured fighting vehicles (AFV). CTAI is joint venture company formed between Nexter of France and BAE Systems of the UK with its headquarters and main 40mm weapon production facility in Bourges, France, but with ammunition production in both countries. The 40mm CTAS is also installed in the Nexter T40 armed turret with this being marketed in manned and unmanned configurations and with the option of an ATGW either side.

Nexter VBCI

The French Army has already replaced its tracked AMX-10P IFV armed with a M693 20mm dual feed cannon and 7.62mm co-axial MG with the Nexter Vehicule Blinde de Combat d’Infanteri (VBCI) 8×8 fitted with a one person turret armed with a Nexter M811 25mm dual feed cannon and 7.62mm co-axial MG, operated by the gunner. The commander is seated in the hull on the left side to the rear of the driver and also has the ability to aim and fire the weapons if required as a panoramic sight for the commander is installed on the roof of the turret.

The French Army Nexter VBCI (8×8) infantry fighting vehicle is fitted with a one person Nexter turret armed with a stabilised Nexter M811 25mm dual feed cannon and 7.62mm co-axial machine gun. (Photo: Christopher F Foss)

The Nexter 25mm M811 dual feed cannon is also in service with a number of other countries including installed in a one person turret fitted to the FNSS Savunma Sistemleri Turkish Land Forces Command (TLFC) Turkish Infantry Fighting Vehicle (TIFV) with a 7.62 mm co-axial MG. Early TIFV have a turret armed with a now Rheinmetall Air Defence, Oerlikon 25mm cannon and 7.62mm co-axial MG. For the export market, the TIFV is referred to as the Armoured Combat Vehicle – 15 (ACV-15) with the latter figure indicating a typical gross-vehicle weight (GVW) of 15 tonnes. Export customers often prefer different weapons and the Malaysian ACV-15 are fitted with a one person turret armed with a Northrop Grumman stabilised 25mm M242 dual feed cannon and 7.62mm co-axial MG.

MARDER

MARDER 1 IFV entered service with the German Army as far back as 1971 and has been constantly upgraded in a number of areas including night vision equipment and additional armour. All are armed with a Rheinmetall 20mm MK 20 Rh 202 dual feed cannon and 7.62mm co-axial MG with provision for a pintle mounted MILAN ATGW mounted externally on the turret which is now being replaced on remaining MARDER 1 by a Eurospike LR ATGW.

PUMA

The PSM PUMA Armoured Infantry Fighting Vehicle (AIFV) is now in service in increasing numbers with the German Army with the first contract for 350 units, including eight driver training vehicles with the second contract for 210 units. PUMA is fitted with a RCT armed with Mauser 30mm MK 30-2 dual feed cannon with a 5.56mm co-axial MG but this will be replaced by a 7.62mm MG. The Mauser 30mm MK 30-2 cannon can fire Rheinmetall 30mm ABM rounds as well as other natures including APFSDS. The PUMA AIFV is being upgraded with a pod of two EUROSPIKE LR ATGW on the left side of the turret to enable targets to be engaged well beyond the range of the 30mm cannon. The original Mauser 30mm MK 30 cannon was not capable of firing 30mm ABM ammunition and this is installed in the General Dynamics European Land Systems (GD-ELS) Santa Barbara Sistemas Pizarro IFV used by the Spanish Army and the GD-ELS – Steyr Ulan IFV deployed by the Austrian Army. The original MK 30-1 fired ammunition with an aluminium case while the MK 30-2 fires ammunition with a steel case. For the international market the vehicle is also called the ASCOD for Austrian Spanish Co-operative Development.

The German PSM PUMA Armoured Infantry Fighting Vehicle fitted with a remote controlled turret armed with a Mauser 30 mm MK 30-2 dual feed cannon capable of firing air burst ammunition and a 5.56 mm co-axial machine gun (Photo: PSM)

Rheinmetall has also developed the WOTAN 30 and WOTAN 35 electrically operated cannon with the latter firing 35 x 228mm ammunition.

