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13 Aug 20. Israel successfully tests Arrow-2 missile interceptor, says U.S. missile agency. Israel successfully tested its Arrow-2 ballistic missile interceptor on Wednesday, the U.S. Missile Defense Agency (MDA) said.
“The Arrow-2 interceptor successfully performed its planned trajectory and destroyed the target,” the Pentagon agency said in a statement.
The Arrow-2 and a newer generation system, Arrow-3, serve as the top tier of an integrated Israeli shield built up with U.S. backing to withstand various potential missile salvoes.
“MDA remains committed to assisting the government of Israel as it upgrades its national missile defense capability against current and emerging threats,” said the agency’s director, Vice Admiral Jon Hill.
The test was conducted at a test range in central Israel and over the Mediterranean Sea, MDA said. (Source: Reuters)
13 Aug 20. IBCS Flight test further demonstrates the system’s capability to fuse data and successfully defeat multiple threats. The U.S. Army successfully engaged multiple targets during a flight test using the Northrop Grumman Corporation (NYSE: NOC) Integrated Battle Command System (IBCS). The test, conducted as part of the IBCS Limited User Test (LUT), demonstrated IBCS’ ability to maintain continuous track custody of the targets, despite contested environment conditions, by fusing data from multiple sensors.
“We are extremely pleased with how IBCS performed during this flight test,” said Kenn Todorov, vice president and general manager, combat systems and mission readiness, Northrop Grumman. “We have been working on an extraordinary command and control system in partnership with the U.S. Army, and our goals are the same – to get this capability into the hands of the warfighter as soon as possible.”
The first of two planned operational flight tests was conducted at White Sands Missile Range, New Mexico by the soldiers from the U.S. Army 3rd Battalion, 43rd Air Defense Artillery (ADA) Regiment. The test’s defense laydown included an Air and Missile Defense task force including two Battery and 1 Battalion engagement operations centers, two Patriot and Sentinel radars, and three Patriot Advanced Capability Three (PAC-3) launchers connected at the component level, to the IBCS Integrated Fire Control Network (IFCN).
The test began when two cruise missile surrogate threats were launched and flew at a low altitude in a maneuvering formation through a mountain range towards defended assets. IBCS fused real-time data from all sensors into a single, accurate composite track for each threat. The soldiers were presented with engagement solutions computed by IBCS which were then executed. The soldiers launched two PAC-3 missiles controlled by IBCS that successfully intercepted both threats. IBCS was able to perform all functions successfully despite being subjected to contested environment conditions designed to disrupt the IFCN network, demonstrating the resilience and survivability of the system.
The Limited User Test, which comprises several tests, is intended to simulate realistic warfighting operations and place performance stresses on the systems to ensure it will perform as intended under the most rigorous circumstances once deployed. This LUT is conducted to inform a Milestone C decision which will transition the IBCS program into the production and operational testing phase.
IBCS utilizes multiple sensors and effectors to extend the battlespace, engage threats providing 360° protection, increases survivability by enabling early detection and continuous tracking, and delivers transformational warfighting capabilities to defeat an increasingly complex threat.
10 Aug 20. U.S. Air Force, LM Complete Another Successful Hypersonics Test. The U.S. Air Force and Lockheed Martin [NYSE: LMT] successfully flight tested the second AGM-183A Air-Launched Rapid Response Weapon (ARRW) on the service’s B-52 Stratofortress out of Edwards Air Force Base, California, on Aug. 8, 2020.
This captive carry flight was conducted with tactical hardware and fully instrumented to collect thermal, mechanical and digital data from the flight vehicle. This is the first time a tactical ARRW missile has been assembled. Additional ground and flight testing will follow over the next two years.
“The team overcame significant challenges driven by the COVID-19 pandemic to achieve this significant milestone for the program,” said Dave Berganini, ARRW program director at Lockheed Martin Missiles and Fire Control. “This captive carry mission is the pre-cursor for our first booster test flight planned for early 2020s.”
Hypersonic weapons provide rapid response, time critical capability that will overcome distance in contested environments using high speed, altitude and maneuverability. An operational hypersonic air-launched weapon enables the U.S. to hold fixed, high value, time-sensitive targets at risk in contested environments from stand-off distances.
Lockheed Martin has played a significant role in the research, development and demonstration of hypersonic technologies for more than 30 years. The corporation has made significant investments in key technology and capability development. We have developed deep expertise in the engineering of hypersonic systems and associated challenges through our work with maneuvering reentry vehicles, air-breathing engine design, avionics, and aero/thermal flight sciences. (Source: ASD Network)
12 Aug 20. Boeing Delivers Next Generation Interceptor Proposal to the U.S. Missile Defense Agency. Proposal builds on the company’s 60-plus year legacy in strategic missile and weapon systems.
