27 Jun 12. The Missile Defense Agency (MDA), U.S. Navy and Lockheed Martin team successfully intercepted a separating ballistic missile target with the second generation of the Aegis Ballistic Missile Defense (BMD) system, Aegis BMD 4.0.1, and the Standard Missile-3 (SM-3) Block IB missile. During the test known as Flight Test Mission-18 (FTM-18), Aegis BMD 4.0.1 successfully detected, tracked and engaged the ballistic missile target in the most challenging operational environment to date, demonstrating its capabilities to engage the world’s increasingly sophisticated ballistic missile threats. FTM-18 marked the eighth time the USS Lake Erie (CG 70) and her crew have successfully performed during Navy and MDA at-sea test events against cruise and ballistic missile threats using Aegis BMD 4.0.1. The test also marks an important milestone for the second phase of the Phased Adaptive Approach (PAA) to missile defense in Europe. Aegis BMD 4.0.1 and the SM-3 Block IB missile will be a shipboard configuration used in the European Theater supporting PAA Phase 2.
29 Jun 12. MBDA has successfully completed live firing of its Meteor active radar-guided beyond visual range air-to-air missile (BVRAAM), moving a step closer towards the delivery of first production units before the end of 2012, MBDA Meteor chief engineer and project head Andy Bradford has revealed. Speaking about the programme for the first time in four years at a media briefing in the UK, Bradford said that a total of 21 trials were conducted, including three electronic protection measures (EPM) tests at Parc Aberporth in Wales, UK. MBDA is expected to deliver the final performance statement to the primary customer, the UK and its European partner nations including France, Germany, Italy, Spain and Sweden, in July 2012. Bradford said all partner nations have already signed the contract except Germany, but added: ”We expect Germany to be on contract with us by the end of the year.”
The missile features advanced technologies such as a new seeker and propulsion system, with a range in excess of 100km, and enhanced kinematic performance when compared with the existing air-air missiles of its type. Designed to replace the AMRAAM AIM-120 series of missiles, the Meteor provides a multi-shot capability against long-range manoeuvring targets such as fast jets, small unmanned aerial vehicles and cruise missiles in a heavy electronic countermeasures environment. The missiles are expected to be installed on the Swedish air force’s Saab Gripens in 2014 to 2015, followed by the UK Royal Air Force’s Eurofighter Typhoons in 2015 to 2016 and French Air Force and Navy’s Dassault Rafale fighters from 2018. (Source: airforcetechnology.com)
BATTLESPACE Comment: This is good news for Meteor which struggled to reach maturity in its early development. It is also good news for Typhoon’s export prospects as it releases Eurofighter from the requirement to work with Raytheon to supply AMRAAM Missiles to overseas customers and thus risk as in Korea the possibility of Raytheon refusing to supply the technical datapack and ITAR approvals.
27 Jun 12. The Israeli Defense Force’s (IDF) Armored Corps Iron Trails Brigade has recently been equipped with the Trophy active protection system (APS) to protect tanks from a wide range of incoming missiles threats. The brigade possesses a large number of advanced Merkava Mark IV main battle tanks (MBTs), with integration of the Trophy system helping to identify and eliminate anti-tank missiles before they reach the tanks. Joint exercises by the Trophy-equipped Merkava tanks and the IDF engineering forces were completed in May 2012, which demonstrated advanced systems and cooperation among different units. Personnel were put to test under different scenarios, such as combat operations using armoured combat vehicles and tanks against an enemy, anti-kidnapping drills, and underground fighting operations in urban environments. Iron Trails Brigade commander c