CV90

The Swedish Army BAE Systems Hägglunds CV9040 IFV is fitted with a two-person turret armed with a BAE Systems Bofors 40mm cannon which is a development of their towed 40mm L70 anti-aircraft gun. This is designated the 40mm 40/70Ba and is fed with clips of 40mm ammunition from below with the empty cartridge cases being ejected out of the turret roof. A total of 24 rounds of ready use 40mm ammunition are carried including APFSDS-T, Pre-Fragmented Programmable Proximity (3P), Pre-Fragmented HE, Multi-purpose Tracer and associated training rounds.

None of the export customers have opted for the Bofors 40mm 40/70Ba cannon for their CV90 IFV and all have opted for various types of the now Northrop Grumman, Chain Gun, or BUSHMASTER, family of electrically operated weapons which have been built in larger numbers than any other Western medium cannon in recent years.

The first export customer for the CV 90 was Norway with their CV9030N being armed with the original 30mm BUSHMASTER II dual feed cannon, although these have now been replaced in the upgraded CV9030N by the more recent 30mm MK44 dual feed cannon.

The 30mm MK44 is used by other NATO countries including Poland which has a version of the Leonardo HITFIST armed with this weapon and 7.62mm co-axial MG installed on their locally built Patria Armoured Modular Vehicle (AMV) called the ROSOMAK. The Czech Republic has a fleet of PANDUR II (8×8) with some of these fitted with RAFAEL RCWS armed armed with a 30mm MK44 cannon, 7.62mm MG and SPIKE missiles. A key feature of the MK44 is that it can be rapidly converted to fire 40mm ammunition by changing the barrel assembly, feed sprockets, forward feeder assembly the recoil spring set.

Denmark (CV9035DK) and the Netherlands (CV9035NL) are both armed with the 35/50mm BUSHMASTER III cannon although at present only has the 35mm ammunition nature.

Estonia has taken delivery of some surplus Netherlands CV9035NL. Finland (CV9030F) and Switzerland (CV9030CH) also have the 30mm MK44 dual feed cannon which in addition to firing conventional natures of ammunition can also fire an ABM round.

The Norwegian Army CV9030 IFV in Afghanistan armed with a Northrop Grumman 30mm dual feed cannon and 7.62mm co-axial MG. This CV9030 also has additional armour (Photo: BAE Systems Hägglunds)

The Rheinmetall Air Defence, Oerlikon 25mm KBA cannon is installed in a Leonardo HITFIST two person turret installed on the Italian Army Dardo tracked IFV and their wheeled Freccia (8×8) IFV. It fires 25 x 137mm ammunition and has been ordered by non-NATO countries, with over 5,000 manufactured for all applications.

Russian IFV are Well Armed

A number of countries in Europe, including members of NATO, still operate Russian IFVs including the BMP-1 and BMP-2 IFV. The BMP-1 IFV has a one-person turret armed with a 73mm 2A28 gun and a 7.62mm co-axial MG with a wire guided 9M14 MALYUTKA (US AT-3 and NATO SAGGER) wire-guided ATGW mounted above the 73mm gun, although most users have now removed the ATGW capability. One drawback of the BMP-1 was that the commander was seated in the hull on the left side to the rear of the driver with the one-person turret being operated by the gunner.

The follow-on BMP-2 IFV has a new two person turret armed with a 30mm 2A42 dual feed cannon and a 7.62mm co-axial MG plus a roof mounted ATGW which is typically a 9M113 KONKURS (US AT-5 and NATO SPANDREL).

Prime contractor for the BMP-1/BMP-2 is Kurganmashzavod Joint Stock Company (JSC) which is part of the Machinery and Industrial Group who is now offering a number of upgrades for the BMP-2 including the BMP-2M which has a host of modifications including installation of new stabilised thermal sight for gunner incorporating a laser rangefinder and installation of a 9M120-1 ATACA ATGW externally on either side of the turret.