Today, Boeing [NYSE: BA] submitted its offer to the U.S. Missile Defense Agency for the Next Generation Interceptor (NGI) competition, proposing a design that leverages the company’s more than 60-year track record and expertise in strategic missile and weapon systems.
“Boeing’s NGI proposal delivers unmatched performance, affordability and reliability for the nation and the warfighter,” said Norm Tew, Missile and Weapon Systems vice president and general manager, and Huntsville site senior executive. “Building upon our prior investments and proven technologies, our innovative proposal offers a creative, compelling and game-changing technical approach to outpace, out-innovate, deter and defeat rapidly evolving advanced threats.”
If selected, Boeing will utilize its proven capabilities along with a best-of-industry team to ensure its unique offering is delivered to the warfighter on time.
“Boeing is well-positioned to deliver innovative solutions that greatly expand this key missile defense capability, ever focused on supporting the warfighter,” said Tew. “We are leveraging our unparalleled mission knowledge to design, develop and deliver a low-risk, highly-effective solution for the MDA.”
The NGI will be used to maintain ready deterrence and ensure the continued protection of the U.S. homeland from intercontinental ballistic missiles. A contract award is expected later this year.
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: US DoD)
11 Aug 20. Serbia integrates Igla MANPADS into PASARS SPAAG. The Serbian Ministry of Defence (MoD) announced on its website on 9 August that its Vojnotehnički Institut (VTI, Military Technical Institute) has integrated the Igla man-portable air defence system (MANPADS) into the indigenously-developed PASARS 6×6 self-propelled anti-aircraft gun (SPAAG).
A PASARS with two Igla MANPADS attached to the turret of its standard Bofors L/70 40 mm gun was shown to the MoD leadership during testing at Batajnica airbase outside Belgrade. It was the first time PASARS was connected by digital link to the Serbian Army’s M85 Žirafa air defence radar – an Ericsson Giraffe M75 surveillance and target acquisition radar mounted on a Yugoslav-made FAP2026 truck – for command and control.
The MoD’s acting assistant minister for material resources, Nenad Miloradović, said that the M85 will be the main surveillance sensor of the PASARS battery and is also being modernised, with a focus on improving its software radar receiver capabilities. (Source: Jane’s)
08 Aug 20. USAF Conducts Latest Hypersonic Weapon Flight Test. The Air Force took another step towards fielding a hypersonic weapon following its final captive-carry test of the AGM-183A Air-launched Rapid Response Weapon under a wing of a B-52 Stratofortress off the Southern California coast, Aug 8.
The flight resulted in the successful transmission of telemetry and GPS data from the AGM-183A IMV-2 (Instrumented Measurement Vehicle) to Point Mugu Sea Range ground stations. The test verified system integration with the B-52 launch platform and telemetry while practicing concepts of operations that will be utilized during its first Booster Test Flight later this year.
“This is a major milestone for the program, the team and our Air Force,” said Brig. Gen. Heath Collins, Air Force Program Executive Officer for Weapons. “ARRW is the first step in bringing game-changing hypersonic capabilities to our Warfighters.”
The ARRW program is a rapid prototyping project aimed at delivering a conventional hypersonic weapons capability to the Warfighter in the early 2020s. The weapon system is designed to provide combatant commanders the capability to destroy high-value, time-sensitive targets.
ARRW will also expand precision-strike weapon systems’ capabilities by enabling rapid response strikes against heavily defended land targets.
“The event this week demonstrated the ability to communicate with the prototype weapon; the entire team is excited to take the next step and begin energetic flight test of our first air-launched hypersonic weapons,” said Lt. Col. Michael Jungquist, 419th Flight Test Squadron Commander and Global Power Bomber Combined Test Force Director. “These weapons will enable application of conventional firepower anywhere in the world at eye-watering speed.”
The 419th FLTS and Global Power Bomber CTF conduct flight test missions utilizing the Air Force’s inventory of bomber aircraft.
“We are in a competition and must remain diligent in our efforts to stay ahead of our adversaries who are vigorously pursuing similar weapon systems,” said Gen. Arnold. W. Bunch, Jr., Air Force Materiel Command commander. “Across the enterprise, our research, acquisition and test communities are well-coordinated to deliver critical hypersonic capabilities for the nation.”
