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NIGHT VISION, MUNITIONS AND BALLISTICS UPDATE

13 Dec 11. Cubic has combat readiness in its DCID-TALON sights. Cubic’s new Dismounted Combat ID – Target Location/Navigation (DCID-TALON) system made its public debut at the 2011 I/ITSEC event, having been deployed on Exercise Bold Quest 2011 during September 2011. DCID-TALON has been developed from Cubic’s experience with the Multiple Integrated Laser Engagement System (MILES), which is the principal live training system used by the US Army. (Source: Jane’s, IDR)

25 Jan 12. US requests airborne weapon data for BMD system. The US Missile Defense Agency (MDA) and US Air Force (USAF) are seeking industry’s ideas for an Airborne Weapon Layer (AWL) as part of the country’s ballistic missile defence (BMD) system. A Broad Agency announcement published on the US government’s Federal Business Opportunities website asked interested parties to submit performance, cost and schedule information regarding an AWL that could potentially undergo ‘principle flight demonstrations’ within three years. (Source: Jane’s, IDR)

01 Feb 12. BAE Systems is offering land forces a precision 81mm mortar round in a development that has tapped into General Dynamics technology using GPS guidance and canards offering the military an almost direct-hit capability using a standard mortar tube. Company executives who unveiled the weapon Jan. 31 at the new munitions factory at Washington, in northeast England, said the development gave front-line infantry a portable “one-shot, one-kill” precision weapon at an affordable cost.
They wouldn’t be specific about likely costs. The two land systems rivals have been quietly working for more than 12 months to develop and produce a precision-guided weapon marrying the current U.K. L41 bomb and U.S. M734A1 fuze from a conventional mortar round with GPS guidance and General Dynamics roll-controlled fixed canard technology. Trials of the roll-controlled weapon at the U.S. Army’s Yuma Proving Ground in Arizona last week saw five of the live bombs travel 3.7 kilometers and strike within two and five meters of the target, BAE representatives said at a briefing in the U.K. (Source: Defense News)
BATTLESPACE Comment: For seasoned BATTLESPACE readers this is a sense of déjà vu looking back 20 years to when the then British Aerospace Dynamics was developing the Merlin guided mortar systems at it Stevenage facility. The project floundered after millions of UK MoD and BAE R&D money. This web quote says it all: The Merlin 81mm smart mortar round was a weapon developed a little too late. It was a fire and forget homing round which would seek out tanks at the end of its trajectory and guide itself in for the kill. Teams could fire the projectile from 4 miles away and at the top of its flight it would start scanning for targets- moving tanks for preference, what might be stationary ones as second choice. It was intended to be fired at the masses of Soviet tanks expected to roll across Western Europe should the Cold War go hot, and be more accurate and effective than just lobbing bombs and hoping. The Merlin was considered superior to other guided or “smart” mortar bombs being developed at the same time if only because it would have been fired from a standard piece of kit rather than requiring its own dedicated launcher. Apart from the fall of the Berlin Wall rendering unlikely the conflict for which it was developed there were also issues with getting the electronics small and reliable enough. It only ever got to the testing stage, which is where this case is from. You can own this piece of military history, because the case is for sale in the Spinneyworld eBay shop.

30 Jan 12. Trident Missiles: Maintenance Costs. The Defence Equipment Minister said (30 Jan 12) that the UK pays the US Department of Defense an annual contribution towards the overall cost of the US Navy’s Strategic Weapons Facility in Georgia. The contribution, which includes storage and reprocessing work, amounts to around £12m per year.
Comment: The paymen

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