BMP-1/BMP-2 IFVs were followed by the BMP-3 IFV which is a totally new design and although introduced into service as far back as 1990 is still the most well-armed IFV in the world and is also fully amphibious. The BMP-3 IFV has a two person turret armed with a 100mm 2A70 rifled gun, 30mm 2A72 co-axial dual feed cannon and a 7.62mm co-axial MG and mounted either side of the driver at the front of the hull is a gunner with another 7.62mm MG firing over the frontal arc. In addition to firing conventional natures of ammunition including high-explosive fragmentation (HE-FRAG), the 100mm gun can also fire a 9M117 BASNYA (US AT-10 and NATO STABBER) laser guided projectile (LGP) with the latest model being fitted with a tandem HEAT warhead and having a range of 5,500 m.

All the operator has to do is to keep his sight locked onto the target. The BMP-3 can also be fitted with a remote controlled turret armed with a 57mm cannon which is also being used for an increasing number of applications including air defence/anti-unmanned aerial vehicles. The BMP-3 turret has also been shown on other platforms and has been fitted to the RABDAN (8×8) developed by Al Jasoor/Otokar and now deployed by the United Arab Emirates.

Russia has also built the prototype of the T-15 heavy infantry fighting vehicle (HIFV) which is fitted with a new advanced RCT called the EPOCH ALMATY. This is armed with a 30mm 2A42 dual feed cannon and a 7.62mm co-axial MG and a pod of two KORNET EM laser-guided ATGW mounted either side which are being marketed with different warheads including tandem HEAT and thermobaric. The turret is also installed on the Russian KURGANETS 25 tracked IFV and the BUMERANG (8×8) which is the replacement for the BTR-80 (8×8) and earlier Russian 8×8 IFVs. This RCT features a computerised FCS and stabilised day/thermal sights for commander and gunner which also have an integrated laser rangefinder allowing hunter/killer target engagements to take place. By having a common RCT for at least three platforms offers the Russian Army significant through life savings as well as training advantages, but the high cost of these capable turrets could limit their fielding.

Russia has developed and tested the AU-220M RCT which is armed with a 57mm dual feed cannon and a 7.62mm co-axial MG which has been developed for installation on new built platforms as well as older platforms to enhance their firepower. It has been shown installed on a number of platforms including the recent T-15 HIFV while mock-ups have been shown on other platforms including the South African MBOMBE (8×8) and was offered as a potential weapon for the ENIGMA (8×8) platform first shown in 2015. (Source: ESD Spotlight)

08 Sep 20. Northrop Grumman will lead a nationwide team to deliver the Ground Based Strategic Deterrent program. Northrop Grumman Corporation (NYSE: NOC) was selected by the U.S. Air Force to modernize the nation’s aging intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) system under a $13.3bn contract awarded today for the engineering and manufacturing development (EMD) phase of the Ground Based Strategic Deterrent (GBSD) program.

The Air Force Nuclear Weapons Center announced that the effort will span 8.5 years and include weapon 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 weapon system to meet the Air Force schedule of initial operational capability by 2029.

“Our nation is facing a rapidly evolving threat environment and protecting our citizens with a modern strategic deterrent capability has never been more critical,” said Kathy Warden, chairman, chief executive officer and president, Northrop Grumman. “With more than 65 years of technical leadership on every ICBM system, our nationwide team is honored and committed to continuing our partnership with the U.S. Air Force to deliver a safe, secure and effective system that will contribute to global stability for years to come.”

The EMD award follows a highly successful three-year technology maturation and risk reduction (TMRR) phase-one effort under the GBSD competition. The Northrop Grumman team has demonstrated innovation and agility by applying a digital engineering approach and has achieved all TMRR design review milestones on time and on cost.

Work on the program will be performed at the Northrop Grumman GBSD facilities in Roy and Promontory, Utah, as well as other key Northrop Grumman sites across the U.S. that include Huntsville and Montgomery, Alabama; Colorado Springs, Colorado; Bellevue, Nebraska; San Diego and Woodland Hills, California; Chandler, Arizona; Annapolis Junction, Maryland; and at our nationwide team locations across the country.