The ARRW program development began with the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency’s Tactical Boost Glide demonstration system, which will be integrated into the ARRW payload. It has successfully completed two prior captive-carry tests.
“I am very pleased with the work on the Air-Launched Rapid Response Weapon and what this means for global precision-fires,” said Gen. Tim Ray, Air Force Global Strike Command commander. “This capability will directly support our warfighters. Hypersonic weapons further enable the U.S. to hold any target at risk in any environment anywhere.”
This test of the AGM-183A IMV-2 was the culmination of efforts from across the Air Force Test Center enterprise, the Naval Air Warfare Center Weapons Division at Point Mugu, the ARRW Program Office and Lockheed Martin.
“This test program presents an opportunity for the U.S. to showcase rapid warfighting innovation in the game-changing field of hypersonic research,” Jungquist said. “The Global Power Bomber and Hypersonic CTFs are privileged to work with the ARRW system program office and Lockheed Martin to bring this capability to fruition.” (Source: defense-aerospace.com/US Air Force)
07 Aug 20. IM-SHORAD software glitches mitigated, US soldiers begin testing. US Army soldiers have begun Interim Maneuver Short-Range Air Defense (IM-SHORAD) prototype testing after the service and industry fixed software glitches associated with integrating a new weapons equipment package onto Stryker A1 infantry fighting vehicles, according to programme officials.
Under IM-SHORAD, the service is outfitting Stryker vehicles with a mission equipment package that includes a 30 mm cannon, Stinger missile system and Longbow Hellfire missiles. However, Janes first reported that software challenges were discovered and Program Executive Officer for Missiles and Space Major General Robert Rasch has now said these problems have been fixed.
“It really was nothing that you wouldn’t expect to see the first time hooking up a Hellfire launcher, which has traditionally been an air-to-ground launch system, with an upgraded digital Stinger launch capability integrated with a new turret,” Maj Gen Rasch told reporters during a 5 August call. “We just had to work through some of those software bugs, and the testing, as we rolled out those software patches”.
The two-star general noted that all safety releases are in place and soldiers have begun training and operating prototypes.
“We had a little hiccup [for] a couple weeks, but again we’re on a very aggressive schedule [and] things are moving along pretty well at this time,” Maj Gen Rasch added. He noted that the service will continue to learn about the new weapon as testing continues and will continue making improvements to ensure soldiers looking at their displays can distinguish between the Stinger and Hellfire missiles.
If IM-SHORAD plans continue to progress, the army is expected to make a production decision around the September timeframe, although programme leaders have warned that the service may not follow through with its plan to award an initial production contract for 32 vehicles. (Source: Jane’s)
07 Aug 20. Ukraine deploys S-125 SAM system close to Russia. Ukraine has deployed the S-125 surface-to-air missile (SAM) system in the country’s northeastern Kharkiv region, close to the Russian border. The Ukrainian Air Force’s Eastern Command published a report on its website on 6 August with images showing soldiers of an anti-aircraft regiment operating the system during a training exercise conducted the same day.
The soldiers were shown deploying mobile launchers, as well as P-18 VHF band and P-19 early warning radars. One of the elements of the training exercise was to practise countering unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), stated Lieutenant Colonel Mikhailo Povkhovych, the commander of the anti-aircraft unit. He said one of his unit’s priorities was to counter UAVs, given that they have been used in the Donbass conflict, not only for reconnaissance but also for combat operations. Tactical training of the unit with live firing will take place at the Yagorlyk state test site in September, the report added. (Source: Jane’s)
07 Aug 20. More details emerge about new Chinese helicopter-launched ATGM. More details have emerged about a new helicopter-launched anti-tank guided missile (ATGM) that was used in training exercises by the aviation units of the People’s Liberation Army Ground Force (PLAGF).
Chinese state-owned media released video footage on 6 August showing the weapon being fired from several Changhe Aircraft Industries Corporation (CAIC) Zhishengji-10 (Z-10) attack helicopters assigned to the PLAGF’s 161st Air Assault Brigade under the 83rd Group Army.. The missiles were shown striking targets, including tanks and other armoured vehicles, after being fired from some distance, suggesting that this is a fire-and-forget weapon. Each of the launchers under the helicopter’s stub-wings was seen carrying two missiles along with what appeared to pods, although their precise function was not immediately clear.
The Z-10s were seen working in conjunction with at least one Z-19A attack helicopter equipped with a mast-mounted millimetre-wave (MMW) radar that is similar in appearance to the Lockheed Martin AN/APG-78 Longbow fire-control radar fitted to the Boeing AH-64 Apache.