The Northrop Grumman GBSD team includes Aerojet Rocketdyne, Bechtel, Clark Construction, Collins Aerospace, General Dynamics, HDT Global, Honeywell, Kratos Defense and Security Solutions, L3 Harris, Lockheed Martin, Textron Systems, as well as hundreds of small and medium-sized companies from across the defense, engineering and construction industries. Overall, the GBSD program will involve over 10,000 people across the U.S. directly working on this vital national security program. For more information, please visit: www.northropgrumman.com/gbsd.

08 Sep 20. America should integrate a strike capability with its missile defense systems. This summer, U.S. Army air defense artillery units in the New Mexico desert have been detecting, tracking and shooting down ballistic and cruise missile targets. These efforts are testing, with considerable success, their Integrated Air and Missile Defense Battle Command System, or IBCS, and its ability to tie together diverse sensors and interceptors.

The keyword here is “integration.” Something of a Pentagon buzzword, neither the meaning of integration nor its future potential for countering air and missile threats is adequately understood.

Populated by more numerous, diverse, maneuverable, accurate and sophisticated missile threats, the modern battlefield is becoming faster and more lethal. And adversaries such as China, Russia, North Korea and Iran are developing more innovative ways to employ them. As a result, the United States can no longer take for granted the ability to deploy superior military forces whenever and wherever needed. As defense budget constraints begin to bite, the challenge is to find innovative approaches that will effectively defeat these threats without breaking the bank.

Military leaders have long recognized that integrated air and missile defense is part of the solution. Such integration allows the military to use its defensive forces faster, more efficiently and more effectively. The Army’s current testing confirms that things are going in the right direction. But integrating various elements of active air and missile defenses is only part of the solution.

The more comprehensive goal must be to bring together offensive and defensive fires. Over the past several years, Pentagon leaders have begun to advocate better integration of air and missile defenses with offensive forces to defeat both enemy missiles in the air and launchers on the ground.

This vision was reaffirmed in the 2019 Missile Defense Review. Defenses cannot protect forever. Offenses can be highly effective, but they depend on exquisite targeting and may not protect U.S. forces from the early waves of an attack. If the military can kill the launcher and its payload in the same engagement, forces on the modern battlefield will have a better chance of surviving and winning.

Unfortunately, this is not how the American military operates today. All militaries coordinate offensive and defensive operations at a high level, but offensive and defensive forces are typically segregated into separate units, operations and chains of command. The systems they use often do not even communicate with each other.

Despite much generic endorsement of further offense-defense integration, thinking on how to affect it lags the vision, as does a definition for what the idea really means. Is it strategic, operational or tactical? As air and missile threat characteristics blend or converge — for example, with hypersonic gliders — should offense-defense integration include all air and missile defense, or be more narrowly focused on certain missiles? What does the military need to change to integrate its offenses and defenses effectively into a “missile defeat” force?

A good approach to this complexity is to think in terms of forces to survive the battle and defeat a threat rather than “offense” (shooting at the enemy) and “defense” (shooting at what the enemy shoots at us). Offensive and defensive forces could be integrated into units at lower levels than today, and use the same command-and-control systems. Such a change would help our forces to better operate within the challenging timelines imposed by contemporary air and missile threats.

Implementing this vision of offense-defense integration will be a challenge. Bringing them together will involve crossing service lines, domains and levels of conflict as well as combining current organizational and operating concepts. The full challenge includes doctrine, organization, training, materiel and logistics. Multimission missiles, shared radars and common launchers may also be part of the solution.

The most important technical aspect of realizing this vision will lie with better battle management and command-and-control networks. Sensors, data, communications and software are not inherently offensive or defensive, and one might think such integration would be easy. It is not. Over the years, the services have developed their own C2 systems for defensive forces — the Navy Integrated Fire Control-Counter Air (NIFC-CA) and the Army’s IBCS — to manage the defensive battle, but all the services also have separate C2 systems to manage the offensive battle.

Fortunately, interest in offense-defense integration seems to be rising. Over the past six months, Army leaders have begun to express considerable interest in using these networks together for integrating both offensive and defensive fires. By accommodating offensive and defensive fires, both NIFC-CA and IBCS can better contribute to Joint All-Domain Command and Control.

Integrating strike with air and missile defense is the proper and necessary goal. Recent efforts point in the right direction, but organizational inertia and technological development may defy rapid advancement. The threats, however, are quite real and increasingly complex. Offense-defense integration will not be a panacea, but it will be critical to a realistic and cost-effective way to contend with the threat. (Source: C4ISR & Networks)

08 Sep 20. Rafael eyes Polish short-range air defense tender. Israel’s Rafael Advanced Defense Systems hopes it will secure a deal to supply the SkyCeptor interceptors under Poland’s much-awaited, short-range Narew air defense tender.

At the MSPO defense industry show in Kielce, Rafael’s representatives said the company was determined to further develop its longstanding cooperation with the Polish industry as part of this program. Since 2004, local state-owned Mesko plant has produced the Spike LR anti-tank guided missile under a license acquired from Rafael.

Poland has selected Raytheon’s Patriot missiles to provide the country’s medium-range air defense capacities, and the Israeli producer claims its system will be highly compatible with the U.S. missiles owing to the companies’ cooperation.

“Our technology is combat-proven and modular, and Poland would be able to perfectly integrate it with other layers of its air defense system. This technology is state-of-the-art, and we would also ensure it is transferred to the Polish defense industry, just like we did with the Spike contract,” Roland Steinbrecher, the regional director for international marketing and business development at Rafael Advanced Defense Systems, told Defense News.

Under the medium-range Wisla program, the Polish Ministry of Defence awarded a $4.75bn deal to Raytheon in 2018. The Narew program is expected to be worth a further $5.3bn. (Source: Defense News)

11 Aug 20. DOD Officials Discuss Framework for Advancing Directed Energy Weapons. The Defense Department is developing directed energy weapons – high-powered lasers and microwaves – in concert with industry in a way designed to achieve optimal outcomes.

Two DOD officials discussed the importance of developing an efficient and effective modular open system architecture, or MOSA, at the Booz Allen Hamilton-sponsored Directed Energy Series today: Chris Behre, the lead for directed energy, modular open system architecture in the Office of the Undersecretary of Defense for Research and Engineering and technical director of the Surface Navy Laser Weapon System Portfolio for Naval Surface Warfare Center’s Dahlgren Division., and Dr. Sean Ross,  the deputy High Energy Laser Technical Area lead and prototyping liaison for the Air Force Research Laboratory.

MOSA is important because it allows components and subsystems of the weapon to be standardized, Behre said. That will allow for incremental system upgrades and minimize obsolescence, he explained, while reducing costs and shortening the developmental timeline.

One way to think of MOSA is as “guard rails to guide things — not hard, level requirements that stifle innovation,” Behre said. Teams of engineers and DOD officials from each of the services and the Missile Defense Agency are working on developing a MOSA draft that will be available for comment by the acquisition community and industry in less than a year, he added. It’s important that this work on MOSA standards is being done early in the process before programs of record emerge, he said.

Ross said that if MOSA is done right, it has strong potential to decrease market barriers. Nontraditional vendors with niche capabilities would want to compete, he said, and there could be an increase in small business involvement and innovation.

Laser weapons system subsystems include thermal management, laser weapon controller, beam control, laser source and power management, he noted. Industries that specialize in any of these subsystems would find a ready market within DOD if their designs show promise, he said.

MOSA allows for flexibility and not overprescribing, Ross said, citing two examples.

Within a laser system, the operating temperature of the diodes is one of the most important factors in laser effectiveness, he said. “It is one of the major swap drivers with competing effects,” he continued. “The higher the diode temperature, the less efficient the laser is. However, the thermal management system works most efficiently with higher diode temperatures. So deciding an arbitrary temperature in the MOSA standard would be very risky and result in a suboptimal system.”

The second example is based on the standard that the higher the voltage used in the laser, the lower the required weight of the copper conductive wires, he said. If the voltage is too high, he explained, there would be arcing and a corona effect — two undesirable outcomes.