As Janes previously reported, the new missile somewhat resembles the China North Industries Corporation (Norinco) Blue Arrow 21 (BA-21) missile that was displayed at the Airshow China 2018 defence exhibition in Zhuhai.
The BA-21 appears to be an improved export version of the AKD-10 third generation, precision-guided battlefield missile carried by the PLAGF’s Z-10 and Z-19 rotorcraft. The BA-21, of which no official information has emerged, is believed to have a range of about 18 km and be fitted with a dual-mode MMW radar/semi-active laser seeker. (Source: Jane’s)
07 Aug 20. QinetiQ aims to ‘step up’ innovation with WSRF contract. After receiving £300m Weapons Sector Research Framework (WSRF) contract from the UK’s Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (Dstl), QinetiQ spoke to Army Technology about pumping innovation into UK defence and improving on its predecessor the Weapons Science and
QinetiQ delivery lead for WSRF Mike Purnell said: “This builds on the Weapons Science and Technology Centre (WSTC) that QinetiQ has run for the last seven years.
“QinetiQ is not a company that ever sits still; it continued to innovate the WSTC through its seven-year life. But it has taken the opportunity of the Weapons Sector Research Framework to step that innovation up and, I would say, fix one or two things that we felt were not quite right about the predecessor, and also to embrace some of the changes that the customer injected as well, and try and build on those.”
Under the new framework, QinetiQ acts not just as a contractor, but a bridge between academia, leading defence manufacturers such as MBDA, Thales and BAE Systems, SMEs and the Armed Forces. This is achieved through what is referred to by QinetiQ as an ‘enterprise approach’ and represents a show of faith in QinetiQ from the Ministry of Defence (MOD).
A trusted bridge
Under the framework, QinetiQ is not so much acting as a defence contractor, but rather, as Purnell puts it, being trusted to spend MOD money, allocate projects and move projects on behalf of the Armed Forces, not at their direction.
Commenting on this trust and enterprise approach, Purnell explained: “I don’t think there are many examples where MOD trusts a prime contractor sufficiently to work with them to plan, research, and decide how the MOD is going to spend its money. Then trust that contractor to run open, fair and transparent competitions spending MOD’s money on their behalf.
“The enterprise is about all parts of the customer community – MOD head office, Dstl, Defence Equipment and Support, to frontline commands, industry of all sizes, the exploiters, the SMEs. All come together to solve problems and deliver capability. That’s what we mean by the enterprise approach.”
Purnell said that trust from the MOD was ‘hard-won’ and built upon the company’s years managing the WSTC, where at times the team had to ‘firewall’ itself away from the rest of the QinetiQ business to run competitions which another aspect of QinetiQ may itself have bid on. Purnell added that QinetiQ being given that ability amounted to a ‘significant vote of trust and confidence’ from the MOD to deliver mission-led innovation.
Protecting that trust, Purnell said, was important to his team, with it operating out of its own dedicated office, protecting the confidentiality of its operations. Purnell added: “We believe we must enjoy the trust of MOD, and the other industry partners so that they understand how we protect everybody’s interests in this approach.”
One aspect of the MOD QinetiQ is working with under the WSRF is Team Hersa, a joint Dstl-DE&S team, aimed at understanding how to procure Directed Energy weapons, both laser and Radio Frequency (RF) systems.
Purnell explained: “QinetiQ has significant capability in both, but in the WSRF we are working with Team Hersa and other parts of government and industry to make sure that we can understand how to apply these for defence capability in the future. Some of the early tasks which are being competed through the WSRF is in support of Team Hersa.”
Another key area that will see development supported through the WSRF is high-speed weapons including hypersonic missiles. Purnell said: “We have an absolute myopic focus on delivering operational capability for the user and improving that. Those are two areas that that are significant initiatives. But there are lots of incremental gains to be had as well. From improving some of what we do already and learning from other sectors.”
In learning from other sectors, QinetiQ benefits from working in the security space as well as defence, which Purnell said brought with them a ‘whole host of benefits’. Purnell explained this helps the weapons sector to not reinvent the wheel when technologies can be pulled through from other sectors and tweaked to meet defence needs.
Purnell said: “Why would the weapon sector have to reinvent all the protective measures around communication links to missiles, to have secure command systems and the like when that work is being done in another sector and can be ported across at much lower cost?
“Why would the complex weapons business want to not have access to a range of material advances when material advances are going on elsewhere that they can benefit from? It is about getting the customer the best possible capability at an affordable cost.”