The solution, Ross said, is for the government to come up with broad standards, letting industry come up with the finer details.

A successful MOSA standard is one that gets industry excited and eager to take on the challenges and run with it, he said. If the MOSA standards make no sense, he added, everyone will just ignore them and innovation and competition will come to a halt.  (Source: ASD Network/US Department of Defense)

04 Sep 20. India and Russia are set to finalise a deal for AK-47 203 rifles, which will replace the Indian Small Arms System (INSAS) 5.56mm × 45mm assault rifle. The AK-47 203 rifles will replace Indian Small Arms System (INSAS) 5.56mm x 45mm assault rifle. Credit: tprzem from Pixabay.

Share Article India and Russia are set to finalise a deal for AK-47 203 rifles, which will replace the Indian Small Arms System (INSAS) 5.56mm × 45mm assault rifle.

The deal will be finalised during Indian Defence Minister Rajnath Singh’s ongoing visit to Moscow, reported Russian news agency Sputnik.

The Indian Army has a requirement of around 770,000 AK-203 rifles. Around 100,000 units will be imported from Russia, while the remaining equipment will be manufactured locally.

The rifles will be manufactured in India by a joint venture (JV) called Indo-Russia Rifles (IRPL).

India’s Ordnance Factory Board (OFB) will hold a 50.5% stake in the company, while the Kalashnikov Concern and Russian state agency for military exports Rosoboronexport will have 42% and 7.5% interests respectively.

The rifles will be manufactured at the Korwa Ordnance Factory in the Indian state of Uttar Pradesh.

The Indian Armed Forces are expected to use the weapons for counter-terrorism operations.

The INSAS 5.56mm × 45mm assault rifle has been used by the armed forces since 1996. However, the weapon is being replaced after complaints of jamming and magazine cracking at higher altitudes.

Notably, India is engaged in a military standoff with China in the Ladakh region. This has led to the mobilisation of troops and equipment build-up across the line of actual control (LAC) by both armies.

India has also accelerated investments in the defence sector to enhance capabilities. The government recently signed contracts for Pinaka missile systems for the army. (Source: army-technology.com)

08 Sep 20. Japan plans to acquire advanced anti-surface warfare missiles by 2022. Japan’s Defense Ministry plans to acquire advanced anti-surface warfare missiles designed to be carried in the new F-35A’s internal weapons bay.

Citing sources from Defense Ministry, The Japanese Times reported that Japan’s Defense Ministry plans to acquire by March 2022 Joint Strike Missiles with a range of about 500 kilometers that can attack targets from outside the ranges of enemy missiles.

The JSM is Norway’s advanced anti-surface warfare missile. The missile can be employed against sea- and land-based targets. Norway is a partner nation in the development of the fifth-generation Joint Strike Fighter.

Approximately one year earlier, Kongsberg Defence & Aerospace company has confirmed the sale of a Joint Strike Missile (JSM) for the Japanese fleet of F-35 fighter aircraft.

According to the news release, Kongsberg has entered into the contract with Japan to supply the initial deliveries of JSM (Joint Strike Missile).

“This is an important international breakthrough which demonstrates the importance of cooperation between Norwegian authorities, Norwegian Defence Research Establishment and Norwegian industry”, says CEO of KONGSBERG Geir Håøy.

The ministry is also considering the use of U.S. aerospace giant Lockheed Martin Corp.’s LRASM or JASSM missiles, with a range of about 900 kilometers, on Air Self-Defense Force F-15J fighter jets. (Source: Google/https://defence-blog.com/)

07 Sep 20. Iran to Mount VLS Launchers on Navy Destroyers. Head of the Iranian Defense Ministry’s Marine Industries Organization Rear Admiral Amir Rastegari announced his country’s plans to mount vertical launching system (VLS) on Navy destroyers, Fars News Agency (FNA) reported.

“The VLS launchers are due to be mounted on Navy destroyers and they will fire long-range surface-to-surface cruise missiles,” Rear Admiral Rastegari told reporters on Thursday.

VLS is an advanced system for holding and firing missiles on mobile naval platforms, such as surface ships and submarines. Each vertical launch system consists of a number of cells, which can hold one or more missiles ready for fire.

Elsewhere, he underlined Iran’s capacity to export various military equipment after the sanctions lifted.

“We have the capacity to export billions of dollars worth of military equipment in a year in all military and some non-military fields,” Rear Admiral Rastegari said.

As part of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), UN arms embargo against Iran is set to be lifted in October.

Rear Admiral Rastegari said that Dena Destroyer will be delivered to Army’s Navy till the yearend (March 20, 2021).

He also said that the process of building Be’sat submarine has started. “Building the first submarine usually takes around 15 years across the world, however, given our experiences with building Fateh and Ghadir submarines, we try to reduce this time.”

In relevant remarks in April, Deputy Coordinator of the Iranian Army Rear Admiral Habibollah Sayyari said that the country is now designing and making all its needs, thanks to the youth’s self-confidence.

He made the remarks during a visit to the project of rebuilding and equipping Damavand destroyer in Bandar Anzali, Northern Iran.

“As long as we believe in our capabilities we can make progress, but losing this belief will result in the enemies’ dominance over us. The country’s defense achievements have been made under harshest sanctions so we believe that we can achieve whatever we intend,” he added.  (Source: https://defaiya.com/news)

07 Sep 20. Lockheed works with Polish industry on Patriot production. Lockheed Martin and Polish manufacturer Military Aviation Works WZL1 (a subsidiary of state-owned defence group PGZ) have agreed to set up a plant in eastern Poland to build components for the Patriot PAC-3 missile and launcher.

Lockheed Martin on 7 September announced that the new 3,000 square metre plant in Dęblin is being built under industrial and offset agreements, signed in March 2019 with the Polish government as part of the Wisła anti-air and missile programme.

PAC-3 Missile Segment Enhancement missiles produced by Lockheed Martin are the main element of the future Polish air defence system.

According to Shephard Defence Insight, Poland has ordered 208 of these missiles. (Source: Shephard)

07 Sep 20. India’s DRDO tests hypersonic technology demonstrator vehicle.  The Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) of India has announced that it tested Hypersonic Technology Demonstrator Vehicle (HSTDV). This is said to be an important step towards Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s ‘Atmanirbhar Bharat’ initiative for self-reliance. Defence Minister Rajnath Singh congratulated the DRDO for the milestone completion.

He tweeted: “The @DRDO_India has today successfully flight tested the Hypersonic Technology Demontrator Vehicle using the indigenously developed scramjet propulsion system. With this success, all critical technologies are now established to progress to the next phase.”

According to the DRDO, the HSTDV can fly at Mach 6 speed. It is designed to be able to move up to 32.5km altitude in 20 seconds.

DRDO also tweeted: “In a historic mission today, India successfully flight-tested Hypersonic Technology Demonstrator Vehicle (HSTDV), a giant leap in indigenous defence technologies and significant milestone towards a #sashaktbharat and #atmanirbharbharat.

“DRDO with this mission, has demonstrated capabilities for highly complex technology that will serve as the building block for NextGen Hypersonic vehicles in partnership with industry.”

PTI reported a government official as saying that the dual-use technology can be used in a civilian setting along with its use in long-range cruise missiles in the future.

Additionally, satellites can be launched at low cost using the technology. In May last year, DRDO performed the flight test of a locally developed high-speed expendable aerial target (HEAT), known as Abhyas. (Source: airforce-technology.com)

04 Sep 20. Northrop Grumman charges on with XM913 50mm cannon deliveries to US Army. Northrop Grumman remains under contract with the US Army to mature a critical component of its ground combat fleet ‒ the XM913 50mm cannon ‒ even as the service weighs its cannon calibre requirements for the its future Bradley replacement fleet.