Another aspect of delivering innovation is working more closely and improving the routes into defence work for Small-Medium Enterprises (SMEs), and under the WSRF SME involvement is one of the contracts measures for success.
Purnell added: “Government has a strategic objective to place more work with SMEs and clearly we want to support them in that. We are measuring SME input as a performance indicator throughout the life of WSRF as to how successful we are in getting work through to them.”
As part of this, QinetiQ has appointed an SME champion, Daniel Jubb who leads the Falcon project, to help work on SME integration and has doubled the number of routes to market under the WSRF. Purnell explained: “We used to have just two or three ways of competing work in WSTC, we’ve now got six. Recognising at the top end that these demonstrator programmes need a more detailed competitive approach and at the lower end, having some high tempo approaches to deal with some short notice and relatively modest requirements.”
Although still in its early stages, WSRF has already surpassed its predecessor the WSTC, with 97 companies already involved, which set to increase as the five-year framework progresses.
Commenting on the importance of the involvement of companies such as Thales, MBDA and BAE Systems, Purnell explained: “One of the great advantages for the customer in having a single framework that everybody’s using is that we make sure there’s no duplication. We check that as the work progresses we can share the outputs widely across the customer community.
“We have the key exploiters of this technology in the industry – particularly MBDA, Thales and BAE Systems – involved in much of the work there’s a much better chance of it being exploited. Whether that is into UK weapon systems or generating prosperity for the UK by being able to put it into capabilities that could be sold more widely.” (Source: army-technology.com)
07 Aug 20. Directed Energy Weapons: Regulatory Trends. The US Department of Defense (DoD) describes directed energy as an umbrella term covering technologies that relate to the production of a beam of concentrated electromagnetic energy or atomic or subatomic particles. DEWs can be classified under four different types of weapons systems technologies: laser, high-power microwave (HPM), high-power sonic, and particle beam. The leading sectors are lasers and microwave weapons. Particle beam weapons and sonic weapons have also been developed.
Listed below are the key regulatory trends impacting the DEW theme, as identified by GlobalData.
DEWs are not authoritatively defined under international law, nor are they currently on the agenda of any existing multilateral mechanism. Nevertheless, there are a number of legal regimes that would apply to DEW.
The prospect of DEW raises questions under several bodies of international law, most notably those that place restrictions on the use of force. Some DEWs are classified as ‘nonlethal’ or ‘less-lethal’ weapons, with proponents setting them apart from ‘lethal’ weapons.
Low-energy laser weapon systems are one of the most controversial topics in defence, as they may be used for anti-personnel purposes. The use of blinding weapons was banned in 1995 by the United Nations decision (Protocol on Blinding Laser Weapons (1995), annexed to the framework Convention on Prohibitions or Restrictions on the Use of Certain Conventional Weapons (CCW)).
Due to these factors, various DEW systems developed for military application in warfare have not been put in service. For instance, the Active Denial System developed by Raytheon was introduced to the US Army in 2001. Although the US DoD shipped the ADS to Afghanistan, deployment was halted due to humanitarian laws and other factors. The Joint Non-Lethal Weapons Directorate of the US is currently working on the deployment capability of the ADS without violating international laws.
Utilisation of DEW for law enforcement missions
According to the 1990 UN Basic Principles on the Use of Force and Firearms by Law Enforcement Officials (BPUFF), an authoritative statement of international rules governing the use of force in law enforcement, ‘the development and deployment of non-lethal incapacitating weapons should be carefully evaluated in order to minimise the risk of endangering uninvolved persons, and the use of such weapons should be carefully controlled’.
According to IHL – the primary legal regime that would govern the use of DEW for the conduct of hostilities – the right of the parties to the conflict to choose methods or means of warfare is not unlimited. Under Article 36 of API, states have an obligation to assess all new weapons, means, or methods of warfare to see whether their employment would breach legal obligations.
Despite claims regarding the accuracy of DEW, questions remain around the ability to target certain DEW at a specific military objective, in compliance with the IHL rule of distinction and the prohibition of indiscriminate attacks. Potential effects such as burning, eye damage, or radiation sickness may raise concerns under the prohibition of causing superfluous injury or unnecessary suffering. Such non-kinetic mechanisms of harm have historically provided grounds for concern regarding the acceptability of weapons.
Environmental effects of DEWs
International environmental law may also be implicated in the use of certain DEW. Protection of the environment during armed conflict is increasingly emphasised as technological developments in new weaponry present new threats to the natural world. In May 2016, the UN Environment Assembly agreed a resolution stressing the importance of environmental protections during armed conflict and urging states to comply with IHL environmental protections. Chemical lasers, in particular, may raise concerns under environmental law, due to their use of a toxic mix of chemicals to power the beam.
Using DEW for targets in outer space
DEWs have been proposed for use in outer space as well as within Earth’s atmosphere, primarily as a form of directly attacking space assets such as satellites. The use of weapons in outer space is regulated by the 1967 Outer Space Treaty, which states that all use of outer space must be ‘in accordance with international law’. Important questions remain about how the restrictions and prohibitions that could apply to DEW under, for example, IHL, would apply to their use in outer space.
This is an edited extract from the Directed Energy Weapons (Defense) – Thematic Research report produced by GlobalData Thematic Research. (Source: army-technology.com)
06 Aug 20. US Army’s interim short-range air defense system on track despite minor ‘hiccup’ in tests. The US Army has wrapped up developmental testing for its interim short-range air defense system after experiencing a minor “hiccup” that, when paired with complications due to the coronavirus pandemic, set the program back by a few weeks, Maj. Gen. Robert Rasch, the service’s program executive officer for missiles and space, said Aug. 5.
It took just 19 months from the time the service generated the requirement to the first delivery of a platform for testing, answering an urgent call in 2016 from U.S. Army Europe to fill the short-range air defense capability gap. The service received the requirement to build the system in February 2018.
After a shoot-off in the desert of White Sands Missile Range, New Mexico, and subsequent evaluations from various vendors, the Army selected a Stryker combat vehicle-based system that included a mission equipment package designed by Leonardo DRS. That mission equipment package includes Raytheon’s Stinger vehicle missile launcher.
“We went through our developmental testing, which is what we are supposed to do when we get a new system and we found some software things that we had to work,” Rasch told reporters during a media teleconference. “A lot of the systems and components had been integrated before in other ways but putting them all together on this platform, on a Stryker, was the first time.
“I know a lot of this has been made on that in the press,” Rasch said, “but it was nothing that you wouldn’t expect to see” considering it was the first time the Army has hooked up a Hellfire launcher that is traditionally an air-to-ground system with an upgraded digital Stinger launch capability with a new turret.
In an interview with Defense News in March, Col. Chuck Worshim, program manager for cruise missile defense systems within PEO Missiles and Space, said the Army was “learning some things, which testing is all about. We’re seeing where we will have to have some corrective actions put in place as we move forward into more operational testing.”
He would not detail those actions but emphasized they were “nothing that can’t be overcome in a short period of time” and “nothing that is so far out of the box that we have to go back to the drawing board.”
Rasch said, “We just had to work through some of those software bugs and the testing,” and as the team rolled out those “relatively minor software patches” the system has been “testing out very well.”
Brig. Gen. Brian Gibson, who oversees the Army’s air-and-missile defense modernization efforts, told Defense News in its Space and Missile Defense Debrief event Aug. 5, that the Army is still on schedule to make a decision on whether it will buy its first of four planned batteries by the end of the fiscal year.
He added that testing over the past few weeks ended in successful flight tests, but “we still learned some things in it that we need to go back and address in the new equipment training.”
That training has already begun at White Sands in preparation for an early user assessment in the latter part of the year, Gibson said, and the Army is learning “great things” from the experienced air defenders assigned to use the system.
“By the end of August,” Gibson said, “we are going to know everything that we probably can know, which will inform our recommendation.” (Source: Defense News Early Bird/Defense News)
Arnold Defense has manufactured more than 1.25 million 2.75-inch rocket launchers since 1961 for the U.S. Army, U.S. Navy, U.S. Air Force and many NATO customers. They are the world’s largest supplier of rocket launchers for military aircraft, vessels and vehicles. Core products include the 7-round M260 and 19-round M261 commonly used by helicopters; the thermal coated 7-round LAU-68 variants and LAU-61 Digital Rocket Launcher used by the U.S. Navy and Marines; and the 7-round LAU-131 and SUU-25 flare dispenser used by the U.S. Air Force and worldwide.
Today’s rocket launchers now include the ultra-light LWL-12 that weighs just over 60 pounds (27 kg.) empty and the new Fletcher (4) round launcher. Arnold Defense designs and manufactures various rocket launchers that can be customized for any capacity or form factor for platforms in the air, on the ground or even at sea.
Arnold Defense maintains the highest standards of production quality by using extensive testing, calibration and inspection processes.