As of late August the company had delivered four XM913 cannons to the service, with plans to deliver seven more by the end of October, Northrop Grumman spokesman Jarrod Krull told Janes. In addition to these weapons, he noted that the company is anticipating an “imminent order” for 10 additional cannons that would be delivered to the service in 2021 for qualification, testing, and integration activities.

“The 50mm cannon combines Bushmaster chain gun reliability with [a] next-generation effective range that will provide the warfighter with increased stand-off against near peer adversaries,” Krull wrote.

The army is working with the company to further develop the cannon, in part, to support its Next-Generation Combat Vehicle (NGCV) portfolio and allow soldiers to fire quicker and reach farther distances. The XM913 cannon can fire two munitions ‒ the XM1204 High Explosive Airburst with Trace (HEAB-T) and XM1203 Armour-Piercing Fin-Stabilized Discarding Sabot with Trace (APFSDS-T) ‒ and is central to the army’s Advanced Lethality and Accuracy System for Medium Caliber (ALAS-MC) effort. (Source: Jane’s)

07 Sep 20. DARPA, USAF prepare to fly HAWC variants later this year. The US Defence Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) and the US Air Force (USAF) on 1 September announced the successful completion of captive carry tests of two variants of the Hypersonic Air-breathing Weapon Concept (HAWC). The risk reduction milestone paves the way for the variants to proceed to initial free-flight testing later this year.

The HAWC prototyping activity is being advanced under separate research contracts issued by DARPA to Lockheed Martin and Raytheon Technologies in September and October 2016, respectively. “HAWC performers Lockheed Martin and Raytheon Technologies have each tested advanced air vehicle configurations that promise to achieve and sustain efficient hypersonic flight. Their upcoming flight tests will focus on hydrocarbon scramjet-powered propulsion and thermal management techniques to enable prolonged hypersonic cruise, in addition to affordable system designs and manufacturing approaches,” DARPA said in a statement on 1 September.

A follow-on development of DARPA’s earlier Integrated Hypersonics Programme, HAWC aims to mature and demonstrate critical technologies to inform the development and flight testing of an effective and affordable air-launched hypersonic cruise missile, and is intended to deliver transformational long-range strike capabilities against time-critical or heavily defended targets.

Critical technologies include advanced air vehicle configurations capable of efficient flight; hydrocarbon scramjet (Supersonic Combustion Ramjet)-powered propulsion to enable sustained hypersonic cruise; thermal management approaches designed for high-temperature cruise, and affordable system designs and manufacturing approaches. (Source: Jane’s)

28 Aug 20. BrahMos Missile. Tests of several modifications to the BrahMos cruise missile to extend its range are planned for 2020, one of Russia’s top defence industries officials announced at the ARMY-2020 Forum. India, with whom Russia developed the missile, is among the top exhibitors at the show, having a strong national pavilion.

In June, the BrahMos Air Launched Cruise Missile (ALCM) received the first ever fleet release clearance (FRC) issued by the certifying agency. The supersonic and advanced ALCM (designated as BrahMos-A) with its proven capabilities for the Indian Air Force (IAF), became India’s first indigenous weapon to get the critical FRC. This paves the way for IAF squadrons to use the BrahMos ALCM during various combat missions, marking an important milestone for the manufacturers.

The IAF gained an unmatched capability in the Indian Ocean Region (IOR) when it inducted its Sukhoi Su-30MKI armed with BrahMos ALCMs. The stand-off distance of BrahMos (300 km) and the range of Sukhoi (3000-plus km) along with refuelling, have given the IAF a great advantage during its missions in the IOR. The missile has caught the attention of countries from South America to ASEAN nations, as well as some Eastern European countries.

“A lot of countries have shown great interest in [purchasing the missiles of] BrahMos. We are now working with our Russian colleagues. We have already received [export] permits from Russia and the Indian government, and we really hope that as soon as the pandemic is over, we will be able to act on it,” BrahMos Chief General Manager Praveen Pathak said on the sidelines of the Russian-hosted Army 2020 forum, where a full size mock-up of the BRAHMOS-A missile has been displayed. (Source: ESD Spotlight)

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